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 Prize-winning journalist Hedrick Smith shows how over the last 40 years seismic political and economic changes have all but eliminated the idea of shared prosperity, with America losing the title of “Land of Opportunity.”
    Who Stole the American Dream?
    Tuesday, March 12, 2013
    Central Library

    In his new book Who Stole the American Dream?, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Hedrick Smith shows how over the last 40 years seismic changes, sparked by a sequence of landmark political and economic decisions, have all but eliminated the idea of shared prosperity, with America losing the title of “Land of Opportunity.”

    Smith is a former reporter and editor for The New York Times and an Emmy Award-winning producer/correspondent for the PBS show Frontline. Among his books are The Russians, The New Russians, The Media and the Gulf War, and Rethinking America.

  • Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Ford discusses his new novel Canada – the story of a teenager who flees his Montana home and begins a new life on the Saskatchewan prairie after his parents are arrested for bank robbery.
    CANADA
    Thursday, March 7, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    In Canada, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Richard Ford introduces us to teenager Del Parsons, who after his parents’ imprisonment for bank robbery flees his Montana home, beginning a new life on the Saskatchewan prairie.

    Ford reads from Canada and holds a conversation with UMKC Writer-in-Residence Whitney Terrell, organizer of the Writers at Work series. Ford is the author of the Bascombe novels, which include The Sportswriter and its sequels, Independence Day and The Lay of the Land.

    Co-sponsored by the Writers at Work Roundtable and the UMKC English Department.

  • Veteran White House journalist Carl M. Cannon takes a look at Michelle Obama, the first African American first lady, a Harvard-trained lawyer, and one of her husband’s most valued political mentors.  This presentation is the first in the new series Beyond the Gowns: First Ladies in American History.
    MICHELLE OBAMA
    Wednesday, March 6, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    Veteran journalist Carl M. Cannon discusses the life of first lady Michele Obama on Wednesday, March 6, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.

    Michelle Obama is the 46th first lady of the United States, caretaker of an unpaid position that nevertheless is one of the most powerful in the world. How powerful? Put it this way: Even in this rarified air, Mrs. Obama stands out for her closeness to the president.

  • Historian Leon Litwack discusses the 1963 event that gave us Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech and spurred the Kennedy Administration to advance civil rights legislation.
    Leon Litwack: The 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington
    Thursday, February 28, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    In the summer of 1963 more than 200,000 demonstrators descended on the nation’s capital to participate in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The event was highlighted by Martin Luther King’s memorable “I Have A Dream” speech and pressured the Kennedy administration into initiating a strong federal civil rights bill.

  • Pulitzer Prize-winning author  Tim Weiner explains how the FBI became the most formidable intelligence force in American history and how the Bureau has spied on anyone it considers subversive ... including presidents.
    Enemies: A History of the FBI
    Wednesday, February 27, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    Its reputation is that of America’s incorruptible police force. Yet the primary mission of the FBI is secret intelligence, according to Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tim Weiner. In his new book Weiner reveals how presidents have used the agency as the most formidable intelligence force in American history, and how the bureau has spied on anyone it considers subversive … including presidents.

    The FBI’s secret intelligence and surveillance techniques have created a tug-of-war between national security and civil liberties, creating a tension that strains the very fabric of a free society.

  • Dean Young, this year’s Carolyn S. Benton Cockefair Chair Writer-in-Residence at UMKC, reads from his poetry and discusses his work with Angela Elam of KCUR’s New Letters on the Air.
    Dean Young: Between Reality and Imagination
    Monday, February 25, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    Dean Young, this year's Carolyn S. Benton Cockefair Chair Writer-in-Residence at UMKC, reads from his poetry and discusses his work during a public conversation with Angela Elam of KCUR's New Letters on the Air.

    Young's poetry has been described "as entertaining as a three-ring circus and as imaginative as a canvas by Hieronymus Bosch." Using surrealist techniques like collage, he often blurs the boundaries between reality and imagination.

  • Author Henry Wiencek examines our first president’s long struggle with the issue of slavery, an experience that moved him to free all his slaves upon his death.
    An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves and the Creation of America - Henry Wiencek
    Wednesday, February 20, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    George Washington was a slave owner, a fact which he described as his “only unavoidable subject of regret.” So much did he regret it that in his will Washington made the startling decision to free his slaves. Author Henry Wiencek, who in 2012 spoke at the Library about Thomas Jefferson’s attitudes toward slavery, now examines the relationship between the most iconic of our Founding Fathers and the “peculiar institution.”

  • A screening of the Denzel Washington film The Great Debaters is followed by biographer Robert Farnsworth’s discussion of the life and work of African-American poet Melvin B. Tolson.
    Robert Farnsworth: Beyond the Great Debaters: The Real Melvin B. Tolson
    Wednesday, February 6, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    Celebrate the 115th birthday of Melvin Tolson, a one-time Kansas City resident who graduated from Lincoln High School and eventually became the first Poet Laureate of Liberia.

    Start with a screening of the 2007 Denzel Washington film The Great Debaters, the Hollywood version about how Tolson led black college students to a 1935 national debate championship.

  • Historian Ethan S. Rafuse examines a tumultuous year in the history of the Army of the Potomac, when  Gen. “Fighting” Joe Hooker took over a demoralized and bruised force and restored its effectiveness, only to lose the battle of Chancellorsville and be replaced by George Meade.
    “Fighting” Joe Hooker and the Challenge of Command in 1863 - Ethan S. Rafuse
    Thursday, January 24, 2013
    Central Library

    Historian Ethan S. Rafuse examines a tumultuous year in the history of the Army of the Potomac, when Gen. “Fighting” Joe Hooker took over a demoralized and bruised Union force and restored its effectiveness, only to lose the battle of Chancellorsville and be replaced by George Meade.

    Rafuse is professor of military history at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.

    Co-sponsored by the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Foundation.

  • Kauffman Foundation senior scholar Brink Lindsey analyzes how the rich are getting richer while the poor are trapped in a vicious cycle. According to his new book, narrowing the growing wealth gap demands a major investment in “human capital.”
    Human Capitalism - Brink Lindsey
    Wednesday, January 23, 2013
    Central Library

    Narrowing the growing gap between the wealthy and the rest of us demands a major investment in “human capital,” according to Kauffman Foundation senior scholar Brink Lindsey.

    In his new book Lindsey analyzes how the rich are getting richer while the poor are trapped in a vicious cycle. He offers an ambitious plan calling for educational reform, encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation, increasing early intervention for at-risk children, low-wage job subsidies, and penal reform.

    Formerly, Lindsey was vice president for research at the Cato Institute.