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Every bite of food we eat tells a story. Here’s ours:

The Free Library is advancing literacy in Philadelphia in a unique and innovative way—with a fork and a spoon. Cooking and eating are educational acts and provide opportunities to learn math, science, languages, history and so much more. Using cooking as the vehicle for learning, the Culinary Literacy Center advances literacy through food and cooking around a communal table.

Opened in 2014, the Culinary Literacy Center is the first space of its kind in a public library and serves as a model for libraries worldwide. The Culinary Literacy Center is based in our kitchen classroom at Parkway Central, but we offer programming at nearly all of our neighborhood libraries. Culinary Literacy Center programs teach healthy cooking, build community, and promote civic dialogue.

Every month, we host over 30 events throughout the city. Pop into one and you might see:

  • Your favorite cookbook authors or local chefs demonstrating how to make a signature dish.
  • An immigrant-led cooking class, showcasing the diversity of tastes and cultures in Philadelphia.
  • A class of third graders experimenting with new foods and cooking a meal from scratch.  
  • English-language learners practicing new words while making a new dish—and new friends.
  • A registered dietician showing how to build a healthy lifestyle, starting in the kitchen.

Pull up a seat at our table and see what’s cooking at the Free Library of Philadelphia!

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