Books Sandwiched In
- One of FFRPL’s most popular programs, BSI has been running continuously since 1956. Each year, the Fall series of book reviews runs September through November and the Spring series runs March through May. Learn more here
- Tuesday Topics is FFRPL’s Winter series of thematic presentations. In recent years, we have shifted the focus from current affairs/issues (for which content is readily available on numerous platforms) to highlighting Library-specific programs, resources, spaces, and collections. Learn more here
Sokol H.S. Literary Awards
- Since 1958, the Friends & Foundation of the Rochester Public Library has sponsored a creative writing contest for high school students in grades nine through twelve. Learn more here
Conversations on Race
- Conversations on Race (2012 – 2018) were free, facilitated small-group conversations — about race, awareness of racial identity, segregation, racial privilege and the connection of race to poverty — that were offered by FFRPL with community partners, and held at various libraries throughout the Monroe County Library System, as well as on college campuses and in faith based communities. One of the goals was to talk honestly about race as well as race and poverty in same and mixed-race groups. FFRPL helped organize and promote 86 Conversations on Race throughout the program’s run, serving 1,605 participants. Innovative at the time of its inception, the program provided a much needed forum for our area, and served as the inspiration for other regional organizations to begin offering similar programs of their own.
Recurring Special Events
RPL online Author Series (launched July 2022) *NEW*
- Presented by the Rochester Public Library, FFRPL and the Library Speakers Consortium.
- Free online talks from bestselling authors and thought leaders.
- Learn more and register here.
Rundel River to Roof Tours
- Offered only once or twice each year, FFRPL’s unique ‘River to Roof Tours’ offer exclusive, behind-the-scenes views of the Rundel Memorial Building. Learn more here
- please note: as of December 2022, our ‘River to Roof Tours’ are on hiatus, due to both reduced Library/FFRPL staffing and the inaccessibility of the roof.
Spooky Stories in the Stacks
- Usually offered during the Fringe Festival, Spooky Stories in the Stacks provides patrons with the unique experience of hearing ghost stories in the lower stacks of the Library, which aren’t otherwise open to the public. The program is presented by FFRPL and Central Library’s Local History & Genealogy Division.
- See the Fringe Festival info., below, for our virtual version of “Spooky Stories in the Stacks” for 2020 and 2021. “Spooky Stores in the Stacks” was not offered during Fringe Fest 2022.
Music in the Garden
- In the past, FFRPL sponsored a variety of Summer Jazz concerts at Central Library Downtown. The concerts were free and open to the public and held in the Dorris Carlson Reading Garden.
- For 2022, FFRPL Sponsored Central Library’s Tuesday Concert Series which ran July through September. The free concerts featured a variety of music, and were held in the Dorris Carlson Reading Garden.
One-time Special Events
NEA’s Big Read: Deaf Republic by Ilya Kaminsky
- Ilya Kaminsky’s Deaf Republic was the subject of the NEA Big Read project during National Deaf History Month in April 2023, hosted by the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology. Rochester Public Library and Monroe County Library System were partner organizations. FFRPL supported RPL and MCLS in this initiative, and helped provide ASL Interpreters for the author appearance at Gates Public Library.
Rochester Fringe Festival
- FFRPL is proud to have helped RPL/Central Library serve as a presenting Venue in the Rochester Fringe Festival from 2016-2022. FFRPL regularly offered our signature River to Roof Tours and Spooky Stories in the Stacks as well as unique one-time events in support of the Fringe programming.
- With FFRPL’s help, Central Library served as a venue for the 10th annual Rochester Fringe Festival held in September 2021. We presented two free, live, family performances with the BenAnna band in the Dorris Carlson Reading Garden, and also offered three free, on-demand videos of “Spooky Stories in the (virtual) Stacks,” in partnership with Central Library’s Local History & Genealogy Division.
- For 2022, Central Library and FFRPL presented “Living Books ROC!” (in person and via Zoom). Our ‘Living Books’ shared these insights …
- “You don’t need to understand something (or someone) to be respectful and kind.” — A. Miller, title: Nonbinary.
