About

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Hartford Marriott Downtown

Ticket Levels: 
Individual - $150
Patron - $250

For more information, contact Gilda Roncari, Director of Donor Relations, at (860) 695-6296 or groncari@hplct.org.


What is Beyond Words?

Beyond Words is Hartford Public Library’s annual signature fundraising event. The Library goes beyond words, every day, with diverse and transformative programs and services for our community.  All of our locations offer a welcoming, inspiring, and nurturing environment for people to learn, connect and engage… and all for free. We are truly a place like no other.

Honorary Chair: Marlene Ibsen, President, Travelers Foundation

Co-Chairs:  Cate & Terry D’Italia and Lois & Ed Lewis

Presenting Sponsor: Travelers Foundation


2017 Featured Speaker: Victor LaValle, author of The Changeling

Victor LaValle is the author of six previous works of fiction: three novels, two novellas, and a collection of short stories. His novels have been included in best-of-the-year lists by The New York Times Book Review, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, The Nation, and Publishers Weekly, among others. He has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, an American Book Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, and the Key to Southeast Queens. He lives in New York City with his wife and kids and teaches at Columbia University.

“One of the reasons to read Victor LaValle’s novels is the simple sentence-by-sentence pleasure of them—they offer hundreds of baby dopamine hits, tiny baths for the prose snob’s reward system. . . . LaValle’s observations about race remain, as ever, both stinging and mordantly funny. . . . And his imagery is a source of immense satisfaction. . . . If monsters are your subject, writing like an angel helps.”—Jennifer Senior, The New York Times

“[A] bewitching masterpiece. . . . Like a woke Brothers Grimm, his clever new spin on the ages-old changeling myth is a modern fairy tale for the Trump era, taking on fatherhood, parenting, marriage, immigration, race and terrifying loss. . . . LaValle impressively maintains his storytelling momentum throughout The Changeling. . . . He not only recaptures the need for fairy tales but makes his essential reading as well.”USA Today (four out of four stars)

“Victor LaValle’s fabulist ode to fatherhood and fairy tales offers a new take on themes as old as time. . . . Throughout western mythology, white men with swords have been the heroes while the rest of us watch, oohing and aahing, from the sidelines. With his genre-bending novel, The Changeling, Victor LaValle updates the epic narrative for the twenty-first century.”O: The Oprah Magazine

“Fiercely defies categorization. Written as a self-proclaimed ‘fairy tale’ in a punchy, inviting style, Mr. LaValle’s haunting tale weaves a mesmerizing web around fatherhood, racism, horrific anxieties and even To Kill a Mockingbird. And the backdrop for this rich phantasmagoria? The boroughs of New York.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times

“I was frequently startled by The Changeling’s piercingly beautiful insights into parenthood, childhood, [and] adulthood. . . . By turns enchanting, infuriating, horrifying, and heartbreaking, The Changeling is never less than completely engaging. . . . It’s a book that makes me want to seek people out to talk about it, to share together our own stories of reading it.”—NPR


The Caroline M. Hewins Medal

Sharon O'Meara Headshot 2005.jpg

The recipient of the 2017 Caroline M. Hewins Medal will be Sharon O'Meara, former Director of Community Investment at Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.

The Caroline M. Hewins Medal recognizes an individual who embraces the City of Hartford and its people, who breaks the mold and provides service of a revolutionary kind, who stretches the boundaries of a social or cultural institution with a humanistic approach to public service, and who shows strong guardianship of and advocacy for the basic right of equal access to information and opportunity.

Caroline Maria Hewins was a revolutionary librarian and advocate who helped establish the Hartford Public Library and significantly enlarge the very idea of what a public library could be in America. She came to Hartford at age 29 in 1875 to serve as librarian at the Young Men's Institute of Hartford, worked through its merger with Hartford Library Association four years later, then oversaw the institution's transition to a free public library serving all the city's citizens in 1892. She served as librarian until her passing in 1925, helping embody her belief that everyone should have access to libraries, books, and the gateway to learning and opportunity which they represent.


Why support Hartford Public Library?

It's summed up in our mission - to provide free resources that inspire reading, guide learning, and encourage individual exploration.

We are a place where more than 409,000 books, CDs, and DVDs circulate…  a place where 67,100 people come to attend free programs, including events such as Baby Grand Jazz… a place that last year saw over 850,000 visits.

Your support allows us to transform lives and communities because knowledge is empowering!

Daily, Hartford Public Library:

•    Connects people to information and connects people to people. We are a safe haven for kids when school is not in session, offering after school homework help, games, and book clubs. We offer classes and workshops that enable youth and adults to stay engaged in an ever-changing world.

•    Levels the playing field. We are a great democratic institution, serving people of every age, income level, location, ethnicity, or physical ability, while providing the full range of information resources needed to live, learn, govern, and work.

•    Is a place for community engagement and a stage for great minds to come together. The way our customers use the library is changing as fast as technology is changing society. We have rapidly become a main venue for creation and collaboration and personal fulfillment in the city of Hartford.

Thank you for supporting Beyond Words and Hartford Public Library.

For more information contact Gilda Roncari, Director of Donor Relations, 860.695.6296 or email groncari@hplct.org