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.

  • Brian L. Steed, a military historian at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth and specialist on the Middle East, examines the makeup, motivations, and operations of the violent Islamic State (or ISIS).
    Mesopotamia on Fire: Changing the Conversation on ISIS - Brian Steed
    Tuesday, February 23, 2016
    Central Library

    The Islamic State, also known as ISIS, is more than a place or a terrorist group. It is a set of ideas rooted in centuries-old beliefs and wrapped in a philosophy of violence. Adherents believe they are an army of the righteous working to create an ideal state for today’s believers and fighting a war that is destined to end with the coming of Jesus and defeat of the Antichrist.

  • In a discussion of his recent book, author Greg Weiner maintains that today’s politically polarized  America misses former presidential aide, United Nations ambassador, and U.S. senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a liberal who thought outside the liberal box.
    American Burke: The Uncommon Liberalism of Daniel Patrick Moynihan - Greg Weiner
    Tuesday, February 16, 2016
    Central Library

    Author Greg Weiner maintains that today’s politically polarized America badly misses Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the former presidential aide, United Nations ambassador, and four-term U.S. senator from New York who died in 2003. He was a liberal who thought outside the liberal box, who respected both the indispensability of government and the complexity of society. In that respect, Weiner says, he echoed British statesman and scholar Edmund Burke, who set the stage for modern conservativism but exercised a similar broad-mindedness in the 1700s.

  • In a discussion of his new book, former TIME magazine correspondent Douglas Waller examines four of the CIA’s most famous and controversial directors – Allen Dulles, Richard Helms, William Colby, and William Casey – and the man who helped mold them.
    Disciples: The World War II Missions of the CIA Directors Who Fought for Wild Bill Donovan - Douglas Waller
    Wednesday, February 10, 2016
    Plaza Branch

    They are the most famous and controversial directors in the history of the CIA – Allen Dulles, Richard Helms, William Colby, and William Casey – and they shared a professional history from start to finish. All were recruited by William “Wild Bill” Donovan to the CIA’s forerunner, the Office of Strategic Services. Each would see his career end badly.

    In a discussion of his new book, a follow-up to his earlier, acclaimed biography of Donovan, former TIME magazine correspondent Douglas Waller examines the four protégés who adopted Donovan’s adventurous ways in overseeing missions during and immediately after World War II.

  • In a discussion of his new book This Is Not Dixie: Racist Violence in Kansas, 1861-1927, author Brent M.S. Campney illustrates that racial violence in the decades following the Civil War was hardly limited to the South.
    This Is Not Dixie - Brent M.S. Campney
    Wednesday, February 3, 2016
    Central Library

    While perceived as a mostly southern phenomenon, racist violence existed everywhere in the decades following the Civil War – including Kansas and the larger Midwest despite the region’s identification with pastoral virtue and racial harmony.

    In a discussion of his new book This Is Not Dixie: Racist Violence in Kansas, 1861-1927, University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley associate professor Brent M.S. Campney exposes the reality of the era. There were systemic and enduring white-on-black abuses in Kansas, from sensational demonstrations of white power such as lynchings and race riots to property damage, rape, forcible removal from town, and other, more routine means of intimidation. The South’s reputation offered cover, allowing commentators to deem each Midwest episode an anomaly and cultivate a sort of historical amnesia.

  • Author Jonathan Bender headlines a LEGO-centric evening with a discussion of his book LEGO: A Love Story. Donate a new or used  LEGO kit for admission to a post-event reception and adult LEGO building session benefitting the Library’s new KC Kids Create discovery clubs.
    LEGO for Life - Jonathan Bender
    Tuesday, February 2, 2016
    Plaza Branch

    Local author and LEGO enthusiast Jonathan Bender headlines a public event marking the launch of the Library's new KC Kids Create discovery clubs.

    Bender, author of LEGO: A Love Story, takes part in a public conversation about his book, which spotlights the thriving community of adult LEGO builders. Bender is joined by children’s librarian and project coordinator Kristan Whipple, who talks about how the Library will use LEGOs as an educational tool for youth.

