Messages from Matt
Arianna Huffington represents what’s possible in America with the right set of personal tools – courage, chutzpah, knowledge, and a deep understanding of what it means to be an American. With Huffington Post, she has created a means for millions every day to get engage in their world, their countries and in their communities. She knows the importance of civic engagement to forming a more perfect union.
Hartford Public Library also clearly recognizes the important role it plays in civic engagement. The breadth of programs we already offer under the aegis of civic and community engagement is impressive and innovative. They range from traditional education services that provide valuable information and skills to broader political and civic roles, such as serving as a state community redistricting site, managing community services for growing immigrant populations, and building databases that centralize vital community and government information for improved decision making.
Over the past decade, the Library has become increasingly concerned about and committed to strengthening the foundations of community and civic engagement—volunteering, voting, participating in civic and social organizations, engaging in activities that strengthen community, participating in public dialogues and problem solving sessions, and working to make a difference in their communities. Working with local government leaders, in particular, we have broadened their approaches to engaging citizens by moving from traditional representative governance to democratic governance where citizens work directly with public officials in participatory, inclusive, deliberative, and collaborative ways.
The long-term benefits of increasing civic and community awareness, engagement, and activity are well documented. Research and experience have shown that engaged and empowered citizens generate optimism about the future, produce good decisions on tough community challenges, and contribute to economic success and individual well-being. Public libraries, with their sustained stature as the most trusted government entity, are ideal resources to shape and lead discussions, decisions, and strategies that encourage active and purposeful civic engagement.
While some may see the stock of social capital plummeting, public libraries generate and nurture social capital. While local officials worry that technology-driven public engagement will create new digital divides and increase disconnectedness, libraries have already built the infrastructure and capacity to ensure broad access to and skill in using technology resources. And, while lingering mistrust of government institutions among some populations contributes to civic apathy, libraries maintain their standing as a highly-trusted and valued public resource.
Moving from respected supporting player to consistent and valued leader requires a clear definition of the scope of library civic service and development of strategic agendas that broaden the impact of library action, measure and report on outcomes, and position the library as the go-to civic and community engagement resource.
Ms. Huffington believes in the power of public libraries: “With the public library’s stature as democracy’s best promise, the transition to civic engagement leader is both necessary and long overdue.
This spring the One Book One Hartford selection is Eve Ensler’s book, I Am An Emotional Creature. Ms.Ensler will talk about her book in the Center for Contemporary Culture at the Downtown Library on Sunday, May 6 at 4:00 p.m.
Please join Governor Dannel Malloy, the First Lady Cathy Malloy, and Dr.Christina Kishimoto, Hartford’s Superintendent of Schools, for a great celebration of being human with this great playwright, author and social activist.
Doors open at 3 and it’s free.
During this special season, the lives of many people are filled with the spirit of giving, the importance of family and friends, and a sense of renewal and new opportunity. That spirit lives year-round in the Library. It’s why Hartford Public Library is such a powerful symbol of hope and trust. And it’s why the Library is a place like no other.
And, in this time of economic uncertainty, the holiday season takes on added meaning for all of us, and none more than the men and women who work at the Library. They understand that times like these can be especially difficult for those they serve.
So, in keeping with the spirit of the season, we are grateful for what the Library receives in return from our community, our Board, our City leaders, our volunteers and our donors. That’s what creates the timeless relationship the Library has with our City.
May these days be filled with joy, peace, and hope for the New Year for you, your family and friends.
With deep gratitude and best wishes,
Chief Executive Officer
Need to trim your budget but don’t want to give up your tunes, we can help with Freegal.
