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The Library offers free public classes, programs, and exhibitions at its 7 locations throughout the city of Hartford. Below is a selection of upcoming events.

Jump to:

September 2019 Adult Calendar

September 2019 Teen Calendar

September 2019 Youth Calendar

EXHIBITS

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

   

 

Baby Grand Jazz 2020 Call for Submissions

Kaman Charitable Foundation Baby Grand Jazz Series

Hartford Public Library is looking for groups to play in our Baby Grand Jazz series, which runs 16 Sundays from January through April. These popular free concerts have been a staple of Hartford Public Library since 2004. Ensembles must include a pianist who will play the Library’s grand piano. HPL will livestream the concerts on Facebook and post them for later viewing on its YouTube channel.

Rolling submissions; deadline for submission is August 30, 2019. Apply here.


 

 

 

Storytime in the Park

Monday, September 16, 11 am

Monday, October 7, 11 am

Monday, November 4, 11 am 

Bushnell Park, near the carousel 

Summer may be ending - but Storytime in the Park rolls on! Join staff from HPL's Children's Department near the carousel in Bushnell Park to sing songs, play games and listen to an exciting story. The fun starts at 11 am on Mondays: September 16, October 7 and (weather permitting) November 4. Designed for children ages five and under and their parents.


 
 
 

 

Open Mic Showcase, Back to School Edition

Tuesday, September 17, 6:00-7:30 PM

Center for Contemporary Culture, Downtown Library 

See the stars of tomorrow today! Live performances, networking, refreshments and SPECIAL GUESTS! Hosted by Prynce Eli, presented by YOUmedia Central.


 

 

Naturalization Day

Tuesday, September 17, 11:00 am

Center for Contemporary Culture, Downtown LiBrary

Hartford Public Library (HPL) will become a temporary Federal courtroom at 11 am this Tuesday, September 17. The Honorable Robert Richardson, United States Magistrate Judge for the District of Connecticut, will swear in 75 Connecticut residents as new citizens of the United States. The Connecticut Department of Corrections Honor Guard and Pipe and Drum Band will officially open the event with the presentation of the colors. This will be followed by the singing of the National Anthem by vocalist Gracey Day.

After Judge Richardson officially swears in the new citizens, an actor portraying George Washington will lead all those assembled in the Pledge of Allegiance. Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz and Secretary of the State Denise Merrill will then offer congratulatory words to the new citizens, before presenting them with their Naturalization Certificates.

The ceremony will be closed by a rendition of “America the Beautiful” by saxophonist Kris Jensen. New citizens will then be given a chance to register to vote and apply for a U.S. Passport.

Tuesday’s ceremony at Hartford Public Library will be held in honor of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day (September 17). Numerous naturalization ceremonies are held throughout the country on this day and throughout the week to honor both the signing of the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787, and an observance that began in 1940 as “I Am an American Day.”


 

 

 

Jewelry Making with Jackie Bright

Wednesday, September 18: 6:00-7:30 pm

& Wednesday, September 25, 6:00-7:30 pm

Barbour Library

Tap into your creativity! Popular jewelry designer and teacher Jackie Bright will help you design and create dazzling pieces of art that you can wear.  

 


 

 

Encounters: Uncovering Black and Indigenous Histories

Saturday, September 21, 10am-12pm with lunch to follow
Hartford History Center, Downtown Library, (3rd Floor)
RSVP to jeagosto@hplct.org 

Who gets remembered? The Ancient Burying Ground is a state historical treasure whose many headstones commemorate leaders of Connecticut’s colonial past. More than 500 Africans, African Americans and Native Americans found their final resting place there, too, and yet rarely are they remembered by a personal grave marker. Join us for a small group discussion exploring the history of the Ancient Burying Ground and learn about the lives of Black and indigenous people interred there and their genealogical connections to our present community. Please read selections found on hhc.hplct.org prior to the event. Lunch will be provided with free registration.


 

 

La Boriquena: Author Talk & Book Signing

Saturday, September 21, 1 PM 

Atrium, Downtown Library

Join us for an author talk and book signing featuring graphic novelist Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez, author of superhero series La Borinqueña. Hear about the story of La Borinqueña, how the superhero is connected to the past and present of Puerto Rico, and about the Latinx experience in the comics industry. Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez will be selling and signing La Borinqueña after his talk.

Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez is a graphic novelist most notably recognized as the writer and creator of the critically acclaimed and bestselling superhero series La Borinqueña. In addition, he is celebrated for his philanthropic efforts via the benefit anthology Ricanstruction: Reminiscing & Rebuilding Puerto Rico featuring La Borinqueña teaming up with Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman and other DC Comics heroes. He self-published this anthology under his own studio Somos Arte and to date Edgardo has raised close to a quarter of a million dollars for grassroots organizations in Puerto Rico via the La Borinqueña Grants Program. As the Creative Director and owner of Somos Arte, a Brooklyn-based creative services studio he has worked with such notable clients as Atlantic Records, Columbia University, Sony Pictures and Marvel. In addition, Edgardo is a curator of art exhibitions having already produced three original Marvel comic book art exhibitions and his very own La Borinqueña for the Smithsonian Museum.


 

 

FAITH CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH BICENTENNIAL

A Hidden History Revealed: Coming Back Home to Talcott Street

Sunday, September 29, 2-5 PM 

Corner of Talcott & Market Streets, Downtown Hartford

Faith Congregational Church has made an enormous impact in the City of Hartford in terms of African American-led social, economic, and racial justice, yet remains a hidden story in Hartford's history. On September 29, Faith will tell its story through song and narrative from church members, a combined choir with Center Church and Immanuel Congregational Church, and a special keynote address by Beverly Morgan Welch of the National Museum of African American History and Culture at the Smithsonian. Together we will bring this story to light in an outdoor, public celebration on the original site of the Talcott Street Congregational Church. 
 
This program is made possible through in partnership with the Hartford History Center at Hartford Public Library, the Old State House, Capital Community College, Real Art Ways, and local community historians. Special thanks to Connecticut Humanities for offering major support for this program. If you require special accommodations to participate, please call 860-695-6320.

 

 

Bob Steele on the Radio Book Launch

Thursday, October 3, 5:30-7:30pm
Hartford History Center, Downtown Library (3rd Floor)

Come hear from local author Paul Hensler about his biography, Bob Steele on the Radio: The Life of Connecticut’s Beloved Broadcaster. Books will be available for purchase and signing. Hensler utlized the Bob Steele collection at the Hartford History Center at Hartford Public Library for some of his research.

For more than sixty years, Bob Steele was the radio voice of Southern New England, entertaining listeners of WTIC AM with his wit and humor and an inimitable style that kept listeners faithfully tuning in to his morning show. Capturing the nation’s highest market share, the National Radio Hall of Fame inductee maintained an unparalleled popularity through the latter half of the twentieth century.

This first ever biography of Bob Steele details both the home life and the award-winning broadcasting career of this Connecticut media legend, from his humble Midwestern roots to the pinnacle of radio fame. Steele and his “The Word for the Day” feature remain forever embedded in the memories of his many listeners. 


 

 

Researching Hartford's Early Black Community

Saturday, October 5, 11am-12:30pm
Hartford History Center, Downtown Library, (3rd Floor)

The Ancient Burying Ground Association and Hartford History Center present a new workshop on researching Hartford's early Black community.

New research has uncovered information on over 500 African, African and Native Americans buried in Hartford's Ancient Burying Ground, 1640-1815. Dr. Kathy Hermes, Project Director, with members of the research team, will demonstrate how to use the new digital tools from the new website africannativeburialsct.org and provide information on primary collections that should be consulted. Family historians, church historians, descendants, genealogists and anyone interested in the context of African and Native American lives in early Hartford and the Connecticut Colony will be fascinated.


Illustration by Cora Marshall

 

The Human Library

Saturday, October 5, 1:00 - 4:00 PM 

Downtown Library

The Human Library is a unique way of breaking down barriers and eliminating stereotypes. Persons from all walks of life who have experience prejudice serve as the library’s “books” and relate their stories and experiences through conversations with “readers” who want to know what it’s like to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. The prejudice the “books” have experienced can be based on race, religion, sexual orientation, class, sex, age, gender identity, lifestyle, disability, appearance or any other reason.

