Messages from Matt

eBooks have been available for virtually any device, including the Kindle, for a few weeks. If you’ve borrowed one, how was it?  Will you keep doing it? Tell me everything!

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

Children’s Author

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, - 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!

Yesterday the relocated Mark Twain branch officially re-opened at Hartford Public High School. It was a great celebration of a historic new collaboration with Hartford Public Schools. And the space…well it warms the heart and sets imagination on fire. Come see the newest place like no other.

Have you ever seen an interesting book or video in our catalog that you want to follow up on later, but don’t want to (or can’t) request at that particular moment?  What did you do?  Try to remember it? Write it down on paper?  Email yourself a link?

You’ve now got an easier option!  We’ve just introduced a new feature in the library catalog called “My Lists”. With My Lists you can permanently save lists of library items that get stored in “My Account”.  You can make lists reflect whatever you want.  They could be on a topic like “dogs” or “travel”, a “wish list” of books you want to read or request, or a bibliography for a school assignment – it’s up to you!

While you’re searching our catalog, look for a button next to each title that says “Add to Cart”.  You’ll then be asked to login to your account and can add the title to an existing list or create a new list.  Go to “My Account” to view the lists you’ve built.  You can make a hold request directly from My Lists for any titles that are available (remember some materials, like entertainment DVDs and music CDs cannot be requested).

Also, you don’t need to use My Lists to build lists of books you’ve already read or checked out.  Remember, we have a My Reading History feature that will automatically do that for you.  Just turn it on and everything you check out from that point on will be saved in a convenient list.

Try it out and then leave a comment to let us know what you think!

Woo hoo! Our new website at has finally launched with some awesome major enhancements:

  • a new design, created by the very talented The Pita Group
  • new site content
  • a new catalog system called Encore
  • new information architecture
  • new content management system
  • a new way for staff to update content directly through a customized, simplified WYSIWYG editor

So you know…it’s not like it was a huge project or something.

This launch is the culmination of a an eighteen month project that began with strategic planning and a new brand. I want to thank everyone for the intensity of the work that was necessary to see this thing through, especially Mary Crean, Marian Amodeo, Anju Meenatoor, and the entire design and implementation team at The Pita Group. We strove for minimalism and simplicity in both design and content whenever possible.  Every ounce of energy we possess has gone into this project, and it is beyond satisfying to see it go live.

Of the website, Paul Pita, chief of The Pita Group, said, “The new helps visitors find exactly what they’re looking for, learn online, participate in educational programs and participate in events that showcase our region’s history, literature and art. We’re proud to work with the Library and its IT partners to integrate new catalog and calendar technologies into the web site, which will bring the library’s phenomenal resources to even more residents of Hartford and the Greater Hartford Region.” Undoubtedly, there will be more changes and enhancements in the days and months ahead, but for now – a deep sigh of relief.  And a beer. Or two.


Encore Search: