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Programs & Exhibitions

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.

For a listing of events in our Center for Contemporary Culture, please click here.


Women History
History Scrapbook

Share Your Stories: Women's History Month

Date: Tuesday, March 17, 4:30 p.m. 2015
Location: Downtown Library, Youth Department

Children and parents are invited to celebrate Women's History Month! Document your personal and family stories through journal writing, storytelling exercises and create a family history scrapbook. Journals, scrapbooking supplies and light refreshment will be provided. This program is suitable for ages 5 and up.
Adrienne Rich

The Uncharted Path from Fear to Freedom: A Glimpse into the Life and Work of Adrienne Rich

Date: Saturday, March 28, 1:00 p.m.
Location: Downtown Library, Hartford History Center

In recognition of Women’s History Month (March) and National Poetry Month (April), Hartford Public Library and the Connecticut Poetry Society present a lecture and discussion on the life and work of American poet Adrienne Rich (1929-2012) led by Sarah Rizzuto, Professor of Women’s Studies at Southern Connecticut State University and President of the New Haven Chapter of the Connecticut Poetry Society.

Poet, essayist and feminist Adrienne Rich published over a dozen collections of poetry during a 60-year career that began in 1951, while attending Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The lecture is part of an ongoing series of the global and local implications of “The Four Freedoms: 2015-2016” at Hartford Public Library.
Remarkable Women of Hartford

Remarkable Women of Hartford: Author Talk with Cynthia Boynton

Date: Wednesday, April 8, 6:00 p.m.
Location: Downtown Library, Hartford History Center

Connecticut's capital has served as home to some of the most influential women in the state's history, but few know the stories of their lives and their accomplishments. Nineteenth-century abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin became a catalyst for the Civil War; Ella Grasso was the first woman to be elected governor in the United States; Hartford Courant publisher Hannah Bunce Watson never skipped a single edition during the Revolutionary War and Rachel Taylor Milton was a founder of the Urban League of Greater Hartford. Through these and many more inspiring profiles, author and journalist Cynthia Wolfe Boynton chronicles the struggles and triumphs of some of Hartford's most remarkable women. Books will be available for purchase.



PoP Logo

Poets on Poetry Discussion Series

Join us for “Poets on Poetry”, a series of monthly moderated book discussions of poetry collections, beginning March 28 at our Downtown Library, presented in partnership with the Connecticut Poetry Society.

“Poets on Poetry” spotlights works of national acclaim and features local poetry enthusiasts to lead the way. HPL card holders can access books in advance of the scheduled discussions through the Library collections.

Upcoming discussions include “The Source” by Mark Doty on March 28, “Full Woman, Fleshly Apple, Hot Moon: Selected Poems of Pablo Neruda” on April 25, “Selected Poems of Wallace Stevens” on May 30 and “Strong is Your Hold” by Galway Kinnell on June 27.

Meetings are open to all and are located at the Downtown Library at 500 Main Street. More information is available at


Salsa Social

Salsa Socials

Date: Every Third Tuesday, 6:00 p.m.
Location: Downtown Library Atrium

Salsa socials are back at HPL! Join us for an open session welcoming dancers of all levels, free of charge! No partner or experience needed. Dancing and teaching for over twenty years, Rey Bermudez will share his passion for salsa at these open dance sessions.


Heart City

Heart City Story Club

Date: March 11, April 7, May 13, June 17, July 8 and August 12, 6:00 p.m.- 8:00 p.m.
Location: Downtown Library

Join the HCSC for a monthly open mic night for telling true, personal stories live, on stage, and without notes. All are welcome to bring their stories and get up in front of the mic!


Bound to Mountain

“Bound to Maintain Them”: Prisoners of War and Humane Captivity in the German Empire, 1916-1917

Date: On display January 8 – March 31, 2015
Location: Hartford History Center, Downtown Library

Hartford History Center at Hartford Public Library and The Watkinson Library at Trinity College present this unique perspective on the organization and operation of prisoner of war camps in Germany during the Great War. On display January 8 -March 31, 2015 at the Hartford History Center, Hartford Public Library, 500 Main Street, 3rd floor.


