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Library board director cooks up good idea for culinary collection

Lepper Library board member Carol Deichler with two of the cookbooks in the library collection.

LISBON — History isn’t just in the form of textbooks anymore. Cookbooks from community organizations (churches, social clubs, benefits, etc.) have left quite a few breadcrumbs in our local history.

The cookbooks provide insights into the social aspects of the community where one can see how people have connections with each other and not just through family ties. The Lepper Library has added a specialized collection in the Genealogy Room for the Community Cookbooks. The cookbooks can be requested to be seen but will not circulate.

The idea came to Carol Deichler, a board member at the Lepper Library.

“When my grandmother passed away, we were afraid all her recipes were lost,” she said. “A few months later the women’s group at church published a cookbook which included her cookie recipe. We were relieved to see the recipe had not been lost with her. Then last year I was reading a cozy mystery, and the plot was resolved when a recipe was found in a local cookbook. I realized how local cookbooks could be a valuable resource both for cooking and reconnecting with family.”

The current history text is starting to absorb the female perspective and knowing history starts at the local level. Most of the women listed as contributors or committee members of the cookbooks would be unknown in a few generations if not for family ties in the area. Our small community has been one of showing support when the time comes and many cookbooks were created out of that need. Churches have put together cookbooks for missionaries. Social clubs have put together cookbooks to compete in state competitions. And others have put together cookbooks to raise funds for causes like Relay for Life.

“When I shared the idea with the library staff, they also pointed out that the books reflected local history as well as women’s history,” Deichler said. “The local cookbook collection has been created to preserve those volumes produced in Columbiana County.” This new collection at the Lepper Library fulfills part of our mission to preserve local history. It is an exciting endeavor that has become more commonplace in public libraries around the country.

The Lepper Library is accepting donations of Community Cookbooks that are in good condition. Call the library with any questions, (330) 424-3117.

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