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The Library offers free public classes, programs, and exhibitions at its 10 locations throughout the city of Hartford. Below is a selection of upcoming events.

Jump to: Programs / Exhibits / Hip Hop Nation

To submit a public program or exhibition proposal, click here.

Chris Porter, Artist

Friday, February 17, 11 am-1 pm
Wednesday, February 22, 11 am-1 pm

Join local artist Chris Porter @thebench for instruction and demonstration in some basic art principles, including shape, space, and shading. Spend lunchtime exercising your creative abilities! All supplies will be provided. Drop-ins welcome.












ENCOUNTERS: A Forum for Public Discussion

Hartford Public Library, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, and the University of Connecticut’s Humanities Institute embark on a community engagement partnership to present the Encounters series, focused on encouraging informed and informal conversations about issues that affect our lives. The aim is to strengthen our ability to know ourselves and one another, and develop a forum for respectful and challenging dialogue. This February and March, Encounters will focus on the fundamental documents that define our democracy.

Encounters: Bill of Rights

Saturday, March 4, Noon-2 pm
Hartford History Center

Join the conversation as we discuss the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution. The Bill of Rights was created in response to calls from Congressional representatives (such as Connecticut’s Roger Sherman) for greater constitutional protection of personal freedoms and rights of American citizens. It outlines specific prohibitions on governmental power. The amendments include the right of free speech, protections against unreasonable search and seizure, and a speedy and public jury trial.

We invite members of the public to read the amendments and participate in a discussion at the Library’s Hartford History Center. We’ll explore issues that confront us every day, and how we can better understand our rights. 

Read the Bill of Rights here:

Lunch will be served; participants must register in advance. 
RSVP by calling 860-695-6367 or by email:






"La Promesa" para Puerto Rico 

martes 21 de febrero, 5:30 pm
Park Branch, 744 Park Street

La actual crisis económica y social de Puerto Rico se asemeja a su historia de los años treinta. Este factor ha influido la emigración puertorriqueña a los Estados Unidos en tiempos recientes. El 33% de la población de Hartford es puertorriqueña siendo esta la cuarta ciudad de los Estados Unidos en proporción poblacional donde residen más puertorriqueños. Únase a nosotros con el profesor Jorge Limeres mientras miramos de cerca a PROMESA y la emigración.

Este programa será en español.

"La Promesa" for Puerto Rico

Tuesday, February 21, 5:30 pm
Park Branch
744 Park Street

Puerto Rico’s present economic and social crisis is akin to its history from the 1930’s.  This factor has influenced Puerto Rican migration to the United States in recent years.  33% of Hartford’s population is Puerto Rican making Hartford the fourth most concentrated Puerto Rican community in the United States. Join us with professor Jorge Limeres as we take a closer look at Promesa an emigration.

This program will be in Spanish.

Malcolm X: A Collaborative Reading

Tuesday, February 21, 6 pm
Hartford History Center
Refreshments: 5:30 pm; Program 6 pm

Join us in honoring Malcolm X on the anniversary of his passing, with a collaborative reading of his more influential works. Copies of various speeches and writings will be available at the event, but if you have a particular writing that resonates with you, please call 860.695.6377 and we will make sure to have it available. We welcome both participants and spectators.

Chief Teale’s The Tools of Learning
Video Series Release

Thursday, February 23, 2017, 6pm
Center for Contemporary Culture

Join Hartford Public Access TV in celebrating Black History Month with the video series release of retired fire chief Charles A. Teale, Sr.’s Chief Teale’s The Tools of Learning. The celebration will include light refreshments and a special screening of one of the five episodes On Demand at, which focuses on the importance of understanding local and national history as a way to motivate oneself to learn, understand, and remember information for both academic and professional success.


African & African American History Bee

Saturday, February 25, 12-3 pm
Center for Contemporary Culture

CALLING ALL BROTHERS presents the 2nd Annual African & African American History Bee, hosted by Leslie Mayes of NBC Connecticut. Participating schools include: Thirman Milner School, Dr. Frank T. Simpson Waverly School, Fred D. Wish School, Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School.

