Healthy Communities

Healthy Communities, a partnership with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s Division of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention, increases the library’s capacity to offer free, accessible cooking, physical activity, gardening and mindfulness programming at neighborhood libraries throughout Philadelphia. Program offerings range from African-diaspora inspired cooking classes to senior fitness classes to gardening workshops about native plants. Programs priorities are based on feedback from community members.

In October 2018, Community Chef Training was offered at Lillian Marrero Library in the Fairhill section of North Philadelphia. This free, four-day workshop equipped a cohort of community members with the skills and certifications to lead low-cost, culturally-appropriate culinary demos. The Community Chefs continue to lead cooking demonstrations at neighborhood libraries.

Home Gym Kits will be available for lending at six neighborhood libraries! Joseph E. Coleman Northwest Regional Library, Lillian Marrero Library, Overbrook Park Library, Richmond Library, South Philadelphia Library, and Tacony Library will host strength training workshops to complement their Home Gym Kit materials. The kit will give community members access to a yoga mat, resistance band, and jump rope for two weeks. Look for the workout log to help track fitness goals and successes!

Read more about the Home Gym Kit and find details about everything Healthy Communities offers here. For free cooking, gardening, and fitness join the Free Library wellness community!


Healthy Communities


  • 2-1-1 SEPA

    Call 2-1-1 to get connected to important health and human services. You can also use their website to search.
  • CDC on Health Literacy

    Information and tools to improve health literacy and public health. Find health literacy activities by state, develop materials, learn about health literacy.
  • Choose My Plate

    Helps you make healthful choices for meals and snacks. Tips, recipes, and more!
  • Coalition Against Hunger

    The Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger strives to build a community where all people have the food they need to lead healthy lives. The Coalition connects people with food assistance programs and nutrition education; provides resources to a network of food pantries; and educates the public and policymakers about responsible solutions that prevent people from going hungry.
  • Coalition Against Hunger

    The Coalition Against Hunger helps people connect to food pantries and soup kitchens in their neighborhood, including options for finding food that very day. They also help people to apply for SNAP (food stamp) benefits. Households can apply for SNAP benefits by calling their hotline at 215-430-0556.
  • Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbilities

    This list of resources from the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbilities includes help for alcohol, drugs, gambling, homeless supports, domestic violence, intellectual disAbility supports, crisis centers, and 24/7 hotlines.
  • Fact Sheet: Health Literacy and Health Outcomes

    This fact sheet summarizes key research findings on the relationship between health literacy and health outcomes.
  • Federally Qualified Health Centers

    Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) are local, non-profit or city-run primary care providers serving low-income families. Find one using this search tool.
  • Food Fit Philly

    Food Fit Philly is part of Get Healthy Philly, the Division of Chronic Disease Prevention for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. Our work at Get Healthy Philly is founded in the belief that every human being matters, and that we must work to change systems and structures in our city and in our society that result in disparities in health and opportunity.
  • Free Health Screenings

    The Philadelphia Department of Public Health maintains a monthly list of free health screenings across the city. Scroll down to the “Free Health Screenings in Philadelphia” section for the link to this month’s list.
  • Health and Wellness Resource Center

    The Free Library's database where you can explore different health topics
  • Health Finder

    Use this federally sponsored website tool to learn what you or a loved one can do to stay healthy.
  • Health Literacy Basics

    Definitions and answers to basic questions about health literacy provided by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
  • Health Literacy Month's Website

    This website will provide more information on how you can help support Health Literacy Month's efforts

    Official guide to the health care, health insurance and the Affordable Care Act
  • Local Health Literacy Events

    A list of local health literacy events across Pennsylvania that you can attend
  • Medline Plus

    A web resource that contains reliable health information from the National Library of Medicine to help answer health questions
  • NaturePHL

    NaturePHL is a cross-sector program helping Philadelphia children and families achieve better health through activity in local parks, trails, and green spaces.
  • PA Forward: Healthy Literacy

    See what efforts the Pennsylvania Library Association is putting forth to promote health literacy.
  • Philadelphia Food Policy Advisory Council

    The Philadelphia Food Policy Advisory Council connects Philadelphians and their local government to create a more just food system. They envision that all Philadelphians can access and afford healthy, sustainable, culturally appropriate, local, and fair food.
  • Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Finder

    Search for healthy and fun activities at Parks and Recreation Centers near you!
  • Philly Food Finder

    Use this tool to find food pantries, meals for seniors, soup kitchens, SHARE host sites, and farmer’s markets by typing in your address or zip code.
  • Philly Powered

    Philly Powered is a part of Get Healthy Philly, the Division of Chronic Disease Prevention for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, and is designed to promote everyday physical activity particularly among adult men and women who are seeking to live healthier lives.
  • PubMed Health

    A service provided by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) that provides information for consumers and clinicians on prevention and treatment of diseases and conditions
  • Regional Health Literacy Coalition

    A website created by Pennsylvania's Health Literacy Coalition to improve understanding between providers and consumers of health care

    An initiative by the Health Care Improvement Foundation (HCIF) and Thomas Jefferson University and Hospitals (TJUH) to address health literacy in Southeastern Pennsylvania
  • Smoke Free Philly

    Smokefree Philly is part of Get Healthy Philly, the Chronic Disease Division of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. The goals of SmokeFree Philly are to help people to quit smoking, stop people from starting using tobacco, and reduce heart disease, cancer and other illnesses caused by smoking.

