Rochester Public Library Programs

The Rochester Public Library brings the world of learning to life with a host of interactive programs geared for all ages. From resume-writing workshops to movie viewings, these programs range from practical self-improvement courses to just plain fun. They all help the library fulfill its central mission of fostering intellectual curiosity and demonstrating the value of understanding our world. Programs are offered at the Central library and our 10 library branches, conveniently located throughout the city of Rochester. Below is a sampling of some of the programs we have to offer.  

For Children and Their Families

Story Times 
Story Times for preschoolers or kindergarteners might include reading stories based on a theme, singing a song or two, finger puppets or repeating some rhymes that can include placing figures on a flannel board. These events allow children to have fun while gaining book experience and playing with language, both necessary steps to literacy. Story Times also have the added benefit of introducing young children to their neighborhood libraries by providing them a regular opportunity to visit these community treasures. Hopefully, it’s the start of a lifelong relationship.  

Class Visits 
Most library branches can host visits by school groups, providing teachers an opportunity to help their students learn about the tremendous resources of neighborhood libraries. These visits can be tailored to meet the teachers’ needs. Library card applications are sent to the teacher a few weeks in advance, so they can be sent home with the students. The teacher collects the applications and returns them to the library in advance of the visit. On the day of the visit, children receive their new library cards and browse the collections to find items to borrow. Appointments are necessary. Call your local branch library to schedule a visit, or call the Children's Center at (585) 428-8150 to schedule a visit to the Central Library.  

Accelerated Reading at Sully Branch
The Accelerated Reading Program runs after school on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at the Sully Branch. The program is made possible by the Thomas Ryan Community Center and reading volunteers.  

Entertainment Programs
Who says learning can’t be fun? Magicians, jugglers, comedians, musicians and even animal handlers are just a few of the entertainers who have visited our libraries and demonstrated the skills and interests they have dedicated so much of their lives to learning. Families can stop by for a movie or for the annual Children’s Film Festival. And who knows? Maybe the children will find a book, CD or movie that may interest them while they’re here.  

Reptile Guys at Phillis Wheatley Community Library Knight and friend at Monroe Branch                                                                                

Movie Showings
The Winton Branch offers a monthly film as part of its Foreign and Independent Film Series. Call the Winton Branch at (585) 428-8204 for more details. If you are looking for a film for the whole family to enjoy, the Charlotte Branch shows a children's movie every Wednesday evening and Saturday morning. Call the Charlotte Branch at (585) 428-8216 for more information.

For Teens, Young Adults, and Adult Learners

Literacy Aides
Most city branches have Literacy Aides who read with children, help them with homework and play educational games with them after school.

The Arnett Branch offers tutoring every Thursday that school is in session from 4-6 p.m.

Literacy Navigator at Arnett Branch
The Literacy Navigator is a volunteer who can provide help with paperwork, health forms, school forms, job and housing applications, understanding your bills and finding community resources. The Navigator can help with paper forms or with computer forms on Mondays from noon to 3 p.m. at Arnett Branch. So, if those online forms are just too much for you, come on in! This service is provided by the Literacy Volunteers of Rochester

Safe to Be Smart
This is an afterschool program located in the teen centers of several Rochester libraries. Teens can get help with homework, résumé writing and computer skills while socializing with their peers and Youth Services Workers.

For Adults

Books Sandwiched In 
This is our answer to the greatest dilemma of book lovers everywhere: “So many books, so little time.” Squeeze your love of books into your work day by listening to a review by a local expert or celebrity. Bring your lunch and listen. When it’s over, you know if you should put another book on your must-read list, or take one off. Beverages are available. Central Library only  

Tuesday Topics and Thursday Thinkers
Sharpen your mind in the middle of the work day by attending a lunchtime presentation about a wide variety of current issues of interest and concern. Local professionals representing a wide range of areas offer the presentations. Central Library only  

Monthly Small Business Programs
The Business & Social Sciences Division of the Central Library of Rochester & Monroe County and the College at Brockport Small Business Development Center (SBDC) co-sponsor free monthly programs on small business topics. These topics include marketing, time management, starting a small business, and legal issues surrounding small businesses. See the Library Events page for more information about individual classes and for registration. Central Library only. 

Brownbag Book Discussion
The Brownbag Book Discussion series allows adults to meet once a month in Central Library's Rundel Auditorium and share information and ideas about the readings. Meetings take place on the 4th Wednesday of each month and all are invited. For more information, e-mail Carol Moldt at or call her at (585) 428-8378.  

Charlotte Branch Library's Food for Thought Book Discussion Group
Similar to the Brownbag Book Discussion series, the Food for Thought Book Discussion Group at the Charlotte Branch Library holds book discussions for adults. Meetings take place on the third Tuesday of each month from September through June at 1 p.m.  

Watch the events calendar for upcoming events or call your local branch library for more details. Rochester Public Library buildings are accessible to people with disabilities. To request specific accommodations, call (585) 428-8304 ten days prior to the program.