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 Health Literacy Resources by Health

Check out these electronic sources to learn more about health literacy and how it can affect you!

View the full list

Health Literacy 2016 by Health

Check out these resources to learn more about health literacy and how to best communicate health information!

View the full list

Electronic Resources

Upcoming Events

Blog Posts

Check Out Online Magazines for some Home Cooking Inspiration!

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In the Kitchen with Children and Youth

Involving youth of all ages in the kitchen is a great way to help open up young minds to new foods. Check out our ideas that don’t need a knife or other sharp tools. And remember, before chopping it up in the kitchen, check…

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Picture Book Highlights | Germs Are Not For Sharing!

One of my favorite things about children is how they ask big questions. When adults have the same questions themselves, it can be hard to figure out how to answer in an age-appropriate manner. Library books to the rescue! Here are some…

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How Do You Hamantaschen? From Cookbooks to Rare Books, Celebrating Purim at the Free Library!

Like many holidays, Purim offers all those who celebrate Jewish traditions a chance to make and enjoy handmade goodies. The hallmark sweet treat for this occasion is the hamantaschen , a cookie-like triangular pastry with a sweet…

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Drinks to Celebrate Mardi Gras!

Every year, Mardi Gras brings together revelers in New Orleans and beyond to carry on the traditions of celebration that began in medieval times. Whether you take to the streets to join a parade or get fancy for a masquerade ball,…

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Stay Fit—Borrow a Home Gym Kit!

New year, new you! Let one of our new Home Gym Kits help support your health and fitness goals. You can use your library card to borrow the kit for up to two weeks.  Inside the kit you will find: A non-slip yoga mat…

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Picture Book Highlights | Mmm, Mmm, Soup!

It’s that time of the year. where winter has just started and with it more cold days and colder nights. Looking for something to warm up your heart and tummy? How about soup? Making soup together is a bonding experience: gathering…

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Michelle Obama Grows a Garden

Today is the birthday of celebrated former First Lady and citizen of the world, Michelle Obama . A political figure in her own right, Michelle Obama is well known for her healthy eating campaign, Lets Move! The campaign targeted…

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Food Insecurity, English Language Learning, and Community Conversations in North Philadelphia

Edible Alphabet is a free English language learning program offered to adults by the Free Library's Culinary Literacy Center . The mission of the program is to teach English language and literacy skills through hands-on cooking and…

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Learn to Make Delicious Meshabek on National Bake Cookies Day

Here at the Culinary Literacy Center , cookies are a constant – over the years, we’ve offered science-based approaches to the sweet treat; a hands-on opportunity to make and taste a favorite family cookie recipe now in our…

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You Scream, I Scream . . . for Vegan Ice Cream!

Yes, you heard that right: ice cream in December—and vegan ice cream, at that! Though you may be familiar with National Ice Cream Day, which is celebrated annually on the third Sunday in July (thanks to Ronald Reagan, who…

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Serve Up This Apple Cranberry Jam at Your Harvest Feast!

Marisa McClellan is a food writer, canning teacher, and dedicated farmers' market shopper who lives in Center City Philadelphia. She is the author of Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round and Preserving by the Pint:…

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The Pumpkin on the Plate

Squash is one of those wonderful, hearty foods that last throughout the colder seasons, and comes in many intriguing shapes and sizes. It serves as a point of literary intrigue, a cultural cornerstone, and a hot topic for cookbooks.…

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Cook Up a Sweet Recipe with the Free Library This Fall!

Somehow, November is just days away and we can't help but start to think about Thanksgiving. Here at the Free Library, we’re thankful for YOU! It’s true! No matter how you use the library or how you support it , you make…

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Nourishing Literacy 2019/2020 Registration Now Open to School Classrooms!

Nourishing Literacy is the Culinary Literacy Center ’s set of programs that connect youth, teachers, and caregivers to the library through educational cooking opportunities. We offer school year and summer programming for youth,…

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Summer Thyme Camp In Review

The Culinary Literacy Center has been cooking up summer fun for youth over the last five years through the Summer Thyme Cooks program. This past summer, the Nourishing Literacy team piloted week-long camp sessions for youth. Summer…

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Language Learning at the Free Library During Adult Education Month!

Looking for a chance to learn or practice a world language like Spanish, Italian, or Mandarin Chinese? Interested in meeting new people, learning to cook a new recipe, and having a great time? Join us in the Culinary Literacy Center for…

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Music Department and Culinary Literacy Center Collaborate on Programming

Naquawna Letman is a Library Assistant at Parkway Central Library and a participant in Cohort 3 of the Skills for Community-Centered Libraries trainings. Exploring Music and Food through the Senses is a program that introduces…

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National Honey Bee Day at the Free Library!

by Suzanna U. and Amy T. The third Saturday in August marks National Honey Bee Day , and the Free Library knows a thing or two about honey bees! Did you know we have quite a few of our own bees buzzing around town? You better BEE-lieve…

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