Christi Jensen

Wednesday, March 25 at 6:00 PM, the Downtown Library will host a panel discussion in partnership with The Connecticut Forum with three local, extreme outdoor enthusiasts. As the snow melts and we prepare for warmer weather, those who enjoy hiking, adventure, or any sort of outdoor activities will find this event informative and exciting as we’re getting closer to weekends full of outdoor fun!

Founded in 1992, The Connecticut Forum is a nonprofit organization serving Connecticut and beyond with panel discussions among renowned experts and celebrities. The Forum encourages the active exchange of ideas with events that inform, challenge, entertain, inspire and build bridges among all people and organizations in the community.

Last week, the Forum hosted a similar event with well-known panelists like long-distance channel swimmer Diana Nyad, Wild author Cheryl Strayed, and polar photographer Paul Nicklen. The  inspirational speakers explained to the audience what it takes to push the boundaries of human potential and inspired them to push their own boundaries.

Hartford Public Library is excited to present a follow-up forum that stays local. Wednesday’s panelist reside in Connecticut and will inspire you to push your boundaries and bring out the explorer in you. This event is free and open to the public, though registration is encouraged. Panelists will include Anne Parmenter, Steve Grant, and Rohan Freeman.

Wednesday evening’s first panelist, Anne Parmenter, is originally from the UK but has spent her career in Connecticut working as the head field hockey and lacrosse coach at Connecticut College and currently at Trinity College.  Parmenter has a degree in Physical Education, gained certification in instructing from the National Outdoor Leadership Schools and is also a certified top rope site manager through the American Mountain Guides Association. Her love for the mountains and hiking has taken her all over the world to mountains including Argentina’s Aconcagua, Denali in Alaska, Mount Blanc in the French Alps, Mount Everest, and others. Her talk will cover these hikes primarily focusing on her summit trip to Mount Everest in 2006. Interested in reading more about Parmenter before her talk on Wednesday? Visit here for an interesting article on her trips to Mount Everest.

Anne Parmenter representing Trinity College on the summit of Mt. Everest in 2006.

Anne Parmenter representing Trinity College on the summit of Mt. Everest in 2006. Photo credit: athletics.trincoll.edu

 

Rohan Freeman will be among the panelists on Wednesday at HPL. Freeman is an extremely inspiring individual who founded Freeman Companies, LLC., shortly after climbing Mount Everest. Freeman’s career-long inquiry of economic development and urban design has led to the firm’s involvement with various large-scale, transformative public projects, including the $350 Million DoNo project that comprises the new Hartford Yard Goats baseball  stadium and supplemental residential and commercial space. Originally from Jamaica, Freeman is the first African-American to complete the Seven Summits, the highest mountains of each of the seven continents: Asia’s Mount Everest, South America’s Aconcagua, Mount McKinley located in Alaska, Kilimanjaro in Africa, Russia’s Mount Elbrus, the Antartic Mount Vinson, and Australia’s Puncak Jaya. Combined, these summits total an astonishing 142,114 feet!

Rohan Freeman atop one of the Seven Summits representing Jamaica, his native country.

Rohan Freeman atop one of the Seven Summits representing Jamaica, his native country. Photo credit: http://aol.it/1N7Fkfb

The third panelist during this conversation on exploration and adventure will be Steve Grant, former Hartford Courant columnist and expert on outdoor recreation in Connecticut. Grant has retired from his 29-year career at The Courant where he focused  on nature, outdoor recreation, the green movement, energy and the natural sciences. He won a Pulitzer Prize and has written hundreds of articles on rivers and river issues. Grant was recognized for his love and knowledge of the Connecticut River by the Connecticut River Watershed Council, who presented him with its Bud Foster Award, given each year to a person who demonstrates “outstanding devotion, service, and accomplishment on behalf of the Connecticut River.” During his talk on Wednesday, we’ll hear about his many triumphs and adventures including his 5-week long trip canoeing that took him down the length of the Connecticut River.

Steve Grant paddling along the Connecticut River in Windsor, CT.

