Event Audio

All Library locations will close at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, December 24 and remain closed on Thursday, December 25 in observance of the Christmas holiday.

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.

  • Former Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker discusses his newly released biography of Bill Cosby – covering the well-known triumphs of the iconic comedian, actor, producer, author, educator, and social activist as well as his setbacks and personal dramas.
    Cosby: His Life and Times - Mark Whitaker
    Thursday, October 16, 2014
    Central Library

    He grew up in a Philadelphia housing project, the son of an alcoholic, largely absent father and a loving but overworked mother. A high school dropout, he turned his life around in the Navy, made his way into college, and caught a few early breaks as a standup comedian. From there, Bill Cosby went on to become a national treasure.

    Mark Whitaker, the former editor of Newsweek and later a senior executive with NBC News and CNN Worldwide, discusses his newly released biography of the now 77-year-old creator and star of television’s The Cosby Show. Cosby not only towers as a groundbreaking comedian, producer, and actor but also as an author, educator, and social activist. Whitaker delves, too, into his setbacks and personal dramas, from an affair that sparked public scandal to the murder of his only son.

  • In a discussion of his new book, Kristian Coates Ulrichsen examines a less-remembered theater of World War I – the Middle East – and explains how the fighting’s devastation and postwar re-mapping sowed the seeds for much of the region’s instability today.
    The First World War in the Middle East - Kristian Coates Ulrichsen
    Wednesday, October 15, 2014
    Central Library

    It’s easy to think of World War I as a European war, but fierce fighting all over the Middle East brought about great changes on socio-economic, cultural, and political levels. Kristian Coates Ulrichsen explores the lasting impact of the Great War on the region’s political geography in The First World War in the Middle East, and shows how national identities were formed as the Ottoman Empire disintegrated.

    Kristian Coates Ulrichsen is a Research Fellow at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy in Houston and an Associate Fellow at Chatham House in London.

    Co-presented by the Kansas City Public Library and the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial.

  • In a discussion of his new book, On the Rocketship: How Top Charter Schools are Pushing the Envelope, veteran reporter and former USA TODAY editorial writer Richard Whitmire spotlights the nonprofit Rocketship Education network of public elementary charter schools.
    What Fuels the Rocketship? - Richard Whitmire
    Tuesday, October 14, 2014
    Plaza Branch

    In a discussion of his new book, On the Rocketship: How Top Charter Schools are Pushing the Envelope, veteran reporter and former USA TODAY editorial writer Richard Whitmire spotlights the nonprofit Rocketship Education network of public elementary charter schools.

    Whitmire, who tracked Rocketship through an entire school year fraught with change and controversy, examines the group’s beginnings, its growing pains, and why some see it as an innovative model for improving public education for lower-income urban students.

    The event – co-presented by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation – is part of the KC Education Speaker Series, which brings leading thinkers in education to Kansas City audiences.

  • Vanity Fair contributing editor Howard Blum examines the German terror cell that operated in the U.S. early in World War I, hitting New Jersey’s munitions-packed Black Tom pier and other targets in a series of “accidents” involving explosives and biological weapons.
    Dark Invasion 1915: Germany’s Secret War and the Hunt for the First Terrorist Cell in America
    Wednesday, October 8, 2014
    Central Library

    What happens when German spies collaborate to unleash a campaign of terror upon America at the start of World War I?

    In Dark Invasion: 1915, a New York City policeman uncovers a German plot to sabotage ships, factories, and even J.P Morgan himself. Howard Blum tells a gripping, true story of espionage and terror on American soil during World War I and the Irish cop who hunted for the conspirators among a population of more than 8 million Germans.

    Blum is the author of The New York Times bestseller and Edgar Award-winning American Lightning. He is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and has twice been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting.

  • Following a screening of the great, John Ford-directed Hollywood Western The Searchers, Pulitzer Prize winner Glenn Frankel discusses the true-life story behind it – a saga that started with the Comanche kidnapping of a 9-year-old white girl in 1836.
    The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend
    Tuesday, September 30, 2014
    Plaza Branch

    Film Screening: 4 p.m.   Program 6:30 p.m.

    The John Ford-John Wayne film, The Searchers, is one of the great Hollywood Westerns. But the movie was only a late entry in a real-life saga stretching back to 1830s Texas.

    In a discussion of his book, Glenn Frankel traces the story from the 1836 kidnapping of a white girl by Comanche Indians to her “rescue” almost 25 years later, her subsequent unhappy life, and the various retellings of the epic tale in fiction, theater, and opera leading up to Alan LeMay’s 1954 novel and Ford’s 1956 film.

    The talk by Frankel, a Pulitzer Prize-winning former reporter, editor and foreign bureau chief for The Washington Post who now heads the University of Texas’ School of Journalism, is preceded by a screening of The Searchers at 4 p.m.

