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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

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. Space is limited – registration is required! Call 860-695-6377 or email Sarah ( to register. Click here for more information.

Photography & Creativity: A Digital Photography Workshop Series

Date: Tuesdays, September 29 – November 17, 2015 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Location: Camp Field Branch (30 Campfield Avenue)

In “Photography & Creativity: A Digital Photography Workshop Series” at the Camp Field Branch, participants will learn the basic operations of a compact digital camera, including settings, how to review photos in camera, how to delete unwanted photos in camera, memory card function, and methods of downloading digital images from the camera. Once comfortable with camera usage, students will then learn how to “see” through the camera lens through a series of exercises and discussions. To register, please call 860-695-7440. 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.


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.

August 18, September 15, October 20, November 17, December 15.


Don Quixote

Don Quixote: A Tertulia with Dr. Reyes Lázaro

Date: Thursday, October 22, 2015 6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Location: Hartford History Center, Downtown Library 3rd Floor

Dr. Reyes Lázaro hosts a tertulia, an informal literary gathering, in honor of the 400th anniversary of the publication of Don Quixote. Dr. Lázaro, Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at Smith College, looks at Cervantes’ masterpiece as a text full of binaries: man vs woman, historical vs literary truth, humorous vs tragic. As one of the earliest and greatest works in the entire Western literary canon, Don Quixote has had a world-wide impact. Call 860.695.6320 to request a book; we recommend Edith Grossman’s 2003 translation. Click here for more information.


Took to Streets

Fighting for Latino Rights with The Young Lords: A Conversation with Mickey Melendez

Date: October 24, 1:00 PM
Location: Downtown Library

The 1960’s and 1970’s were a time of widespread social upheaval and struggle for equal rights for minority groups, including Latinos who fought to end discrimination in housing, jobs, access to healthcare and economic equality in America.

The Young Lords were active in several cities in the United States, most notably in Chicago and New York and were unified around Puerto Rican self-determination and neighborhood empowerment, raising awareness of issues that affected their communities.

In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, Hartford Public Library presents Mickey Melendez, former Young Lords Party member and author of “We Took the Streets: Fighting for Latino Rights with The Young Lords”. The program begins with a 45 minute screening of Palante Siempre Palante!, a documentary film account of the political activism of The Young Lords in New York City in the 1970’s.

Professor Jorge Limeres will lead the discussion with Mickey Melendez immediately following film.



The Borinqueneers

Date: Monday, November 9, 2015 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
Location: Downtown Library, Center for Contemporary Culture

HPL presents The Borinqueneers, a documentary about the 65th Infantry Regiment, the only Hispanic-segregated unit in army history. Created in 1899, the 65th Infantry Regiment was nicknamed after “Borinquen”, the original Taíno name for the island of Puerto Rico. The film, which is narrated by Hector Elizondo, explores the unit’s history through World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. The film screening is accompanied by a photo exhibition and a lecture by the documentary’s Executive Producer, Noemi Figueroa.


Sista Souljah

Sister Souljah
Author Talk and Book Signing

Date: Saturday, November 14, 2015, 1 – 2 p.m.
Location: Downtown Library (500 Main Street)

Join us for an author event with political activist and inspirational speaker Sister Souljah, bestselling author of Midnight: A Gangster Love Story. Her new book A Moment of Silence, which continues Midnight’s story, will be available for purchase at the event. Click here for more information.


Trashion Dress

Trashion Fashion Exhibit

Date: September 29th- October 31
Location: Downtown Library, Center for Contemporary Culture

Trashion Fashion promotes the creative reuse of waste in our society by challenging individuals to create wearable art with items diverted from the waste stream, with the goal of global reduction of waste through creative solutions.

In conjunction with the Wadsworth Atheneum’s grand reopening, these selected designs were constructed from repurposed paper products, to reflect the Wadsworth's 1939 Paper Ball. The designs on display have been featured in past Trashion Fashion Shows and were created by designers Carmen Bermudez, Zoe Grinfeld and Marianella Chalfant.



Richard Brunton—Not Just a Connecticut Artist—Lecture with Deborah M. Child

Date: Thursday, October 8, 6:00pm
Location: Hartford History Center, Downtown Library, 3rd floor

Author Deborah M. Child follows in the footsteps of Richard Brunton, a British grenadier who fought in the American Revolution before deserting in 1779. A trained engraver and diesinker, his primitive but charming works include some of the earliest pre-printed family registers in America. Despite his many talents, he was never able to make an honest living from his craft and spent time in Connecticut’s infamous Old NewGate Prison for counterfeiting and forgery.

Brunton’s A Prospective View of Old NewGate, Connecticut’s State Prison (c.1799) line engraving will be on view during the event, courtesy of the Connecticut Historical Society.

“Soldier, Engraver, Forger: Richard Brunton’s Life on the Fringe in America’s New Republic” (New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2015) will be available for purchase immediately following the lecture.  



Poets on Poetry Series

Date: Last Saturday of every month, 10:15 AM to 12:30 PM.
Location: Downtown Library, Hartford History Center, 3rd Floor

October 31 – “The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson,” (ed. Thomas Johnson) moderated by David Epstein.

November 28 – The Poetry of Richard Wilbur, moderated by Maria Sassi.

For further information, visit


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.  


Authors Table 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.

JV Harvey—A Step Into the Rain
October 13

When Douglas Miles suddenly becomes a widower, he struggles to move on with his life; but in the comfort of new friends, he’s introduced into a new world he had no idea existed beyond his quiet, carefully manicured lawn. It is only a matter of time before his wife’s murderer will be at his doorstep.

James Herbert Smith--Wah-say-lan: Seneca Warrior
October 21

Young adult historical fiction, the story is set during the American Revolution when George Washington sent an army against the Iroquois nation, British allies. A Connecticut slave joins the Continental Army to earn his freedom. He meets and falls in love with the beautiful and courageous Wah-say-lan, a young Iroquois (Seneca) woman. Through the travails of warfare they encounter Thomas Jefferson, the Marquis de Lafayette, Cornwallis’ army at Yorktown and the Native American leaders Red Jacket and Cornplanter.


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.



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

Venture Smith Exhibit at Hartford History Center

Date: October 15, 2015 — January 15, 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 Words, 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.

Opening Reception on Saturday, October 17, 11:30 AM. .




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.