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.