Butch Lewis Community Conversation:
Film Screening of 13th with Jamal Joseph

Wednesday, March 1, 5:30pm
Center for Contemporary Culture

Join author, activist, and Columbia film professor Jamal Joseph for a screening and discussion of 13th, a Netflix original documentary directed by Ava Duvernay (director of Selma) exploring the history of mass incarceration in the United States.

Charles "Butch" Lewis was the co-founder of the Hartford chapter of the Black Panther Party and longtime community organizer. This program is presented in his memory, and was planned in collaboration with his family and friends from the community. This event is sponsored by Hartford Community Loan Fund, Inc., Voices of Women of Color, Keney Park Sustainability Project, Community Partners in Action, Community Capacity Builders, and Cencap Federal Credit Union. The Butch Lewis video collection is accessible for public viewing on Hartford History Center’s digital repository.

UConn Writing Center at HPL

Wallace Stevens Writing Room, 3rd floor
Noon to 4 pm

First-Come, First-Served: please sign up upon arrival for about an hour of attention

Students, Graduate Students, and Professors from UConn Hartford. We are people interested in writing in all its forms. We believe the best writing comes as part of a dialogue.

You bring your writing to us and we discuss it with you. Any Stage of Writing: Planning, Drafting, or Revising—it’s all Welcome. Any Kind of Writing: Academic: Essays/Writing for Classes. Professional: Resumes, Cover Letters, Applications. Creative: Stories Long & Short, Poetry, Non-Fiction. Personal: Letters, Memoirs. Multiple Levels of Attention. Conceptual: Content, Theme, & Organization. Mechanical: Sentence Structure, Clarity, & Grammar.

Hartford Public Library is pleased to offer the opportunity for local writers to showcase their latest publication and connect with library visitors. HPL will publicize your appearance and will make available your book in the circulating collection. Hartford authors will be given first consideration. Please contact 860.695.6320 for more information, or click here to submit.
















Geoffrey Craig:
Scudder's Gorge

Tuesday, February 28, 1 pm
Main Floor, Downtown Library

Set largely in a small farming community in northern Vermont, Scudder's Gorge is a family saga that extends over several generations. A group of settlers from Massachusetts arrive in a pristine valley in the late 18th Century to find a small band of Abenaki living at one end of the valley. The settlers build rude cabins, carve out their farms and trade with the Abenaki. Peace is shattered when a settler's daughter falls in love with an Abenaki, and a terrible crime is committed that reverberates down the generations. As well as the story of a family of dairy farmers, Scudder's Gorge encompasses issues of war and racism.

Diana Ross McCain:
Thy Children's Children

Sunday, March 5, 2-5 pm
Main Floor, Downtown Library

Thy Children’s Children is historical fiction that brings to vibrant life the epic story of five generations of a real New England grassroots dynasty by combining decades of meticulous research with masterful storytelling. The novel is based on the true story of the Lyman family of Lyman Orchards in Middlefield, Connecticut, which evolved from a small family farm started in 1741 to an 1,100-acre agricultural/entertainment complex operated by eighth- and ninth-generation descendants of the founders.McCain worked at the Connecticut Historical Society, was a reference librarian  at the Godfrey Memorial Library in Middletown, and now runs a genealogy service called Come Home to Connecticut. 

Deborah Ravenwood:

Wednesday, March 15, 12-2 pm
Main Floor, Downtown Library

I opened my very own Pandora's Box, simultaneously experiencing its contents through the eyes of a very frightened child and the strong woman I've become. The process of reclaiming my voice has opened the floodgates of my memory. I am convinced that my own sanity was left intact because of my soul's ability to cloak events with a lack of recall. It is from this paradox that I open myself to not only remembering and acknowledging my childhood but sharing it openly with others in the hopes that they, too, will one day be able to connect-the-dots of their childhood and embrace the strengths born from their circumstances. I sit here writing this story - my story - in awe of the soul's ability to shine no matter how tarnished one may believe they've become.

