November is National Cookbook Month, and did you know Hartford Public Library is full of great cookbooks where you can learn new recipes?

Since it’s fall, and we love everything pumpkin, we’re going to feature some recipes from The Pumpkin Cookbook, just one of many of the great titles we have in our collection. Try out one of the recipes below, and then search our catalog for another cookbook and find something new to make!

PUMPKIN BUTTER

2 cups canned unsweetened pumpkin
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Combine all the ingredients in a sauce pan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for 20-30 minutes (until dark & thick). Cool and refrigerate in a glass jar. Enjoy!
Pie

SOUTHERN PECAN PUMPKIN PIE

2 cups chopped pecans
1 pound fresh pumpkin, seeds and fibers removed, cut into chunks
3 eggs
1 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Partially baked 9-inch piecrust

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast for 5 to 7 minutes until lightly browned and fragrant. Cool on a wire rack.

3. Microwave the pumpkin on high for 5 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork. When cool, peel and cut into enough 1-inch chunks to measure 2 cups. Mash slightly.

4. Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees.

5. Whisk together the eggs, sugar, corn syrup, butter, bourbon, salt, cinammon and nutmeg in a large bowl. Add the cooled pecans and pumpkin. Spoon into the piecrust.

6. Bake 35-45 minutes, until filling is set. Cool for at least 1 hour and 30 minutes before slicing.

Biscotti

ALMOND-PUMPKIN BISCOTTI

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups dark brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups almonds, coarsely chopped

1. Beat together the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Stir in the pumpkin.

2. Sift the flour, cinnamon, allspice, baking powder, ginger, salt and nutmeg together into the creamed mixture and continue beating until well mixed. Stir in the almonds.

3. Refrigerate the mixture in the bowl for at least 2 hours.

4. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

5. Divide the dough into two mounds and turn one out onto a floured board. With floured fingers, shape the loaf, 1/2 by 3 inches wide. Repeat with second mound. Place the loaves on the cookie sheet, leaving about 4 inches between them for expansion. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

6. Reduce the heat to 300 degrees.

7. Slice the loaves diagonally and place cut-side down on the cookie sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes per side, or until dried out.

8. Cool completely and store in a loosely covered container for up to two weeks.

PUMPKIN-RICE PUDDING

5 cups whole milk
1/2 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin
1/3 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup raisins (optional)
1 egg
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Heat the milk, rice, pumpkin, sugar, cinammon stick and salt in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring occassionally, until tiny bubbles form around the edge of the pan and steam rises.

2. Reduce the heat and gently cook, uncovered, for 45 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the pudding thick but still soupy. Stir frequently, especially toward the end of the cooking time, when the mixture thickens. Add the raisins, if using, in the last 10 minutes of cooking. If possible, put a heat diffuser under the pot to keep the heat evenly distributed and to prevent scorching the milk, something you definitely don’t want to do.

3. Beat the egg with a fork in a small bowl. Spoon some of the pudding into the egg. Slowly add this egg mixture to the pudding, stirring constantly and keeping the heat low. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the pudding thickens some more.

4. Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon zest and vanilla and cool slightly before thoroughly chilling. Remove the cinnamon stick and serve in dessert dishes.

For Hispanic Heritage Month, which is celebrated Sept. 15-Oct. 15, Hartford Public Library is highlighting a collection of books by Latino/a/x authors. See a title you are interested in below? Click on it to check it out from the library!

These recommendations were featured throughout the month in our email newsletter. Not subscribed? Click here to sign up.

One Hundred Years of Solitude
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

One of the most influential literary works of our time, One Hundred Years of Solitude remains a dazzling and original achievement by the masterful Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

“One Hundred Years of Solitude is the first piece of literature since the Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race. … Mr. Garcia Marquez has done nothing less than to create in the reader a sense of all that is profound, meaningful, and meaningless in life.” — William Kennedy, New York Times Book Review

The Alchemist
Paulo Coelho

Combining magic, mysticism, wisdom and wonder into an inspiring tale of self-discovery, The Alchemist has become a modern classic, selling millions of copies around the world and transforming the lives of countless readers across generations.

“It’s a brilliant, magical, life-changing book that continues to blow my mind with its lessons. [...] A remarkable tome,” – Neil Patrick Harris

“A wise and inspiring fable about the pilgrimage that life should be” – M. Scott Peck

A Cup of Water Under My Bed
Daisy Hernandez

In this lyrical, coming-of-age memoir, Daisy Hernández chronicles what the women in her Cuban-Colombian family taught her about love, money and race.

