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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:

June 2019 Adult Calendar

July 2019 Adult Calendar

June 2019 Teen Calendar

July 2019 Teen Calendar

June 2019 Youth Calendar

July 2019 Youth Calendar


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




Storytime in the Park

Monday, July 15, 11 am - 12 noon
Monday, August 12, 11 am - 12 noon
Bushnell Park (Near the Carousel)

Join us for a great time in beautiful Bushnell Park. Enjoy fun games and activities and then listen to a wonderful story, read by one of your favorite librarians from the Children's Department. Bring your blanket, relax with your family and friends and enjoy the great outdoors. 


Candidate Forum:

Candidates for Mayor of Hartford: Wednesday, June 26, doors open at 5:30 pm; Forum starts at 6 pm

Hartford Public Library and the Hartford Votes/Hartford Vota Coalition will host two forums for candidates running in the Hartford Democratic Primary on Tuesday, December 10. This is your chance to bring up your concerns and those of your neighborhood to the men and women who are running for the city's top political posts. For more information, call 860-201-6510.


Discussion & Reception: Hartford Circus Fire Remembrance

Thursday, June 27, 7-8 pm

Center for Contemporary Culture, Downtown Library

Join us for a conversation about the Hartford Circus Fire, which occurred 75 years ago, on July 6, 1944. 167 people were killed, many of them children, in Hartford’s greatest tragedy. Over 700 were injured. Stewart O’Nan, author of The Circus Fire: A True Story of an American Tragedy, HPL CEO Bridget Quinn-Carey, and a special guest will discuss the events surrounding the fire and how it changed Hartford and the “Big-Top Circus” forever. Free and open to the public.


Before the discussion, a special reception with Stewart O’Nan to benefit the library will be held from 5:30-6:30 in the Hartford History Center, third floor, Downtown Library. Tickets are now available for $25 (Link: Light refreshments will be served.



COATED: 1944 Hartford Circus Fire Project
Excerpt & panel discussion

Tuesday, July 9, 5:30 - 7:30 pm

Downtown Library, Atrium

Open Ring Circus will present a public excerpt of their new contemporary circus show inspired by the 1944 Hartford Circus Fire followed by a panel discussion with survivors and prominent community members including former Hartford fire chief Charles A. Teale Sr. and co-author of A Matter of Degree, Don Massey.

Open Ring Circus is a collective of young contemporary circus artists led by Connecticut born artist Jack Kavanagh. In honor of the fire’s 75th anniversary, Open Ring created a 90 min show which combines circus acrobatics, theater, dance and original sound design. With support from the Connecticut Arts Council, the collective has focused the past 9 months on researching the event and creating the show, including visiting the Hartford Public Library's Hartford History Center archives.



Chicago Steppin' Dance Classes 

Mondays through End of June  |  6 pm - 7 pm

Atrium, Downtown Library, 500 Main Street

Open to beginners and all levels! Come by for a Chicago Style Steppin Dance Class by the Hartford City Steppers. Taught by experienced instructors Princeton Hayes and Jannett Jennings. This is a partnered dance class, but all are welcome to come as individuals, a couple, or a group.

African American Literature Book Club

Monthly 1st Tuesdays
6-7:30 pm, Classroom 141, Downtown

July 2: Minority Leader: How to Lead from the Outside and Make Change, by Edna Jordon

August 6: Hopes and Expectations: The Origins of the Black Middle Class in Hartford, by Suzanne Holliday-Thomas

Sept. 3: The Sellout: A Novel, by Paul Beatty

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




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
To nominate a poet for discussion or volunteer to moderate, contact:
Christine Beck




Linda Martin, Sharing Stories

Reception: Saturday, August 17, 2-4pm
On Display June - September 2019 

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.



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: Brian McClear's Beyond Surface

Exhibit runs May 17 - June 29

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

Artist Brian McClear’s new exhibit “Beyond Surface” makes maximum use of the unique space that is the ArtWalk at Hartford Public Library (HPL). Walk through it one way and you’re viewing “Discards & Discovery,” an exhibit of coupled still-lifes. Walk the other way and you’ll see “Ink & Oil,” a series of soulful portraits. Though quite distinct, McClear said both exhibits “challenge the viewer to look beyond the surface, whether considering everyday objects or the people they meet.”

A native of Ohio, McClear began painting in his youth and earned a Masters of Fine Arts degree from Columbus College of Art and Design. He came to Connecticut over 25 years ago and soon made a name for himself as a freelance illustrator. He later took a position at the small marketing firm of Adams & Knight over 20 years ago and has since helped to build it into one of the major players in the region’s advertising and marketing scene. After years in front of a computer screen, McClear returned to painting with renewed maturity. The result is “Beyond Surface.” 

 “Beyond Surface” is funded by the Bank of America and the Edward C. & Ann T. Roberts Foundation.

Photo Gallery: Around The World

On Display through June
X-Room, 1st floor, Downtown Library

Visit Hartford photographer Viviane Grady's exhibit "Around the World," featuring 27 framed photos from around the world including photos from Morocco, Tibet and Rome. On display this Spring. Viviane Grady is a Montreal native, who has been living in Hartford  for the last nineteen years since her return from South East Asia, where she spent eight years.


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."