Event Audio

All Library locations will be closed on Saturday, July 4 in observance of Independence Day.

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.

  • 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.

  • Historian Bill Tuttle details  the century-long fight for freedom by African Americans at the University of Kansas – an institution, like others in Lawrence, that once congratulated itself on an open admissions policy while enforcing strict racial separation.
    Separate But Not Equal - Bill Tuttle
    Sunday, November 16, 2014
    Central Library

    Although Kansas joined the Union as a free state, African Americans entering this new land looking for homes and livelihoods encountered a rigid color line. The conflict between lofty ideals and racist realities became a central theme of the African American experience in Kansas.

    In Separate But Not Equal: The Quest for African American Civil Rights at the University of Kansas, 1865-1970, historian Bill Tuttle details the story of a century-old fight for freedom at the state’s flagship university – which mirrored many Lawrence institutions in congratulating itself on its racially open admissions policy while enforcing until the 1960s a strict Jim Crow system of racial separation.

  • Sandra Moran discusses her debut novel – about three women united by love and kinship, struggling to conform to the social norms of their times – which has won raves and awards from the LGBT community since its 2013 release.
    Letters Never Sent - Sandra Moran
    Thursday, November 13, 2014
    Central Library

    Sandra Moran’s first novel, Letters Never Sent, resonated deeply in the LGBT community when it was released a little more than a year ago.

    She discusses her story of three women, united by love and kinship and struggling to conform to the social norms of their times, which won 2013 Rainbow Awards for best lesbian historical romance and best lesbian debut novel. This year, it earned the Golden Crown Literary Society’s General Fiction Award and Ann Bannon Popular Choice Award.

    An assistant adjunct professor of anthropology at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Moran previously worked as a reporter for The Topeka Capital-Journal and on the staff of Kansas Gov. Bill Graves.

  • The U.S. remains the world’s leader in science, lifted in part by trailblazers from undergraduate institutions of only modest scientific renown. The University of Wisconsin’s J. Rogers Hollingsworth examines how that “outsider” status feeds an entrepreneurial spirit that promotes creativity.
    Creativity and Entrepreneurship in American Science: From Rags to Riches
    Wednesday, November 12, 2014
    Central Library

    The United States remains the world’s pacesetter in science. The origins of many of its breakthroughs may surprise you, however. A sizable number of pioneering scientists were “outsiders,” emerging from undergraduate institutions of only modest scientific renown.

    That outsider’s status, the University of Wisconsin’s J. Rogers Hollingsworth says, fosters an entrepreneurial spirit that feeds creativity. A professor emeritus of history and sociology Wisconsin, he discusses his analysis of the institutions and scientists associated with major discoveries of the past century.

    Hollingsworth is currently a visiting scholar at the BioCircuits Institute at the University of California, San Diego and is a former senior scholar with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The event is co-presented by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

  • Kansas City author and Writers at Work series organizer Whitney Terrell joins accomplished novelist Jayne Anne Phillips in discussing Phillips’ 2013 book based on the real-life murder of a lonely widow and her three children.
    Quiet Dell - Jayne Anne Phillips
    Thursday, November 6, 2014
    Central Library

    Kansas City author and Writers at Work series organizer Whitney Terrell sits down with one of the country’s most accomplished novelists, Jayne Anne Phillips, for a public conversation about her mesmerizing 2013 book based on the real-life murder of a lonely widow and her 14-, 12-, and 9-year-old children. Stephen King hailed it as “the novel of the year.”

    Phillips, a professor of English and director of the MFA program at Rutgers University-Newark, grew up near the scene of the 1931 crime in Quiet Dell, West Virginia. She took an In Cold Blood approach to the story, using real names and details of the case and filling in the characters’ thoughts, perceptions, and relationships.

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