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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.

Jump to: Programs / Exhibits / Hip Hop Nation

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

Public Forum with Congressman John Larson:
I-84/I-91 Tunnel Proposal

Wednesday, January 25, 6 pm
Center for Contemporary Culture

Congressman John Larson will be convening a public forum on Wednesday, January 25th at the Hartford Public Library to discuss his plan to create underground tunnels for I-84 and I-91 with constituents. 

Origami Presentation with Benjamin Parker

Wednesday, February 1, 11 am to 1 pm

Paper sculptor artist Benjamin Parker will give an origami demonstration in the new performance area, @thebench, near the new books section on the main floor of the Downtown Library.  His work is part of the ArtWalk exhibition, Shadow Castings: A Study of Geometry in Paper and Light, with photographer Christine Dalenta, on display on the third floor.



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

Thursday, February 2
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

























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: Declaration of Independence

Saturday, February 4, 3-5 pm
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, 600 Main Street

Reception: 3:00pm, Hartford Courant Room
Discussion: 3:30pm-5:00pm, John Trumbull: Visualizing American Independence

Please join us for a dialogue about the Declaration of Independence at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. Our discussion will take place in the galleries of the special exhibition John Trumbull: Visualizing American Independence, which examines the Revolutionary War through the eyes of artists, most notably John Trumbull (1756–1843), the only American painter who witnessed the war and created a series devoted to the event.

Against the backdrop of works of art that record and dramatize foundational moments in American history, including the signing of the Declaration of Independence, explore the significance of the document as a pillar of American sovereignty and constitutional principles.

Read the Declaration of Independence in advance: RSVP helpful, but not necessary to faculty@wadsworthathenuem.

Encounters: Bill of Rights

Saturday, March 4, 12 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:





El Caso de Oscar López Rivera 

martes 7 de febrero, 5:30 pm
Hartford History Center

La pena de prisión de Oscar López Rivera terminará el 17 de mayo de 2017. Únase a nosotros para una discusión dirigida por el profesor Jorge Limeres sobre el caso de Oscar López Rivera y el tema de la conspiración sediciosa.

Este programa será en español.

The Case of Oscar López Rivera 

Tuesday, February 7, 5:30 pm
Hartford History Center

Oscar Lopez Rivera’s prison sentence will end on May 17,
2017. Join us for a discussion led by Professor Jorge Limeres on
Oscar Lopez Rivera’s case and topic of seditious conspiracy.
This program will be in Spanish.

Art Talk on the Artwalk

Wednesday, February 15, 6 pm


Meet us on the Artwalk for a talk with origami artist Benjamin Parker and photgrapher Christine Dalenta, collaborators whose exhibition Shadow Castings: A Study of Geometry in Paper and Light opened January 13 and runs through February 26. The artists will discuss their unique practice of combining paper-folding with photographic processes.






"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.

Art Talk on the Artwalk

Wednesday, February 15, 6 pm


Meet us on the Artwalk for a talk with origami artist Benjamin Parker and photgrapher Christine Dalenta, collaborators whose exhibition Shadow Castings: A Study of Geometry in Paper and Light opened January 13 and runs through February 26. The artists will discuss their unique practice of combining paper-folding with photographic processes.


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.

Shayna Ramos

A Lifetime Changed
Wednesday, Feb. 8, 11 am to 2 pm

Three brothers set off on a scavenger hunt in the forest.   As frustrations set in, they begin to argue more. Something life-changing happens. They learn how to set it right again and work together.  This is a book for all ages, even the little ones.
The author has included a puzzle that readers can solve.
The author will  have books for sale.

Poets on Poetry Series

The Connecticut Poetry Society holds  its monthly poetry book group discussions on the fourth Saturday of the month at 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 Wallace Stevens

Presented by Jim Finnegan
Saturday, January 28th, 10:15 am

Wallace Stevens was an insurance executive in Hartford who was most famous for his poetry and plays.

Jim Finnegan, a poet, is the founder of Friends and Enemies of Wallace Stevens.

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, a 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.





Hip Hop Archival Exhibition

On view through January 20, 2017
Hartford History Center
Read more here

Join us in viewing our archival exhibition, “Hip Hop in Hartford: 1981 – 1991,” which features photographs, newspaper articles, footage, and fliers from Hartford’s early Hip Hop community. The exhibition will be on view until January 20, 2017 in the Hartford History Center on the 3rd floor of the downtown Hartford Public Library, Tuesday – Friday, 1-5pm or by appointment. We encourage visitors to share their own stories about Hip Hop culture in Hartford. Please contact Jasmin Agosto at if you would like to schedule a visit and discussion with your school group or organization. We would like to thank our partners, Real Art Ways and Tim Wolf, in loaning us collection items for this exhibition and The Fund for Greater Hartford for making this exhibition possible.




Honoring Art & Humanity:
Ghanaian Artisans Showcase

December 5, 2016-January 27, 2017

Cultural Corridor, 3rd Floor

The artisans of Ghana create hand-carved furnishings and unique products for the international market using traditional tools and employing centuries-old craftsmanship,

Julius Aboagye, founder of the African Heritage Collection, has forged a partnership with the highly-skilled indigenous Ghanaian artisans, which provides financial support for the artisans’ families and helps to sustain their trade and the environment.

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 Public Library's Digital Art Tour

On view here

Join us on a tour of Hartford Public Library’s collection of visual art. The collection includes 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional works in both indoor and outdoor exhibition spaces. You’ll learn the history behind the works of art among which you live and work every day.

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.