On a recent lovely summer evening, I made my way to the 19th floor of a Hartford skyscraper for a very special reception honoring some of the city’s most hard-working volunteers. Generously hosted by the law firm Shipman & Goodwin, the locale offered a panoramic view of downtown Hartford, the majestic Connecticut River, and the state’s many rolling hills off in the distance. It was a view “one doesn’t get to see very often,” exclaimed one of the guests.
I had come to support and thank the newly-appointed members of the Hartford Commission on Refugee and Immigrant Affairs (CRIA). With backing from the Hartford Public Library, the Hartford City Council, and the Mayor, the 21-person Commission will help refugees and immigrants engage in civic life, provide a forum for their ideas and concerns, and facilitate entry to the city for all new arrivals.
Dining on delicious appetizers and sipping refreshing cocktails, members of the various boards and commissions chatted and shared stories. Dr. Rebecca Thomas of the University of Connecticut School of Social Work and an immigrant from India, shared some of her reasons for joining the Commission, “I have benefited from an education, interaction and engagement with my adopted country, and I would like to share some practical insights to a policy body that can effect change and work with the members of the Commission to best meet the needs of immigrants and the host communities.”
Rio Comaduran, born and raised in the U.S., said she “hopes to continue to bring immigrant and refugee issues to the forefront, ultimately affecting policy shifts and changes at the city level, and at the same time encouraging civic engagement and social capital building amongst immigrants. And as a proud Hartford resident and grand-daughter of Mexican immigrants, there’s really nothing better! ”
Mayor Pedro Segarra thanked all of the volunteers and commissioners for their service, spending some time with the new CRIA members—American citizens Thomas, Comaduran, and Eva Jacobson, as well as Georges Kingsley Anan, a recent immigrant from Cote d’Ivoire, Dean Rhoden of Jamaica, and Balam Soto of Guatemala. Mayor Segarra commented, “Hartford has always been a city of immigrants – from its founding to the present day. I am so excited about the new Commission. We can help our new arrivals with their dreams and aspirations and they will contribute to the health and vibrancy of our city.”
Judy Wyman Kelly is a consultant for the Hartford Public Library’s The American Place, a center for immigration and citizenship, and a lecturer at the University of Hartford.
Calling All Artists!
ArtWalk at HPL offers one of the largest and most stunning exhibition spaces in Hartford, and we’re looking for artists to showcase in the 2015 ArtWalk series! Located on the 3rd floor of the Downtown Library in a space that looks down onto historic Main Street, the gallery offers unique visibility and exposure, adding to the increasing vibrancy of Downtown Hartford. The ArtWalk hanging system’s movable panels allow maximum flexibility for each show.
The stunning state-of-the-art gallery was made possible through the generosity of donors, especially the Beatrice Fox Auerbach Foundation at Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.
The ArtWalk puts on four exhibitions each year. Artists are invited to submit a body of work to be considered for the following year’s exhibitions between August 1st and October 1st. From these submissions, the four shows for the following year are chosen.
Artists living and/or working in the Greater Hartford area will be given priority. Students, emerging, or established artists are all eligible. Artists must have a body of work sufficient for exhibition on the ArtWalk by the date of the exhibition. Artists working in all media are encouraged to apply.
A jury will select up to four artists with final approval from the Library. Criteria for selection include but are not limited to: 1) an artist’s resume or vitae and demonstrated ability, 2) an appropriate body of work that is compatible with the ArtWalk space, and 3) the ability to provide sufficient work ready for installation by an agreed-upon date.
Installations designed specifically for ArtWalk are encouraged. The jury will also consider the economic and physical feasibility of the proposed exhibitions. The jury may also recommend group exhibitions.
The selected artist(s) will generally receive a solo exhibition (although the Library reserves the right to create exhibitions for multiple artists simultaneously), supporting marketing, an opening night reception, and an opportunity to present an artist talk to the public during the exhibition.
