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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.

Jump to: Programs / Exhibits / Hip Hop Nation

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

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 860.695.6322 for more information.

Susan Harrison Rashid

Beneath a Shooting Star
Wednesday, January 11, noon to 3 pm

In 1971, two girls are born in Lahore, Pakistan, Nadira into a Sunni family, and Hameeda to a Shia family. The childhood friends are torn apart by their country’s sectarian strife. Years later they meet and have to choose whether they will resume their friendship or have their differences keep them apart. 

Patrina Dixon

It’$ My Money
Wednesday, January 18, 2 to 6 pm

This journal is the first in a series dedicated to financial literacy and money management.

“It’s My Money” is designed to help enrich teenagers with simple but smart financial information, and provides inspiring quotes and guided questions.








Dare to Dream: The Words of Martin Luther King Jr.

Wednesday, January 18
2 pm “The Bench” Performance Space, Main Floor
4 pm Albany Branch, 1250 Albany Ave.

In recognition of civil rights icon The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Hartford Public Library presents two dramatic performances of King’s speeches and writings, with New York-based actor David Mills. 

As MLK, Mills will deliver excerpts from “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, “Early Days”, “Be the Best”, “Promised Land”, “If I Had Sneezed” and the “I Have a Dream” speech from the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963.  Join us for an exploration of the public and private life of Dr,.King. 

Actor and writer David Mills lived as writer-in-residence at Langston Hughes’ landmark home in Harlem for three years, and has performed professionally in the dramatic and literary communities at City University of New York, Yale University, University of Pennsylvania, James Madison University, St. John’s, and SUNY Old Westbury.  Mills is also is a voiceover talent, and author of the best-selling book of poems “The Dream Detective.”   Mills graduated from Yale University, cum laude (‘88, Economics/Theater), and has recorded his poem “Ghost-town” on RCA jazz recording artist Steve Coleman’s album “Blank Science.”

Tertulia (Out Loud!):
Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven

Thursday, January 19, 6 pm

Happy birthday, Edgar Allan Poe! We continue the tradition of the informal literary gathering (or tertulia) with a reading followed by coffee and conversation. Join our collaborative reading as participant or spectator. Copies of the poem will be available at the event.



Draw a Hartford History-Maker:
A Black History Month Community Project
Opening Reception

Thursday, February 2
Hartford History Center

Last year, our project So Much More Than a Month highlighted the lives of African-Americans who made a difference in our community. This year, we asked for artists, of all ages and working in all media, to create portraits of these black visionaries and changemakers in our city.

The resulting prints will be exhibited in the Hartford History Center throughout February 2017. Please join us on Thursday, February 2 at 6 pm for an opening reception in honor of these black Hartford history-makers and the artists who volunteered to take part in this exhibition.

Image: Warner Lawson by Joel Agosto

Malcolm X: A Collaborative Reading

Tuesday, February 21
Hartford History Center

Refreshments 5:30 pm, program 6 pm

Join us in honoring Malcolm X on the anniversary of his passing, with a collaborative reading of his most influential works. Copies of various speeches and writings will be available at the event, but if you have a particular writing that resonates with you, please call 860-695-6377 and we will make sure to have it available. We welcome both participants and spectators!

UConn Writing Center at HPL

Wallace Stevens Writing Room, 3rd floor
Noon to 4 pm

Next Session: Feb. 4

First-Come, First-Served: please sign up upon arrival for about an hour of attention

Students, Graduate Students, and Professors from UConn Hartford. We are people interested in writing in all its forms. We believe the best writing comes as part of a dialogue.

You bring your writing to us and we discuss it with you. Any Stage of Writing: Planning, Drafting, or Revising—it’s all Welcome. Any Kind of Writing: Academic: Essays/Writing for Classes. Professional: Resumes, Cover Letters, Applications. Creative: Stories Long & Short, Poetry, Non-Fiction. Personal: Letters, Memoirs. Multiple Levels of Attention. Conceptual: Content, Theme, & Organization. Mechanical: Sentence Structure, Clarity, & Grammar.

