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FFRPL, Central Library, and all branches will be *closed* Friday, December 22; Saturday, December 23; [Sunday, December 24]; and Monday, December 25, 2023 for Christmas.

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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.

Raising a Reader

Tonia Burton, Central Library’s children’s services consultant (left), Raising A Reader participants (center and right)

Tonia Burton became the children’s services consultant at the Central Library in 2011, and almost immediately began working on the Library’s participation in the national ‘Raising a Reader’ program — which she then launched at Central in Fall 2012.

Tonia received the 2021 Jacque Cady Award for Advocacy for Children from Roc the Future! This award recognizes an individual for extraordinary accomplishment in advancing public policy or funding decisions for the benefit of our community’s children, in furtherance of ROC the Future’s mission to improve cradle-to-career outcomes for Rochester’s children. As part of this prestigious award, Tonia can select a child-serving agency benefitting children ages 0-8, to receive a $5,000 donation. This donation is courtesy of Rochester’s Child, an initiative of the Rochester Area Community Foundation in honor of Jacque Cady.  Tonia has selected RPL and will use the funds to support her work in delivering the Talking is Teaching program.

Read the RochesterBeacon article here.

  “Tonia has focused attention on family literacy as the vehicle to move children and their families out of poverty,” says Rochester Public Library and Monroe County Library System Director Patricia Uttaro.

Raising a Reader (RAR) is a data-driven, national family reading program which provides weekly bags of books to parents of children zero to five.

As of February 2023, the program at Central serves 755 families. “The RAR model takes place in the community, not just the library,” Tonia says.

Library staff members routinely go to preschools, home day cares, and elementary schools to rotate the reader bags, conduct a story time, offer parent engagement workshops, and more.

“In the last five years, the Children’s Center [outreach has gone] from 132 visits serving 1,961 patrons to 685 visits serving 10,857 patrons,” she says. “RAR gives parents/caregivers the opportunity to change the culture of reading in their home and transform their lives.”

For her work with ‘Raising a Reader’ as well as many other outreach programs, Tonia was also awarded the Library Journal’s ‘Movers & Shakers’ 2019 – Community Builders Award.

Read the article here

Learn more about the national program here