 

“Gorgeously written from start to finish.” – Boston Globe

 

“Hernández seamlessly combines the familiar genres of the ‘coming out’ story and the ‘coming of age’ story into a unique memoir of self-discovery.” – LA Review of Books

 

Chulito
Charles Rice-Gonzalez

Set against a vibrant South Bronx neighborhood and the queer youth culture of Manhattan’s piers, Chulito is a coming-of-age, coming out love story of a sexy, tough, hip hop-loving, young Latino man and the colorful characters who populate his block.

 

“Hilarious, unique, heartfelt and sharp. A wonderful read.” – Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street

 

“This is a beautiful debut.” – Jaime Manrique, author of Latin Moon in Manhattan

 

Like Water for Chocolate
Laura Esquivel

We’re kicking it way back for this recommendation. Winner of the American Booksellers book of the Year Award in 1994, this bestselling phenomenon and inspiration for the award-winning film tells the story of family life in turn-of-the-century Mexico and blends poignant romance and bittersweet wit.

“Each chapter of Esquivel’s utterly charming interpretation of life in Mexico begins with a recipe–not surprisingly, since so much of the action of this exquisite first novel centers around the kitchen, the heart and soul of a traditional Mexican family.” – Publisher’s Weekly

Carmelo
Sandra Cisneros

We can’t get enough of Sandra Cisneros’ gorgeous writing. Every year, Ceyala “Lala” Reyes’ family — aunts, uncles, mothers, fathers and Lala’s six older brothers — packs up three cars and, in a wild ride, drive from Chicago to the Little Grandfather and Awful Grandmother’s house in Mexico City for the summer.

 

“Caramelo is enchanting. Soulful, sophisticated and skeptical, full of great one-liners. it is one of those novels that blithely leap across the border between literary and popular fiction.” – The New York Times
 

Clap When you Land
Elizabeth Acevedo

In a novel-in-verse that brims with grief and love, National Book Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Acevedo writes about the devastation of loss, the difficulty of forgiveness and the bittersweet bonds that shape our lives.

“Tackles family secrets, toxic masculinity, and socio-economic differences with incisive clarity and candor … Every line is laced with betrayal and longing as the teens struggle with loving someone despite his imperfections. A standing ovation.” — Kirkus Reviews

The House of Broken Angels
Luis Alberto Urrea

The definitive Mexican-American immigrant story, a sprawling and deeply felt portrait of a Mexican-American family occasioned by the impending loss of its patriarch, from one of the country’s most beloved authors.

“Epic … Rambunctious … Highly entertaining.” — New York Times Book Review

“Intimate and touching … the stuff of legend.” — San Francisco Chronicle

An immensely charming and moving tale.” — Boston Globe

How The Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents
Julia Alvarez

Acclaimed writer Julia Alvarez’s beloved first novel gives voice to four sisters as they grow up in two cultures. The García sisters and their family must flee their home in the Dominican Republic. They arrive in New York City in 1960 to a life far removed from their existence in the Caribbean.

 

“Poignant . . . Powerful . . . Beautifully captures the threshold experience of the new immigrant, where the past is not yet a memory.” — The New York Times Book Review

 

When I was Puerto Rican
Esmeralda Santiago

In this first volume of her much-praised, bestselling trilogy, Santiago brilliantly recreates the idyllic landscape and tumultuous family life of her earliest years and her tremendous journey from the barrio to Brooklyn, from translating for her mother at the welfare office to high honors at Harvard.

 

“Not only for readers who share [Santiago's] experiences but for North Americans who seek to understand what it means to be the other.” — The Boston Globe

Hartford Public Library President and CEO Bridget E. Quinn, right, leads a panel discussion on closing the digital divide with, from left: Maureen Magnan, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Consumer Protection; Ajit Gopalakrishnan, Chief Performance Officer, State Department of Education; Nora Duncan, State Director, Connecticut AARP; and Doug Casey, Executive Director, Commission for Educational Technology.

Hartford Public Library President and CEO Bridget E. Quinn, right, leads a panel discussion on closing the digital divide with, from left: Maureen Magnan, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Consumer Protection; Ajit Gopalakrishnan, Chief Performance Officer, State Department of Education; Nora Duncan, State Director, Connecticut AARP; Eileen Rhodes, Interim Director, Connecticut State Community College Library; and Doug Casey, Executive Director, Commission for Educational Technology.

To mark Digital Inclusion Week (Oct. 4-8), Hartford Public Library welcomed state officials to the Center for Contemporary Culture at the Downtown Library on Thursday, Oct. 7, for a discussion on efforts to close the digital divide in Connecticut.

Click here to watch a recording.