1) Documentation of Work – Up to six images of recent, current work or the work specifically being proposed for the exhibition on the ArtWalk on a clearly labeled CD-ROM/USB drive – jpegs only. (Physical work – slides, photographs, will not be considered. All work must be submitted digitally)
2) Include title, dimensions and medium for each image submitted
3) Up to three minutes of new media work will be viewed by jurors (clearly mark and cue the segment to be viewed)
4) A current resume with contact information including address, phone number and e-mail
5) A brief artist’s statement
6) Description and scope of proposed exhibition
If you would like your submission returned to you, please include with your application a self-addressed stamped envelope sufficient to return material. Otherwise materials will not be returned.
Materials must be postmarked no later than October 1st.
Hartford Public Library
500 Main Street
Hartford, CT 06103
Artist(s) selected by the jury will be notified by phone and email no later than October 31st.
Woah! On Thursday, April 24, we were blown away by receiving a surprise grant award of $25,000 from NewAlliance Foundation in support of the our dedication to providing access to literacy education to all Hartford residents. The “Hi-5” High Impact Literacy Award is granted annually to an organization in the NewAlliance Foundation service area that embodies the five attributes the Foundation wishes to honor in the field of literacy: vision, responsiveness, innovation, spirit and results.
“Literacy is critical to the success of Hartford’s youth, adults, and the community. Our commitment to literacy is at the core of our mission, and inspires what we do here each and every day,” said Matt Poland, CEO of Hartford Public Library. “We are thrilled to receive this unexpected award, which will allow us to continue to provide innovative educational programming and improve literacy skills for residents throughout the city.”
We offer an array of literacy programs for children and adults at our nine branches and Downtown location:
- The Library’s many early-literacy programs, resources and technologies provide access to the materials and skills that Hartford’s youngest students need to enter school prepared to learn and achieve educational success.
- Each summer, thousands of Hartford students participate in the Library’s Great Summer Read, the only provider of programming, encouragement and free access to literacy materials during the summer.
- Hartford Public Library’s literacy programming redefines traditional education by extending to student of all ages a variety of year-round programs, free and open to all. These include English-as-Second-Language (ESL) classes, computer, health, and financial literacy programs
- A recent partnership with Hartford Public Schools allows the Library to maximize access to its services for city students, parents, and educators.
“We’re very impressed with Hartford Public Library’s dedication to the community, and to addressing the critical gap in education and literacy services that exists for many Hartford residents,” said Kim Healey, Executive Director of Newalliance Foundation. “The programming provided by the Library makes a wide variety of learning and literacy skills available to all, and is a truly invaluable service. We’re pleased to be able to support its continued innovation, vision, and results.”
Thank you, NewAlliance Foundation, for your generous support! These are the kinds of surprises we could REALLY get used to!
The American Library Association (ALA) has selected Hartford Public Library as one of 10 public libraries that will undergo an intensive 18-month, team-based community engagement training program as part of the Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC) Public Innovators Cohort.
The cohort, selected through a highly competitive peer-reviewed application process, is part of ALA’s LTC initiative, a national plan to help librarians strengthen their role as core community leaders and change-agents.
Through in-person training, webinars and coaching — valued at $50,000 — a team of five Hartford Public Library staff members, led by CEO Matthew K. Poland, will learn new community engagement techniques and apply them to challenges in the City of Hartford. The library will also receive an $8,000 cash grant to help cover the cost of new community-engagement work.
“Libraries are at the heart of the community, and civic engagement is at the heart of where the public library is going in the 21st century. We are this democratic place where opinions are heard, resources are universally available, everyone is welcome, and programs are offered about things that matter in the community,” says Poland. “Successful civic engagement requires a combination of knowledge, skills, values, and motivation to make a difference in the community so we look forward to developing our competencies through this wonderful opportunity.”
The selected libraries represent the range of American communities in terms of size, location, ethnic and racial diversity and socioeconomic status, and they all face challenges including illiteracy; unemployment; a “digital divide” in access to information technology; an influx of new and immigrant populations; and disparate access to services.