Steve Grant paddling along the Connecticut River in Windsor, CT. Photo credit: thestevegrantwebsite.com

This is a highly anticipated event for outdoor enthusiasts or those who want a new challenge in their life! Hearing the incredible stories of our panelists on Wednesday evening is a chance to be galvanized by what the outdoors can do to change a person and their outlook on life. Maybe you’ll ditch your resort plans in Mexico next summer for an exhilarating hike through the mountains. Maybe the stories will inspire you to start your own adventure club or do something new with your business. Or, you could just simply enjoy an evening of thrilling stories. Whatever the case may be, Hartford Public Library and The Connecticut Forum encourage you to come down on Wednesday to hear the experiences of these three local adventurers.

On Monday February 23rd, YOUMedia hosted the launch recording sessions for Words to Give by.

photos courtesy of

Photo by Visual Appeal Studio.

Words to Give by is a partnership between the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving and WNPR. The project aims to discover how neighbors, friends, family – even strangers – have helped each other through tough times. By capturing and sharing these stories, Words to Give By will uncover the everyday acts of kindness that typically go unheard.

Hugs were shared. Photo by Visual Appeal Studio

Hugs were shared. Photo by Visual Appeal Studio.

The project began on Monday inside HPL’s own YOUMedia center’s recording studio. This was just the first of 15 recording sessions. Those interested in telling their story and being a part of this state-wide conversation on generosity can sign up for a recording time at wordstogiveby.org

A conversation being recorded in the YOUMedia recording studio. Photo by Visual Appeal Studio.

A story being recorded in the YOUMedia recording studio. Photo by Visual Appeal Studio.

About 30 edited stories from these sessions will air on WNPR from April through November 2015. A total of 50 selected stories will be posted on wordstogiveby.org 

Some stories weren't just from individuals, but also whole families! Photo by Visual Appeal Studio

Some stories weren’t just from individuals, but also whole families! Photo by Visual Appeal Studio.

Smiles grew as the stories were told. Photo by Visual Appeal Studio

Smiles grew as the stories were told. Photo by Visual Appeal Studio.

 

Children enjoyed telling their stories of kindness too. Photo by Visual Appeal Studio.

Children enjoyed telling their stories of kindness too. Photo by Visual Appeal Studio.

You can find more pictures and updates on Words to Give by on their Facebook page.

#everydaygenerosity Photo by Visual Appeal Studio.

#everydaygenerosity Photo by Visual Appeal Studio.

Photo by Visual Appeal Studio.

Photo by Visual Appeal Studio.

 

Hartford Public Library was proud to host the first recording session. It was a great chance to welcome newcomers into the doors of the Library and showcase the advanced technology available to teens in YOUMedia Hartford!

Humans of Hartford is a place on the web where Nick, self-taught photographer, takes photographs of strangers around Hartford, and interviews them for a quick snapshot into their lives. These photos and interviews are then posted on the HoH Facebook page, website and Instagram for all to see.

HoH has paid visits to us at Hartford Public Library in the past, but most recently there were two photos and interviews taken at our new YOUmediaHartford, a teens-only digital learning and maker space at the Downtown Library!

Isaias, a Hartford teen and frequent visitor to YOUmedia Hartford, said this during his interview, “I’ve made a lot of friends here, and it gives my mom peace of mind to know I’m not on the streets. She knows I’m here, safe.” Check out his full interview here: http://on.fb.me/1zwcXQa

facebook.com/humansofhartford

YOUmedia Manager, Tricia George was also interviewed and said that her favorite part of working at YOUMedia has been, “Being able to ask the teens what they need to accomplish their goals, and then being able to meet their demands.” Her full interview can be seen at: http://on.fb.me/1zwcXQa

facebook.com/humansofhartford

facebook.com/humansofhartford

The stories seen on  Humans of Hartford range from very personal triumphs, stories of overcoming tragedies, or just simply what happened to a person earlier in the day. HoH is an interesting place to visit on the web to have a look into the lives of our neighbors, the people walking along the street or the person sitting next to  you in a café. The stories are relatable and give a sense of collectiveness amongst our community.

