Exciting food libraries in Toronto!

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Hello everyone!

Since a significant number of you live in Toronto, I thought I might share some exciting news about two food-related library things going on about town!

First off, the intrepid Dayna Boyer opened up a shop called The Kitchen Library at Danforth and Coxwell! It’s a non-profit organization that loans kitchen appliances to chefs/bakers/anyone-who-has-ever-wanted-a-fancy-gadget-but-lacks-the-counter-space. Already, people have donated all kinds of excellent kitchen tools, including a slow cooker, a yoghurt maker, an ice cream maker, and a pasta maker! Memberships cost $50 for a year, and allows you access to all the items.

food libraries in Toronto

Dayna Boyer and The Kitchen Library – Photo by Colin McConnell (Toronto Star)

Dayna was kind enough to answer some questions about her new venture. Q&A below!

One Tough Cookie: What inspired you to come up with the idea for The Kitchen Library?

Dayna Boyer: I started working with Ryan Dyment, founder of The Toronto Tool Library, on their website, and that’s when I started rolling around the idea of other items we could offer at a library. The idea to start The Kitchen Library struck me [while I was] driving with my boyfriend one night; it was a big light bulb moment.

I love cooking, but I live in a teeny tiny apartment with no storage space (not to mention disposable income) for all the fun appliances I’d like to experiment with — items like a juicer, dehydrator, or stand mixer. And Toronto is such a high density city that I was positive other people have the same problem. So the idea for The Kitchen Library was born.

 OTC: Have people shown a lot of interest for your company?

DB: There has been a shocking amount of interest from the community, media, and potential partners. It’s really exciting! But I absolutely couldn’t have done it without the support from the Tool Library; Ryan jumped on the idea and offered me space in the east end library location right away. And from there I got accepted into the Agents of Change program with the Centre for Social Innovation, which has connected me to other young social entrepreneurs, mentors, work space, and just a whole community of people and businesses.

 OTC: Is it run by volunteers?

DB: Yes, both libraries are entirely dependent on volunteers. The Kitchen Library doesn’t have an official volunteer program in place yet but I’ve already gotten some interest from people looking to help out.

OTC: What are some of your favourite items available for lending?

DB: My favourite donation so far is the KitchenAid stand mixer. Not only is it my logo but it was on my wishlist from the very beginning because it’s such an expensive, space-consuming appliance. I also have a soft spot for this vintage crockpot, and a countertop roaster that you can cook a full sized turkey in (definitely helpful around the holidays!). And I think someone just donated a chocolate fountain recently so that’s a fun one for parties and events.

OTC: Are there any more items you’d like to see? Are you still accepting donations, and if so, how should people donate them?

DB: A sous-vide is on my wishlist now and I’m always accepting donations! People can drop them off at the library (1803 Danforth Ave) during any of our open hours.

OTC: How do you ensure that people return the items they’ve borrowed?

DB: We operate on the honour system and so far no one has taken advantage of it. But since you have to sign up for a membership before you can borrow anything we have everyone’s name, address, and phone number if we need to contact them.

OTC: What do you do outside of The Kitchen Library?

DB: I work full-time as the senior web and copy editor for George Brown College. Is it weird to say that working on The Kitchen Library is pretty fun for me? It’s a really good feeling to see something that was just an idea a couple of months ago get so much positive feedback from everyone who hears about it. But to relax I like to spend time with my boyfriend and dog and just be totally lazy, which usually involves making food (I like to cook and he likes to bake so it’s perfect).

OTC: Any other projects in the works?

DB: I have a hard time not jumping from one project to the next, so I’m trying to focus on The Kitchen Library for now. But I absolutely have some other ideas brewing to help build the sharing economy in Toronto so stay tuned.

What an amazing idea! If you would like to check out the many items TKL has on offer, head on over to the site here. Thanks again, Dayna!

In a similar vein, the Toronto Public Library has teamed up with Zinio to deliver a number of free magazines available online! They can be accessed by PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle, Win 8, Blackberry, and NookHD.

They don’t carry all the foodie magazines, but I’ve now got my digital hands on digital copies of Saveur, Country Living, Vegetarian Times, and Eating Well, in addition to a number of literary journals. Go check it out for yourself at: http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/books-video-music/downloads-ebooks/zinio-help.jsp.

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2 Responses to “Exciting food libraries in Toronto!”

  1. Laura November 12, 2013 at 5:16 PM #

    This amazing!!!! Thank you for this knowledge infusion.

  2. Florence November 5, 2013 at 12:16 PM #


    Interesting how both you and Dayna have similar interests….both in writing and baking. I enjoyed your interview as well as the info about the library.
    Keep up the informative articles and recipes.