Electronic Resources

Upcoming Events

Blog Posts

Celebrating Immigrant Heritage Month with Coquíes and Plátanos

Books are an opportunity to celebrate cultures, share traditions, and travel around the world! They are also an avenue to learn a new language, share your favorite recipes, and become familiar with new animals native to different…

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Observing Mental Health Awareness Month With the Free Library

May 1 begins Mental Health Awareness Month; this is a time to think more about our mental health journeys. Mental Health Awareness Month was established in 1949 to increase awareness about the importance of mental health in the…

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Bake Some STE(A)M Skills Into Your Celebration of Pi Day

Pie: it's as easy as 1, 2, 3.14159.... As a justification to stuff our pie holes this month, we’ve found a convenient pair of homophones — the phonetic rendering of the Greek letter π (used to represent the ratio of a…

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Picture Book Highlights | Flower Power

A sure sign that spring is around the corner is the start of The Philadelphia Flower Show , a tradition that dates back to 1829. After a long winter, it's such a joy to see flowers begin to bloom everywhere. Get ready for…

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Buy Honey Harvested from the Free Library Apiary and Support the Culinary Literacy Center!

The Culinary Literacy Center is all abuzz about one of its most special projects: making honey! A little known fact about Parkway Central Library is that we have an apiary, otherwise known as a collection of honeybee hives, on the…

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Making Sofrito with Juanita and Family!

Juanita Vega DeJoseph is the Assistant Department Head in the Art & Literature Department and someone who enjoys cooking and creating. We are so grateful to Juanita for sharing her process of making sofrito, a recipe…

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Nourishing Literacy | Let's make strawberry cards with Shayna!

Strawberries  are super and sweet to look at and to eat! In this video, Shayna used strawberries as her theme for making handmade cards . What ideas do you have for making cards or stationary? What shapes and colors can you find in…

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Keep it Fresh with Fresh Herbs!

Fresh herbs add flavor and nutrition to meals, they are beautiful when added to dishes, and many of them have unique fragrances. They are like tiny greens ! Maybe fresh herbs will inspire poems, cooking, or preserving like they do for…

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Picture Book Highlights | Gardening

Happy spring, Philadelphia! It’s time to go out and work on our gardens – in our yards, balconies, or community gardens! Let’s all get our hands dirty with soil and bring beauty and sustenance into the world…

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Nourishing Literacy | Strawberries Are Our Jam!

Fresh, frozen, sun-dried, freeze-dried, jelly, jam, milk, ice cream, fruit leather, syrup... strawberries are sweet, a treat, and fun to eat! A great source of vitamin C, strawberries are a special food with some surprises…

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Robert Bogle and Philadelphia’s Dynastic Black Caterers

Philadelphia’s Food Service History is Black History From the Historical Marker Database , photographed by Carolyn Martienssen, June 2015 You might have noticed on South 8th Street a historical marker that reads: “A noted…

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Nourishing Literacy | Kitchen Life Skills

The Nourishing Literacy team has been creating a short series of audio shares with a focus on children and youth, highlighting skills and qualities that we practice and encourage in the kitchen. These shares include extended…

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Celebrating February's Food Days

Did you know that there are important dates in February beyond Groundhog Day (Sorry, Punxsutawney Phil!), Presidents' Day, and Valentine’s Day, where specific foods are celebrated? Here's just a few to mark on your…

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Nourishing Literacy | Fun Pun Kitchen: Cooking Up Creativity!

It might be ridichio' lous but puns can be a way to use brain mussels . In the Culinary Literacy Center , food is our muse when we put pen' salt to pepper  (pencil to paper!) . Do you think that you could create a…

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Picture Book Highlights | National Pizza Day

Can you guess what one of the world’s favorite foods is? It’s pizza! Whether you bake it your own, eat it in a restaurant by the slice (or the whole pie!), or buy it frozen from a supermarket—pizza is a popular choice…

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Nourishing Literacy | Planting Story Seeds with Madame Marie and Her Magic Garden

Nourish your literacy by creating stories from scratch—with a seed starter! Chrissy loves to read, write, and tell stories. Her suggested steps for creating folklore were offered back when she was Talking About Tomatoes ! The…

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Nourishing Literacy | Let's Layer: Art and Cooking!

What art projects can you think of that involve layers? What recipes have you tasted that include layers of ingredients? Leanna and Tonii share two ideas for layering, while creating art and recipes in the following video. These ideas…

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Nourishing Literacy | Veggie Rap!

If you like sweet beets, nourish your literacy with extra flavor and spice! Brocc out with the Veggie Rap! It's a jam, and it might even make you feel butter. Lime for lime you can farro along. Phyllo ears with some grape…

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Nourishing Literacy | Create Your Own Candy Buttons!

Teens recently joined the Field Teen Center and Nourishing Literacy teams for a SWEET Make and Take project! Candy buttons are small dots of colorful sugar candy attached to a strip of paper. It was surprising and cool how simple…

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Nourishing Literacy | We Are Green Machines!

What shapes, sizes, and colors are the leafy greens that you enjoy eating, or would like to try? The following recipe uses the leaves and the stems of the vegetable. Try eating these greens over noodles or rice. What are some of your…

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