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.

  • Biographer Robert Farnsworth looks at the life, death, and lingering legacy of Leon Jordan, a one-time police officer and educator who founded Freedom, Inc., and became Missouri’s most powerful black politician before being gunned down in an unsolved 1970 assassination.
    Leon Mercer Jordan - Robert Farnsworth
    Sunday, January 20, 2013
    Central Library

    Biographer Robert Farnsworth discusses his new eBook about the life, death, and legacy of Leon Jordan, a one-time police officer and educator who founded Freedom, Inc., and became Missouri’s most powerful black politician before being gunned down in a 1970 assassination outside his Kansas City tavern.

  • Steve Kraske of KCUR’s Up to Date moderates a panel of experts discussing Kansas City’s financial planning and budgeting process. This will be the first of four forums identifying and exploring key municipal public policy issues facing Kansas City.
    What Is Kansas City’s Long-Range Financial Plan?
    Thursday, January 17, 2013
    Central Library

    Steve Kraske of KCUR’s Up to Date moderates a panel discussion about Kansas City’s financial planning. Featured city officials and experts include City Manager Troy Schulte, Chair of the City Council Finance Committee Jan Marcason, certified public accountant and representative of the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City James Gegg, and University of Kansas Associate Professor of Public Administration Alfred Ho.

  • Drawing on exclusive access to Joseph Kennedy’s papers, historian David Nasaw offers a portrait of a complicated man – financier, filmmaker, kingmaker, and father of a president.
    The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy - David Nasaw
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012
    Central Library

    Was he an anti-Semite and a Nazi sympathizer? An appeaser and isolationist?

    For all his public activities – financier, film producer, kingmaker, father of a president - Joseph P. Kennedy remains an elusive figure. Historian David Nasaw draws on exclusive access to Kennedy’s papers to explore the complicated personality.

    Nasaw is Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. Distinguished Professor of American History at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

  • Keith Eggener explores the heritage of architect Louis Curtiss, the “Frank Lloyd Wright of Kansas City” and a pioneer of the “curtain wall” design that paved the way for the modern skyscraper.
    Louis Curtiss: Kansas City Architect - Keith Eggener
    Sunday, December 2, 2012
    Central Library

    Architectural historian Keith Eggener looks at the heritage of architect Louis Curtiss (1865-1924), often described as “the Frank Lloyd Wright of Kansas City” and a pioneer of the “curtain wall” design featured in his 1909 Boley Building at 11th and Walnut.

    Featuring internal skeletons of steel or concrete and sheathed in lightweight glass, Curtiss’ buildings paved the way for the modern skyscraper.

    Eggener is a professor of American Art and Architecture and director of graduate studies at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

  • Biographer Jonathan Steinberg allows Otto von Bismarck’s contemporaries to tell the story of this German statesman who united a nation but had only contempt for his fellow man.
    Jonathan Steinberg - Bismarck: A Life
    Thursday, November 29, 2012
    Central Library

    In the late 19th century statesman Otto von Bismarck unified Germany while embodying everything brutal and ruthless about Prussian culture. Biographer Jonathan Steinberg allows Bismarck’s friends and foes to tell the story of this complex giant: a hypochondriac with the constitution of an ox and a brutal tyrant who could easily shed tears.

    Steinberg is the Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Modern European History at the University of Pennsylvania.

  • Author Robert W. Merry wraps up the presidential election - and the Hail to the Chiefs series - with a fresh, playful and challenging way of rating our presidents.
    Robert W. Merry - Where They Stand: Ranking the Presidents
    Tuesday, November 27, 2012
    Plaza Branch

    Author Robert W. Merry wraps up the presidential election – and the Hail to the Chiefs series – with a fresh, playful, and challenging way of rating our presidents. He is the author of Where They Stand: The American Presidents in the Eyes of Voters and Historians.

    Merry has been a Washington correspondent for The Wall Street Journal and the executive editor of Congressional Quarterly.

    Co-presented with the Truman Library Institute; co-sponsored by KCUR’s Up To Date.

  • Jarhead author Anthony Swofford discusses his new memoir about self-destructive excess and rediscovering family.
    Anthony Swofford - Hospitals, Hotels and Jails
    Wednesday, November 14, 2012
    Central Library

    Anthony Swofford's new memoir, Hotels, Hospitals, and Jails, chronicles how in the years after the success of his book Jarhead, he went on a binge of self-destructive excess. He lost almost everything and everyone that mattered to him.

  • Get a preview of Ken Burns’ new documentary about America’s worst manmade ecological disaster, followed by a panel discussion featuring screenwriter Dayton Duncan.
    Dayton Duncan - The Dust Bowl
    Tuesday, November 13, 2012
    Plaza Branch

    The result of uncontrolled plowing on the Great Plains, the Dust Bowl of the 1930s turned prairies into deserts and unleashed a pattern of massive and deadly dust storms. Children contracted “dust pneumonia,” businesses collapsed, and thousands lost their land and were forced on the road.

    A screening of excerpts from Ken Burns' The Dust Bowl will be followed by a panel discussion headlined by the documentary’s writer and co-producer Dayton Duncan.

    Co-sponsored by KCPT and the University of Kansas Libraries.

  • Geographer James Shortridge examines how 200 years of change through suburbanization, transportation, and policy makers has shaped the city we know today.
    James Shortridge - Kansas City and How It Grew: 1822-2011
    Sunday, November 11, 2012
    Central Library

    For prize-winning geographer James Shortridge, Kansas City is more than the sum of cultural icons like barbecue, jazz, and sports teams. In his new book he explores more than a century of change and how Kansas City came to look and function the way it does.

    He explores suburbanization, changing modes of transportation and personalities such as Tom Pendergast, J.C. Nichols, and Kay Waldo Barnes, whose policies shaped the metropolitan area.

    Shortridge is professor of geography at the University of Kansas.

  • Historian Terry Beckenbaugh of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth explains the effect politics had on the Civil War and discusses the issues and ideologies that drove debate.
    Terry Beckenbaugh - The Politics of War
    Thursday, November 8, 2012
    Central Library

    Historian Terry Beckenbaugh maintains that the Civil War was inevitable given the failure of the nation’s political leadership to resolve fundamental questions over the nature of the American republic and the meaning of constitutional liberty.

    Beckenbaugh examines the leaders of the North and the South, the issues and ideologies that drove debate, and the effect politics had on the war.

    Beckenbaugh is an assistant professor of military history at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.