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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.

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



Wednesdays, 5:30 pm
Center for Contemporary Culture

Beat the heat and enjoy some laughs with a festival of family-friendly classics every Wednesday in the month of August.  All films are free, rated “G” and shown on the big screen at the downtown library. Bring the kids…and be a kid again.

Muppet Treasure Island (1996)

August 24

The Muppets take on Robert Louis Stevenson's classic tale of a young orphan who becomes involved with pirate Long John Silver, played by the hilarious Tim Curry.  Featuring Kermit the Frog; Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Rizzo the Rat and a cast of other lovable Muppet characters.  

Cars 2 (2011)

August 31

Star racecar Lightning McQueen and a tow truck named Mater take their friendship to exciting new places when they compete in the first-ever World Grand Prix to determine the world’s fastest car. When Mater gets caught up in another adventure, international espionage, he must decide if he can assist Lightning McQueen in the high-profile race or complete his top-secret spy mission.   

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.



Melvin Douglas Wilson, The Good Book: A Case for Following Jesus Christ 

Melvin Douglas Wilson also wrote two children’s books, "The Parable of the Spirit that Whispers", and "The Parable of the Young Priest."  He frequently talks about his Christian journey to church groups.

Click here to watch the video

Saturday, Aug. 6,  12:30 —3:30 pm


Jan Mann, How I Won the West: A Journey of Discovery 

Jan Mann’s dream was to take a 5-week road trip through the west. So she took a step beyond conventional thinking about older women traveling solo, beyond fear and other obstacles that threatened to interfere with her passion for new adventures. What better way to discover the wonders of the west, the world, and herself. She is also the author of Cruising Connecticut with a Picnic Basket.

Click here to watch the video

Wednesday, Aug. 24, Noon—3 pm


Wednesday, August 24, 2 pm
Dwight Branch

As part of HPL’s Summer Learning theme of “Wellness, Fitness & Sports”, join Leslie Manselle, local, certified & licensed “Zumba Gold” instructor, and enjoy this moderate impact version of the popular exercise regimen, designed for the mature fitness enthusiast.

Zumba Gold for Young and Old will be a free, one-half hour introduction to Zumba music and movement.  Participants will contribute their own moves, which will be choreographed into a short routine and performed by the group.  Zumba is great exercise, good fun and an opportunity for all ages to work together and benefit from their efforts.  For more fun programs from Leslie Manselle Arts, visit

Dress comfortably, bring water, a hand towel and a positive attitude!

Acoustic Open Mic

Upcoming: September 14
Sign-up begins at 5:45 p.m.

Bring your guitar and join us on the second Wednesday of the month for our acoustic open mic. Sign-up starts at 5:45 pm in the Hartford History Center on the third floor.

Hartford Independent Chamber Orchestra
Lunchtime Performance Series

Friday, September 9 & Friday, October 7
Noon to 1 p.m. in The Kitchen

Spend the lunch hour with the Hartford Independent Chamber Orchestra.

These locally focused programs feature music by Connecticut-based composers along with other performer favorites accompanied by informative discussion with musicians. The lunchtime program on Sept. 9 features Charles Huang and Ling-Fei Kang performing works by Stephen Gryc, Daniel Morel, and other local composers

October 7 will feature additional musicians from HICO presenting their favorites.

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. 

Hip Hop Nation 2016 Kickoff at Envisionfest

Saturday, September 17, 11 am-4 pm
Downtown Library Terrace

Our celebration of Hip Hop as a global arts movement kicks off at Envisionfest Hartford! With music by Brittney Crush, Kyle Young, Self Suffice, Tang Sauce, and Orice Jenkins, and dance by Team 860. DJ Stealth on the 1's and 2's.





The History of Puerto Rican Citizenship:
a tertulia with Dr. Charles Venator-Santiago

Wednesday, September 21, 5:30 p.m.
Hartford History Center

The United States annexed Puerto Rico in the aftermath of the Spanish American War of 1898 and has since governed the island as an unincorporated territory. This tertulia provides an overview of the history of the key debates defining the citizenship status of persons born in Puerto Rico. 

Charles R. Venator-Santiago is an Associate Professor with a Joint Appointment in the Departments of Political Science and El Instituto at the University of Connecticut.

Light refreshments will be served.





Love Notes to Banned Books

September 25-October 1
3rd floor Artwalk

The books that challenge us are the ones that change us. Hartford Public Library invites you to reflect upon how your life would be different without these frequently banned and challenged books—and to share your love for them with the world.

Our Hall of Banned Books presents 20 influential and much-loved books that have been formally challenged in counties and school districts across America. We invite you to overwhelm the calls for censorship with your own stories of how these books changed your life.

On the Artwalk, you’ll find all the supplies you need to participate. Write a letter to a book that has changed your life and pin it in place.

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.

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”.



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.

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.