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FFRPL, Central Library and all City Branches will be closed:

Memorial Day: Monday, May 27

Juneteenth: Wednesday, June 19

Independence Day: Thursday, July 4

note: in addition, (just) Central Library will be closed Thursday, May 9 for staff training

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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.

Safe to be Smart at Central and Branches

Along with the City of Rochester and Central Library, FFRPL is a founding sponsor of the Library’s flagship after school program Safe to be Smart, which launched in 2001 and serves youth at Central Library and the Wheatley, Lincoln, Sully, Maplewood and Arnett branches.

The branch libraries play a crucial role in supporting the mission of the Rochester Public Library by delivering services to neighborhoods throughout the City. They provide safe havens for children and youth and are often the only educational and cultural resource available beyond the schools.

At Central and the branches, the Safe to be Smart Library staff provide teens with counseling and mentoring, as well as assistance with homework, employment searches and retention, resume writing and the Internet. The program also provides a safe social environment, with Internet service, games, PlayStation and Wii gaming centers, listening stations and more.

In 2023 Safe to be Smart provided 10,386 1-on-1 interactions with youth (866 youth served per month, on average), including mentoring; counseling; resume assistance and job searches; homework assistance/tutoring; digital literacy; reading help; and career exploration, as a path out of poverty.

In 2023 Safe to be Smart also offered 142 Group Programs as arts and crafts; reading groups; coding groups; history and science discussions; movies; board and card games; cooking classes and social mixers. Total attendance was 1,580.

The importance of the StbS program is best described by youth themselves.

At the Wheatley Branch, StbS staff asked teens who are regulars why they come to the library. They replied, “It’s a Safe Place, Miss.”

At the Lincoln Branch, a group of former teen patrons stopped in to explore the renovated library and teen space. While visiting, they used the word of the day to express their gratitude to Vera Haygood (Ms. Vee), stating, “My goal right now is to ameliorate my life with the things you taught me when I was younger. You’ve always wanted better for us.”

Safe to be Smart 2023 Highlights Top row, left: Shuaib Hussein, one of Arnett Branch’s regular patrons, was a winner of the Rochester Police Department’s ‘Do the Right Thing Award.’ Shuaib was recognized for his efforts in promoting the library’s Summer Reading Program and creating a scavenger hunt for other kids at the library. Top row: right: Jason Reynold’s Visit to East High School (StbS Youth and Staff attended; Reynolds is pictured with Sully StbS Supervisor George Carter) Middle row, left: Teen Collaboration with Gandhi Institute May 2023 (Sully) Middle row, center: personalized bracelet craft (Wheatley) Middle row, right: Sully Transfr. Career Exploration 2.0. Meeting August 2023 (Sully) Bottom row, left: Teen Movie Day March 2023 (Sully) Bottom row, right: Teen Reading Group April 2023 (Sully)