Other members of the LTC Public Innovators Cohort include:
- Red Hook (N.Y.) Public Library (pop: 1,900)
- Columbus (Wis.) Public Library (pop: 5,000)
- Knox County (Ind.) Public Library (pop: 33,900)
- Suffolk (Va.) Public Library (pop: 85,000)
- Springfield (Mass.) City Library (pop: 153,000)
- Tuscaloosa (Ala.) Public Library (pop: 195,000)
- Spokane County (Wash.) Library District (pop: 255,000)
- San Jose (Calif.) Public Library (pop: 980,000)
- Los Angeles (Calif.) Public Library (pop: 3.8 million)
“Public libraries have long served as trusted and treasured institutions, and librarians today can leverage that strong position for the betterment of their communities,” said ALA President Barbara Stripling. “As a longtime champion of library-led community engagement and innovation, ALA is primed to provide the tools and support that will enable librarians to more effectively fulfill this vital role.”
In partnership with The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, Libraries Transforming Communities addresses a critical need within the library field by developing and distributing new tools, resources and support for librarians to engage with their communities in new ways. Libraries Transforming Communities is made possible through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Libraries Transforming Communities is grounded in The Harwood Institute’s approach of “turning outward,” which emphasizes changing the orientation of institutions and individuals from internal (institutional) to external (community-facing).
For more information on Libraries Transforming Communities, visit http://www.ala.org/transforminglibraries/libraries-transforming-communities.
Greater Hartford! Join HPL for a week-long celebration for National Library Week, April 13 – 19, 2014, in our nine branches, Downtown Library, and online. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Lives change @ your library.”
Begun in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support. All types of libraries – school, public, academic and special – participate.
In Hartford, the public will have multiple opportunities to celebrate in a variety of mediums:
- HPL’s new Library on Wheels will travel throughout city neighborhoods making stops outside each of the Library’s nine branches. Residents are invited to sign up for a library card and learn about the services Library on Wheels provides.’
- Kids of all ages are invited to participate in an art contest at their local branch by creating a poster illustrating the theme: “What the Library Means to Me!” Winners will be chosen the following week, and one winner from each branch will receive a special prize.
- This year, Library Week goes virtual, with a collaborative social media project called “#HPseLfies”. Visitors are encouraged to take selfies while at the library and upload to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with the hashtag “#HPseLfie.” Pics will be compiled into a photo-collage which will be reposted on the Library blog and throughout its social media channels.
- Wednesday, April 16, join HPL Downtown for “More than Books: Libraries, Community & Historic Preservation,” a presentation and discussion with historian William Hosley. The event will revisit 200 years of American libraries and the changes in mission and practice brought on by technology and new community needs. This program is presented in partnership with the Auerbach Art Library at The Wadsworth Atheneum.
- Kids visiting all Library Youth Departments will receive fun free giveaways all week long!
The Library on Wheels can be found in the community at the following days and times:
Monday, April 14
Blue Hills Branch: 3:00 – 3:45 p.m.
Albany Branch: 4:00 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.
Mark Twain Branch: 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday, April 15
Ropkins Branch: 3:00 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.
Barbour Branch: 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday, April 16
Dwight Branch: 3:00 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.
Park Branch: 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, April 17
Goodwin Branch: 3:00 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.
Campfield Branch: 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 19
Downtown Library: 10 AM – 4 PM
For more information on Hartford Public Library’s National Library Week programs, please call 860-695-6352 or visit www.hplct.org.
Congrats to HPL Youth Services Manager Lina Osha-Williams, honored as an Immigrant of the Year at last week’s Connecticut Immigrant Day ceremony at the state capitol! Her dedication to serving the Hartford community is truly inspiring, andwe’re so proud to have her on our team.
Also honored at the ceremony: our Adult Learning Department staff, for their implementation of We Belong Here Hartford, a program that provides key support to immigrants new to America by linking them to programs and services available at both the Library and throughout the region.
