Food literacy programs, resources, and ideas for libraries

For Immediate Release
Mon, 01/13/2020


Rob Christopher

Marketing Coordinator

ALA Publishing

American Library Association


CHICAGO — Food is more than just a basic human need—learning about it and enjoying it can be important social activities. As Hillary Dodge demonstrates in her new book “Gather ‘Round the Table: Food Literacy Programs, Resources, and Ideas for Libraries,” published by ALA Editions, food literacy initiatives are a natural fit for libraries. Food programming such as cooking can be an important tool in helping English language learners discover a practical use for a new language, as well as providing opportunities for socialization and conversation. It can be used to help GED seekers practice basic math. And, playing with food can be a sensory-integrative way to help new parents and their babies learn about healthy food choices. Featuring a multi-pronged approach to incorporating food literacy in public, school, and special libraries, this all-in-one resource:

  • presents a definition of food literacy that shows how the concept touches upon important topics such as culinary skills, food security, nutrition and dieting, food allergies, health literacy, and food ethics;
  • discusses the community impacts of food-related issues;
  • walks readers through planning and undertaking a community food assessment, a process that can be used to identify a need, justify a service response, build buy-in and engagement, and plan for the allocation of resources;
  • shares a variety of innovative food literacy programs drawn from libraries across the country, from cookbook and recipe clubs to an edible education garden, teen cooking classes, and offsite cooking demos; and
  • provides information about additional resources and reference sources relating to the culinary world, including advice on collection development.

Dodge is an author, editor, and librarian. She has worked in the library and information science field for over 15 years, most recently as the Director for the North Region with the Pikes Peak Library District in Colorado Springs, Colorado. In 2016, Hillary and her husband quit their jobs to relocate their family to South America to pursue a culinary research project. Their travels are detailed in their forthcoming cookbook, “The Chilean Family Table.” Her other publications include “Careers for Tech Girls in Digital Publishing” and “The Evolution of Medical Technology.”

ALA Store purchases fund advocacy, awareness and accreditation programs for library professionals worldwide. ALA Editions and ALA Neal-Schuman publishes resources used worldwide by tens of thousands of library and information professionals to improve programs, build on best practices, develop leadership, and for personal professional development. ALA authors and developers are leaders in their fields, and their content is published in a growing range of print and electronic formats. Contact ALA Editions at (800) 545-2433 ext. 5052 or