Event Audio

To listen to an audio recording of a previous Library special event, click the icon. The audio file will launch the media player on your computer.

The most recent recording displays at the top. The Library offers recordings only with the permission of the presenter. Please allow 7-10 days for the recording to be posted.

  • Pulitzer winner Robin Givhan discusses her new book about the night in 1973 that a team of U.S. designers stole the show from France’s best, helped by a groundbreaking group of models featuring 10 African Americans. It changed fashion forever.
    The Battle of Versailles
    Thursday, May 21, 2015
    Plaza Branch

    Fashion changed forever on November 28, 1973, when a team of top U.S. designers—including Oscar de la Renta, Bill Blass, and Anne Klein—faced off on the runway against Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Cardin, and the rest of a well-heeled French lineup considered the best in the world. The lavish spectacle in King Louis XIV’s Palace of Versailles drew many of the world’s social elite.

    The Americans stole the show, in no small part due to a dynamic and groundbreaking group of models featuring 10 African Americans.

    Pulitzer Prize-winning fashion critic Robin Givhan of The Washington Post discusses her new book about a night that altered the industry’s view of race, gender, sexuality, and economics for decades to come.

  • Behind Dwight Eisenhower’s dry smile and simple tastes was a brilliant, intellectual strategist who navigated the nation through a perilous time. Former Newsweek editor-at-large Evan Thomas launches the Eisenhower 125 series with a discussion of his new book, Ike’s Bluff.
    Ike’s Bluff - Evan Thomas
    Wednesday, May 20, 2015
    Plaza Branch

    Dwight Eisenhower was a man of simple tastes but decisive action. Behind the dry smile was a brilliant, intellectual tactician, an attribute—also evident at the poker table—that served to keep dozens of Cold War standoffs from flaring into full-scale war during his two terms as president.

    Former Newsweek editor-at-large Evan Thomas draws from his book Ike's Bluff: President Eisenhower's Secret Battle to Save the World in discussing the central Kansas war hero turned commander-in-chief, who navigated the nation through some of the most perilous times the world has known.

  • A 20-year study headed by sociologist Mariah Evans found “the presence of books in the home” to be the top predictor of a child’s ultimate educational attainment. She sits down with Library Director Crosby Kemper III to discuss the link.
    The Book Benefit - Mariah Evans
    Tuesday, May 12, 2015
    Central Library

    The relationship is clear: The more books a family owns, the greater the educational gains are for children.

    Mariah Evans, a sociologist at the University of Nevada-Reno, headed a 20-year, worldwide study that found “the presence of books in the home” to be the top predictor of whether a child will attain a high level of education – more significant than parents’ education, occupation, or class. On average, kids growing up amid an abundance of books get three more years of schooling than those from bookless homes.

    Evans examines those findings and sits down with Library Director Crosby Kemper III for a public conversation on the issue.

  • Kansas City-born LaShonda Katrice Barnett joins journalist Eric Wesson of The Call for a discussion of Barnett’s much-praised debut novel – about a female journalist escaping the Jim Crow South of the early 1900s and fighting injustice in Kansas City through her African American newspaper.
    Jam on the Vine - LaShonda Katrice Barnett
    Tuesday, April 21, 2015
    Plaza Branch

    LaShonda Katrice Barnett’s debut novel—about a black female journalist escaping the early-1900s Jim Crow laws of the South and fighting injustice in Kansas City through her African American newspaper—has drawn praise from the Chicago Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, and Oprah Winfrey’s O magazine, among other publications.

    The Kansas City-born author sits down with journalist Eric Wesson of the city’s own landmark African-American newspaper, The Call, for a public conversation about the elegantly written work of historical fiction, which gains resonance from today’s social discontent. Events in Jam on the Vine lead up to and include the Red Summer of 1919, when race riots broke out in a number of American cities.

  • German-Nigerian author Jennifer Teege joins the Library’s Kaite Stover for a public conversation about Teege’s awful discovery – that her grandfather was Amon Goeth, the vicious Nazi commandant chillingly depicted by Ralph Fiennes in Schindler’s List.
    My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me - Jennifer Teege
    Thursday, April 16, 2015
    Central Library

    Sifting through the stacks of her local library in Hamburg, Germany, Jennifer Teege happened upon a book that first fascinated and then staggered her. Recognizing photos of her mother and grandmother, she made the horrifying discovery that her grandfather was Amon Goeth – the vicious Nazi commandant chillingly depicted by Ralph Fiennes in Schindler’s List.

