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.

  • Mary Roach, called “America’s funniest science writer” by The Washington Post, joins the Library‘s director of readers’ services, Kaite Stover, for a tour of the alimentary canal, that much-maligned tube from mouth to rear end.
    Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal
    Thursday, April 24, 2014
    Central Library

    Mary Roach, designated as “America’s funniest science writer” by The Washington Post, takes us on a tour of the alimentary canal, that much-maligned tube from mouth to rear.

    In a public conversation with Kaite Stover, the Library’s director of readers’ services, Roach will discuss her latest book and ask questions others fear: How much can you eat before your stomach bursts? Why doesn’t the stomach digest itself? Can wine tasters really tell a $10 bottle from a $100 bottle? Why is crunchy food so appealing? Can constipation kill you? Did it kill Elvis? She examines a pet food taste-test lab and delves into a live stomach to observe the fate of a meal.

    Roach is the best-selling author of Stiff (about the human body after death), Bonk (the science of sex), and Spook (the afterlife).

  • Whitney Terrell holds a conversation with author Christopher Leonard about Leonard’s new book, the first-ever account of how a handful of companies have seized the nation’s meat supply, raising prices for consumers while lowering the prices they pay to farmers and derailing efforts to improve the system.
    The Meat Racket: The Secret Takeover of America’s Food Business
    Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Central Library

    Kansas City author and Writers at Work series organizer Whitney Terrell conducts a public conversation with investigative reporter Christopher Leonard about his new book, the first-ever account of how a handful of companies have seized the nation’s meat supply. They raise meat prices for consumers, he maintains, while pushing down the price they pay to farmers and derailing efforts to improve the system.

    Leonard is a former business reporter with the Associated Press and a fellow with the New America Foundation.

  • For too long, says author Zachary Karabell, we’ve adhered to outdated statistics for measuring economic health. Why follow a ’50s road map in the 21st century when newer, more useful guides are available?
    The Leading Indicators: A Short History of the Numbers That Rule Our World
    Thursday, April 10, 2014
    Central Library

    We’re bombarded with numbers that purport to tell us how our economy is doing and where it is headed. Statistics on unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence guide our actions, yet few know where they come from or what they mean.

    In a discussion of his new book, Zachary Karabell explores these indicators — born of the Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War — and the need to tap into a modern data revolution that makes far more useful information available. If you want to buy a home, look for a job, start a company, or run a business, you can formulate your own, more localized and meaningful indicators at the click of a button.

  • Time magazine editor-at-large David Von Drehle and RealClearPolitics’ Carl Cannon discuss Hillary Clinton’s likely Democatic nomination for president in 2016 – and her prospects of winning the general election in November.
    Can Anyone Stop Her? - Carl Cannon
    Wednesday, April 9, 2014
    Central Library

    Remember Barack Obama’s subtle 2008 putdown of Hillary Clinton, when he called her “likable enough?” Maybe the joke is on him.

    Not since Ronald Reagan remade the Republican Party in his own image in 1980 has a presidential nomination seemed as inevitable as it does for 2016. The Democratic Party appears settled on Clinton. Her likability rating has climbed in four years, and Democrats are more united than Republicans were in 1980 (or are today). The GOP, meanwhile, lacks a true frontrunner.

    Time magazine editor-at-large David Von Drehle and RealClearPolitics’ Washington bureau chief, Carl Cannon, examine the race and likelihood that the U.S. will elect its first female president.

  • Douglas C. Waller examines the colorful life and career of William Joseph Donovan, director during World War II of America’s first national intelligence agency –  the OSS – and the intellectual father of today’s CIA.
    Wild Bill Donovan: The Spymaster Who Created the OSS and Modern American Espionage
    Wednesday, March 26, 2014
    Plaza Branch

    Tapped to be Franklin Roosevelt’s spymaster during World War II, William Joseph “Wild Bill” Donovan became a mythic figure in the history of espionage, directing the Office of Strategic Services — America’s first national intelligence agency — and becoming the intellectual father of today’s CIA.

