The Gold Coast Public Library (GCPL), Glen Head, NY, wouldn’t exist if it had not been for Girl Scout Troop #61. In 1997, when working to meet the requirements for the ”My Community” badge, one young scout asked her leader, “Why doesn’t our community have a library?” This was just the first step in a long process spearheaded by devoted residents. GCPL opened in summer 2005, when residents overwhelmingly voted to establish the library district. The library adopted the slogan, “Powered by Community.” This community values libraries and the services they offer. As such, GCPL strives to add programs that bring old and new patrons together and foster the sense of community. Our newest book club, “Cook the Book,” does both. The cookbook collection is a hot section and, therefore, one of our best sources of new service ideas. The club, inspired by an article in a local paper about programs available in libraries, brings together patrons who love to cook over a meal and conversation about cooking and recipes.
It’s not news to anyone who follows library design that the mission is expanding from one of providing room for reading and research to a more complex, community-driven model that serves as a hub for a much broader range of activities. Hospitality-influenced amenities already permeate newer libraries and renovations in the form of lounges, cafés, and multipurpose event spaces. Now, some (literally) cutting-edge libraries are taking it a step further, adding kitchens for demonstrations and patron use.
Patrons have long been able to borrow a cookbook from the library. In some places, they can even borrow a cake pan to go with it. But what if that cookbook calls for a pasta maker, food dehydrator, yogurt maker, or other specialized kitchen equipment they don’t already possess? Now, if they’re in in Toronto, they’re in luck, since the city is home to The Kitchen Library, a new non-profit kitchen tool lending library. For a $50 (Canadian) annual fee, members can borrow space-taking and often expensive kitchen appliances for three to five days. The Library, which opened October 15, is currently open 20 hours four days a week, including weekends. At present, the collection includes about 40 items.