If you have a Hartford Public Library Card you can download three tunes a week from Freegal with no charge and you get to keep them — that’s 156 tunes a year. That’s a hunk of change…
Here’s how Freegal works:
- Legally download music for free from the Freegal site
- All music is free and you get to keep it forever – no due dates
- All songs work on MP3 players, iPods, iPhones, and so on
- HPL Library Card holders can download up to three songs each week (the counter resets to zero at 9 p.m. on Sunday evening)
- Hundreds of thousands of songs in over 100 genres of music are available to download
Quick tips for using Freegal:
- Have your HPL card handy to login to Freegal
- Search by genre and artist (bands that start with “The” are listed under the letter “t”)
- Preview a song by clicking on the arrow to the left of the song title
- Download a song by clicking “Download Now” and the clicking “Save”
- If you click “Download Now” and then click “Cancel,” you still use up one of your weekly song downloads
What do you get when you take a popular library branch in a phenomenal neighborhood and a dynamic community organization and add the enthusiasm of community gardeners and students? You get an exciting art project at the Park Street branch, thanks to the folks at Billings Forge, the library’s branch manager and a cadre of young artists and neighborhood residents eager to have a huge canvas.
This morning, painting of the mural began and is expected to be completed in a week or so. The branch is located at the corner of Park and Babcock Streets. Come visit.
Check out photos from Kerri Provost’s Real Hartford.
On Sunday, October 30, the Library will host the 10th anniversary celebration of CT Book Awards sponsored by Connecticut Center for the Book at Hartford Public Library.
This year, Wally Lamb returns as the featured speaker. Lamb was the speaker at the first award ceremony ten years ago. Lary Bloom, the 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award winner, will present this year’s award to Roxanne Coady, founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of R.J. Julia Booksellers, Ltd. located in Madison, Connecticut and to Kat Lyons, former coordinator of the Connecticut Center for the Book and co-chair of the Connecticut Book Festival.
The awards ceremony is free and open to the public. There will be a ticketed reception after the ceremony. Tickets can be purchased at Eventbrite.
2011 nominees are:
Children’s Illustrator Finalists
Chalk by Bill Thomson
The Ink Garden of Brother Theophane by Andrea Wisnewski
The Last Train by Wendell Minor
Wisenheimer: A Childhood Subject to Debate by Mark Oppenheimer
Builder’s Apprentice: A Memoir by Andrew J. Hoffman
Mentors in the Garden of Life by Colleen Plimpton
Connecticut Needlework: Women, Art, and Family, 1740-1840 by Susan P. Schoelwer (and Connecticut Historical Society staff)
Doonesbury and the Art of G.B. Trudeau by Brian Walker
The Children’s Hour: A Life in Child Psychiatry by Kenneth S. Robson
War No More: The Antiwar Impulse in American Literature 1861-1914 by Cynthia Wachtell
Crave Radiance: New and Selected Poems 1990-2010 by Elizabeth Alexander
Blue for Oceans by Charles Douthat
All of Your Messages Have Been Erased by Vivian Shipley
Walking with Ruskin by Robert Cording
Beautiful Assassin by Michael C. White
True Confections by Katharine Weber
Stay with Me by Sandra Rodriguez Barron
Doodle Bug: A Novel in Doodles by Karen Romano Young
Drum City by Thea Guidone
The Education of Bet by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Please join us for the celebration.
After more than a decade of planning, the new 8000 square foot Albany Branch will open with a celebration and ribbon-cutting today at 1:00 p.m. It’s a great day for the Upper Albany neighborhood and the city as a whole.
It’s a beautifully designed space with more technology access and meeting space than the old building which will be demolished within weeks.
The community will celebrate the opening of the Library’s newest “place like no other” on Saturday, October 22.
Please come see the new library! It’s your place.
I hope you all had a chance to read the article about the Library in the Hartford Business Journal this week. It was a wonderful piece about the important work that we do here to build a stronger, more successful community — one person at a time! If you haven’t read it, here is the link to the online version, http://www.hartfordbusiness.com/news20609.html#.ToDPG-dotlM.facebook - You can ignore the “mug” in the photograph the text is the real story.
We were also mentioned in the Urban Libraries Council’s latest research paper on libraries and civic engagement that was published this week. We will post this research soon.
In addition, and most importantly, lives were transformed everyday at Hartford Public Library this week.
Come see us soon and find your place at the library.
What a great day! 28 immigrants became New Americans today at an awesome, emotional ceremony at the Downtown Library. Then we hosted another iQuilt presentation to a big crowd. And finally we opened the exhibit, Abraham Lincoln, Self-Made in America, sponsored by Lincoln Financial Foundation.
It was a place like no other!