  • On the eve of a new Kansas City festival spotlighting the region’s vital role in the pork industry, a panel of craft butchers from across the country discusses sustainable pork production. A reception features locally prepared pork dishes.
    Knife and Pork
    Friday, September 26, 2014
    Plaza Branch

    The pig is big in these parts. Both Missouri and Kansas rank among the nation’s top 10 pork-producing states, annually putting more than 2 million pounds of bacon, ham, chops, and other cuts on grocers’ shelves and consumers’ tables.

    On the eve of a new, daylong Kansas City festival, Knife and Pork, that spotlights sustainability in the industry and the region’s vital role in it, four craft butchers from across the country – Rob Levitt of Chicago, Chris Eley of Indianapolis, and Jerry Traczyk and Jonny Hunter of Madison, Wis. – participate in a round-table discussion of sustainable pork production. A reception prior to the program offers locally prepared pork dishes.

    Co-presented by Recommended Daily and Local Pig, and co-sponsored by Tallgrass Brewing Company.

  • Philip K. Howard, founder of the nonpartisan coalition, Common Good, discusses his book on how to fix a broken government that leaves little to no room for common sense. His solution: Set goals and boundaries instead of dictating daily choices.
    The Rule of Nobody: Saving America from Dead Laws and Broken Government
    Tuesday, September 23, 2014
    Central Library

    Yes, there’s gridlock in Washington. There’s polarization and self-interest. But beyond those breakdowns, Philip K. Howard points to what he says is a deeper and more destructive hindrance to good government: The system itself is broken. Rules leave no room for common sense. Leaders lack the authority, or responsibility, to lead.

    Howard, a New York lawyer and founder of the nonpartisan coalition Common Good, which advocates an overhaul of government and the courts, discusses his new book, The Rule of Nobody, in which he argues for a return to the framers’ vision of public law – simply setting goals and boundaries, not dictating daily choices. Leaders, Howard says, should ask, “What’s the right thing to do?” not “What does the rule book say?”

    Co-presented by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

  • Art Stewart, who in more than six decades as a baseball scout brought Bo Jackson to Kansas City and signed 70-some other players including current Royals catcher Salvador Perez, discusses his career and new book with Kansas City Star columnist and co-author Sam Mellinger.
    The Art of Scouting - Art Stewart, Sam Mellinger
    Thursday, September 18, 2014
    Plaza Branch

    There are few storytellers like old baseball scouts because, well, nobody collects stories like the guys who spend a lifetime crisscrossing America’s byways and backwaters in search of future major leaguers.

    Art Stewart’s memory bank runs especially deep. Still active in his 45th season with the Kansas City Royals, he helped bring Bo Jackson to KC and signed pitcher Kevin Appier, outfielders Johnny Damon and Carlos Beltran, and current Royals catcher Salvador Perez among 70-some other big-league players.

    With his co-author, Kansas City Star columnist Sam Mellinger, the 87-year-old Stewart discusses his new book, The Art of Scouting: Seven Decades Chasing Hopes and Dreams in Major League Baseball. Other members of the Royals family will appear with them.

    Royals great George Brett and General Manager Dayton Moore deliver opening remarks.

  • Former Wall Street Journal writer Ann Hagedorn discusses her cautionary new book about the handover of a sizable element of our national security – from combat support to police training to cyber security – to private military and security companies.
    The Invisible Soldiers: How America Outsourced Our Security
    Wednesday, September 10, 2014
    Central Library

    Thirty years ago, there were no private military and security companies. Now PMSCs, as they’re known, are a vital part of American foreign and military policy, assisting in combat operations, replacing U.S. forces after their withdrawal from combat zones, and providing maritime security, police training, drone operations, cyber security, and intelligence analysis.

    In a discussion of her new book, journalist Ann Hagedorn takes a worried look at this privatization of our national security – why it originated, how it operates, where it’s heading, and the dangers it poses.

    Hagedorn is a former staff writer for The Wall Street Journal. Among her books are Wild Ride, Ransom, Beyond the River, and Savage Peace.

  • KCPT-TV’s Nick Haines emcees this event, in which participants in Literacy Kansas City’s adult-learning program tell their stories. Also touting the power of reading is a group of local writers including bestselling author Candice Millard.
    The Power of Reading: A Celebration of the Written Word
    Tuesday, September 9, 2014
    Plaza Branch

    An estimated 225,000 adults in Kansas City function at the lowest literacy level, denied some of the simplest and most important moments in life because they cannot read.

    The nonprofit organization Literacy Kansas City targets that issue through tutoring and other direct services, advocacy, and collaboration. Its sixth annual event at the Library, The Power of Reading: A Celebration of the Written Word, emceed by KCPT-TV’s Nick Haines, commemorates the effort and the adult learners benefitting from it. A number of them share their stories. Local writers including bestselling author Candice Millard, poet and novelist Maija Rhee Devine, journalist Brian Burnes, and human rights activist Alvin Sykes also read personal stories and original writings.

    Mayor Sly James will deliver opening remarks.