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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.

For a listing of events in our Center for Contemporary Culture, please click here.


One Book

One Book, One Hartford

This year, One Book, One Hartford celebrates the graphic novel with a season full of citywide events. Visit your branch for great title suggestions to get reading! Join us on October 23rd with Hartford Stage’s Tony Award-Winning Artistic Director Darko Tresnjak for a special discussion on the graphic novel. 




Horace Wells Exhibit

On display through October 5, 2014
Hartford History Center, Downtown Library

Horace Wells was a Hartford dentist who pioneered the use of nitrous oxide gas to suppress pain during dental surgery. On December 11, 1844, history was made when Wells declared “a new era in tooth pulling has come….it is the greatest discovery ever made!”

But failure and tragedy would soon follow.

Hartford Public Library will showcase archival reproductions of Horace Wells’ pamphlets, photos and news articles in the Hartford History Center from September 11-October 5, to coincide with the Hartford Stage Company production “Ether Dome”, based on the life of the storied dentist.




Book Launch Celebration – Anne Farrow’s The Logbooks

Date: Thursday, October 9, 2014, 5:30 p.m.
Location: Hartford History Center, Downtown Library

Independent historian and writer Anne Farrow will launch her new book The Logbooks: Connecticut’s Slave Ships and Human Memory with a party and a reading at our Hartford History Center. Published this week by Wesleyan University Press, The Logbooks is the account of a series of slave ships’ logs linking New London and West Africa during the mid-18th century, and which Farrow followed to Sierra Leone when she was a magazine writer at The Hartford Courant. A reception will be followed by a talk with the author and book signing.

Presented in partnership with the Connecticut State Library.




Presentation on Mental Health and Noah Webster by Joshua C. Kendall

Wednesday, October 15th
Presentation 5:30pm, Book Signing 6:00pm

Hartford History Center, Downtown Library

Listen in on award-winning journalist and biographer Joshua C. Kendall as he examines the life of American lexicographer Noah Webster, and how his obsessional behaviors may have been instrumental to his work. The event is free and will include light refreshments and a cake to celebrate Noah Webster’s 258th birthday, followed by a book signing. Presentated in partnership with the Noah Webster House.




An Evening with Darko Tresnjak

Thursday, October 23, 2014, 6:00 p.m
Downtown Atrium

Hartford Stage’s Tony Award-Winning Creative Director Darko Tresnjak leads a discussion on the power of the graphic novel in the art of storytelling. The conversation will center around Art Spieglman’s In the Shadow of No Towers, a powerful, introspective visual account of the tragic events of 9/11 and its life-altering aftermath. A One Book One Hartford event.



Hispanic Heritage Month— (September 15-October 15)

In recognition of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Hartford Public Library offers a variety of programs, exhibits and events throughout September 2014.


Hartford Opera Theater

Isabel Acosta ArtWalk Exhibit (September 12-October 24)

Join Hartford Public Library in celebrating the work of Peruvian-born artist Isabel Acosta. Opening reception is Friday, September 12 at 6pm, in our ArtWalk Gallery space at the Downtown Library. Click here for more information.



Hartford Opera Theater

Bomba y Plena Community Workshops

Thursday /Jueves September 18 & 25/18 y 25 de septiembre, 5:30-7:00 p.m.
Park Branch

Bomba y Plena are musical forms of “call and response” between the leader/singer and the chorus/dancer over many rhythmic patterns.

Join local musician Hector Borrero as he introduces the dynamic history and rhythms of the two major genres of Afro-Puerto Rican music, also known as "el periodico cantado" (the sung newspaper).

Please contact the Park Street branch at 860.695.7500 to register.



Hartford Opera Theater

Bomba y Plena Musical Presentation

Taller Folklorico Experimental Tambokén
Thursday October 2, 2014, 6:00-7:30 p.m.
Downtown Library Terrace

Join Victor Sterling, fellow percussionist, singer and dancers from the Cepeda family for an evening of Bomba y Plena; a percussion-driven musical tradition with African heritage from Puerto Rico that will move you to dance.



Hartford Opera Theater

Film Screening & Panel Discussion-“Julia Toda en Mi “

Tuesday October 21, 2014 5:30-8:00 p.m.
Center for Contemporary Culture, Downtown Library

This 2003 portrait by Ivonne Belen draws on the poet's letters and her family's testimony to tell the story of Julia de Burgos's life, illustrating it with archival footage and dramatic reenactments. Cast includes Jacobo Morales, Danny Rivera, Nydia Caro and more.
Spanish with subtitles.



Arts & Archives Master Classes

Students of all skill levels are welcome to register for our progressive, five-session Master Artist Workshops. Registration is required; enrollment is limited. To register, visit any Library location or call 860-695-6300.

The Art of Storytelling with Dr. Raouf Mama
Saturdays, September 27, October 11, 18, 25, and November 1, 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Albany Branch

Learn the art of storytelling from Dr. Raouf Mama, professor of English at Eastern Connecticut State University, author, and award-winning storyteller.

Pen & Ink with Joe Young
Saturdays, November 8, 15, 22, and December 6 and 13, 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Hartford History Center, Downtown Library

Join Hartford artist and illustrator Joe Young, creator of the Scruples comic series, for a workshop applying the principles of storytelling to the graphic novel medium.


“Pedal and Path: Hartford & the Bicycle”

Downtown Library, 3rd Floor
On display September 3 - October 7

George B. Thayer departed Hartford, Connecticut on April 10, 1886, in an attempt to pedal a forty-six inch Expert Columbia “machine” to San Francisco and back again, across 23 states and nearly 11,000 miles. Columbia bicycles were manufactured in Hartford by “Colonel” Augustus Pope on Capitol Avenue in the late 19th century.

Throughout September, Hartford Public Library will showcase vintage Connecticut bicycle maps and images from Hartford’s past association with the bicycle, as well as a 1924 velodrome “track bike,” featuring components manufactured by famous African-American cyclist Marshall “Major” Taylor.

This exhibit is part of Hartford Public Library’s participation in EnvisionFest Hartford festivities on September 20th.



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.