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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.



Creative Aging

Creative Aging in America’s Libraries

Beginning in fall 2015, four distinct eight-week Creative Aging in America's Libraries workshops for adults 55+ will launch at multiple Hartford Public Library locations: Camp Field, Dwight and Park branches, and the Downtown Library.

Simply Crazy Quilting Class

Date: Mondays, October 12 – December 7, 2015, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Location: Downtown Library (500 Main Street)

Join local quilter and teaching artist Irma Nelson for a free, 8 week quilting workshop. Designed for both absolute beginners and quilters with some experience, this creative aging program for adults 55+ will provide instruction in the basic aspects of traditional quilting. Participants will complete a 27 ½" square quilt project to display at a reception after the last class. Materials will be provided. Registration is full. Please contact Sarah at 860-695-6377 or email for more information. Click here for more information.

Photography & Creativity: A Digital Photography Workshop Series

Date: Tuesdays, September 29 – November 17, 2015 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Location: Camp Field Branch (30 Campfield Avenue)

In “Photography & Creativity: A Digital Photography Workshop Series” at the Camp Field Branch, participants will learn the basic operations of a compact digital camera, including settings, how to review photos in camera, how to delete unwanted photos in camera, memory card function, and methods of downloading digital images from the camera. Once comfortable with camera usage, students will then learn how to “see” through the camera lens through a series of exercises and discussions. To register, please call 860-695-7440. Click here for more information.

Creative Aging in America's Libraries is supported by a National Leadership Grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services in collaboration with Lifetime Arts, Inc., AARP Foundation, American Library Association and Westchester Library System.


Dan Kennedy on Piano

“First Night” Piano Performance with Dan Kennedy

Date: December 31, 2015—3:30 PM & 4:15 PM
Location: Downtown Library, Atrium

Hartford Public Library and First Night Hartford present a New Year’s Eve performance by pianist, composer and recording artist Dan Kennedy, with contemporary solo piano music in the soaring downtown Atrium.

Mr. Kennedy will usher in 2016 with two performances on the library’s baby grand piano at 3:30 PM and 4:15 PM.


Salsa Social

Salsa Socials

Date: Every Third Tuesday, 6:00 p.m.
Location: Downtown Library Atrium

Salsa socials are back at HPL! Join us for an open session welcoming dancers of all levels, free of charge! No partner or experience needed. Dancing and teaching for over twenty years, Rey Bermudez will share his passion for salsa at these open dance sessions.

October 20, November 17, December 15.



Poets on Poetry: Selected Poems of Richard Wilbur

Date: Saturday, November 28, 2015
Location: Downtown Library, Hartford History Center, 10:15 AM—12:15 PM

November’s program, “Selected Poems of Richard Wilbur” will be moderated by Maria Sassi, prize winning poet, playwright and author of Rooted in Stars. Monthly gatherings of the Connecticut Poetry Society are free and open to the public. Discussion will include “Love Calls Me to the Things of this World.”

For further information, visit


Beyond The Podium

Beyond the Podium Science Conversation Series

Date: December 7, 2015, 12:00 PM
Location: Downtown Library, Hartford History Center, 3rd Floor

Join Hartford Public Library and the Connecticut Science Center for our next lunchtime conversation, “Pay Attention: Growing Up with a Diagnosis of ADHD and other Childhood Neuropsychiatric Disorders.”

Dr. Jessica Lennington, postdoctoral fellow at Yale School of Medicine will lead the discussion that begins at 12:00 noon.

Bring a lunch and join the conversation!


Frank Sinatra

Sinatra and Me: The Very Good Years—Author Talk with Franz Douskey

Date: December 10, 2015—6:00 PM
Location: Downtown Library, Hartford History Center, 3rd Floor

In recognition of the 100th birthday of the 'Chairman of the Board', Connecticut writer Franz Douskey recounts the decades-long relationship of Tony Consiglio, founder of Sally’s Pizza in New Haven, and Frank Sinatra, one of the most iconic entertainers of the 20th century. Not many people were allowed inside Frank Sinatra’s inner circle, but Tony "The Clam" Consiglio was a boyhood pal of Sinatra’s who remained his friend and confidant for over sixty years. Writer Franz Douskey presents Consiglio's story....from the man who “knew Sinatra better than anyone.”


