Annual Report to the Community 2020

If there ever was a time when city residents needed their library, 2020 was it.

Patricia Uttaro, Library Director

So much changed in 2020, but the one thing that remained constant was the dedication of library staff to providing the best service possible to our community members. Staff recognized that people needed access to books, movies, music, art, information, and the internet and they stepped up to provide all those things and more. It became clear throughout the year, based on the thousands of people who participated in online programs or ordered materials through curbside pickup, that libraries were a source of sustenance for people who had nowhere to go for weeks on end. Those staff who could not work in person found ways to connect with their patrons through phone calls, digital programs, and collection maintenance. Staff learned new skills, like learning a second language, in preparation for that day when we will once again open fully for business. We’ve emerged from 2020 a very different organization and will continue to evolve in response to the needs of our staff and community.

“Library pivots to online programs and services during COVID”

Click here to view a video featuring Patty Uttaro discussing critical changes made in 2020.

Donna P. Benjamin, RPL Board President

Many of us have a vivid memory of a favorite library; or remember checking out a book for the first time, studying long hours in a quiet corner, story times enjoyed with children and grandchildren, and so much more. Enter 2020 “a year like no other.” For many, it was the first time to experience change and trauma of such magnitude. In the midst of it all, the Rochester Public Library rose to support our beloved community in new and constantly changing ways. The committed library staff acted with purpose to help patrons navigate and orient themselves in this new world. The RPL staff acted with courage to ensure those with and without had equal opportunity for access to much needed library services. From curbside service, to increasing access to digital content via Overdrive, Libby and Hoopla, RPL staff learned to pivot to help the community forge ahead to use these and other tools, to ensure that we continue to foster life-long learning even during the midst of a pandemic and heightened civil unrest. RPL believes in and supports personal enrichment through stories which challenge, reflect, educate and celebrate all it means to be human. I am proud of the work RPL continues to do in fulfilling its ideals of opportunity and free and open access to knowledge for everyone. I am also proud of the community and its donors who recognize that RPL continues to serve as a positive vital resource for the changing Rochester community. Please read on to celebrate all that we accomplished together.

BTW, we’re open, so come on in and support your local RPL branch and create a new memory. We’re expecting you.

Download Annual Report

Report Highlights