Event Audio

All Library locations will be closed on Monday, February 15 in observance of Presidents' 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.

  • Jarhead author Anthony Swofford discusses his new memoir about self-destructive excess and rediscovering family.
    Anthony Swofford - Hospitals, Hotels and Jails
    Wednesday, November 14, 2012
    Central Library

    Anthony Swofford's new memoir, Hotels, Hospitals, and Jails, chronicles how in the years after the success of his book Jarhead, he went on a binge of self-destructive excess. He lost almost everything and everyone that mattered to him.

  • Get a preview of Ken Burns’ new documentary about America’s worst manmade ecological disaster, followed by a panel discussion featuring screenwriter Dayton Duncan.
    Dayton Duncan - The Dust Bowl
    Tuesday, November 13, 2012
    Plaza Branch

    The result of uncontrolled plowing on the Great Plains, the Dust Bowl of the 1930s turned prairies into deserts and unleashed a pattern of massive and deadly dust storms. Children contracted “dust pneumonia,” businesses collapsed, and thousands lost their land and were forced on the road.

    A screening of excerpts from Ken Burns' The Dust Bowl will be followed by a panel discussion headlined by the documentary’s writer and co-producer Dayton Duncan.

    Co-sponsored by KCPT and the University of Kansas Libraries.

  • Geographer James Shortridge examines how 200 years of change through suburbanization, transportation, and policy makers has shaped the city we know today.
    James Shortridge - Kansas City and How It Grew: 1822-2011
    Sunday, November 11, 2012
    Central Library

    For prize-winning geographer James Shortridge, Kansas City is more than the sum of cultural icons like barbecue, jazz, and sports teams. In his new book he explores more than a century of change and how Kansas City came to look and function the way it does.

    He explores suburbanization, changing modes of transportation and personalities such as Tom Pendergast, J.C. Nichols, and Kay Waldo Barnes, whose policies shaped the metropolitan area.

    Shortridge is professor of geography at the University of Kansas.

  • Historian Terry Beckenbaugh of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth explains the effect politics had on the Civil War and discusses the issues and ideologies that drove debate.
    Terry Beckenbaugh - The Politics of War
    Thursday, November 8, 2012
    Central Library

    Historian Terry Beckenbaugh maintains that the Civil War was inevitable given the failure of the nation’s political leadership to resolve fundamental questions over the nature of the American republic and the meaning of constitutional liberty.

    Beckenbaugh examines the leaders of the North and the South, the issues and ideologies that drove debate, and the effect politics had on the war.

    Beckenbaugh is an assistant professor of military history at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

  • Noted economist Mark Skousen examines this Founding Father’s business sense, summed up in Franklin’s perennial classic The Way to Wealth, often considered America’s first “rags to riches” account.
    Mark Skousen - Benjamin Franklin: Founding Father of American Entrepreneurship
    Wednesday, November 7, 2012
    Central Library

    Benjamin Franklin was an inventor, author, politician, postmaster, and civic activist.

    But noted economist and Franklin biographer Mark Skousen reminds us that Franklin was also a businessman and an entrepreneur whose autobiography is often considered to be the first “rags to riches” account in American history.

  • Think you know Charles Dickens? Help celebrate the bicentennial of the Victorian novelist’s birth with a special performance by members of Kansas City’s acting community, who will perform five scenes from five Dickens books in 50 minutes.
    The Dickens You Hardly Know
    Tuesday, October 30, 2012
    Central Library

    Think you know Charles Dickens? Help celebrate the bicentennial of the great Victorian novelist’s birth with a special performance by members of Kansas City’s acting community. In The Dickens You Hardly Know they will perform five scenes from five Dickens books in just 50 minutes.

    The evening kicks off What the Dickens? a fall-long series of Dickens-themed events that include book discussion groups, a film series and a new dramatic interpretation of A Christmas Carol created and performed by area teens.

  • KMBZ's Dana Wright hosts a public conversation with Thomas Frank, whose new book asks why so many Americans are ready to penalize the recession's victims at the expense of society's traditional winners.
    Thomas Frank - Pity the Billionaire
    Monday, October 29, 2012
    Central Library

    For his latest book Thomas Frank, the best-selling author of What’s the Matter with Kansas? and The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule, went looking for public discontent in the wake of the 2008 economic meltdown.

    Instead, as Frank reports in Pity the Billionaire, he found loud demands that the system be made even harsher on the recession’s victims and that society’s traditional winners receive even grander prizes.

  • Historian Henry Wiencek examines how Thomas Jefferson, for all his accomplishments and advanced thinking, could not get beyond his own limited perspective in matters of race.
    Henry Wiencek - Thomas Jefferson
    Thursday, October 25, 2012
    Plaza Branch

    For all his accomplishments and advanced thinking, Thomas Jefferson could not get beyond his own limited perspective in matters of race. Drawing from new archaeological work and previously overlooked evidence, historian Henry Wiencek examines the factors that led Jefferson, once an emancipationist, to keep some of his own children as slaves.

  • Small-business guru John Jantsch explains how you can create a successful corporate culture, one with committed, long-term customers and dedicated employees.
    John Jantsch - The Commitment Engine: Making Work Worth It
    Wednesday, October 24, 2012
    Central Library

    Why are some companies able to generate committed, long-term customers while others struggle to stay afloat? Why do the employees of some organizations fully dedicate themselves while others punch the clock without enthusiasm? Small-business guru John Jantsch looks at what makes a successful corporate culture.

  • Author Richard V. Barbuto examines the unpopular War of 1812, during which the U.S. launched three failed invasions of  Canada and British troops burned our White House.
    Richard V. Barbuto - America on the Ropes
    Tuesday, October 23, 2012
    Central Library

    The War of 1812 began with much confidence among U.S. leaders.

    Thomas Jefferson predicted that the conquest of Canada was “a mere matter of marching.” But, as historian Richard V. Barbuto points out, “Mr. Madison’s War” found the U.S. government in debt, the Royal Navy raiding our coasts and British troops burning the White House. The conflict was hugely unpopular with American citizens.

    How did we get into this war ... and how did we win it?

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