Panelists included Maureen Magnan, deputy commissioner of the state Department of Consumer Protection; Ajit Gopalakrishnan, chief performance officer at the state Department of Education; Nora Duncan, state director of Connecticut AARP; Eileen Rhodes, interim director of the Connecticut State Community College Library; and Doug Casey, executive director of the state Commission for Educational Technology.

“Digital literacy is more than just an educational concern,” said Hartford Public Library President and CEO Bridget E. Quinn. “The pervasiveness of the digital divide is a social justice issue, preventing the vulnerable in our communities from improving their lives and providing for their families. The fallout from this problem is wide-reaching. The areas with the least connectivity are also the most economically disadvantaged, something the COVID-19 pandemic has really brought to light.”

Listed below are some of the resources that were shared during the discussion:

Emergency Broadband Benefit

The Emergency Broadband Benefit will provide a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.

Who Is Eligible for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program?

A household is eligible if a member of the household meets one of the criteria below:

  • Has an income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, or Lifeline;
  • Approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, in the 2019-2020, 2020-2021, or 2021-2022 school year;
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
  • Experienced a substantial loss of income due to job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020 and the household had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers; or
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.

Click here to apply.

Senior Planet

Senior Planet from AARP harnesses technology to change the way we age. Our courses, programs, and activities help seniors learn new skills, save money, get in shape, and make new friends.

Senior Planet is about much more than just the latest gadgets and apps and websites. Those gadgets and apps and websites are just means to an end: enabling older adults and people of all ages to come together and find ways to learn, work, create, and thrive in today’s digital age.

Wherever you are in the world, you can subscribe to our newsletters and participate online. If you’re near one of our physical locations, even better! We’re active on the ground in six U.S. locations (with more coming soon).

Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection

Scammers often use “click bait”, or ads that appeal to you on social media, and send you threatening emails or texts with the hope that you reply with personal information, or click on a link that will allow them to access your personal information.

These resources have ideas help you and your family stay safe online:

Banned Books Week, from Sept. 26-Oct. 2, is the annual celebration of the freedom to read.Hartford Public Library is proud to be part of a larger community that supports and encourages the freedom to express ideas, even those considered unpopular. Through books we can reach across boundaries and build new connections.

Below is the list of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2020, as reported by the American Library Association. The list is based on information from the media and reports sent from across the U.S. Interested in a title on the list? Search our catalog HERE.

1. George by Alex Gino
Reasons: Challenged, banned, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, conflicting with a religious viewpoint, and not reflecting “the values of our community.”

2. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds
Reasons: Banned and challenged because of author’s public statements, and because of claims that the book contains “selective storytelling incidents” and does not encompass racism against all people.

3. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, drug use, and alcoholism, and because it was thought to promote anti-police views, contain divisive topics, and be “too much of a sensitive matter right now.”

4. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted because it was thought to contain a political viewpoint and it was claimed to be biased against male students, and for the novel’s inclusion of rape and profanity.

5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and allegations of sexual misconduct by the author.

6. Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin
Reasons: Challenged for “divisive language” and because it was thought to promote anti-police views.

7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Reasons: Banned and challenged for racial slurs and their negative effect on students, featuring a “white savior” character, and its perception of the Black experience.

8. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Reasons: Banned and challenged for racial slurs and racist stereotypes, and their negative effect on students.

9. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Reasons: Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and depicts child sexual abuse.

10. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Reasons: Challenged for profanity, and it was thought to promote an anti-police message.

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Hartford Public Library invites the community to a daylong celebration on Saturday, Oct. 2 to mark the grand opening of the new Park Street Library @ the Lyric!

The festivities will begin in the morning with art activities at the Art Box (777 Park St.) followed by a parade to the new library (603 Park St.). At the library there will be live music, food trucks, activities for kids and open access to come inside and tour the brand new space.

RSVP on Facebook HERE

DAY’S EVENTS:
10 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Art activities at the Art Box, including painting of Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance Frog Hollow heroes murals
11 a.m. – Puppet show, presented by Hispanic Health Council
1 p.m. – Colors of Frog Hollow Community Parade from Art Box to Park Street Library @ the Lyric (Wear a shirt representative of your culture)
2 p.m. to 5 p.m. – Block party celebration

FEATURED PERFORMERS:

De 4 Ahwee & Co. with friends from Trinity Steel, presented by the Trinity College Center for Caribbean Studies
DJ Connie Carmona featuring YOUMedia Hartford teens
Bomba Ashe
Latin Essence Jazz Group
Mariachi Academy of New England

OTHER PROGRAMS:
Voices of Frog Hollow multimedia presentation
Hartford History Center Hartford Public Library branch history exhibit

La Diferente Radio is sponsoring the event and host Jorge Laureano will be emceeing. It will be broadcast live on 1710 AM.

