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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 / Adult LearningExhibits

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

Life On Parole

Center for Contemporary Culture

Community Conversation and Screening
Wednesday, January 17, 5:30-7:45

Rescheduled to Thursday, January 25

"Life On Parole" is a look behind the scenes of Connecticut's efforts to change the way parole works and reduce the number of people returning to prison. In collaboration with the New York Times, the film follows four former prisoners as they navigate the challenges of their first year on parole. First aired on "Frontline."
Bob Gillis, former Director of the Parole and Community Services Division of the state Department of Corrections moderates. The film's producer Cynthia Reggar of Purple States will comment. Gillis will lead a panel of parole officers and parolees in a discussion.

This program is a partnership with the Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy at Central Connecticut State University, Hartford Listens, and the Humanities Institute at the University of Connecticut.


ArtWalk Book Club: Homegoing

Tuesday, January 30, 5:30pm

We’re forming a quarterly Book Club that will explore a book thematically connected to the current ArtWalk exhibition.

Robert Charles Hudson’s The Door of No Return is opening on Friday, January 12, 2018. The exhibition focuses on the horrific journey of enslaved people forced to leave their homeland. Hudson says of his work: “The story of this journey is a story of faith. If our collective memory teaches us anything, it is that history repeats itself.”

Our first selection will be HOMEGOING by Yaa Gyasi. Homegoing is able to show how issues that still plague us today are routed in evil from long ago. Gyasi does an incredible job weaving her story through generations. The discussion will be facilitated by Martha Brackeen- Harris, Ed.D, Hartford area educator. The Kitchen will be open for refreshments.

RSVP to by January 22.


United Tastes: The Making of the First American Cookbook with Keith Stavely and Kathleen Fitzgerald 

Saturday, February 3, 1-3pm

The “first American cookbook,” American Cookery, by Amelia Simmons, was published initially in Hartford in 1796, then in a revised edition a few months later in Albany. In recent years, it has received a great deal of attention. The Library of Congress has designated it one of the 88 “Books That Shaped America,” and writers about food, both journalists and historians, talk frequently and enthusiastically about it.

Yet in all of this current discussion, there has been no attempt to reconstruct the social circumstances and culinary traditions that shaped this book that helped shape America. United Tastes fills this gap, showing how American Cookery—an inexpensive collection of mainly British recipes, interspersed with a few American favorites—was part of an effort to promote a particular version of American national identity, the one favored by the leading citizens of the place it was first published, Connecticut. In making this argument, United Tastes describes in compelling detail the social structure, the homes, the farms, and the foods of Early National Connecticut and the Connecticut River Valley.


BLACK HISTORY MONTH Programming at Hartford Public Library

Conversation with Dr. Khaliah Brown-Dean

Thursday, February 1, 2 pm
Center for Contemporary Culture, Downtown
In partnership with University of Connecticut

Brown-Dean is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. She is a frequent guest on “The Wheelhouse” politics show on WNPR (pictured). Refreshments served at 1 pm.

Crystal Hayes, a doctoral student at the UConn School of Social Work, who teaches at Smith College for Social Work, is the moderator.


ArtWalk Artist Talk: Robert Charles Hudson
The Door Of No Return

Saturday, February 3, 11 am

Join us for an artist talk with the current featured ArtWalk artist Robert Charles Hudson.

Hudson says of his work: As an artist I journey through my memories for inspiration. This show, The Door of No Return, was inspired by the memory of my sister, Barbara Hudson. She first told me about The Door of No Return through her personal journey to the Ivory Coast where she experienced “The House of Slaves,” a pagoda-like structure where enslaved Africans were kept before their cruel journey to a new world...With my work, I am re-envisioning the last scene before they embarked on this horrific journey to the unknown...The story of this journey is a story of faith. If our collective memory teaches us anything, it is that our history repeats.

Hartford Hip Hop Digital Stories:
Screening & Discussion       

Hartford History Center
Tuesday, February 13, 5:30-7:30 pm

Please join us to view and discuss short films by Trinity college students featuring seven Hartford Hip Hop pioneers: Myron Moye, Tony Villarini, Rick Torres, Empress Nijuabi, Dooney Bates, Janice Flemming, and Mike Nice.

Digital stories, full interviews, transcripts, and photographs will be archived at the Hartford History Center at Hartford Public Library.

This project was created in collaboration with Professor Seth Markle’s Global Hip Hop Cultures fall 2017 course at Trinity College and Tim Wolf. Special thanks to the Community Learning Initiative and the Center for Caribbean Studies at Trinity College.

