7 New Park Avenue
Hartford, CT 06106
Mon, Tue, Thu 12:30 to 5:30 pm
Wed 12:30 to 7:30 pm
Fri 12:30 to 5:00 pm
Dwight Branch is the oldest of the branches, established in 1907 when it was opened in the South School District Building. It was established at the request of the public, and named in honor of Henry C. Dwight who was chairman of the district committee and instrumental in leading the effort.
The branch was located for many years in the New Park Avenue School. In November 1928, it moved to rented quarters on Park Street, and then to 1893 Park Street in January 1975. In April 1979, the Branch was relocated to the new Parkville Elementary School at 7 New Park Avenue.
The Dwight Branch regularly holds story times for the following local daycare groups: Trinity Child Care Center, multiple classrooms at CRT on Grace Street, Our Lady of Fatima Daycare, and Parkville Daycare. Dwight staff has participated in read-alouds at the Parkville Elementary School and also attends first day of school activities. Once a month, members of the Parkville Senior Center gather for a book discussion group. Dwight staff regularly gives orientation sessions to ESOL classes from Literacy Volunteers. The branch works closely with the Parkville Senior Center, Parkville Revitalization Association, Parkville Community Association, Parkville Problem Solving Committee, Parkville Business Association, Real Art Ways, and the Parkville Community Organizer.
Parkville’s community organizations have been working on several projects that will affect the neighborhood, presuming funding becomes available. The I-84 Bus-way, planned to run from New Britain to Hartford, will have two bus depots in the neighborhood. One of the bus depots will be located at the corner of Park Street and Francis Avenue; the second will be at the Stop and Shop Supermarket. Some of the streetscape improvements recommended by the Picture It Better Together Committee of the Parkville Revitalization Association have been completed in 2009: plantings, proposed drop-off site at Parkville Elementary School, and clearly demarcated crosswalks.
The potential for a Parkville Family Center funded by the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving’s Brighter Futures Initiative would result in a place for families to get parental support, engage in parent/child activities, and learn how to better participate in their community.
According to the interim findings from the Parkville Economic Opportunities Report, stakeholders in the neighborhood cited the following specific needs as critical: improve streetscape with curbs, sidewalks, and landscaping; increase parking for both Park Street and Bartholomew Avenue; support redevelopment of Bartholomew Avenue for commercial/industrial reuse and expansion; establish stronger and better identity for Parkville and the business corridor; improve gateways into Parkville; strengthen marketing/merchandising efforts of businesses; increase public transportation options and hours to better serve the community; improve traffic congestion around Parkville Elementary School; remove blight and reuse abandoned or deteriorated buildings; promote home ownership in the neighborhood to provide for increased stabilization; and strengthen dialogue and communication with city and other neighborhood organizations as a means of securing resources for on-going development.
The branch is currently closed for renovation and an expansion that will add over 1,000 sq. ft. to the existing facility. The project has been approved for a $500,000 State Library Construction Grant, and the City of Hartford has appropraited an additional $1M to complete the project.
The Dwight Branch is open 26 ½ hours a week, including Wednesday evenings until 7:30 P.M. The youth librarians partner with the Parkville Boys And Girls Club by presenting workshops and programs of current interest to upper elementary school students. Morning story hours are provided to Parkville Day Care, CRT, and the day care at Our Lady of Fatima Church. The Dwight Branch participates in the free Summer Lunch Program, which served nearly 10,000 lunches throughout the Hartford Public Library system in 2011. The staff facilitates a monthly meeting of a Senior Book Club at the Dwight Branch Library. Book Club participants have been eager to select books, authors, and titles with some cultural relevance to their age and life experiences. The six public access computers attract adults interested in Internet searching and job information. An additional six laptops have been added for computer instruction classes that focus on teaching Microsoft Office basics. The library participates in voter registration and actively encourages adult library card applicants to register.