    The more Teege read, the more certain she became: If Goeth had met her, a German-Nigerian black woman, he would have killed her.

    Teege, who was given up by her mother when very young, sits down with the Library’s Kaite Stover during National Library Week for a public conversation about the revelation and Teege’s subsequent quest to unearth and fully comprehend her family’s haunted history. She chronicles the story in her book with award-winning journalist Nikola Sellmair.

  • On the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s death, historian Richard Brookhiser discusses his new book about our 16th president and the guidance and inspiration he took from the lives and works of George Washington, Thomas Paine, and Thomas Jefferson.
    Founders' Son: A Life of Abraham Lincoln - Richard Brookhiser
    Wednesday, April 15, 2015
    Central Library

    For Abraham Lincoln, the road to the future always began in the past – with the Founding Fathers, who inspired him to take up public life, showed him how to win arguments, and laid out his nation’s principles.

    On the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s death, historian Richard Brookhiser delivers an illuminating new look at our 16th and arguably greatest president.

  • Ashley Milne-Tyte, a regular on the public radio program Marketplace and producer and host of the popular podcast The Broad Experience, examines the ways in which gender affects people’s working lives.
    Being Boss-y: A Conversation About Women and Men in the Workplace - Ashley Milne-Tyte
    Tuesday, April 7, 2015
    Plaza Branch

    Women comprise about half of the U.S. labor force, including half of all professional and management positions. But they account for fewer than 15 percent of the executive officers of Fortune 500 companies.

    How are both women and men perceived in the workplace? How does that affect the way they feel about themselves? Ashley Milne-Tyte, a regular contributor to Public Radio International’s Marketplace and producer and host of the podcast The Broad Experience: A Conversation About Women, the Workplace, and Success, examines the ways in which gender affects people’s working lives.

  • National Review‘s Charles C.W. Cooke discusses a new breed of young Republicans who advocate fiscal responsibility and smaller government, but hold more liberal views on such social issues as gay marriage and drug control.
    The Conservatarian Manifesto - Charles C.W. Cooke
    Thursday, March 26, 2015
    Central Library

    There is a movement along the nation’s political right encompassing younger voters who cling to the tenets of smaller government, fewer regulations, and fiscal conservatism but not necessarily social conservatism. They take a more libertarian approach to such issues as gay marriage and drug control.

    Can these “conservatarians” feed the momentum gained by Republicans in the 2014 midterm elections?

    National Review writer Charles C.W. Cooke examines this hybrid constituency in a discussion of his new book – what defines them, where they stand on the hot-button issues of the day, and how they could instigate change within the GOP.

    Co-sponsored by the National Review Institute.

  • Launching a new series, War Stories: World War II Remembered, Time magazine editor-at-large David Von Drehle interviews three of Kansas City’s most recognizable veterans of the six-year conflict: civic giants Henry Bloch, Edward T. Matheny Jr., and Bill Dunn Sr.
    When Kansas City Went to War - Henry Bloch, Edward T. Matheny Jr., Bill Dunn Sr.
    Wednesday, March 25, 2015
    Plaza Branch

    For the Greatest Generation, memories of World War II replay as vividly as motion picture newsreels. Whether they parachuted into France or joined an assembly line, virtually every American—every Kansas Citian—went to war.

    Launching a new series, War Stories: World War II Remembered, Time magazine editor-at-large David Von Drehle interviews three of the city’s most recognizable veterans of the six-year conflict. Civic giants Henry Bloch, Edward T. Matheny Jr., and Bill Dunn Sr. were barely out of their teens when they rallied to the cry of “Remember Pearl Harbor." Now, 70 years after the war's end, they share their personal stories and reflect on the leadership of President Harry S. Truman, their hometown commander-in-chief.

  • KCUR’s Gina Kaufmann moderates a conversation among young stakeholders about the revival of Kansas City’s West Bottoms and what the future may hold for an area that has emerged as a destination for restaurants, art studios, vintage shops, and other businesses.
    The Future of the West Bottoms
    Thursday, March 19, 2015
    Central Library

    As underscored by The Huffington Post six months ago, when it named Kansas City one of America’s “coolest” cities, things are looking bright for the onetime cowtown. While much of the buzz is about downtown’s revitalization, the historic West Bottoms has slowly and quietly undergone its own transformation over the past decade, emerging as a destination for restaurants, art studios, vintage shops, and other businesses.

    What is behind the revival, and what does the future hold for the West Bottoms? Gina Kaufmann, host of KCUR’s Central Standard, moderates a timely conversation with local stakeholders.