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.

  • In a discussion of his new book, world chess champion-turned-human rights activist Garry Kasparov discusses what he says is Russian President Vladimir Putin’s evolution from local to regional to global threat. His advice: Stand up to the bully..
    Winter is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped - Garry Kasparov
    Wednesday, November 11, 2015
    Plaza Branch

    World chess champion-turned-human rights activist Garry Kasparov sounded his first warning about Vladimir Putin in 2001.

    He now compares the Russian president with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and the Islamic State as an enemy of political liberty and the modern world order. In a discussion of his book, Kasparov examines what he says is Putin’s evolution from local to regional to global threat and advocates that the U.S. and its allies stand up to the bully rather than try to appease him.

  • There was more to General George Custer than Little Bighorn. In a discussion of his new book, Pulitzer winner T.J. Stiles reveals a complex man who helped lead the U.S. into a more modern age and then struggled to cope with that change.
    Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America - T.J. Stiles
    Monday, November 9, 2015
    Plaza Branch

    Many, if not most, Americans’ understanding of Gen. George Armstrong Custer begins and ends with his demise at Little Bighorn. But that belies the complexity of a historic figure who was capable yet insecure, intelligent yet bigoted, and an individualist at odds with the institution of the military (he was court-martialed twice in six years).

  • The 16th Annual Kansas City Storytelling Celebration opens with a Friday Night Family Fun concert and a ghost-tales session. Saturday’s Storytelling Spectacular offers an array of lively stories, anecdotes, myths, and legends.
    Storytelling Celebration
    Friday, November 6, 2015
    Plaza Branch

    The 16th Annual Kansas City Storytelling Celebration features a lineup of lively stories, anecdotes, myths, legends, and lessons.

    Storytelling Celebration
    Friday, November 6, 2015
    Programs: 6:30 and 7 p.m.

    Opening the evening is a Friday Night Family Fun family concert in the Kids’ Corner at 6:30 p.m., offering tales for all ages.

  • Author David O. Stewart discusses the research behind his latest alternative-history novel – a sequel to The Lincoln Deception – which revolves around President Woodrow Wilson and deviousness at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919.
    The Wilson Deception - David O. Stewart
    Tuesday, October 27, 2015
    Central Library

    The same fictional twosome at the center of David O. Stewart’s The Lincoln Deception delves further into alternative history, sorting through the deviousness of the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, in Stewart’s latest book, The Wilson Deception.

    The lawyer-turned-author discusses the history behind his novel, centered on the months-long negotiation of the end of World War I and its Big Four participants: U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau, and Italian Prime Minister Vittorio Emanuele Orlando.

  • Author Antonya Nelson, a Kansas native whose award- winning work includes four novels and seven short story collections, discusses her writing with Angela Elam, the producer and host of KCUR-FM’s New Letters on the Air.
    A Conversation with Antonya Nelson - Antonya Nelson, Angela Elam
    Tuesday, October 20, 2015
    Plaza Branch

    Kansas native Antonya Nelson stands out on multiple literary fronts; she is the author of four novels and seven short story collections and has published her work in The New Yorker, Esquire, Harper’s, Redbook, and other magazines. She is the recipient of a USA Artists Award, a Rea Award for the Short Story, and National Endowment for the Arts and Guggenheim fellowships.

    Nelson, who teaches at Warren Wilson College and the University of Houston, discusses her works with Angela Elam, the producer and host of KCUR-FM’s New Letters on the Air. The conversation will be taped for later broadcast on New Letters.

  • As America wrestles with the issue of immigration, a panel of Kansas Citians – all naturalized citizens – discusses their experiences, why they settled in KC, and how they view the immigration experience today.
    Immigrant Tales – Christine Boutros, Martin Okpareke, Leo Prieto
    Tuesday, October 20, 2015
    Central Library

    The words are iconic, part of a sonnet written by Emma Lazarus in 1883 and inscribed on a bronze plaque in the museum inside the base of the Statue of Liberty: Give me your tired, your poor / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. They underscore America’s melting pot identity.