Journey Writers Tell the Whole Story:
Queer Black History

Thursday, February 22 
Refreshments: 5:30, Performance: 6:00-7:00 pm
Center for Contemporary Culture

Journey Writers, a nonprofit organization to encourage writers, will present the stories of five LGBTQ historical figures of African descent.

Andre Keitt directs and also presents his piece on Bayard Rustin, (pictured), a leader in civil and gay rights, pacifism, and chief organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered is “I have a dream” speech.

Regina Dyton will present the story of comedian Jackie “Moms” Mabley, (pictured); Brandon Burke will present his piece on poet, novelist and playwright Langston Hughes; Jacqueline Davis will tell us about Marsha P. Johnson, a gay liberation activist and drag queen; and Mel Thomas will present  a narrative about singer Johnny Mathis.

Encounters: Citizen
The Amistad Center for Art & Culture
at The Wadsworth Atheneum (600 Main St, Hartford)

Saturday, February 24, 10 am- Noon
followed by lunch

Join us for small group discussions about everyday acts of racism in American society with selections of Hartford Public Library’s Big Read book for 2018, Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine.

The Hartford History Center at Hartford Public LibraryThe Amistad Center for Art & Culture, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, and UConn Humanities Institute - UCHI have formed a community engagement partnership to present Encounters, a 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 to develop a forum for respectful and challenging dialogue.

Please read selections of Citizen found HERE and HERE prior to the event. Limited space. Lunch will be provided.

To register, email:

Breaking Barriers, A Discussion       

Hartford History Center
Saturday, Feb. 27, 5:30-7 pm

Join Charmaine Craig, known as Hartford’s Tree Lady, and Patricia Kelly, Ebony Horsewomen, who are featured in "Breaking Barriers," a book published by Aetna which celebrates African-American notables.

Floyd W. Green III, Vice President and Head of Community Activation & Local Marketing for Aetna, will moderate a discussion.

Images from the book will be on display in February in the glass cases outside the Hartford History Center.

Black Panther Art Display

Begins February 1
Dwight Branch

Fans of Marvel Comics’ “Black Panther” are asked to draw art inspired by the superhero starting February 1 in the Dwight Branch, 7 New Park Ave.

A new film “Black Panther,” will be released February 16.
Chadwick Boseman, shown here in a publicity still from the film, stars as T’Challa, the king of the Wakanda, a mythical  and high tech African country. He becomes the Black Panther at night to battle his enemy Dr. Doom.

In 2015 author Ta-Nehisi Coates, (“Between the World and Me”) began writing an 11-issue series of “The Black Panther” for Marvel. Read more and see images.

The character was introduced in 1966 in an issue of “Fantastic Four.” Artists should contact Christina Hill, or 860-695- 7461.

UConn Writing Center

Noon - 4 pm
First Saturday of the month

First come, first served: please sign up upon arrival for about an hour of attention. You bring your writing to us and we discuss it with you. Planning, drafting, or revising for academic, professional, creative, and personal work are all welcome.



Poets on Poetry Series

The Connecticut Poetry Society's monthly poetry book discussion is free and open to the public.


Gertrude Stein

ROOM 026
Saturday, January 27, 10:15 am

Gertrude Stein (February 3, 1874 – July 27, 1946) was an American novelist, poet, playwright, and art collector. Born in the Allegheny West neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and raised in Oakland, California, Stein moved to Paris in 1903, and made France her home for the remainder of her life. She hosted a Paris salon, where the leading figures of modernism in literature and art, such as Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sinclair Lewis, Ezra Pound, and Henri Matisse, would meet.

Upcoming dates for 2018:

January 27, 2018: Gertrude Stein
February 24, 2018: Wislawa Szymborska
March 31, 2018: Claudia Rankine
April 28, 2018: Frank O'Hara
May 26, 2018: Gerard Manley Hopkins
June 30, 2018: TBD

For further information, visit
o nominate a poet for discussion or volunteer to moderate, contact:
Christine Beck


The Author's Table

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.


Melvin Douglas Wilson
Jimmy’s Got a Gun — Crash Brothers Forever

January 20, 1-4 pm

Melvin Douglas Wilson’s new book, “Jimmy’s Got a Gun — Crash Brothers Forever” addresses gang and gun violence in urban settings. Wilson brings a moral message and suggest spiritual solutions to these social problems.
He will have books available to sign and sell.


