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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 / The Big Read / Baby Grand Jazz

Summer Learning

The Summer of 2016 is sizzling hot at the Hartford Public Library with programs and activities for: parents, kids, teens and child care providers.

Click here for more information about Summer Learning

Dennis Sullivan, Irving Street & Other Hartford Memories

Tuesday, June 7, 12-3 p.m.

A memoir about growing up in Hartford’s North End and Asylum Hill (circa 1943-1966) and remembering the Vine Street School, St. Joseph Cathedral School, the 1944 Circus Fire, the Aborted Teen Gang War of May 1955, the Lenox Theater and the Golden Age of Weaver Basketball (1954-1957). 


A. A. E. Murphy, Viral:  A True Story of  Epidemic Flu, Fear and Faith   

Tuesday, June 21, 12-3pm

A.A.E. Murphy details the catastrophic consequences of both her and her husband’s H1N1 (“swine”) flu in this brutally honest story of the trials of illness, death, faith, family, love, caretaking, and rehabilitation. 

Health is wealth; find out how Murphy navigates through colossal loss, and what lessons can be gained from suffering.

World Refugee Day

Monday, June 20-Thursday, June 23

World Refugee Day is commemorated around the world on June 20th and offers an occasion to raise awareness of the millions of people displaced from their homes each year because of war and fear of persecution. The Day also marks a key moment for welcoming refugees to their new home.

From Monday, June 20th through Thursday June 23rd, 12:30– 2:00 PM,  members of Hartford’s diverse refugee groups invite you to join them for a cup of tea and conversation at Hartford Public Library, Downtown. As you get to know your newest neighbors, you’ll also have the opportunity to learn about the unique benefits and restorative properties of each country’s distinctive spices.  

World of Sounds:
Goza Latin Jazz Band

Wednesday, June 22, 1 PM
Dwight Branch

Goza is an engaging Latin/Latin Jazz musical ensemble that performs exciting music and dance rhythms from Latin America, Brazil and Spain, featuring guitar, violin, horns, latin percussion and beautiful, romantic vocals. Goza styles include samba, rumba cha-cha, salsa, cumbia, flamenco, tango, and bolero.  

World of Sounds:
Negrura Peruana

Wednesday, July 6, 5:30 PM
Dwight Branch

Negrura Peruana performs the music and dance of Peru’s African and criollo population, especially from the coastal area around Chincha (located south of the capital Lima) and later transplanted to the urban center of Lima. Group members emigrated from Lima to the Hartford area of Connecticut in the late 1980s and early 1990s, coming together to play as a band in July 2002. Although they are not trained musicians, their performances show a deep love for the music and a spontaneous but highly skilled mastery of the complex rhythms, accents, and phrasings especially when accompanying the dancers.

Wellness, Fitness & Sports:
Professional Wrestling Legend Bob Backlund

Saturday, July 9 12 p.m.
Downtown Library

Hartford Public Library and the Connecticut State Library present an appearance by author and World Wrestling Champion Bob Backlund, in conjunction with this year’s Summer Learning theme of “Wellness, Fitness & Sports!”

Backlund’s life in sports began as an accomplished amateur wrestler at North Dakota State University, followed by a career as a professional wrestler, spanning nearly 40 years.  In 2015, he released Backlund: From All-American Boy to Professional Wrestling’s World Champion, which recounts amazing behind-the-scenes tales of his four decades in and out of the limelight and his choice to live a healthy, drug-free life.

Backlund was inducted into the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Hall of Fame in 2013 and has dedicated “the rest of his life” to motivating young people and being a positive role model.

Books will be available for purchase.

Acoustic Open Mic

Tuesday, July 12, 6:00 p.m.
Hartford History Center

All are welcome! Join us on the second Tuesday of the month for our acoustic open mic. Sign-up starts at 5:45 p.m.

Concert with the Funky Dawgz Brass Band

Friday, July 29, 12:00 p.m.

Join us for a lunchtime extravaganza concert featuring UCONN’s Funky Dawgz Brass Band and students from the Charter Oak Cultural Center’s summer camp.

The “Funky Camp” is a two-week, free program for Hartford students to study music with the “Dawgz.”  Listen, sing, dance…..and be instantly transported to New Orleans! 

World of Sounds:
Caribbean Vibe Steel Drum Band

Tuesday, August 2, 6-7 PM
Albany Branch

A festive steel drum Calypso/Reggae band performing pop favorites and island music.





Exercise Your Mind
with Mark Twain’s Hartford

Thursday, July 14, 5:30 PM
Hartford History Center, 3rd floor

American writer and adopted Hartford resident Mark Twain recognized the value of reading to contribute to a well-rounded life.  In The Prince and the Pauper, written in Hartford and first published in 1881, Twain wrote “when I am king, they shall not have bread and shelter only, but also teachings out of books, for a full belly is little worth where the mind is starved.”

Hartford Public Library celebrates Summer Learn 2016 and welcomes local author Steve Courtney, who will discuss his latest work, Mark Twain’s Hartford, a pictorial account of rarely seen images. Books will be available for purchase.

World of Sounds:
White-Eyed Lizard Band

Thursday, August 11, 3-4 PM
Albany Branch

The White-Eyed Lizard Band is Connecticut’s premier steel drum driven calypso party band, delivering toe tapping, foot stomping Island music from the Caribbean, including reggae and other world musical styles.  

World of Sounds:
Da 4 Ah Wee & Crucial Massive

Sunday, August 14, noon-1 PM & 2-3 PM
Webster Theater parking lot
31 Webster Street, Hartford, CT 06114
(as part of Barry Square Community Day)

De 4 Ah Wee & Co. is a steel pan band which consists of the conga drums, tenor pan, double second pan, guitar pan, electric base, and drums.  The band performs different genres of music which include calypso, soca (Carribean-Trinidad & Tobago), reggae, gospel, Latin, and R&B.  

Crucial Massive Reggae Band is the hottest and the most excellent crowd pleasing reggae band in Hartford and throughout New England. Since the early 1990's this band has been pervading the cultural side of reggae music throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. The band plays roots reggae, contemporary lovers' reggae, hard core dance-hall reggae, soca, and R&B.

World of Sounds:
Trombeatz Latin Jazz Band

Thursday, September 15, 1-2 PM
Downtown Library Terrace

Directed by Trombonist Hommy Ramos and percussionist Nelson Bello, TROMBEATZ’s compositions and arrangements explore various Latin music forms including rumba, bomba, plena, salsa and Latin Jazz. 

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.



Marc-Yves Regis I

Friday, June 3, 6:00 PM
On view June 3-July 15

Marc-Yves Regis I documents the street vendors who carry Haiti’s economic burden on their heads. Beyond their struggle and labor, their faces show determination, pride, sorrow fear, and joy. Regis provides a window into a life of resiliency and tremendous effort for miniscule reward. 

Hartford Embraced: Paintings by Ken Kahn

Opening reception: Thursday, June 9, 6 PM
On display June 9-August 31
Hartford History Center

Ken Kahn, a Hartford resident, painter and cartoonist explores Hartford’s “lovely, welcoming places” but explains that Connecticut’s capital city is also “replete with just enough shadowy corners to make it intriguing and mysterious”.

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.