Explorers & Adventurers

Explorers & Adventurers Connecticut: a special collaboration between Hartford Public Library and The Connecticut Forum

Date: Wednesday, March 25, 2015, 6:00 p.m.
Location: Downtown Library

Join us as we partner with The Connecticut Forum to bring you an exciting evening of discovery, exploration and inspiration with Connecticut’s own explorers and adventurers! 


ANNE PARMENTER  An inspirational coach, speaker and climber who has summited Mount Everest twice.

STEVE GRANT Former Courant columnist, writer, outdoor guide and expert on Connecticut outdoor recreation.

ROHAN FREEMAN Entrepreneur, climber, and the first African-American to complete the Seven Summits.

Moderated by Richard Sugarman, Founding President of The Connecticut Forum

Space is limited, register now!


Sculptural book

The Sculptural Book with Anne Cubberly and LB Muñoz: An Arts & Archives Workshop

Date: Saturdays, February 28, March 7, March 14, March 21, and March 28, 10:00 AM
Location: Downtown Library, 3rd Floor

Transform an old or discarded book into a new piece of art by sculpting the pages, adding pop-ups, sewing, and altering words to create new meanings. Artists Anne Cubberly and LB Muñoz will teach techniques.

Materials and books will be provided. Attendees are invited to bring decorative items and books. Students should plan to attend all five progressive sessions. Space is limited. Register in person or by calling 860-695-6300.


Peace Diann Cook

"And My Journey Continues" by E. Diann Cook

Date: On display through April 10
Location: Downtown Library, 3rd Floor Youth Department Gallery

View original art works by Connecticut artist, author and musician E. Diann Cook. Most of the works are available for purchase and a portion of the proceeds benefit Hartford Public Library. On display through April 10, 2015.


HPL Celebrates Romare Bearden

Art, History and Social Activism

Art, History and Social Activism: CtFAC Honors Romare Bearden

Date: On display December 17, 2014-March 13, 2015
Location: Downtown Library 3rd Floor Gallery

In honor of the recent arrival of two spectacular Romare Bearden murals at Hartford Public Library, The Connecticut Fiber Arts Collective (CtFAC) presents a special exhibit that pays homage to the stylistic works of Bearden, his commitment to civil rights and his contributions to the African-American jazz and art communities. CtFAC has created a collection of works in textiles, fiber, mixed media and surface design celebrating and recognizing one of the greatest visual artists of the 20th century.
Click here to a video of the installation and commentary by the CT Fiber Arts Collective
Bearden Murals

Bearden Murals on Display at HPL Downtown

Romare Bearden, whose richly textured paintings and murals are now held in the most important museums in the United States, was commissioned to create two large murals for the Hartford Civic Center in the early 1980’s. They have lived there ever since, until the XL Center, which the building is currently known as, was scheduled for major renovation.

The size of these two murals, approximately 10 feet by 16 feet – has proven a challenge to transporting and housing these works. Hartford Public Library has had the extraordinary honor of housing and displaying these Bearden works for all to enjoy; a public setting and safe home that will be accessible to Hartford residents in perpetuity.
Bearden Art

Bearden Works in the Hartford History Center

Date: On display through April 15, 2015
Location: Hartford History Center

Throughout his life, Bearden depicted many rituals and social customs of twentieth-century rural Black America. The images of spiritual ceremonies, baptisms and burial, industrial hardships, musical arrangements and daily life have become the themes that critics and collectors most frequently associate with his work.
These six works are on loan to the Hartford Public Library through the generosity of Bill Katz, owner of Jubilee Fine Art of Hartford.
On display until April 15, 2015 during Hartford History Center hours. Works may be available for purchase. Artwork inquiries should be directed to




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.



The Center for Contemporary Culture hosts lectures, readings, musical performances and other events for people of all ages.