- “Non-violence – and inclusion – is everything. Especially if it makes you laugh.” — Justin Hubbell, title: Spin There, Spun That
- “Depression isn’t a temporary sadness or disappointment. It is an overarching state of being that reduces and undermines your life.” — Bruce Wilbur, title: What Depression is and isn’t and What Really Works For It
- “Disabled people aren’t separate, and should be included in all aspects of society. We know our stories and should be visible and respected. Don’t just talk about change. DO the change.” — Luticha Andre Doucette, title: More Than Just Sitting Pretty: Funny and Real Stories About Life in a Wheelchair
- “Representation matters because it is an ongoing process of lifting as you climb.” — Antoine McDonald, title: Representation Matters
- “Train your brain while having tea time with G-d, so you can help bring the past to the present for the future. All aboard!” — Vanessa Singer, title: Finding Health, Happiness & a Higher Power in a Caboose
- “Recovery is possible, no matter your background or circumstances, and there’s a queer sober community out there waiting for you.” — Jason Dorofy, title: Gay, Sober & Recovering
- Since 2014 FFRPL has partnered with Rochester’s non-profit literary center, Writers & Books, to bring ‘Rochester Reads’ authors to Central Library for free readings/talks. For 2022, we hosted a reading and book-signing with bestselling author Jason Mott. Learn more here
Rochester Children’s Book Festival and Festival-To-Go
- FFRPL has been a long-standing Fiscal Sponsor of the Rochester Children’s Book Festival (RCBF) which historically has taken place on the first Saturday of November at Monroe Community College. For 2022, the RCBF was held on Saturday, November 5 at RIT. The Festival returns to MCC for 2023. Learn more here
- RCBF’s free Festival-To-Go program brings the Festival to K-6 students at select Rochester City Schools each year who might not otherwise have access. For FY2018-19, the Festival to Go provided each student with a complimentary copy of an autographed, personalized book by an author who visited their class. FFRPL was proud to be able to support this new project with funds received by Donor and Library advocate Susan Brown and from the Ruby M. Jefferson Memorial Book Fund. Learn more here
Greater Rochester Teen Read
- Since 2014, FFRPL has served as the Fiscal Sponsor for the Greater Rochester Teen Read. We also help support their program and publicity efforts.
- GRTR encourages everyone in the community to read the same Young Adult book. Many copies of the featured book, including back list titles by each author, are available at libraries across Monroe County. Learn more here
Anthony Mascioli Rainbow Dialogues
- The Rainbow Dialogues were designed as a series of community building conversations demonstrating how LGBTQ+ history and archival documents from the past are relevant today. The Dialogues reference and contextualize LGBTQ+ life in Rochester against the backdrop of local and national social justice issues. In 2022 they were held at the Memorial Art Gallery. In 2023, Central Library hosted the program. Learn more here
Thematic, historical large-scale exhibitions
- FFRPL is proud to support Central Library’s perennial large-scale exhibitions and related programming for shows such as Punjab: Land of Five Rivers (organized by the India Heritage Museum, located at the Vinod and Vinay Luthra India Heritage Center in Macedon); Thrift Style; the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race (2020); Stonewall: 50 Years Out, commemorating the anniversary of the uprising that sparked the gay liberation movement and exploring the history of Rochester’s LGBTQ+ communities (2019); Because of Women Like Her … Winning the Vote in New York State as part of the NYS Suffrage Centennial Celebration (2017); Pride & Passion: the African American Baseball Experience which celebrated the story of black baseball players in the U.S. over the previous century and a half (2013); and the traveling exhibition Al-Mutanabbi Street: the Conversation Starts Here (2014), which served as a tribute to all that was lost in 2007, when a suicide bomber in Baghdad, Iraq, exploded his car on a street populated by hundreds of bookstores, publishers, printers, bookstalls and cafés. Learn more about exhibits here
Annual Art of the Book International Juried show
- FFRPL is proud to have supported Central Library’s Art of the Book project, since the exhibit in 2011, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Rochester Public Library. In subsequent years, the exhibit has grown to include entries from all over the world, featuring well-known artists for their exquisite work. Learn more here
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