Way to go, HPL!
March is Women’s History Month, and at HPL, we’re celebrating with programming examining the critical role women have played in shaping our world.
Check out the events below – more to come!
Women’s History Movie Screenings
Mark Twain Branch
Monday, March 10, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Won’t Back Down (2012)
Two determined mothers, one a teacher, look to transform their children’s failing inner city school. Facing a powerful and entrenched bureaucracy, they risk everything to make a difference in the education and future of their children
Monday, March 17, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
ESPN 30 by 30 Marion Jones (2012)
For years, Jones denied the increasing speculation that she used performance-enhancing drugs. Jones was sentenced to six months in prison for lying to federal investigators and soon saw her Olympic achievements disqualified.
Monday,March 24,5:30-7:30 p.m.
The Women Of Brewster Place
Based on the novel by Gloria Naylor, which deals with several strong-willed women who live in a rundown housing project on Brewster Place in an unidentified eastern city; across three decades, they struggle against poverty, bigotry, and weak, troublesome men.
Saturday March 29, 10:00 a.m.-12:30p.m.
Free Angela and Other Political Prisoners
A documentary that chronicles the life of young college professor Angela Davis, and how her social activism implicates her in a botched kidnapping attempt that ends with a shootout, four dead, and her name on the FBI’s 10 most wanted list.
CONNECTICUT WOMEN’S HALL OF FAME PORTRAIT EXHIBIT on the ARTWalk
On display March 17 – April 21, 2014, Downtown Library
Opening Reception Thursday, March 27, 2014, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
The ARTWalk hosts a beautifully executed collection of 65 framed images and biographies honoring CWHF Inductees (1994-2002) of great achievement who have broken new ground or have emerged as leaders in their fields of endeavor.
Women have always made a difference in our community. Those who have caused change to happen have often not followed the “rules” society has set out for them. Hear from accomplished and committed Connecticut women about the challenges they faced and how they overcame them, and what we might learn from their experiences. Light refreshments at 5:30 p.m., panel discussion featuring First Lady Cathy Malloy, Connie Green, and other trailblazing women from Hartford’s recent history to begin at 6:00 p.m. Program sponsored by The Hartford Votes ~ Hartford Vota Coalition
More info: center.hplct.org
Beatrice Fox Auerbach: The Woman, Her World and Her Wardrobe
On display February 5, 2014 – May 10, 2014
Hartford History Center, Downtown Library
Curator Talk: Saturday, March 15, 2014, 2:00 PM
Glimpse into the life of Beatrice Fox Auerbach in an exhibit of garments and personal items of the world traveler, influential philanthropist, and owner and CEO of America’s largest privately owned department store, G. Fox & Co. The exhibit is presented in partnership with the University of Connecticut Historical Costume & Textile Collection Department, and is free and open to the public during Hartford History Center hours, Tuesday through Saturday, 1 PM – 5 PM.
Hot off the presses: HPL has been awarded grants totaling $375,000 from Hartford Foundation for Public Giving and its Beatrice Fox Auerbach Foundation Fund to support the creation of YOUmedia Hartford, an innovative digital learning center for teens. The recent award, coupled with existing support from the City of Hartford and other corporate and foundation donors (Comcast, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Berkshire Bank, New Alliance Foundation, and The Foundation for Greater Hartford), allows development plans to move forward on the state-of-the-art lab to be located at the Downtown Library. YOUmedia Hartford will serve Hartford’s approximately 13,500 teens by providing a high-tech learning lab that connects student interests to future academic and career success, while decreasing the digital divide and providing leadership opportunities that engage teens with their community.
“Hartford Public Library is a vital component of our city’s comprehensive efforts to provide children with the opportunities and resources needed to ensure that educational activities continue after the school day has ended,” said Mayor Pedro Segarra. “YOUmedia will support Hartford teens by providing the opportunity to develop beneficial technology skills, receive mentoring and guidance, and connect with their communities.”