2

StoryWalk

The Hartford City Council recently approved a plan by the Hartford Public Library, in partnership with Hartford Athletic and Cigna, to install a permanent StoryWalk display in Colt Park.

The display will consist of a series of 20 interactive podiums that will each feature one to two pages from a children’s book as well as a physical activity to complete while walking to the next podium. The pages will be displayed in English and Spanish. The final page will contain a QR code that will direct users to a website where they can complete a quiz to win Hartford Athletic prizes

“Putting literacy and physical fitness at the forefront, this initiative provides families in the Hartford community with a fun and educational activity that is available to everyone,” Hartford Public Library, Hartford Athletic and Cigna wrote in a letter to Councilwoman Marilyn E. Rossetti, chair of the council’s public works, parks, recreation and environment committee.

The StoryWalk will begin with a podium outside the entrance of Dillon Stadium, continue to the corner of Van Block Avenue and Masseek Street and then enter Colt Park where 18 additional podiums will be placed on the east side of the youth soccer field.

A resolution by Rossetti, Council President Maly Rosado and Councilwoman Shirley Surgeon was included on the consent agenda at the council’s Sept. 13 meeting.

Cigna has agreed to pay $25,000 to cover the cost of the project, including three years of maintenance and upkeep.

The StoryWalk is expected to be completed in mid-October and the Hartford Public Library will replace the book pages and activities on a quarterly basis.

Carlos Hernandez Chávez.

Carlos Hernandez Chavez.

Hispanic Heritage Month begins Sept. 15, and to mark the occasion, the Hartford Public Library is highlighting local artist Carlos Hernández Chavez, a musician, muralist and friend to the library.

Carlos had already established himself as an accomplished artist when he came to Hartford from Mexico City in 1967.

“When I first arrived I might as well have arrived to another planet,” he told The Hartford Courant in 2013. “Everything was just so different even though I spoke English. The newness of the place… it was just mesmerizing. I was told that I was the first Mexican in Hartford. I’m not sure if that was true but I did not meet any Mexicans for many years after 1967.”

Carlos quickly became ingrained in the city’s arts scene and worked for the City of Hartford for 25 years, beginning as a bilingual social worker and ending his career as the top hearing officer for housing and parking violations.

In 2014, his works were featured in the ArtWalk at the Hartford Public Library. The exhibit, “Dialogues: Impromptu Conversations in Color,” included works created in the Carite rain forest in Puerto Rico. Carlos took leaves off plants, coated them with paint and pressed them to paper or canvas.

Over the past year, Carlos has been photographing the progress of the construction of the new Park Street Library @ the Lyric that is scheduled to open at the end of the month.

Hartford Public Library honors and celebrates the history, culture and contributions of our Hispanic and Latino community.

Ana Cuevas works on a scarf during the opening of the Hartford Artisans Weaving Center exhibit at the Hartford Public Library Downtown on Thursday, Sept. 9.

Ana Cuevas works on a scarf during the opening of the Hartford Artisans Weaving Center’s Perspectives on Color exhibit at the Hartford Public Library Downtown on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021.

Ana Cuevas was born without vision but it hasn’t stopped her from producing finely crafted scarves and other items at the Hartford Artisans Weaving Center.

“My understanding of color is very limited but I like to do things for others to see,” Cuevas, who has been weaving for about four years, said Thursday as she demonstrated her skill at an opening for the center’s Perspectives on Color exhibit at the Hartford Public Library’s Downtown location.

Dozens of items produced by artisans from the weaving center will be on display on the library’s third floor – outside the Hartford History Center – through Oct. 21.

For Johanna Bolduc, who lost her vision in 2002, the center on Woodland Street has been a welcoming environment since she first started training there in 2013.

“It’s the nosiest peaceful place you’ll ever be,” she said, calling the art of weaving a form of “active meditation.”

Garrett Weaver admires a rug he created at the Hartford Artisans Weaving Center during the opening of the center's Perspectives on Color exhibit at the Hartford Public Library Downtown on Sept. 9, 2021.

Garrett Weaver admires a rug he created at the Hartford Artisans Weaving Center during the opening of the center’s Perspectives on Color exhibit at the Hartford Public Library Downtown on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021.

The center was forced to suspend classes for months during the COVID-19 pandemic but materials were sent home so the men and women who train there could continue working on their craft, said Ann Kollegger, executive director of the nonprofit.

In addition to teaching hand-weaving to people who are blind or visually impaired, the center also offers classes to Hartford-area seniors, like Garrett Weaver, who has a rug on display in the exhibit. He said it took him about three months to produce, start to finish.

