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FFRPL is the 501(c)(3) charity that raises funds, presents programssupports special projectshelps create specialized spaces, and purchases supplemental materials & equipment for the Rochester Public Library.

Special Projects

Dr. Tolley Reeves, former Assistant RPL Director with new Library card recipient (left), Second Avenue ‘Game Changer’ event at Sully branch’s ‘Safe to Be Smart’ (center and right)

Safe to be Smart

One of FFRPL’s long-term special projects is the Library’s flagship after school program Safe to be Smart, housed at Central Library downtown and five City library branches. FFRPL is proud to be a founding sponsor, with Central Library and the City of Rochester, of Safe to be Smart; since 2001, we have given more than $100,000 annually to the program.  Safe to be Smart students receive mentoring, educational support and career exploration help, and are able to access Library resources including books and wi-fi. They also go on special field trips throughout the year.

Learn more here

Raising a Reader

FFRPL also supports the Raising a Reader program at Central Library; RPL is a Raising a Reader affiliate.  Raising a Reader strives to instill a love of reading in children and involve families directly in literacy activities. The program trains parents in how to develop the habit of sharing books with their children. High quality books are rotated into the home on a weekly basis for families to practice regular book sharing. Families are connected to the local library in order to sustain book borrowing and book sharing practices. Central Library currently has about 500 Raising a Reader families participating in the program.

Understanding Black Experiences online Resource Guide

In 2020, when challenging events gripped the nation and ushered in a new era of reckoning, a diverse team of librarians and staff collaborated to curate this collection of print and digital materials to serve as an educational resource for the community. FFRPL helped create and promote this online resource guide.

Learn more here

Watch Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s 2019 talk in Rochester, How to be an Antiracist here
Thanks to Dr. Kendi for allowing us to make his talk available (for free) to the general public as part of our antiracist resource guide offerings. Kendi’s sold-out talk in Rochester in 2019 was presented by The Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives, headquartered at Central Library. FFRPL and RPL sponsored the event and purchased 700+ simultaneous e-book downloads of How to Be an Antiracist in support of the program.

Central Library & FFRPL Celebrate Black History Month online Resource Guide

FFRPL took the lead and created a consolidated multi-page web-based resource of programs, events, and services offered by Central Library for Black History Month February 2021 including Tuesday Topics lectures, Black History Lectures organized by Central Library’s Arts & Literature Division: “Charles Ethan Porter: Artist and Community” and “Dox Thrash: From Tenant Farmer’s Son to Artist at the Pennsylvania Federal Art Project;” the documentary “Black Men in White Coats;” (virtual) Fourth annual Anthony Mascioli Rainbow Dialogues;  the exhibit Everyday People: the Dinkle Family and Rochester’s African American Past, curated by Central’s Local History & Genealogy Division; the online Smithsonian Poster Exhibit A Place for All People: Introducing the National Museum of African American History and Culture; and Central Library’s Understanding Black Experiences online resource guide.