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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.



Cindy J. Cadet

The Brownie Kid Squad and The Best Day Ever
October 22nd, 2 to 5 pm
What child doesn't like to have fun?  Join Zola, the Brownie Girl, and the Brownie Kid Squad as they experience a wonderful adventure.
Zola's friends are cool and different.  You don't want to miss this great friendship experience. They explore, work together, and bond in a very special way.
Meet & greet with Cindy J. Cadet!

Chief Teale's Tools of Learning

Mondays & Wednesdays, 6-6:45 pm
8 weeks, beginning Mon. Oct. 24
Hartford History Center

> Focusing on how to learn, understand, and remember information for both academic and professional success
> Classes are progressive in nature
> Free to beginning and advanced readers ages 18+
> Registration is required; call 860.695.6320

Retired Hartford Fire Chief Charles A. Teale Sr. is on a mission to teach Hartford adults his motivational tools for learning, based on one simple belief: You should never teach anyone anything unless you have first taught them how to learn, how to understand, and how to remember that information.

#improvesheff Design Challenge

October 22nd, 9:00 am
Center for Contemporary Culture

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of Sheff vs. O'Neill, the Connecticut Supreme Court case that resulted in a landmark decision regarding civil rights and the right of education, the Sheff Movement organization is hosting a design challenge to promote meaningful public discourse and engagement. This community exercise will include parents, students, educators, policymakers, scholars, business leaders, artists, school designers, and public education supporters.

Learn more about this challenge at To register and participate, click here.













Poets on Poetry Series

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


Sylvia Plath presented by Mark Sheridan

Saturday, October 22, 10:15 am-12:15 pm

Sylvia Plath, a New England-born poet, struggled with depression for much of her brief life, and produced the bulk of her haunting poetry in a manic burst of creativity just before her suicide.  Mark Sheridan will lead the discussion of the analysis of Sylvia Plath’s October Poems, including “Fever 103,” “Lady Lazarus,” “Daddy,” and “The Arrival of the Bee Box.” The group will enhance their appreciation of Plath’s unique fusion of the confessional, feminist, and gothic genres.

Mark Sheridan has previously taught at-risk inner-city high school students in New Jersey and has been studying and writing poetry full-time since 2013, after a long career as an international investment banker.  He holds a PhD in Modern History & Literature from Drew University.

Gwendolyn Brooks presented by Kate Rushin

Saturday, November 26, 10:15 am-12:15 pm

Gwendolyn Brooks was the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer when she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1950, for her second collection, Annie Allen.  Kate Rushin will lead a discussion of Brooks’ poetry, including “We Real Cool”.

Kate Rushin holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Brown University, and is the author of The Black Back-Ups, and My Lord, What a Morning, poems in honor of Marian Anderson.  Kate serves on The CT Young Writers Trust and the CT Poetry Circuit at Manchester Community College, and has previously run poetry workshops at Hartford Public Library and Poetry Out Loud workshops for the CT Humanities Foundation.

Spoken Word Workshops
with Iron Poets

Barbour Branch
Tuesday, Sept. 27 & Thursday, Sept. 29, 4:30 - 6 pm

Park Branch
Monday, Oct. 3 & Tuesday 4, 4:30 – 6 pm

Blue Hills Branch
Wednesday, Oct. 5, 4:30-6 pm & Friday, Oct. 7, 3:30-5 pm

Ropkins Branch
Monday Oct. 24 & Wednesday Oct. 26, 4-5:30 pm



MK Asante, Buck: A Memoir
book talk & signing

Tuesday, October 25, 5:30-7:30 pm
Center for Contemporary Culture

MK Asante is a best-selling author, award-winning filmmaker, rapper, and professor who CNN calls “a master storyteller and major creative force.” He will be discussing one of his four books, Buck: A Memoir, which was praised by Maya Angelou as “A story of surviving and thriving with passion, compassion, wit, and style.” Buck made the Washington Post best-seller list in 2014 and 2015 and is a NAACP Image Award finalist. Asante is a prize-winning filmmaker and a Sundance™ Screenwriting Fellow for the movie adaptation of Buck. Asante is a Distinguished Professor-in-Residence at the MICA School of Ideas in India and a tenured professor of creative writing and film at Morgan State University.

Books will be for sale & light refreshments will be served.

Check out Buck book trailer here!

Download Buck soundtrack for free!  

Candidate Forum: U.S. House of Representatives

Wednesday, October 26, 5:30-7:30 pm
Center for Contemporary Culture

Join Hartford Votes/Hartford Vota Coalition and the League of Women Voters for a forum featuring the candidates for Connecticut's 1st District, U.S. House of Representatives: Incumbent John B. Larson (D) and challengers Matthew M. Corey (R) and S. Michael DeRosa (G).