    Throughout its history, however, the country has had a love-hate relationship with immigration, and the subject seems particularly thorny today.

  • MidAmerica Nazarene University’s Tyler Blake discusses the research conducted in Kansas City by novelist Sinclair Lewis in advance of writing his acclaimed Elmer Gantry. What did it contribute to Lewis’ controversial views of Midwest Protestantism?
    Sinclair Lewis Comes to KC: The Genesis of Elmer Gantry - Tyler Blake
    Sunday, October 18, 2015
    Central Library

    In 1926, Sinclair Lewis, America’s premier contemporary novelist, came to Kansas City to do research for his “preacher novel” – the book that became the acclaimed Elmer Gantry. For background information on this sensational piece of fiction, where did the author of Main Street and Babbitt go? To whom did he talk? And what did the eventual Nobel laureate learn from the city’s leading clergy that contributed to his controversial views of Midwest Protestantism?

    MidAmerica Nazarene University’s Tyler Blake tells how Kansas City, its churches, and a circle of fascinating individuals — free thinkers and fundamentalists — became the subjects of study in Lewis’ “laboratory.”

  • In a discussion of his book Chief Executive to Chief Justice: Taft Betwixt the White House and Supreme Court, historian Lewis L. Gould examines William Howard Taft’s rise from ignominious defeat in his 1912 bid for re-election as president.
    William Howard Taft - Lewis L. Gould
    Thursday, October 15, 2015
    Plaza Branch

    As our 27th president from 1909-1913 and then as chief justice of the Supreme Court from 1921-1930, William Howard Taft was the only man ever to head two of America’s three governing branches. But between these two well-documented periods in office lies an eight-year patch of largely unexplored political wilderness — a time when Taft somehow rose from ignominious defeat in the 1912 presidential election to leadership of the nation’s highest court.

    Monmouth College historian Lewis L. Gould delivers the first in-depth look at this interval in Taft’s singular career in a discussion of his book Chief Executive to Chief Justice: Taft Betwixt the White House and Supreme Court.

  • Historian Tim Rives discusses Dwight Eisenhower’s view of the extinction of the American frontier – declared in 1890, the year of Ike’s birth – as the beginning of a new, progressive era of American history.
    The Significance of the Frontier in Eisenhower History - Tim Rives
    Tuesday, October 13, 2015
    Central Library

    2015 commemorates not only the 125th anniversary of the birth of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, but also the U.S. Census Bureau’s declaration that the American frontier had closed. As historian Tim Rives explains, these two events are not unrelated.

    Like other progressives of his generation, Eisenhower saw the extinction of the frontier as the end of the first phase of American history, and the beginning of a new age in which the federal government would replace the lost reservoir of free land and abundant resources with economic cooperation and individual security through social programs. More than any other single factor, Eisenhower’s interpretation of the vanished frontier is what distinguishes his “Middle Way” political philosophy from the conservative wing of the Republican Party he led through two terms as a president.

    Tim Rives is the deputy director and supervisory archivist of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum and Boyhood Home in Abilene, Kansas.

  • Saint Louis University’s Emily Lutenski discusses her new book, which offers a nuanced look at the roots and influences of Langston Hughes, Jean Toomer, Arna Bontemps, and other luminaries of the Harlem Renaissance.
    West of Harlem: African American Writers and the Borderlands - Emily Lutenski
    Thursday, October 8, 2015
    Central Library

    The life stories of Langston Hughes, Jean Toomer, Arna Bontemps, and other luminaries of the Harlem Renaissance extended well west of New York City. Hughes, for example, was raised in Kansas, and his move to Mexico opened a window on African Americans’ transnational experiences. Toomer’s interaction with a multi-national, multi-racial population in Taos, New Mexico, buttressed his notion of a “new American race.”

    Emily Lutenski, an assistant professor of American studies at Saint Louis University, offers a newly nuanced look at the roots and influences of these key literary figures in a discussion of her book West of Harlem: African American Writers and the Borderlands.

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