It was a great honor for YOUmedia to be featured on the Humans of Hartford Facebook page. It was great exposure for the center to let other teens know what the center is all about – letting teens be teens, express their creativity and find their passion. We hope that other teens see these pictures on the Facebook page and come into the center to check it out… and maybe even find their passions too!

Find out more about YOUmedia Hartford here.

 

A couple of #unselfies outside Hartford Prints

A couple of #unselfies outside Hartford Prints

Giving Tuesday is a new national day of giving that follows the famous Black Friday and the now rising Cyber Monday. This day encourages folks to donate before the holidays amongst all the shopping hype and is an optimal time for nonprofits to raise funds for just one day.

This year Hartford Public Library is going all out with efforts to raise money on Giving Tuesday (December 2 this year). You will see promotions on our E-Newsletter, our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and balloons….lots of balloons.

The hashtags “#unselfie” and “#givingtuesday” are prominently used across platforms like Twitter and Instagram to promote Giving Tuesday. Posting a “selfie” involves being very self-aware and on Giving Tuesday those organizations that take part hope to encourage people to be a little more self-less. Posting an “#unselfie” and using that hashtag shows one’s self-less-ness and shows others their support for a particular organization.

This notion of being self-less and posting an “unselfie” goes hand in hand with supporting Giving Tuesday rather than Black Friday. On Black Friday people go out in the middle of the night and brave the force of aggressive shoppers to by material items for their families and sometimes themselves. It’s all about getting the best deal. Giving Tuesday is the opposite. It’s all about giving to others.

To use the #unselfie, the HPL development team will be going around with balloons in the HPL colors and telling people about Giving Tuesday. They will be walking around to branches and popular city destinations while holding a bunch of floating balloons. As they pass people they will hand them postcards with information about Giving Tuesday and ask passer-byes to take an #unselfie with the balloon. This will be a fun way to engage with the community and gain awareness for the Library and Giving Tuesday.

All of the #unselfies that are taken will be posted on a special album on facebook.com/hartfordpubliclibrary for all to see.

Of course all of this effort and all of these balloons are to promote one thing….giving to the Library. These donations will foster learning in our youngest readers, provide critical resources to the city, provide citizenship services to Hartford’s immigrant population, support free job and career guidance, and so much more. Giving Tuesday is an excellent way for us to encourage patrons and the people of Hartford to give back to the place like no other, the Hartford Public Library.

If you would like to learn more about Giving Tuesday at the Library or kindly give a donation, click here.

Recently HPL was the receiver of three different grants that totaled an extraordinary amount of $50,000! Wow! Thank you to The Connecticut Department of Education, the New Alliance Foundation, and Wells Fargo. These three grants will support critical free programs the Library provides to Hartford adults, children, and families.

Here is a breakdown on each of the grants:

The Connecticut Department of Education-Bureau of Health/Nutrition, Family Services, and Adult Education awarded HPL funding in the amount of $35,000. That money will fund a 2015 Adult Education Program Improvement Project supporting English language learning and civic participation for low-literate immigrant populations. One of the greatest achievements of HPL is how many immigrants and refugees that we are able to help. We offer numerous classes to help children and adults to get acquainted to living in an American neighborhood and this fund helps us to continue to do that.

Wells Fargo gave HPL $10,000 that will go towards funding for a YOUmedia Core Programming Initiative (YCPI). This is a program that will essentially allow us to do critical research on our brand new, teens only, digital learning lab, YOUmedia. Being the first in Connecticut, and only the third in the whole country, it is critical to do research on this facility. YCPI will develop a programming model, acting as a test for the center’s first year of activity. This “test” will see how students are engaging inside it, how they are learning, etc. All of this will be done through marketing, program testing, and a pilot program.

The New Alliance Foundation awarded the Library $5,000 to support WordPlay Storytimes, an innovative program to help English Language Learners ages 2-5 and their parents/caregivers across all ten locations of the Hartford Public Library. This program will help to acclimatize immigrant and refugee children to a new cultural environment by utilizing common themes of letters, numbers, colors, shapes, and feelings, as well as well-known folktales that build cultural literacy and comfort.

 

Thank you to all three of our donors for these outstanding grants! With their help we can continue to be a place like no other!

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