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.

  • Concluding a series of Citizens Project forums, four outgoing city council members join moderator Dave Helling of The Kansas City Star in discussing the most pressing issues going into Kansas City’s April and June municipal elections.
    Primary Perspectives: The Politicos’ Take on KC’s 2015 Elections
    Wednesday, March 18, 2015
    Central Library

    Kansas Citians go to the polls in April and June to elect a mayor and 12 city council members who will direct the city for the next four years. What are the talking points? The priorities?

    Concluding the second season of Citizens Project forums, outgoing city council members Melba Curls, Ed Ford, Jan Marcason, and John Sharp identify and discuss the issues they believe the candidates ought to be addressing. Dave Helling of The Kansas City Star moderates.

    The series is co-presented by the nonpartisan Citizens Association of Kansas City. Two previous discussions featured the perspectives of the media and city administrators.

  • Novelist and Writers at Work series organizer Whitney Terrell sits down with author Elizabeth Gaffney to discuss her new book and the literary magazine A Public Space, for which she is editor-at-large. Joining them is April Wolfe, one of the magazine’s Emerging Writer Fellowship winners.
    When the World Was Young - Elizabeth Gaffney
    Thursday, February 26, 2015
    Central Library

    Kansas City novelist and Writers at Work series organizer Whitney Terrell sits down with author Elizabeth Gaffney for a public conversation about her new book and the New York-based literary magazine A Public Space, for which she is editor-at-large.

    When the World Was Young, her second novel, follows the country’s changing physical and emotional landscape after World War II through the eyes and experiences of a girl growing up in the author’s hometown of Brooklyn, New York.

    Joining Gaffney and Terrell is April Wolfe, one of three inaugural winners of Emerging Writer Fellowships from A Public Place (and once a former semipro wrestler). She discusses her work in fiction and poetry and role in writing and directing two short films.

    The event is co-sponsored by the Writers at Work Roundtable and the UMKC English Department.

  • In the 2015 McKinzie Lecture, Saint Louis University’s Lorri Glover focuses on Washington, Jefferson, and other icons of history in discussing her book on how the American Revolution remade family life as much as it reinvented political institutions.
    Founders as Fathers: The Private Lives and Politics of the American Revolutionaries - Lorri Glover
    Wednesday, February 11, 2015
    Plaza Branch

    Even as they were laying the framework for a new country, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and many of America’s other Founding Fathers were tending to another vital duty. They were raising families.

    Saint Louis University history professor Lorri Glover discusses her new book, the first to explore how the Revolution remade family life as much as it reinvented political institutions. Focusing on Washington, Jefferson, James Madison, George Mason, and Patrick Henry, she describes the colonial households that nurtured future revolutionaries, follows the development of political and family values during the revolutionary years, and shines new light on the radically transformed world that was inherited by 19th-century descendants.

  • Wired magazine’s Fred Vogelstein discusses his book on the high-tech, high-stakes struggle between Apple and Google, which have steamrolled their competition while battling each other not only in the marketplace but also in the courts.
    Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution - Fred Vogelstein
    Wednesday, January 28, 2015
    Central Library

    Today, amid the many manufacturers of smartphones, tablets, and apps, two names tower above the others: Apple and Google, whose philosophies, leaders, and commercial acumen have steamrolled the competition – and now threaten to steamroll each other. But the battle between Apple and Google is just not a story of corporate competition. It’s a tale of friendships gone sour, of trust betrayed, and agreements breached.

    Wired magazine’s Fred Vogelstein discusses his book on this high-stakes, high-tech struggle for handheld superiority, going inside offices and board rooms, behind the outsized personalities of Apple’s Steve Jobs and Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt, and through the deals, allegations, and lawsuits that are shaping the way we communicate.

  • Kansas Citians go to the polls in April and June to elect a mayor and 12 city council members. Launching a series of Citizens Project forums, a panel of media representatives moderated by KCUR’s Steve Kraske identifies the issues the candidates ought to be addressing.
    Primary Perspectives: The Media's Take on KC's 2015 Elections
    Wednesday, January 21, 2015
    Central Library

    Kansas Citians go to the polls in April and June to elect a mayor and 12 city council members who will direct the city for the next four years. What are the talking points? The priorities?

    Launching a second season of Citizens Project forums co-sponsored by the nonpartisan Citizens Association of Kansas City, a panel of local media representatives including KCUR’s Steve Kraske and The Kansas City Star’s Lynn Horsley identifies and explores the issues the candidates ought to address.

    Subsequent discussions in the series — on the third Wednesday in February and March — will feature the perspectives of city administrators and politicos.