YOUmedia will be home to the young adult collection of books and media, laptop and desktop computers and a variety of advanced media creation tools and software, including a recording studio, which will allow teens to express themselves and their interests through music and spoken word. Teens in YOUmedia will have the opportunity to attend free workshops, book discussions, author events and performances.
“Hartford’s teens face the great challenge of developing relevant skills in our ever-evolving technological society,” said Hartford Public Library CEO Matt Poland, who also serves as chairman of the Hartford Board of Education. “With generous support from foundation grants, corporate donors, and the City of Hartford, the Library will soon be able to provide the cutting edge training, opportunities and resources Hartford teens need in order to compete in the 21st century world of work. YOUMedia Hartford is an example of the power of public-private partnerships to provide creative solutions to community needs.”
The YOUmedia concept is based on groundbreaking research which maintains that learning must be socially connected, interest-driven, and oriented toward educational, economic, or political opportunity. YOUmedia Hartford will be a transformative space: an open, flexible, highly creative laboratory that inspires teens to think, play, and learn in different ways. Teens can hang out, mess around, and geek out on no-tech, low-tech, and high-tech activities, based on their interests and talents. Mentors will be critical to the YOUmedia space, and will be available both online and in person. Librarians, artists, and instructors will guide youth as they explore digital media. Visiting digital media experts, spoken word poets, filmmakers, sound mixers, librarians, and museum staff will lead workshops based on the interests of participants. YOUmedia Hartford will provide an encouraging atmosphere for minority teens and young women, traditionally underrepresented in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields, to explore new passions and technologies.
“Ensuring that all young people have the skills they need to be successful in college or in the workplace has been a priority at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. We are pleased to support the innovative work of Hartford Public Library to provide a space for teens throughout the city to develop high-tech, 21st century skills,” said Linda J. Kelly, President of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. “Hartford Public Library is truly reimagining its role in the lives of city youth, and is developing a state model for the library of the future.”
The first YOUmedia lab was created in the Chicago Public Library. Since then, YOUmedia labs have opened in Miami/Dade County Public Library, the Hirshorn Museum in Washington D.C., and Dreamyard in New York City. Similar approaches have been adapted by emerging learning labs across the country.
While the focus of the design of YOUmedia is to support youth in out-of-school time, Hartford high school teachers with classes of students are also able to reserve the space for skill-building workshops during the school day.
YOUmedia Hartford will offer regular afterschool, Saturday, and summer hours, and a Fall 2014 opening is anticipated. All high school age teens are welcome, and may utilize YOUmedia technology for free with a valid Hartford Public Library card.
For more information on YOUmedia, please visit www.youmedia.org.
February is just around the corner, and we’ve got a great lineup of Black History Month programs and events to educate, inform and entertain. Join us!
Youth: History Makers
Monday, February 3, 3:30 p.m., Mark Twain Branch
Ages 8 and up. Join us in a celebration of Black History month as we create a History Tree with quotes from people who inspired others through their words and actions.
More info: 860-695-7540
“American Promise” Film Screening and Community Conversation
Saturday, February 8, 2014, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Hartford Public Library hosts on of the first screenings in the nation of the PBS documentary “American Promise,” a rare and compelling exploration of race, class and opportunity in America. Following the film, a conversation moderated by Fox CT’s Stan Simpson will engage a panel of local educators, community leaders, and attendees in a dialogue surrounding issues of race and education in local communities. Panelists will include Adam Johnson, Director of Secondary Education at Capitol Region Education Council (CREC), Milly Arciniegas, Executive Director of the Hartford Parent University , and others. “American Promise” debuts on PBS Monday, February 3rd.
American Promise is an intimate and provocative account, recorded over 12 years, of the experiences of two middle-class African-American boys who entered a very prestigious–and historically white–private school on
Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The Dalton School had made a commitment to recruit students of color, and five-year-old best friends Idris Brewster and Oluwaseun (Seun) Summers of Brooklyn were two of the gifted children who were admitted. The boys were placed in a demanding environment that provided new opportunities and challenges, if little reflection of their cultural identities.
