An ode to the public library

While I have a decent-sized cookbook collection, I realize that I simply cannot have every new cookbook that catches my eye, nor can I collect every worthy classic. There is only so much shelf space and budget available, even though Jenny’s monthly review always tempt me. However, I have a way to deal with this situation: visit my local library. 

open magazines

Not only can I peruse new releases, but I can also thumb through the latest food magazines (because again, there are only so many subscriptions I can handle without venturing into hoarder-land). For some reason I totally missed the fact that my library allows me to check out older issues of magazines, and now I have a stack each week to go through. 

Our library sells some of its cookbook collection each year, but many books remain. It’s interesting to see which books stay on the shelves year after year. On my last visit I picked up The French Laundry Cookbook, a hefty tome that, while fun to read, will likely never end up in my collection. The book was released nearly twenty years ago, but it’s still in the rotation in my small town library. That’s a testament to its worth. Joy of Cooking is another mainstay, with the 75th Anniversary edition holding forth on the shelves. 

Sometimes seeing a book ‘in the flesh’ is enough to prompt me to purchase it, whether a new release or an older one. There are some books that I know I want and will pre-order (so I can get the EYBDigital version!), and I also use the EYBD Preview feature to help me make up my mind. Even then, it’s nice to get the book in my hands and leaf through the entire volume. 

Plus, there is just something comforting about the library. I often run into friends, and even make new ones when a kindred spirit strikes up a conversation over a book or magazine. Our library even has a space for gardeners to drop off excess produce, which the library gives away and pairs with recipes from a book or magazine in their collection. Even though I love my own cookbook collection, I’ll never give up visiting our public library, which I like to think of as an extension to my own. 

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  • SheilaS  on  September 27, 2018

    Great reminder to utilize local library resources. In addition to the paper copies of magazines, my library also makes access digital access available so I can read current and past 3 yrs of Bon Appetit, Saveur, Cooks Illustrated, Cooking Light and others on my computer, phone or iPad.
    I love to download a bunch of new magazines to my iPad before a flight – saves me a lot of money at the airport newsstand!
    Quite a few libraries have cookbook clubs that seem like great opportunities to meet and interact like-minded cooks. I'm debating whether I want to agitate for something like at our library.

  • okmosa  on  September 27, 2018

    I have on average a stack of a dozen food-related library books rotating at any one time!! I love my public library for this. I’m always popping over to my library app to reserve any new book that looks interesting as well as classics that are new to me. This has led me to purchasing books I know I will refer back to over and over again.

    I also think my library knows my card number well because I frequently suggest new titles for them to purchase from all of the reviews and references from great resources like EYB!!

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