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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 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.

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.


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.  


Double Books

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.

Liz Dalton—The Fifth City
December 5

With her home in danger, Sylvia must travel to the mysterious island of Seascape to find help defeating Governor Greyling, who will stop at nothing to conquer the Fifth City. The advanced yet reclusive city is reluctant to offer help, but its ruler, Lady Naomi Blackwater, offers Sylvia a chance to prove herself: the Trials. The Trials push Sylvia’s physical and mental limits to the breaking point. With each task she learns more about Seascape’s vast technologies, and discovers she is good at manipulating them. But soon she will discover their darkest secret...

The Fifth City is the second book in the Arcera Trilogy. The first is entitled Meadowcity.

Irene Melo—What Would You Do?
December 9

One year after her mother’s tragic death, Jazzman Garcia is still trying to move on with her life. Initially finding comfort in fiancé Afrique, Jazzman begins to suspect that her attachment is due to his being a successful musician, just like the father who abandoned her when she was seven years old. This nagging fear is only compounded by her intense feelings for her best friend, Tyson, which she’s trying to make sense of. Desperate to escape her situation, and her own mind, Jazzman makes some decisions in her career and in her personal life in which the consequences leave her in unfamiliar territory...


Heart City Story Club

Date: Every third Wednesday, 6:00 p.m.
Location: Downtown Hartford History Center

The Heart City Story Club (HCSC) is all about sharing great stories. Personal stories. Stories from the heart, in and about the city of Hartford.

We hold a monthly storytelling open mic night where anyone and everyone can step up and share their true story in the style of NPR's "The Moth". Come join us and be part of the heartbeat of Hartford.

December 16, January 20, February 17


If Beale Street Could Talk Tertulia 

Date: Thursday, December 17, 6:00 p.m.
Location: Downtown Hartford History Center

Join us in the Hartford History Center for a One Book One Hartford tertulia.

Our tertulia, or informal literary discussion, will be facilitated by poet Kate Rushin. Join us for conversation and light refreshments.


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.