  • In a discussion with Library Director Crosby Kemper III revolving around her new book, expert equity analyst Whitney Johnson explains how individuals can apply the theory of disruptive innovation to their own businesses and careers.
    Disrupt Yourself - Whitney Johnson
    Tuesday, January 26, 2016
    Plaza Branch

    If you’re not familiar with the theory of disruptive innovation, you’ve seen it at work: the advent of the personal computer, the rise of Netflix, and other innovations that spring up unobtrusively and ultimately overwhelm industry incumbents. They transform markets. In some cases, they create them.

    Whitney Johnson is a leading proponent, a former highly ranked equity analyst who co-founded a boutique investment firm with Clayton Christensen, the father of disruptive innovation. She sits down with Library Director Crosby Kemper III to discuss her new book, Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work, which helps individuals understand how they can apply the philosophy to their own businesses and careers.

  • The Library and American Public Square continue their series of mannerly discussions of polarizing local issues, examining the future of Kansas City’s fledgling streetcar service. Where to head next? Who should pay?
    A Streetcar Named …
    Wednesday, January 20, 2016
    Plaza Branch

    The Library, in partnership with American Public Square, launches a series of discussions of polarizing local issues – minus the incivility and insults that all too often feed polarity.

    Kansas City’s new streetcar line will run from the River Market through downtown and to on Crown Center. Where should it go in the future? North to KCI? South to Brookside and Waldo? East? Is this the future for public transit in the city? If so, who pays for it?

    Co-presented by American Public Square.

  • Alexandra Fuller, the author of two acclaimed books on growing up in southern Africa and her colorful, often dysfunctional parents, discusses her third memoir – about divorce, relocation to the U.S., and an enduring connection to the land she left behind.
    Leaving Before The Rains Come - Alexandra Fuller
    Tuesday, January 12, 2016
    Plaza Branch

    On their first date, a canoe outing in southern Africa, where they both lived, Alexandra Fuller and husband-to-be Charlie Ross were charged by an elephant. An unflustered safari leader, he held his ground. She came away impressed.

    Their marriage of 20 years brought a move to America and produced three children, but it ultimately fell apart. Fuller, the author of two acclaimed, searingly honest books about her upbringing in Rhodesia and her colorful, often dysfunctional parents, discusses her third memoir – about the divorce, about her relocation to the U.S., and about her enduring connection to Africa and all she left behind there.

  • In a discussion of their new book, University of Kansas professors William Elliott III and Melinda Lewis examine the dilemma facing today’s college graduates: They’re leaving school in deep, crippling debt.
    The Real College Debt Crisis: How Student Borrowing Threatens Financial Well-Being and Erodes the American Dream
    Thursday, January 7, 2016
    Central Library

    College graduates last May held an unenviable distinction: They left school deeper in debt than any class before them. Those who’d taken out student loans owed, on average, a little over $35,000, more than doubling the amount of two decades earlier.

    In a discussion of their new book, William Elliott III and Melinda Lewis examine the dilemma of young people beginning their careers with a negative net worth. The two University of Kansas professors call, in part, for states and the federal government to establish savings accounts for students during their childhood rather than awarding thousands of dollars at the end of high school – a move they say would promote dramatically different behavior and saving strategies for families.

  • Johnson County, Kansas, blogger and best-selling author Jen Mann gives the holiday season her own inimitable spin in a discussion of her new book. Hint: It’s not all warm and sugary (but it’s hilarious).
    Spending the Holidays with People I Want to Punch in the Throat - Jen Mann
    Wednesday, December 9, 2015
    Central Library

    As Jen Mann notes, her nationally popular blog is called "People I Want to Punch in the Throat" and not "Rainbows and Unicorns." So it’s no surprise that her take on Christmas isn’t all warm and sugary. But it’s drop-dead hilarious.

    The suburban Johnson County, Kansas, wife, mother, and best-selling writer gives the holiday season her inimitable spin in a discussion of her new book Spending the Holidays with People I Want to Punch in the Throat: Yuletide Yahoos, Ho-Ho-Humblebraggers and Other Seasonal Scourges.

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