Light refreshments will be served.

The Fragrance That Remains:
A Memoir-Writing Experience for Older Adults with Author Cindy Brown Austin

Tuesdays, 5:30-7:30 pm: October 4, 11, 18, 25 and November 1 and 15 (no class November 8)
Hartford History Center

The Fragrance That Remains is a series of six memoir-writing workshops designed to create a unique and inspiring literary adventure for older adults aged 55 and up who are interested in becoming better acquainted with the methods and forms of memoir writing. Workshops will help writers sift through their treasury of personal memories in order to identify and share the sacred experiences and milestones of their lives. Workshops will be led by teaching artist and local author Cindy Brown Austin.

Class size is limited; registration required. Register today! Call 860.695.6297 or email to register.

Support made possible by Ensworth Charitable Trust Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee.

A Celebration of Textiles:
A Reception with the
Hartford Artisan Weavers and
Simply Crazy Quilters

Wednesday, October 26, 12-1:30 pm

The Hartford Artisans Weaving Center is a non-profit organization that teaches and promotes the craft of handweaving to the community, especially committed to persons with low or no vision and those 55 years of age and older. Their exhibition at Hartford Public Library runs until October 31.

The Simply Crazy Quilting Classes met for eight weeks each under the instruction of teaching artist Irma Nelson. The energetic and enthusiastic classes worked hard to learn the basics of quilting, and their final projects showcase their dedication and creativity. Their crazy quilts have been exhibited throughout the city of Hartford.

Reception is free and open to the public.

The 21st Annual Wallace Stevens Birthday Bash

Saturday, November 5, 2016, 2:00pm; Center for Contemporary Culture

The Friends & Enemies of Wallace Stevens and Hartford Public Library are hosting the annual Wallace Stevens birthday celebration, featuring a keynote presentation by Paul Mariani, author of The Whole Harmonium, The Life of Wallace Stevens (2016).

This festive and illuminating celebration of the work of Hartford poet Wallace Stevens will conclude with a book signing and birthday cake.    

Paul Mariani is a University Professor of English emeritus at Boston College, and has published over 250 essays and 18 books, including biographies of William Carlos Williams, John Berryman, Robert Lowell, Hart Crane, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Wallace Stevens.  He is the recipient of the John Ciardi Award for Lifetime Achievement in Poetry and taught for thirty years at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, an annual gathering of writers and poets since 1926. 

For more information, visit:

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




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.

Sandra Bender Fromson and Ellen Schiffman

Open through November 27, 2016

Sandra Bender Fromson is primarily a fiber artist whose work incorporates felting, weaving, quilting, embroidery, and dyeing  and she takes her inspiration for materials, colors, and textures from nature. Her textile pieces are presented in the context of their creation; her floor loom, shuttles, and garment patterns are part of the display.

Ellen Schiffman, a fiber artist working sculpturally, spent a year filling a shadow box per week with explorations of methods and materials. The resulting 52-box visual diary, presented as a cohesive whole and employing both traditional and experimental techniques, questions the boundaries of what fiber art can be.



Stretching the Limits of Plain Weave:
Hartford Artisans Weaving Center Exhibit

August 31—October 31

The Hartford Artisans Weaving Center is a non-profit organization that teaches and promotes the craft of handweaving to the community, especially committed to persons with low or no vision and those 55 years of age and older.

This exhibit features works created with the “plain weave” technique.  Although plain weave is the simplest fabric to create, the artisans explored complex color variations, texture differences, and spacing changes to create different effects and distinct designs.

Items will be offered for sale and proceeds benefit the work of the Hartford Artisans Weaving Center.  The HAWC is supported in part by the Greater Hartford Arts Council’s United Arts Campaign and the United Way Community Campaign.



Puerto Rican Pride in Hartford:
Parade, Pageant, and Flag 1967 - 1996

On view in the Hartford History Center through October 20

Join us in celebrating Hartford's Puerto Rican community through archival images and video of Puerto Rican parades and the coinciding Miss Puerto Rico Connecticut pageant housed in the Hartford History Center. Images, spanning 1967 - 1996, were selected from the Hartford Times collection and Tony Debonee photograph collections. Video on view is from the 1969 Butch Lewis video collection, which is also available online in Hartford History Center's digital repository.

Image: Willimantic group marches in the parade. Ten additional Connecticut towns were represented in the September 28, 1969 parade. Hartford Times photograph by David Ploss, published September 29, 1969. Hartford History Center Collection.

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.