News/Press Releases

Rochester Public Library Permanently Eliminates Daily Fines on Overdue Materials for Everyone

(Friday, June 30, 2023) ROCHESTER, NY – Finally, Fine Free—and for good! The Rochester Public Library (RPL) will eliminate daily fines on RPL-owned materials for both children and adults. The move follows the 2017 pilot that removed fines for Children’s and Young Adult resources, which resulted in increased library use by patrons.

Starting Saturday, July 1, 2023, overdue fines from previously loaned Rochester Public Library materials will be canceled for existing users. Patrons are encouraged to bring back those items and
check out something new from any RPL location. “This is your invitation to return to the library, regardless of how long you have had something overdue,” said Jennifer Smathers, Associate Director of the Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County. “Library staff are excited to welcome you back to the library, a judgment-free, fine-free place with something for everyone. With the mayor’s support, RPL is absorbing anticipated fine revenue loss to further enable a prosperity mindset for our families and the city by eliminating barriers to literacy, technology, and other resources.” Replacement costs for long-overdue items, processing fees, bills for damaged and missing parts, and fees for printing, copying, and other services remain in place. Patrons with questions about their accounts can contact Central Library Circulation at 585-428-8180.

Black History & Culture Advisory Board Announces Community Engagement Opportunities

(Thursday, February 23, 2023) ROCHESTER, NY – The Rochester Public Library’s Archives of Black History & Culture Advisory Board is conducting focus groups to help establish a community-curated archive of local Black history and culture. The project involves identifying, compiling and guiding the library’s management of its existing Black history collections.

The RPL is seeking the community’s input to help identify which archival collections should be preserved and made available for public reference with the goal of ensuring the accuracy of the historical record and making the appropriate resources available and reflect the contributions and experiences of Black Americans.

The following in-person and virtual focus groups are scheduled:

For more information about the Black History & Culture Advisory Board, visit

Celebrating Community and the Arts Series Kicks-Off at the Central Library

Public Invited to Help Build Airigami Bubble Mural

(Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023) Rochester, NY – The Rochester Public Library and Teaching Artists ROC today announced that 15 local artists will present a series of exciting programs at City branch libraries that are designed to celebrate community and provide opportunities for participants to reflect on one or more aspects of friendship, kindness and unity.

Balloon art lovers of all ages are invited to join internationally renowned artists Larry Moss and Kelly Cheatle of Airigami to help them create a community-built bubble mural, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 18 and 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 20 at the Bausch & Lomb Public Library building at the Central Library Downtown, 115 South Ave. No prior registration necessary for this kickoff event.

Other activities in the series are being planned to take place at City libraries throughout 2023 include African, Asian, and Latino storytellers sharing cultural tales, music, songs and dances from China, Africa, the Caribbean and Native American communities. Artists will also lead hands-on workshops in painting, Chinese and African print and symbol making, Central and South American crafts, improvisational theater games, fiber arts and songwriting.

A detailed schedule will be posted on the Events Calendar at as events are finalized.

Teaching Artists ROC places teaching performers and artists in area schools, after-school programs, senior centers, civic, and cultural spaces and local events to enrich academic programming by introducing participants to new ideas, concepts and cultures and providing outlets of expression for people of all ages, abilities, and walks of life.

The series is made possible by a grant from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Arts & Culture Initiative to support small to mid-sized arts and culture organizations.