Poets on Poetry Series

The Connecticut Poetry Society holds  its monthly poetry book group discussions on the fourth Saturday of the month at the downtown library from 10:15 am-12:15 pm.  Poets on Poetry is free and open to the public. For further information, visit

The Poetry of Wallace Stevens

Presented by Jim Finnegan
Saturday, January 28th, 10:15 am

Wallace Stevens was an insurance executive in Hartford who was most famous for his poetry and plays.

Jim Finnegan, a poet, is the founder of Friends and Enemies of Wallace Stevens.

The Poetry of Lucille Clifton

Presented by Jennifer Jean
Saturday, February 25th, 10:15 am

Lucille Clifton was Poet Laureate of Maryland, had her poems published by Langton Hughes in the anthology, The Poetry of the Negro in 1957, and was a visiting writer at Columbia University School of the Arts.

Jennifer Jean, a poet, is co-director of the Morning Garden Arts Retreats, a teaches at Boston area universities.

The Poetry of Elizabeth Bishop

Presented by John Stanizzi
Saturday, March 25th, 10:15 am

Elizabeth Bishop was an American poet and short story writer who won the Pulitzer Price for Poetry in 1956, the National Book Award in 1970, and the Neustadt International Price for Literature in 1976.
John Stanizzi, poet, teaches at Manchester Community College and has published several collections of poetry.




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.

Christine Dalenta and Benjamin Parker

January 13-February 26, 2017

Photographer Christine Dalenta and paper sculptor Benjamin Parker collaborate and practice an innovative combination of paper folding and photographic techniques, creating cameraless images through the action of light on folded light-sensitive paper.

Since the very beginning of photography, artists have placed three-dimensional objects onto light-sensitive paper to form a representation in two dimensions. This technique and its resulting images, known as photograms, are currently enjoying a resurgence in contemporary photography. Dalenta and Parker’s images are similar to photograms, but employ an original method where not only is there no camera, there is no object. The paper itself both modulates and records the light simultaneously.





Hip Hop Archival Exhibition

On view through January 20, 2017
Hartford History Center
Read more here

Join us in viewing our archival exhibition, “Hip Hop in Hartford: 1981 – 1991,” which features photographs, newspaper articles, footage, and fliers from Hartford’s early Hip Hop community. The exhibition will be on view until January 20, 2017 in the Hartford History Center on the 3rd floor of the downtown Hartford Public Library, Tuesday – Friday, 1-5pm or by appointment. We encourage visitors to share their own stories about Hip Hop culture in Hartford. Please contact Jasmin Agosto at if you would like to schedule a visit and discussion with your school group or organization. We would like to thank our partners, Real Art Ways and Tim Wolf, in loaning us collection items for this exhibition and The Fund for Greater Hartford for making this exhibition possible.




Honoring Art & Humanity:
Ghanaian Artisans Showcase

December 5, 2016-January 27, 2017

Cultural Corridor, 3rd Floor

The artisans of Ghana create hand-carved furnishings and unique products for the international market using traditional tools and employing centuries-old craftsmanship,

Julius Aboagye, founder of the African Heritage Collection, has forged a partnership with the highly-skilled indigenous Ghanaian artisans, which provides financial support for the artisans’ families and helps to sustain their trade and the environment.

The Road Not Taken:
A Do-It-Yourself Social Impact Project

On view at

The Road Not Taken was on view at the Hartford Public Library in the Fall of 2015. Exhibition co-producer Thea Montanez worked with her cousin, Eddie Delberto, who is serving 60 years at Cheshire Correctional Institution. He is a member of the Lifers Group. Childhood photos of lifers are accompanied by written descriptions or where and who they were when the photo was taken.

Hartford Public Library's Digital Art Tour

On view here

Join us on a tour of Hartford Public Library’s collection of visual art. The collection includes 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional works in both indoor and outdoor exhibition spaces. You’ll learn the history behind the works of art among which you live and work every day.

Hartford Times: Voices of Change

On view here

View the online exhibition documenting the Civil Rights movement in Hartford in the 1960s. Photos are from the Hartford Times, and include buses leaving Hartford in 1963 to attend Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream" speech in Washington DC, civil rights activists boarding a plane at Bradley Field to march in Selma and Montgomery, AL, and housing protests in the North End of Hartford in 1967.