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'The Kitchen Table', new creative labs round out renovation of Bozeman Public Library

The Kitchen Table at the Bozeman Public Library.
Bozeman Public Library Foundation
The Kitchen Table at the Bozeman Public Library.

The Bozeman Public Library will soon feed more than minds. Its newest creative lab features a full demonstration kitchen for cooking and nutrition classes.

The Kitchen Table is a kitchen lab designed to promote health and nutrition and to foster belonging and cultural exchange.

The new space is in sync with a larger trend in public libraries nationwide in which patrons no longer simply want access to books, periodicals, or the Internet but want to create, collaborate, and share knowledge.

"Libraries are becoming not just places to get books, but community hubs where people can engage in all kinds of different activities, and learn all kinds of things,” said Janay Johnson, director of the Bozeman Public Library Foundation. “We're really about building community, fundamentally.”

Library staff are developing programming that will include nutrition and cooking classes, recipe exchanges, and demonstrations, said Corey Sloan, head of Adult Programming and Outreach at the Bozeman Public Library. The Kitchen’s debut program is a recipe exchange called Thursday’s Table that meets Thursdays at noon.

“Food and programming around food, whether it be skill building and teaching people food literacy or whether it just be coming together over food, we know that's a big connector,” Sloan said. “It's become a thing in libraries to have these demo kitchens teaching food programming.”

The opening of the Kitchen Table marks the culmination of a donor-funded $5.6 million renovation project that includes new reading and meeting rooms, a Teen Corner, a laptop bar, and a maker space called the Work Bench.

Sarah Kanter Brown is the producer of YPR’s Field Days. A graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism, Brown has worked at newspapers and magazines nationwide.