Authors Table

The Author’s Table

Hartford Public Library is pleased to introduce The Author’s Table, an opportunity for local writers to showcase their latest publication and connect with downtown library visitors.

Hartford Public Library will publicize your scheduled appearance and will make available your book in the circulating collection, in a special section for local authors. Hartford authors will be given first consideration.

Please contact the Cultural Affairs Department at 860.695.6322 for more information.  


Steel and War

This Month at The Author’s Table

An opportunity to visit with local authors and discuss their published works. The Author’s Table is set monthly at the downtown library, 500 Main Street.

Books will be available for purchase.

Fay Taylor---Steel: A Memoir by Fay Taylor
November 5

Steel is a story of triumph over adversity. It is about a woman whose faith and courage help her remain steadfast like steel after a fall that results in a broken back and severe spinal cord injuries. Plus a series of tragedies for her and her family, which takes everything they have to combat each new challenge. It is an inspiration to all who have to live with or care for someone with severe spinal cord injuries, and is a testament to the power of family and unconditional love.

David Drury—Hartford in World War I
November 21

A chronological narrative that looks at Hartford and Hartford County during the period of the Great War. It begins with chapters that examine the war’s impact on the area from its outbreak, in August 1914 until the U.S. entry into the great conflict in April 1917. Lengthy chapters follow on home front developments during the war and the experiences of local men and women who served, or volunteered. The final two chapters detail the return to peacetime and various memorials left by the generation who fought the war. Manuscript includes notes, bibliography and index and approximately 70 photographs drawn from Connecticut State Library and area collections.


If you require special accommodations for participation, please call 860-695-6320 two weeks prior to the event.



On my mind

“Hartford on My Mind: Words and Images from 550 Main Street” Exhibit

Date: September 19-November 30
Location: Downtown Library, 3rd floor

The City of Hartford’s iconic Municipal Building turns 100 years old on November 4, and serves as the inspiration for a special exhibit from participants of Hartford Public Library’s Arts & Archives spring workshop, geared toward adults who wish to explore and develop their creative abilities.

Guided by master artists, poet Kate Rushin and photographer Karen O’Maxfield, participants in the “Hartford on My Mind: Words and Images from 550 Main Street” classes were challenged to create original compositions using poetry and photography as their tools.



Road Not Taken

The Road Not Taken Exhibit

Date: October 12—November 30
Location: Downtown Library, 1st Floor

A photo essay of incarcerated men from the Cheshire Correctional Institution will be on display in conjunction with the Library’s One Book One Hartford programming on James Baldwin’s novel If Beale Street Could Talk (1974).

The Road Not Taken gives voice to those behind prison walls and the opportunity to share their stories. Special thanks to Thea Montanez for creating this exhibit



Famous Hispanics

“Famous Hispanics on United States Postage Stamps” Exhibit

Date: October 2 – November 30, 2015
Location: Downtown Library, 2nd floor

In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, this colorful exhibit features over 30 illustrated United States Postage Stamps that honor Roberto Clemente, Desi Arnaz, Julia De Burgos, Richie Valens, Cesar Chavez and milestones in Hispanic culture and history. Special thanks to the Connecticut General Assembly’s Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission.


Famous Hispanics

Making Freedom--The Life of Venture Smith: In His Own Voice

Date: October 24, 2015----to February 29, 2016
Location: Hartford History Center, Downtown Library, 3rd floor, 500 Main Street

Hartford History Center, in partnership with the Documenting Venture Smith Project, is proud to present Making Freedom—The Life of Venture Smith: In His Own Voice, an exhibit that tells the story of a unique American, originally an African prince who was enslaved in the 18th century by New England traders, labored in bondage for 25 years, purchased his own freedom, wrote a narrative of his life and became a respected businessman in Connecticut.

Chandler Saint, co-director of the Documenting Venture Smith Project and co-author of Venture Smith—Making Freedom will deliver remarks, as well as Dr. Robert P. Forbes of Yale University, author of The Missouri Compromise and Its Aftermath: Slavery and the Meaning of America.

Join us for an opening reception in the Hartford History Center for our latest exhibit! New date!

(Please note: Exhibit date and reception postponed from original date by request of the exhibitor).

Exhibit on view from October 24, 2015—to February 29, 2016  




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.