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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.


Women History
Adrienne Rich

The Uncharted Path from Fear to Freedom: A Glimpse into the Life and Work of Adrienne Rich

Date: Saturday, March 28, 1:00 p.m.
Location: Downtown Library, Hartford History Center

In recognition of Women’s History Month (March) and National Poetry Month (April), Hartford Public Library and the Connecticut Poetry Society present a lecture and discussion on the life and work of American poet Adrienne Rich (1929-2012) led by Sarah Rizzuto, President of the New Haven Chapter of the Connecticut Poetry Society.

Poet, essayist and feminist Adrienne Rich published over a dozen collections of poetry during a 60-year career that began in 1951, while attending Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The lecture is part of an ongoing series of the global and local implications of “The Four Freedoms: 2015-2016” at Hartford Public Library.
Remarkable Women of Hartford

Remarkable Women of Hartford: Author Talk with Cynthia Boynton

Date: Wednesday, April 8, 6:00 p.m.
Location: Downtown Library, Hartford History Center

Connecticut's capital has served as home to some of the most influential women in the state's history, but few know the stories of their lives and their accomplishments. Nineteenth-century abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin became a catalyst for the Civil War; Ella Grasso was the first woman to be elected governor in the United States; Hartford Courant publisher Hannah Bunce Watson never skipped a single edition during the Revolutionary War and Rachel Taylor Milton was a founder of the Urban League of Greater Hartford. Through these and many more inspiring profiles, author and journalist Cynthia Wolfe Boynton chronicles the struggles and triumphs of some of Hartford's most remarkable women. Books will be available for purchase.



PoP Logo

Poets on Poetry Discussion Series

Join us for “Poets on Poetry”, a series of monthly moderated book discussions of poetry collections, beginning March 28 at our Downtown Library, presented in partnership with the Connecticut Poetry Society.

“Poets on Poetry” spotlights works of national acclaim and features local poetry enthusiasts to lead the way. HPL card holders can access books in advance of the scheduled discussions through the Library collections.

Upcoming discussions include “The Source” by Mark Doty on March 28, “Full Woman, Fleshly Apple, Hot Moon: Selected Poems of Pablo Neruda” on April 25, “Selected Poems of Wallace Stevens” on May 30 and “Strong is Your Hold” by Galway Kinnell on June 27.

Meetings are open to all and are located at the Downtown Library at 500 Main Street. More information is available at


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.


Heart City

Heart City Story Club

Date: March 11, April 7, May 13, June 17, July 8 and August 12, 6:00 p.m.- 8:00 p.m.
Location: Downtown Library

Join the HCSC for a monthly open mic night for telling true, personal stories live, on stage, and without notes. All are welcome to bring their stories and get up in front of the mic!


Municipal Building

The Pianist of Willesden Lane featuring Mona Golabek

Date: Wednesday, April 1, 12:00 noon
Location: Downtown Library Atrium

In partnership with Hartford Stage, Hartford Public Library presents an author talk and musical selections based on the book "The Children of Willesden Lane" by Mona Golabek and Lee Cohen. An expression of hope and the life-affirming power of music, The Pianist of Willesden Lane tells the true story of a young Jewish musician, who was sent from Nazi-ruled Vienna to the relative safety of London during the Blitzkrieg. In this inspirational show, running through April 26 at Hartford Stage, piano virtuoso Mona Golabek performs some of the world’s most beautiful music as she shares her own mother’s riveting story of survival.  


Municipal Building

Hartford on My Mind: Words and Images from 550 Main

An Arts & Archives Workshop

Date: Saturdays, April 11 – May 9, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Location: Hartford History Center, Downtown Library

The second in a series of Arts and Humanities Classes for Older Adults, funded by the Ensworth Charitable Foundation, will combine digital photography with poetry and be led by master artists Kate Rushin (poet) and Hartford photographer Karen O’Maxfield.

Using the Municipal Building as its thematic fulcrum, participants will compose poetry inspired by the century-old beaux-arts Main Street landmark and explore its architectural intricacies and photograph details. This workshop has been developed to showcase the centennial anniversary of this important Hartford building and will culminate with an exhibition of work to be displayed in November 2015, marking the Municipal Building’s 100th birthday.

This workshop series consists of five progressive classes beginning April 11 and held every Saturday through May 9. A limited number of cameras are available to borrow for the duration of the workshop. Free and open to the public. Register at 860-695-6298 or in-person at any HPL branch.


Peace Diann Cook

"And My Journey Continues" by E. Diann Cook

Date: On display through April 10
Location: Downtown Library, 3rd Floor Youth Department Gallery

View original art works by Connecticut artist, author and musician E. Diann Cook. Most of the works are available for purchase and a portion of the proceeds benefit Hartford Public Library. On display through April 10, 2015.


Beyond the Podium

Beyond the Podium: Science Conversation Series with the Connecticut Science Center

Date: Monday, April 6, 11:30a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Location: Hartford History Center, Downtown Library

HPL and the Connecticut Science Center are pleased to introduce a lunchtime conversation series about science. Join us for the first discussion: “Cheap Oil: At What Cost to the Environment?” featuring Teresa Eickel, Executive Director of the Interreligious Eco-Justice Network, an organization that seeks to inspire and inform religious groups in Connecticut to be stewards of the earth. Bring lunch, beverages will be provided.


Open Mic for Veterans

Open Mic for Veterans and Poetry Reading

Date: Saturday, April 11, 1:00 p.m.
Location: Downtown Library

Join us for a half hour open mic poetry reading for veterans, followed by a stunning musical and visual accompaniment to an author reading. Author Nancy Fitz-Hugh Meneely will read from her book Letter From Italy, 1944, a collection of poems that honors her father’s heroism during WWII as an army doctor, and the post-traumatic stress he felt after the war. This book was named one of the outstanding Connecticut books of the year by Carole Goldberg in The Hartford Courant. All veterans in attendance will be given a free copy of the book and its accompanying CD containing selections from the oratorio based on it.


HPL Celebrates Romare Bearden

Bearden Murals

Bearden Murals on Display at HPL Downtown

Romare Bearden, whose richly textured paintings and murals are now held in the most important museums in the United States, was commissioned to create two large murals for the Hartford Civic Center in the early 1980’s. They have lived there ever since, until the XL Center, which the building is currently known as, was scheduled for major renovation.

The size of these two murals, approximately 10 feet by 16 feet – has proven a challenge to transporting and housing these works. Hartford Public Library has had the extraordinary honor of housing and displaying these Bearden works for all to enjoy; a public setting and safe home that will be accessible to Hartford residents in perpetuity.
Bearden Art

Bearden Works in the Hartford History Center

Date: On display through April 15, 2015
Location: Hartford History Center

Throughout his life, Bearden depicted many rituals and social customs of twentieth-century rural Black America. The images of spiritual ceremonies, baptisms and burial, industrial hardships, musical arrangements and daily life have become the themes that critics and collectors most frequently associate with his work.
These six works are on loan to the Hartford Public Library through the generosity of Bill Katz, owner of Jubilee Fine Art of Hartford.
On display until April 15, 2015 during Hartford History Center hours. Works may be available for purchase. Artwork inquiries should be directed to




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 Center for Contemporary Culture hosts lectures, readings, musical performances and other events for people of all ages.