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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.

Dinner and a Story
Two Right Feet

Monday, March 19, 6-7 pm
Children’s Department, 3rd Floor, Downtown

Hannah Demmerle reads to the bass guitar beat provided by her father, Garrett, in this interactive program for children.
A raffle and dinner follows.
Please sign up at the Children’s desk.


Draw a Hartford History Maker:
Community Exhibition

Opening Reception
Rescheduled to Tuesday, March 20, 6-8 pm

ALBANY BRANCH, 1250 Albany Ave.

In February 2016, the Hartford History Center at Hartford Public Library's project, So Much More Than a Month, highlighted the lives of African Americans who made a difference in the Hartford community. In 2017, we asked area artists, of all ages and working in all media, to create portraits of these black visionaries and change-makers in our city. 

The resulting prints were exhibited in the Hartford History Center from February 2017 through the summer and for each day of the month of February, posted on the Hartford History Center's Instagram (@hartfordhistory) and Facebook page.

Enjoy a selection of prints at the Albany Branch Library selected by Albany Branch staff.  

Lucy Cooper Summers (1920-1995). Portrait by D. Racine.

ArtWalk Book Club: The Hours

The Hours by Michael Cunningham
Led by Louise Blalock

Thursday, March 22, 5:30-7 pm
Hartford History Center, 3rd Floor, Downtown

Louise Blalock, former head librarian of Hartford Public Library, will lead a discussion about “The Hours” by Michael Cunningham in our ArtWalk book club.

The novel won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.  It is inspired by Virginia Woolf’s novel, “Mrs. Dalloway”where a woman has breakfast, goes out to buy flowers, and prepares for a party. Cunningham’s novel centers on three women in three time periods: Woolf in 1923 in suburban Richmond, England, who is writing “Dalloway”; Laura Brown, a pregnant housewife in 1949 Los Angeles who is reading “Dalloway”and baking a birthday cake for her husband; and Clarissa Vaughan, who goes out to buy flowers for a party she is thowing for her gay friend, Richard.
Woolf’s original title for “Dalloway” was “The Hours.”

Please register for the discussion with Mackenzie Callahan,


Oral History Workshop 2

Saturday, March 24, 2-4 pm

Interested in collecting oral histories in your neighborhood?

Learn the techniques with public humanities professor and oral history specialist at Williams College, Dr. Annie Valk. Dr. Valk is author of Radical Sisters: Second-Wave Feminism and Black Liberation in Washington, D.C. (University of Illinois Press, 2008), which won the Richard Wentworth Prize; and, Living with Jim Crow: African American and Memories of the Segregated South (Palgrave, 2010), a collection of oral history interviews edited with Professor Leslie Brown and winner of the annual book award issued by the Oral History Association.

To register for this free workshop, email Jasmin Agosto at You do not have to have attended the first workshop in order to attend this workshop.


Mommy And Me Yoga Class

Monday, March 26, 11:45 am to 1 pm
Children’s Department, 3rd Floor, Downtown

Mothers with babies up to 11 months old are invited to a gentle yoga class run by West Hartford Yoga.
Mats will be provided.
Please sign up at the Children’s desk.


The Big Read
Claudia Rankine's Citizen: An American Lyric
March 20 Launch

Join us as we kick off our celebration of Claudia Rankine’s “Citizen: An American Lyric,” Hartford Public Library’s choice as “The Big Read” for 2018, an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

Artist Zulynette Morales is holding two painting workshops in the Downtown Atrium from 3:30 to 5 pm and 6-7:30 pm. All materials will be provide. Artwork will be on display in the library through April 26.

Register in advance with Sarah Pelletier at 860-695-6377 or

All branches will have large foam boards with quotes from the book. Participants can share their reactions and thoughts on the boards.

See programs here.

The Big Read
Poetry Workshops

YOUmedia, Downtown
Albany, 1250 Albany Avenue

Poets Britanna "Versatile Poetia" Tatum, Zulynettet Morales, and Khaiim "Self Suffice" Kelly (pictured), are running writing workshops for teens, inspired by the themes in "Citizen: An American Lyric."  Young poets, ages 13-19, are invited to participate and enter their poems, lyrics, essays or prose based on their experiences with microagression.  Some will be chosen to present in front of author Claudia Rankine at the keynote ceremony in April 26. 

Workshop schedule: YOUmedia on March 6, 6-7:30 pm,  March 14, 5-6:30 pm, and March 22, 6:30 to 8 pm. Albany, March 27, April 3, April 10, 4-5:30 pm.

The Big Read

Dance Workshops

Arien Wilkerson, Tnmot Aztro
11 am-1 pm, March 24, April 7, 14, 21
Tainted Studios, 56 Arbor Street

Arien Wilkerson, who leads  Tnmot Aztro Performance Art and Dance Installation, is holding four Saturday dance workshops inspired by the themes of “Citizen: An American Lyric.” Those completing the four sessions will be invited to perform on April 26 at the  keynote ceremonies. Tnmot Aztro will create the visual landscape of the performance set, sounds, props, sculptures, audience seating, technical runs, and lighting with help of David Borawski and Rickey Silverspoon. Original films and artwork will be on display.

