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.

  • Author Philip White examines Churchill’s 1946 address at Fulton, Missouri, and explains how it alerted a war-weary West to Communism’s growing control of Eastern Europe.
    Philip White - Our Supreme Task: How Winston Churchill’s Iron Curtain Speech Defined the Cold War Alliance
    Wednesday, March 7, 2012
    Central Library

    Winston Churchill’s 1946 speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, warned that Communism was on the march. Historian Philip White relates how the address – encouraged and attended by Harry S. Truman – was met with skepticism but came to be seen as a Cold War prophecy.

  • University of Kansas historian Shawn Leigh Alexander looks at the forgotten men and women who in the late 19th century took up the cause of civil rights for African Americans.
    Shawn Leigh Alexander - An Army of Lions: The Civil Rights Struggle Before the NAACP
    Tuesday, March 6, 2012
    Central Library

    Historian Shawn Leigh Alexander looks at the forgotten men and women who in the late 19th century took up the cause of civil rights for African Americans. Creating groups such as the Afro-American League, the Afro-American Council, the Niagara Movement, the Constitution League, and the Committee of Twelve, these pioneers developed the methodology of boycotts, propaganda, lobbying, and moral suasion that would bear fruit only long after they had passed on.

    Alexander is an assistant professor of African and African American Studies at the University of Kansas.

  • Historian Amity Shlaes finds hopeful lessons in the presidency of Calvin Coolidge, who left office with a smaller federal budget than when he came in.
    Amity Shlaes - Calvin Coolidge: The President Who Said “No”
    Wednesday, February 29, 2012
    Central Library

    President Calvin Coolidge gets a bad rap, says author Amity Shlaes, who notes that under his leadership the economy grew at a rate of four percent annually, taxation was low, and the budget was balanced.

  • Rebecca Solnit offers a guided tour of the Bay Area through her latest book, Infinite City, which reinvents the traditional atlas, expanding it from a mere collection of maps to a vibrant depiction of a city’s inner life.
    Rebecca Solnit - Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas
    Tuesday, February 28, 2012
    Central Library

    Rebecca Solnit offers a guided tour of the Bay Area through her latest book, Infinite City, which reinvents the traditional atlas, expanding it from a mere collection of maps to a vibrant depiction of a city’s inner life.

  • Award-winning novelist and short story writer Jim Shepard reads from his works and dicusses his craft with Angela Elam of the New Letters on the Air radio program.
    Jim Shepard: You Think That’s Bad
    Monday, February 27, 2012
    Plaza Branch

    Angela Elam, host of the New Letters on the Air radio program, conducts a public conversation with novelist and short story writer Jim Shepard as part of the 2012 Writers at Work series.

    Shepard has written six novels and four collections of stories including Like You’d Understand, Anyway, which won the Story Prize and was nominated for a National Book Award. He teaches at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

  • The Kansas City Public Library hosts local author, J. Alexander Greenwood for a discussion about the inspiration behind his first novel, Pilate’s Cross.
    J. Alexander Greenwood: Pilate’s Cross
    Thursday, February 23, 2012
    Plaza Branch

    The Kansas City Public Library hosts local author J. Alexander Greenwood for a discussion about the inspiration behind his first novel, Pilate’s Cross.

    In 1950, a professor in tiny Peru, Nebraska, strode into his college president’s office and shot him dead. The killer then turned the gun on himself.

    Though few remember this event, it inspired Greenwood to write the acclaimed novel Pilate’s Cross and its sequel, Pilate’s Key, which will be released in February.

  • Historian of the United States Senate Donald Ritchie discusses presidential relations with Congress from Harry S. Truman to Barack Obama.
    Donald Ritchie - A Conflicted Legacy: Presidents and Congress from Truman to Obama
    Monday, February 20, 2012
    Plaza Branch

    Historian of the United States Senate Donald Ritchie discusses presidential relations with Congress since Harry S. Truman.

    Ritchie, author of Congress and Harry S. Truman: A Conflicted Legacy, says the constitutional principle of checks and balances coupled with partisanship is a recipe for heated conflict in Washington and on the campaign trail.

  • Kansas City Star sports reporter Blair Kerkhoff discusses the history of the NAIA basketball tournament in Kansas City and explains why it was instrumental in the demolition of racial barriers in college athletics.
    Blair Kerkhoff: NAIA Basketball & the Civil Rights Movement
    Sunday, February 19, 2012
    Central Library

    Kansas City Star sports reporter Blair Kerkhoff explains why the NAIA basketball tournament in Kansas City was instrumental in the demolition of racial barriers in college athletics.

    Long before the NCAA and NIT tournaments accepted them, college basketball teams from historically black colleges and universities found a home in Kansas City. The basketball tournament of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics was a fixture on the city’s sports calendar; but to African Americans around the country, it meant something special.

  • In his new memoir playwright/novelist/poet Zakes Mda recalls his coming of age under South African apartheid and his love of jazz, comic books, political discourse and writing.
    Zakes Mda: Sometimes There Is A Void
    Thursday, February 16, 2012
    Central Library

    In his memoir Sometimes There Is A Void award-winning South African author Zakes Mda chronicles his youth from boyhood in Soweto to his exile and coming of age in Basutoland (now Lesotho).

  • Filmmaker Gary Jenkins unveils his new documentary about the Underground Railroad that helped slaves escape the Kansas City area to safety in the north before and during the Civil War.
    Freedom Seekers: Stories from the Western Underground Railroad
    Wednesday, February 15, 2012
    Plaza Branch

    Local filmmaker Gary Jenkins unveils his new documentary about the western branch of the Underground Railroad that before and during the Civil War transported escaped slaves from the Kansas City area to freedom in the north.

    At a post-screening discussion Jenkins will be joined by Jimmy S. Johnson III, whose great- grandfather escaped a Platte County slave farm, and William O. Wagnon, who has worked to preserve Topeka’s Ritchie House, once a stop on the Underground Railroad.