If you would like to be a "book" and tell your story at the Human Library Event on October 5, please call 860-695-6320; or email lcastle@hplct.org.
 

To apply online, go to: https://bit.ly/2H7GGNO


 

 

African American Literature Book Club

Monthly 1st Tuesdays
6-7:30 pm, Classroom 141, Downtown
  • Tuesday, September 3, 2019: The Sellout: A Novel by Paul Beatty; discussion facilitated by Cecily Vasington. Great News! The Hartford Public Library (thank you Julie Styles) has kindly established a Book Club Kits program which, when possible, will provide copies of the current month's book to members of the AAL Book Club. The Sellout is now available for loan at the main service desk of the Downtown Branch. Members must bring a valid library card. If you are not a Hartford resident and have never borrowed from the Hartford Library, you must bring your hometown library card as well as a photo ID. Your information will be put into the Hartford system to allow you to borrow materials. The due date for returning The Sellout is September 5, two days after the September meeting. 
  •  
  • Tuesday, October 1, 2019 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou; discussion facilitated by Mary Ellen White.
  • Tuesday, November 5, 2019: Kindred by Octavia Butler; discussion facilitated by Pauline White.
  • Tuesday, December 3, 2019: Beloved by Toni Morrison; discussion facilitated by Susan Brown. We were saddened by the news of Toni Morrison's passing.
  • Tuesday, January 7, 2020: Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead; discussion facilitated by Suzanne Robinson.
  • Tuesday, February 4, 2020: Tears We Cannot Stop by Michael Eric Dyson; discussion facilitated by Steve Riege.

The AAL Book Club is for anyone interested in reading and discussing African American literature, both fiction and nonfiction, as well as sharing information and learning about the African American experience.  It is an opportunity for us to get to know each other while we engage in lively and stimulating discussion of topics of interest to us all.

Please RSVP to Carolyn Korber at cjkorber@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Toastmasters

Monthly 2nd, 3rd, 4th Tuesdays
6-7:45 pm, Classroom 140
Main Floor, Downtown

Do you need help speaking in public?

Toastmasters International can teach you to give a speech that is organized, has vocal variety and is inspirational.  By regularly giving speeches, gaining feedback, leading teams and guiding others to achieve their goals in a supportive atmosphere, leaders emerge from the Toastmasters program. Every Toastmasters journey begins with a single speech. During their journey, they learn to tell their stories. They listen and answer. They plan and lead. They give feedback—and accept it. Through our community of learners, they find their path to leadership.

No registration necessary

Poets on Poetry Series

The Connecticut Poetry Society's monthly poetry book discussion is free and open to the public.
For further information, visit www.ctpoetry.net.
To nominate a poet for discussion or volunteer to moderate, contact:
Christine Beck
christinebeck90@gmail.com
860-655-3263


 

 

 


ART WALK

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.


 
 

On the ArtWalk: Among Friends Ed Johnetta Miller

Exhibit runs July 19 - September 28, 2019
Artist Reception: Friday, September 20, 5:30 pm
Artist Workshop (Quilt Cards): Saturday, Sept. 21, 2:30 pm

Please register for the workshop by calling the Hartford History Center at 860-695-6297.

ArtWalk Gallery, 3rd Floor, Downtown Library, 500 Main Street

Among Friends is a retrospective of my life work with a focus on pieces that speak to my close, beloved ties to the Hartford community. 

A fiber artist, quilter, teacher, author, curator and lecturer, I am acknowledged to be one of the most creative and colorful improvisational quilt makers in the U.S. Widely exhibited here and abroad, my work can be found in museums, and corporate, private, and permanent collections including: the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.; the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden, Colorado; Michigan State University; Folk Art Museum in NYC; US Embassy in Benin, West Africa; and locally, in the State of Connecticut; Burgdorf Health Center; St. Francis Hospital; Hartford Hospital; Burgdorf Health Center; Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital, Oncology Department; and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. I received the State of Connecticut's most prestigious artistic award, the Governor's Arts Award; the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art President’s Award; the Leadership Greater Hartford’s Polaris Award; the Vision Award for Arts and Culture; the Capital Community College Heritage Award; and the Apple for the Teacher Award given to me in NYC by actress Phylicia Rashad, Debbie Allen and their Mother, Vivian Ayers.