Register here

The Big Read: Walk About

Albany Branch, 1250 Albany Ave.
Thursday, April 19, 5:30 pm

Can you tell how someone thinks by looking at the way they walk? Does body language reveal what you think about yourself? Can it tell you something about others? Improvisational movement can give you a glimpse into what it’s like to be someone else’s shoes. Everyone is invited to an action packed, rhythmic, improvisational experience, guaranteed to get you thinking about how movement can bring us to a deeper understanding of our place as Citizens. 

Workshop run by Victoria Christgau, pictured, Executive Director of the CT Center for Nonviolence, and Warren Hardy, founder of HYPE.

The Big Read

Claudine Rankine
Keynote Address
Center for Contemporary Culture, Downtown
Thursday, April 26, 5:30-7 pm

Join Hartford Public Library as it celebrates Claudia Rankine’s “Citizen” in book groups, workshops exploring everyday macroaggressions, and poetry discussions, in its 2018 “The Big Read” program.

Rankine’s subject is race, particularly the racism felt by black people in America. Her 2014 book has the subtitle, “An American Lyric.”

Rankine will give a keynote address Thursday, April 26, at 5:30 pm in the Center for Contemporary Culture.

NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

Look here for more “Big Read” programming.

El Día del Niño

Saturday, April 28, 1-3 pm
Children’s, 3rd Floor, Downtown

Join us for El Día del Niño, Children’s Day, with books, crafts, entertainment and lunch. Author Pat Mora is the founder of the day which celebrates family literacy, celebrating children of all cultures. 

UConn Writing Center

Room 23, Ground Floor
Noon to 4 pm
Every Saturday

The Hartford UConn Writing Center is available to writers of any skill level working on any kind of project.  Visitors will receive an hour of one-on-one discussion about their project, their goals, and how their current material fits those plans. We are consultants who want to offer our experience as writers and readers to any who would like guidance, support, technical assistance, or anything else to do with growing as a writer. 

(No sessions on Saturday, February 17.)

Our Advisors:

Brianna McNish is a third-year Honors student at the University of Connecticut studying English with concentrations in Creative Writing and Teaching English. She is currently the fiction editor at Long River Review.
Jacob Horn is an Assistant Professor of English in Residence at the University of Connecticut. He has taught classes on academic writing and worked as a coordinator for creative writing groups and writers.



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 give a speech that is organized, has vocal variety and is inspiration.
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.Toastmasters

Poets on Poetry Series

The Connecticut Poetry Society's monthly poetry book discussion is free and open to the public.
For further information, visit
o nominate a poet for discussion or volunteer to moderate, contact:
Christine Beck


Claudia Rankine

Classroom 139, Downtown
Saturday, March 31, 10:15 am

Moderated by Poet Kate Rushin

Claudia Rankine's "Citizen: An American Lyric" is Hartford Public Library's "Big Read" choice for 2018. Poet Kate Rushin will lead the discussion of the Yale professor's book which is written in prose, poems and essays. Her subject is race and the daily microagressions experienced by black people in America.

Upcoming dates for 2018:

April 28, 2018: Frank O'Hara. Poet David Cappella will moderate.
May 26, 2018: Gerard Manley Hopkins.  Poet Rennie McQuilken will moderate.
June 30, 2018: Billy Collins. Poet Maria Sassi will moderate.


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.


Lisa Samia

"My Name Is John Singer"
Saturday, March 10, Noon-3 pm
Main Floor, Downtown

The novel is historical fiction which supposes Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth escapes a deadly fire and assumes a new identity.
Author Lisa Samia, pictured, lives in Avon. She will have books for sale.


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 Dress / Memory and Metaphor
Marilyn Parkinson Thrall

March 16–April 29, 2018

Opening Reception: March 16, 5:30pm

ArtWalk Book Club: "The Hours"
Thursday, March 22, 5:30-7 pm

Women's Gathering & Artist Talk
Thursday, April 12, 5:30

Marilyn Parkinson Thrall’s sculptures have moved from figures to clothing. She creates dresses void of figure to represent the space between our public and private lives.  How we look and what we wear determines who we are in the public eye. She works in monochromatic tones to give the sculptures a ghostlike quality.

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


Breaking Barriers

February 27 - through April 2018

Enjoy a selection of images and quotes of African American leaders and changemakers who've made a difference across America. Content was curated by the Hartford History Center at Hartford Public Library from Aetna's recent publication Breaking Barriers: Celebrating 35 years of the Aetna African American History Calendar. Books are also on display at each Hartford Public Library branch.

Black Panther Art Display

Through March 2018
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.

Read the Courant’s coverage here.


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 March 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.

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