    Biographer Douglas C. Waller looks at the man who introduced the U.S. to the dark arts of covert warfare while often risking his own life unnecessarily. Waller reveals a complex figure who won a Medal of Honor in World War II, earned millions as a Republican lawyer on Wall Street, and gave ammunition to his political enemies through a series of extramarital affairs.

  • Columbia University’s Robert Jervis maintains that though the United States is now unusually secure, there persists a widespread sense that the world is in fact deeply threatening.
    Why Does the U.S. Spend So Much Money on Security and Feel So Insecure?
    Wednesday, March 26, 2014
    Central Library

    In this year’s Park University Hauptmann Lecture, international policy expert Robert Jervis maintains that though the United States is now unusually secure, there remains a widespread sense among both policy elites and the general public that the world is in fact deeply threatening. How are we to resolve this puzzle?

    Jervis is the Adlai E. Stevenson Professor of International Politics at Columbia University and past president of the American Political Science Association. Among his books are The Meaning of the Nuclear Revolution and Perception and Misperception in International Politics.

  • Larry Tye discusses the first full biography of not only the fictional Man of Steel but also the real-world writers, artists, publishers, and performers who have kept the caped character an essential part of American culture for seven decades.
    Superman - Larry Tye
    Tuesday, March 25, 2014
    Central Library

    Larry Tye discusses his book Superman, the first full-fledged biography of not only the fictional Man of Steel but also the real-world writers, artists, publishers, and performers who have kept the caped character an essential part of American culture for seven decades.

    A former reporter for The Boston Globe, Tye now runs the Boston-based Health Coverage Fellowship, which helps the media cover critical health care issues. His books have addressed baseball legend Satchel Paige, the birth of the public relations industry, and how Pullman porters helped create a black middle class.

  • The National Review’s Kevin Williamson argues that innovative solutions to many of America’s problems are emerging from the failure of politics and government.
    The End Is Near and It’s Going to be Awesome
    Wednesday, March 19, 2014
    Central Library

    The U.S. government is disintegrating … and that’s a good thing, according to National Review contributor Kevin Williamson, whose new book sees innovative solutions to various social problems emerging from the failure of politics and government.

    Politics, he argues, cannot deal with crucial problems in education, health care, social security, and monetary policy. Meanwhile, those who don’t look to the state for goods and services — from home schoolers to Wall Street to organized crime — are experimenting with replacing the state’s outmoded social software with market-derived alternatives.

  • ReShonda Tate Billingsley discusses her new novel, co-written with Victoria Christopher Murray, about two fan-favorite heroines that battle out their drama on reality TV.
    Fortune & Fame
    Tuesday, March 18, 2014
    Central Library

    Best-selling urban fiction author ReShonda Tate Billingsley discusses and reads from her new novel (written with Victoria Christopher Murray) about the rival wives of Baptist preachers who team up for a reality TV show that will expose their lives in uncomfortable detail. Fortune & Fame reunites the fictional Rachel Jackson Adams and Jasmine Larson Bush, heroines of previous best sellers Sinners and Saints and Friends & Foes.

    The author of almost two dozen books for adults and teens, Billingsley is a five-time winner of the National Association of Black Journalists Spirit in the Words competition.

  • Author Steven Watts discusses his new biography of Missourian Dale Carnegie, whose 1936 best seller How to Win Friends and Influence People helped launch the  self-help revolution.
    Self-Help Messiah: Dale Carnegie and Success in Modern America
    Thursday, March 6, 2014
    Central Library

    Decades before Oprah, Dr. Phil, and today’s innumerable gurus peddling surefire plans for bettering ourselves, Missourian Dale Carnegie started the self-help revolution with his worldwide best seller How to Win Friends and Influence People. Life magazine named Carnegie one of its “100 most important Americans of the 20th Century.”