The New Orleans Public Library and the Southern Food and Beverage Museum (SoFAB) have partnered to open the largest culinary library in the South. The two organizations have been in talks about the project since 2010, but the museum had to be “mature enough to acquire a building”, said SoFAB president Liz Williams. The museum currently has over 9,000 cookbooks, menus, recipes, archival documents, and literature about food, all of which will be housed at the new library. In addition, there will be a collection of children’s materials related to the culinary arts, food, and nutrition. Library director Charles Brown said that, once completed, this children’s culinary collection will be the most comprehensive of its kind. Brown also stated the library’s intention to become a repository for “the papers of people in the culinary world.” The library has already received its first donation of papers from Southern kosher cookbook author Mildred Covert.
SoFAB lost its collection of more than 2,000 books and the computer that housed the collection database during Hurricane Katrina, but donations of from all over the world came in after the catastrophe, making the robust collection that exists today. The library is scheduled to open in 2013 and will be located at 1609 O.C. Haley Blvd, just down the street from SoFAB’s new location (also set to open next year). The library will be free and open to the public, but the collection will not circulate. No taxpayer dollars will be used for the new library, and fundraising is under way. If you would like to make a donation, please call 504.569.0405.