Posted September 23, 2013

Libraries' series highlights food and the library of the future

Cultivons notre potager (Let us cultivate our kitchen gardens), ca. 1914, George F. Tyler Poster collection, Special Collections Research Center
Temple University Libraries’ fall 2013 public program series “Gather Around the Table” will examine food and food-related from various angles.

Cultivons notre potager (Let us cultivate our kitchen gardens), ca. 1914, George F. Tyler Poster collection, Special Collections Research Center

The library has traditionally served as a warehouse of content — a place for gathering and storing information, for research and study, and for daydreaming between the stacks.

The Temple University Libraries’ fall 2013 Beyond the Page public program series entitled “Gather Around the Table,” which examines food topics through various lenses, builds upon this role, showcasing a “21st century library” that functions as the center of cultural community and intellectual life.

“Libraries have become beehives of activity,” said the new Dean of Libraries, Joseph Lucia. “One of my commitments in thinking about the future of Temple’s libraries is to draw on that energy and make our libraries as much about creating and sharing ideas, as they are about storing books and information.”

Demonstrating its commitment to that mission, the “Gather Around the Table” series of panels, presentations, demonstrations and exhibitions will foster a robust conversation around food and food-related topics that invites participants from different backgrounds to offer their unique perspectives.

"We at the library feel it is important to bring all of those interdisciplinary ideas together," said Nicole Restaino, manager of library communications and public programming. “Food is the culminating point of convergence.”

There are a number of different Temple departments participating in the series.  A few of these include the Myer & Rosaline Feinstein Center for American Jewish History, Temple Contemporary, the Center for Obesity Research and Education, the Department of Architecture, the Office of Sustainability, and the Center for the Humanities.

Temple students will also be highly engaged in the discussion. The series kicks off on Tuesday, September 24 with a student-centered program entitled "Temple Students Explore Urban Farms and Community Gardens." The program features several Temple students who are engaged in local urban farming initiatives, including Alex Epstein of Philly Urban Creators; Katie Ahmet with Temple Community Gardens; and students from Spring 2013 upper-level undergraduate architecture seminar, FarmLab.

"The first program shows that there's so much innovation on the part of our students," Nicole said. Highlighting student projects through this series, she said, helps tie the Temple community to its neighbors.

"This series supplements one’s education beyond the classroom and helps build a more well-rounded experience," said David Washington, Director of External Affairs for Temple University Libraries.

But the impact of “Gather Around the Table” extends beyond the campus community as well.

"We can contribute to the fabric of the city's intellectual and cultural life by inviting the public to programs where the talents, thoughtfulness, and insights of students, faculty, and those we bring in are shared," said Lucia."

Temple University Libraries hopes that this series will help build broader awareness about the depth of its offerings.

"People are not only visiting the library for its resources, but they are also visiting us for really interesting, free talks," said Washington.

Other programs in the series include, Eating Architecture, a conversation about food and architecture with authors Paulette Singley and Jamie Horwitz; Good Morning, Beautiful Business featuring Judy Wicks, founder of the White Dog Cafe and a national leader in the local food movement; and Then and Now: Thanksgiving Feasts with Chef Walter Staib of City Tavern and PBS’s A Taste of History.

“Food can open windows into deep and complex questions,” Lucia said. “You go through these doors and end up in exciting new places. I’d like to think about this library as a gateway to other insights and ideas.”

For a full list of programs, visit the Temple University Libraries website.

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