Weaver said he’s been weaving for about 25 years and has been working at the center since its start.

“In college I was interested in modern art and math, and it’s a blend of that,” Weaver explained, adding that he uses Microsoft Excel to plot out patterns before getting to work on a project.

Hartford Public Library President and CEO Bridget Quinn, center, talks with Hartford Artisans Weaving Center Executive Director Ann Kolleger. right, and Hartford History Center Education and Outreach Manager Jasmin Agosto, left, during the Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, opening of the center's Perspectives on Color exhibit.

Hartford Public Library President and CEO Bridget Quinn, center, talks with Hartford Artisans Weaving Center Executive Director Ann Kolleger. right, and Hartford History Center Education and Outreach Manager Jasmin Agosto, left, during the Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, opening of the center’s Perspectives on Color exhibit.

Cuevas, the artisan who was born without vision, described how she interprets color in a testimonial that is part of the display.

“The color red comes to mind, because I think about the sun,” she wrote. “For me, the sun and the color red means inclusion. The sun provides light and warmth to everyone in the world regardless of race, gender, religion and socioeconomic status.”

For more information visit www.weavingcenter.org.

image001

The American Place at the Hartford Public Library — which helps immigrants and refugees resettling in the Hartford area — has been awarded the 2021 Partners in International Education Award from the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Global Social Work Education for its innovations in education for international social work.

Rebecca Thomas, a social work professor at UConn and director of the school’s Center for International Social Work Studies, nominated The American Place for the honor, saying it has served as a “rich environment for field placements” for students seeking degrees in social work.

“Their one stop shop which is not stigmatizing has been a rich experience for students learning about global issues at a local space,” Thomas, who is chair of the commission, wrote in her nomination letter to the CSWE. “One does not have to travel far to be international social work. “Students develop case management skills as they work with clients, learn about regions of the world where immigrants and refugees come from, learn to connect services to these individuals and also learn policies and advocacy.”

The American Place was established in 2000 and is run by Homa Naficy. It offers immigration information and resources for learning English and preparing for U.S. citizenship. In 2019 Naficy was selected as the winner of the American Library Association’s I Love My Librarian Award.

“Her efforts in Hartford are legendary; she has touched the lives of thousands of people and barely takes a breath before embarking on the next project or program that will undoubtedly help thousands more,” HPL President and CEO Bridget Quinn said.

During the COVID-19 pandemic many services were shifted online and The American Place provided homebound seniors with tablets and Wi-Fi hot spots to avoid isolation through its Surfing Seniors program.

The award from the Virginia-based council will be presented at the CSWE’s annual meeting in Orlando, Florida, in November.

DoubleDutch

An enhancement of the Boundless partnership between Hartford Public Library and Hartford Public Schools boosted participation in summer learning this year in the city by nearly 300%, with more than 1,000 children and teens registering for the program with the library.

The success is an expansion of the existing Boundless partnership that has deepened connections between the city’s schools and with the goal of improving literacy rates for Hartford students and enhanced learning and academic outcomes, explained Denise Martens, Hartford Public Library’s Assistant Director of Youth & Family Services:

“We are thrilled to see this huge increase in the use of HPL resources by the city’s children, teens, and families!” she said. “This is evidence that the Boundless partnership works to support learning in the city during the summer when we know about the impact of ‘the summer slide’ that is now being magnified by the pandemic.”

This year, Hartford Public Schools and the Hartford Public Library collaborated on creating summer reading lists segmented by grade level, with many titles available in both hard copy and digital formats and made easily accessible to students.

Will Bailey, Hartford Public Library Technical Services Director, said the library worked with its vendors during the 2020-2021 school year to grant access to its ebook collections through the school system’s online learning platform, Clever. The BookFlix database of ebooks was extremely popular and resulted in an increase of 50,000 uses throughout the school year.

For summer learning, the library was able to offer a wide variety of reading materials for all grade levels through its Overdrive and Axis 360 platforms, he said.

The theme of this year’s summer learning program was “What Colors Your World?” and a combination of outdoor and online activities were offered, including jewelry making, double Dutch, musical performances and virtual story times.

Students were encouraged to read at least 20 minutes a day and complete bingo cards that included squares like “Read with a friend or relative” or “Read a book with poems” as well as nonreading activities like “Learn a new skill” or “Help a family member” in order to win weekly prizes like books for their own personal collections.

This year’s program began June 21 and concluded August 21. Hartford students returned to school on Monday.

Last year’s virtual program drew about 350 participants, the same as 2019’s in-person program.

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