LIBRARY BOOK CLUB
Native Son by Richard Wright
Sunday, February 9, 2014
1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Right from the start, Bigger Thomas had been headed for jail. It could have been for assault or petty larceny; by chance, it was for murder and rape. Native Son tells the story of this young black man caught in a downward spiral after he kills a young white woman in a brief moment of panic. Set in Chicago in the 1930s, Wright’s powerful novel is an unsparing reflection on the poverty and feelings of hopelessness experienced by people in inner cities across the country and of what it means to be black in America.
Mudbound by Hillary Jordan
Sunday, February 16, 2014
1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
In Jordan’s prize-winning debut, prejudice takes many forms, both subtle and brutal. It is 1946, and city-bred Laura McAllan is trying to raise her children on her husband’s Mississippi Delta farm—a place she finds foreign and frightening. In the midst of the family’s struggles, two young men return from the war to work the land. Jamie McAllan, Laura’s brother-in-law, is everything her husband is not—charming, handsome, and haunted by his memories of combat. Ronsel Jackson, eldest son of the black sharecroppers who live on the McAllan farm, has come home with the shine of a war hero. But no matter his bravery in defense of his country, he is still considered less than a man in the Jim Crow South. It is the unlikely friendship of these brothers-in-arms that drives this powerful novel to its inexorable conclusion.
For copies of the book or questions, contact book club leader Sarah Pelletier at 860-695-6377 firstname.lastname@example.org.
February’s Book Club is made possible in part thanks to the generous donation of books by CT Humanities.
Sunday, February 23, 2014, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Center for Contemporary Culture, Downtown Library
Hartford Public Library and the Hartford History Center, in partnership with the magazine Connecticut Explored, presents a Black History Month discussion recalling the Black Panther Party in Connecticut during the turbulent 1960s and 1970s featuring Butch Lewis, 1960s activist and co-founder of the Hartford Chapter of the Black Panther Party. Featured scholars will include Dr. Stacey Close, Associate Vice President for Equity and Diversity at Eastern Connecticut State University, and Dr. Jeffrey O.G. Ogbar, Vice Provost for Diversity at University of Connecticut. Connecticut Explored also celebrates the launch of its newest publication, African American Connecticut Explored. Books will be available for purchase.
Family Poetry Night
Wednesday, February 26, 5:30 p.m., Downtown Library – Youth Program Room
Ages 4 and up with adult friends. Bring your whole family to celebrate Black History Month! Come recite your favorite poems and enjoy a night of music, soul food and poetry.
More info: 860-695-6330
People That Could Fly
Friday, February 27, 3:00 p.m., Camp Field Branch
All Ages. Celebrate Black History Month with a read aloud and discussion of Virginia Hamilton’s tale, The People That Could Fly, then enjoy a soulful treat afterwards.
Amistad Center Historic Photo Collection
Throughout February, Library visitors will be able to a view a kinetic “exhibit” of historic photos of important events and figures of the Civil Rights Movement, courtesy of the Amistad Center for Art & Culture, projected in a giant display in on the wall of our Downtown Atrium. Exhibit is visible from all floors, and will be projected during afternoon hours.
We don’t think you need a lot of convincing, but just in case you’re still on the fence, here’s a list of ten reasons you should vote for HPL in Hartford Magazine’s Best of Hartford Readers’ Poll.
Check it out, then vote here! (Category>Service>Library)
9. Gizmo the Wonderdoglet. Hello.
6. The Kitchen at Hartford Public Library makes some seriously delish stuff.
4. Our 10 locations serve thousands of families, children and adults in neighborhoods throughout the city.
3. Our library cards are fresh.
2. We love our customers.
1. We ARE Hartford’s library.
Don’t forget to VOTE! What are YOUR top reasons for voting for HPL as Hartford’s Best Library?? Comment below!