Thanks to Bank of America and the Edward C. & Ann T. Roberts Foundation for funding the 2018-2019 ArtWalk season.


Linda Martin, Sharing Stories

On Display June - September 19, 2019 
Reception: Saturday, August 17, 2-4pm
Hartford History Center, 3rd floor, Downtown Library

Quilts have a long tradition in the African American community of being used to tell stories and as a form of resistance. Before slavery was abolished, quilts were used as covert messages, marking escape routes and houses of refuge for people seeking freedom.

Many contemporary fiber artists, such as Hartford native Linda F. Martin, use quilts as a way to commemorate important figures, tell folklore, share history, and speak to contemporary social justice issues.

Join us in learning about Martin’s quilts and see if you can find the images within the larger images that give layer and complexity to each story. For the reception, there will be recitation of poetry and dance.


 

Uncovering the Ancient Burying Ground

On Display September - October 31, 2019 
Hartford History Center, 3rd floor, Downtown Library

In the heart of modern downtown Hartford, the Ancient Burying Ground provides a tangible link to the city’s past. The photographs in this exhibition reveal how the area surrounding the Ancient Burying Ground changed over time, as businesses came and went and urban renewal transformed the center city. The letters and other documents in the exhibition reflect the concerns of Hartford’s citizens and suggest the ongoing importance of this historic site to their lives.

This exhibition was made possible with support from Connecticut Humanities. It was created in partnership with the Ancient Burying Ground Foundation.


 

Not Your Grandmother’s Weaving

Hartford Artisan Weavers Exhibit

Exhibit runs August 5 - September 28
Reception: Monday, August 19, 11am

Downtown Library, Glass Cases outside Hartford History Center, 3rd Floor

This exhibit takes the tried and true structure of traditional weaving patterns and amps them up in new and unexpected ways through the use of color, texture and other elements, says Katie Glass, Executive Director of Hartford Artisan Weavers, a non-profit community dedicated to enriching lives through hand-weaving. The scarves, towels, shawls, wall hangings, and other items on display are the creations of 36 artisans, all of whom have low vision, no vision or are over 55 years of age.

The design of each item varies with the skill level of each artisan. Some are new to weaving while others have been weaving for years. Center Creative Director Fran Curran and a team of volunteers, worked with each artisan to discover how they wanted to stretch their skills, says Glass. Designs incorporate a mix of non-traditional fibers including silk, the plant fiber Tencel, and chenille, she says. 


 

 

New Banner at Downtown Library

A new banner was recently installed on the northwest corner of Hartford Public Library, 500 Main Street. The banner depicts various library activities.

Top

When Ramiro Louisa returned to Hartford from the Netherlands, one of the first place he brought his daughter, Delyani, was the Hartford Public Library’s Children’s Department.

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On Wednesday, May 15, Connecticut Ballet came to Hartford Public Library to present a free preview of “Old, New, Borrowed and Blue, an incredibly beautiful show it performed later in the week at The Bushnell. Shown here are Connecticut Ballet dancers are Stephen Diaz and Claire Mazza, performing ‘In The Shadow of Women’ by Marden Ramos.

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Each library in the HPL system tailors its programming to reflect the population it serves. The Downtown Library’s Children’s Department is very popular with Indian-Americans who live in the surrounding area. Each year, the department celebrates both Diwali in the fall and Holi in the spring. Yogitha Sarjay is shown making a decoration for Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights.

 


 
 

Chief Teale's The Tools of Learning

Tutorials across library branches available upon request

Join Charles S. Teale, former Chief of the Hartford Fire Dept. to learn strategies on how to learn, understand, and remember information for academic and professional success. Program is for beginning to advanced readers 18+.. Register: jeagosto@hplct,org or 860-695-6367.

To view a video version of the presentations, watch them On Demand at http://www.hpatv.org/vod/. Click "Playlists" and then find "Chief Teale's The Tools of Learning."