  • Twelve days before a football- obsessed nation tunes into the Super Bowl, best-selling author Steve Almond discusses his unflinching new book about the physical, social, and other concerns buffeting the sport. Joining the public conversion is longtime Kansas City TV sports anchor Frank Boal.
    Against Football - Steve Almond and Frank Boal
    Tuesday, January 20, 2015
    Plaza Branch

    Football’s evolution from sport to religion will be reconfirmed Feb. 1, 2015, when 85,000 fans in Glendale, Arizona, and a global TV audience of more than 100 million obsess over Super Bowl Sunday.

    We love football so much that best-selling author Steve Almond says we’ve become blind to the fact that it simply isn’t good for us. Players suffer brain damage. Children and teenagers are susceptible to the same injuries and the same debilitating, long-term effects. Beyond that is a question of whether our addiction to football fosters a tolerance for violence, greed, racism, and homophobia.

    Almond, who contributes to The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The Los Angeles Times, sits down with longtime Kansas City TV sports anchor (and former Villanova University football standout) Frank Boal for a conversation about Almond’s unflinching book about America’s most popular sport.

  • Washburn University’s Tom Averill discusses his inventive new novel, which subtly evokes Charles Dickens’ Christmastime classic in telling the story of a small-college librarian in Topeka, Kansas, whose life is going through major change.
    A Carol Dickens Christmas - Tom Averill
    Sunday, December 14, 2014
    Central Library

    Washburn University’s Tom Averill, an O. Henry Award winner, discusses his inventive new novel, which subtly evokes Charles Dickens’ Christmastime classic in telling the story of a small-college librarian in Topeka, Kansas, who’s fascinated by transition – among other things, from the Victorian age to the modern age. Her life, incidentally, is going through major change.

    Averill is a professor of English and writer-in-residence at Washburn, and has written three other novels: rode, Secrets of the Tsil Café, and The Slow Air of Ewan MacPherson. He spoke at the Library in September 2013 as part of its Big Read initiative focusing on the classic Western novel True Grit.

  • Ethan S. Rafuse leads a panel of colleagues with the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth in examining the momentous year of 1864, when the balance of the Civil War may have tipped to the North.
    1864: The Year of Decision?
    Wednesday, December 10, 2014
    Central Library

    The Civil War may have reached a turning point in 1864, when Ulysses S. Grant became general-in-chief of the Union armies, Confederate defeats continued to mount, and Northern voters in November sustained the presidency of Abraham Lincoln.

    On the 150th anniversary of Union Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman’s arrival in Savannah — approaching the end of a 36-day, 265-mile March to the Sea that was both materially and psychologically devastating to the South — military historian Ethan S. Rafuse leads a panel of colleagues with the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth in a discussion of the events of the year. Did they, indeed, tip the balance of the war decisively and irretrievably to the North?

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

  • Historian Sonny Gibson discusses his new coffee table-style book on Kansas City’s African American past, the product of a 25-year effort to “raise the cultural consciousness of the current generation and set right the history books for generations to come.”
    Kansas City Early Negro History - Sonny Gibson
    Tuesday, December 2, 2014
    Central Library

    Sonny Gibson began his 25-year effort to unearth Kansas City’s African American past with serious doubts. So much was unrecorded and seemingly unknown that he feared “the history of ‘Negroes’ was as good as lost.”

    He pressed on, however, scouring libraries, archives, flea markets, and old book stores. He waded through old magazines, newspapers, and other memorabilia. What Gibson found was a trove of materials – photographs, handbills, advertisements, newspaper clippings, social announcements, and other artifacts dating to the 1860s – that he features in his new coffee table-style book, Kansas City Early Negro History.

  • Kansas City’s Henry W. Bloch co-founded H&R Block Inc. in 1955 and helped build it into the world’s largest tax preparation company. During Global Entrepreneurship Week, he sits down with son Tom Bloch to outline what others can learn from his experiences.
    Seven Lessons for Entrepreneurs - Henry W. Bloch, Tom Bloch
    Tuesday, November 18, 2014
    Central Library

    One of Kansas City’s greatest entrepreneurs, Henry W. Bloch co-founded H&R Block Inc. in 1955 and helped build it into the world’s largest tax preparation company.

    Now 92, he sits down with his son, Tom Bloch, for a conversation covering seven timeless lessons for entrepreneurs gleaned from his experiences. The presentation is held in conjunction with Global Entrepreneurship Week and the paperback release of the younger Bloch’s 2010 book Many Happy Returns: The Story of Henry Bloch, America’s Tax Man.

    Tom Bloch worked closely with his father at H&R Block for nearly two decades. He left the company in 1995 to teach in inner-city Kansas City, and co-founded University Academy.