Sherry Horton:
Witness Chair: A Memoir of Art, Marriage, and Loss

Thursday, March 30, 12-3 pm
Main Floor, Downtown Library

Witness Chair: A Memoir of Art, Marriage, and Loss testifies to the power of art and long-term relationship to sustain a husband and wife under siege by illness. The story begins as the author watches her artist-husband hunch over a sketchbook hardwired to his latest project, designs and historical texts for a series of enormous steel chairs representing practices of interrogation and coercion used in the 1692 Salem witch trials. The narrator sits by his side, focused only on him and the leukemia now ravaging his body, and takes notes obsessively, listing blood counts, drugs, and IVs. Certain that something, a stem-cell transplant, an obscure Chinese herbal, will extend his life, she denies mortality, and feels isolated in fear, anger, guilt, as always. He only wants to make art. Gradually, as scenes from their long marriage flood her mind, she puts words to intimate, previously unspoken experience during the tumultuous mid-1960s and early 1970s, witnessing all the ways husband and wife were together in loyalty and betrayal, "for better or for worse."

Poets on Poetry Series

The Connecticut Poetry Society holds  its monthly poetry book group discussions on the fourth Saturday of the month in the Hartford History Center on the third floor of the downtown library from 10:15 am-12:15 pm.  Poets on Poetry is free and open to the public. For further information, visit

The Poetry of Lucille Clifton

Presented by Jennifer Jean
Saturday, February 25th, 10:15 am

Lucille Clifton was Poet Laureate of Maryland, had her poems published by Langton Hughes in the anthology, The Poetry of the Negro in 1957, and was a visiting writer at Columbia University School of the Arts.

Jennifer Jean, a poet, is co-director of the Morning Garden Arts Retreats, teaches at Boston area universities.

The Poetry of Elizabeth Bishop

Presented by John Stanizzi
Saturday, March 25th, 10:15 am

Elizabeth Bishop was an American poet and short story writer who won the Pulitzer Price for Poetry in 1956, the National Book Award in 1970, and the Neustadt International Price for Literature in 1976.
John Stanizzi, poet, teaches at Manchester Community College and has published several collections of poetry.




ArtWalk at Hartford Public Library offers one of the largest and most stunning exhibition spaces in greater Hartford and the opportunity for Hartford residents and others to view art in a magnificent setting in our city.

Christine Dalenta and Benjamin Parker

January 13-February 26, 2017

Photographer Christine Dalenta and paper sculptor Benjamin Parker collaborate and practice an innovative combination of paper folding and photographic techniques, creating cameraless images through the action of light on folded light-sensitive paper.

Since the very beginning of photography, artists have placed three-dimensional objects onto light-sensitive paper to form a representation in two dimensions. This technique and its resulting images, known as photograms, are currently enjoying a resurgence in contemporary photography. Dalenta and Parker’s images are similar to photograms, but employ an original method where not only is there no camera, there is no object. The paper itself both modulates and records the light simultaneously.



Draw a Hartford History-Maker:
A Black History Month Community Project

February 2017
Hartford History Center

Last year, our project So Much More Than a Month highlighted the lives of African-Americans who made a difference in our community. This year, we asked for artists, of all ages and working in all media, to create portraits of these black visionaries and changemakers in our city.

The resulting prints will be exhibited in the Hartford History Center throughout February 2017. Please join us on Thursday, February 2 at 6 pm for an opening reception in honor of these black Hartford history-makers and the artists who volunteered to take part in this exhibition.

Image: Warner Lawson by Joel Agosto

The Road Not Taken:
A Do-It-Yourself Social Impact Project

On view at

The Road Not Taken was on view at the Hartford Public Library in the Fall of 2015. Exhibition co-producer Thea Montanez worked with her cousin, Eddie Delberto, who is serving 60 years at Cheshire Correctional Institution. He is a member of the Lifers Group. Childhood photos of lifers are accompanied by written descriptions or where and who they were when the photo was taken.

Hartford Times: Voices of Change

On view here

View the online exhibition documenting the Civil Rights movement in Hartford in the 1960s. Photos are from the Hartford Times, and include buses leaving Hartford in 1963 to attend Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream" speech in Washington DC, civil rights activists boarding a plane at Bradley Field to march in Selma and Montgomery, AL, and housing protests in the North End of Hartford in 1967.