Bridging Cultures Nicaragua Reading Group

ROOM 141, Downtown
Wednesday January 17, 12:30-1:30 PM

Join us for a discussion of seven Nicaraguan short stories from the period 1969 to 1986 by seven Nicaraguan authors, among them Sergio Ramirez, pictured0 and Pablo Antonio Cuadra. Dealing with a wide range of topics such as poverty, the Somozan dictatorship, and cattle-ranch culture,  these stories are from an often overlooked heritage of Nicaraguan fiction
Information: or


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 Door of No Return
Robert Charles Hudson

January 12-February 25, 2018
Opening reception: Friday, January 12, 5:30 pm
Artist Talk: Saturday, February 3, 11am

As an artist I journey through my memories for inspiration. This show, The Door of No Return, was inspired by the memory of my sister, Barbara Hudson. She first told me about The Door of No Return through her personal journey to the Ivory Coast where she experienced “The House of Slaves,” a pagoda-like structure where enslaved Africans were kept before their cruel journey to a new world. Her stories stayed with me for many years. This came into sharper focus when I went to Brooklyn and saw a play that related to The Door of No Return. The set design sparked a desire in me to recreate this tragic structure that speaks to man’s inhumanity to man. With my work, I am re-envisioning the last scene before they embarked on this horrific journey to the unknown. And, even in this brutal attempt to strip away their humanity, the human spirit could not be destroyed. The story of this journey is a story of faith. If our collective memory teaches us anything, it is that our history repeats.

Special thanks to the Edward C. & Ann T. Roberts Foundation for its support of our 2017-2018 ArtWalk season.

Historical Hartford Views

on display through March 2018

“Historical Hartford Views” are acrylic landscapes painted by Hartford artist TR Colletta in 1980. Paintings were purchased by Howard Fromson and hung in his Rockville, CT company Anocoil. Presstek LLC purchased Anocoil in 2016 and donated the paintings to Hartford Public Library in the fall of 2017 under the guidance of Howard and Sandy Fromson.

Painting: State Street, Hartford 1920. 

The Poster As Art

on display through January 2018

Posters and broadsides, held in the Hartford History Center’s permanent collection, date from mid-18th century to present day and are a vibrant expression of Hartford’s community life.  The diverse range of selected events on exhibit took place in Hartford, 1969 – 2017.

Hartford Creates:
Printmaking in 2017

1250 Albany Avenue
January 23 
– March 2
Opening Reception January 23, 6-8 pm

Prints created in a six-week workshop run by artist Robert Charles Hudson will be on display.  Hudson will explain the print-making process and describe the work of his students at the opening.
Thanks to Ensworth Charitable Foundation for its support of Lifelong Learning for Older Adults classes.


Barnum & Bailey Circus

December 11, 2017 – January 20, 2018

In anticipation of the film, The Greatest Showman, the Dwight Branch Library will display historical images of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus courtesy of the Hartford History Center at Hartford Public Library. The film follows circus producer and Connecticut native P.T. Barnum, who was born in Bethel and buried in Bridgeport, CT. During the final exhibit week (January 16-20, 2018), an original Hartford circus poster will be on display.

Image: Hartford Times photograph by Marshall Wice, circa 1970s. Hartford History Center, Hartford Public Library


When Hartford's Melting Pot Turned Brown:
The Puerto Ricanization of Frog Hollow

Photographs by Robert Pawlowski

September 15 – January 2018

From 1900 to approximately 1965, Hartford’s Frog Hollow neighborhood was a bustling industrial village, home to some of Hartford’s most famous manufacturers including Pratt and Whitney, Billings and Spencer and Pope Manufacturing. Because of its mix of ethnic factory workers including Irish, Swedes, Germans, English, Lithuanians, and French Canadians, it was often called Hartford’s “melting pot.” But by the 1960s, its major industries began to shut down leading to its decline. By 1975, when the first of these photographs were taken, the neighborhood had reached a low point. Between 1975 and 2000, the Frog Hollow Puerto Rican population grew from 10% to 72%. Pawlowski shows through photographs that the Puerto Ricanization of Frog Hollow brought a revitalized Park Street, rehabilitated housing, safer streets, political power, and cultural exposure.


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 Click "Playlists" and then find "Chief Teale's The Tools of Learning."

Citizenship Test Prep

Programs Times Pending.

Each class will focus on many of the 100 citizenship test civics questions. We encourage the community to join us for these lively interactive activities and discussions. The classes are open for U.S. citizens who want to improve their own knowledge of U.S. Civics or enhance their skills to tutor new arrivals on their paths to citizenship.

Information: 860-695-6316 and