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Mid-Continent Public Library is dishing up an unconventional offering for a library — a culinary literacy center.

In addition to cooking demonstrations and educational classes, the roughly 5,900-square-foot center in Kansas City will include commercial-grade incubator kitchens to help area food-based businesses thrive.

“Right now, it seems really odd that you would build a culinary center into a library,” culinary literacy center Director Xander Winkel said. “I would like to make it a personal mission of mine that in the future, maybe it’s taken for granted that library systems would have that culinary literacy component built into them because of how universal food is and how it touches all those other resources that libraries offer.”

Mid-Continent drew inspiration from a similar concept at The Free Library of Philadelphia but is taking it a step further with the incubator kitchens and space for food trucks to park while the owners/chefs prep and cook food before hitting the road.

The culinary center fits the library system’s focus on creating special interest libraries in every county it serves. Some existing examples include the Midwest Genealogy Center in Jackson County and the Story Center in Clay County.