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.

  • The Social Media Club of Kansas City joins community thought leaders in a public discussion of how Google Fiber high-speed internet can impact the city’s infrastructure, economy, educational systems, and beyond.
    Building the Gigabit City: Brainstorming a Google Fiber Roadmap
    Monday, October 3, 2011
    Central Library

    In the six months since choosing Kansas City as a test market for its new fiber-optic network, Google has asked for community input in planning how this technology will be used.

  • Biographer and financial guru James Grant discusses his new biography of Thomas B. Reed, one of the most powerful House Speakers in history.
    James Grant - Mr. Speaker! The Life and Times of Thomas B. Reed: The Man Who Broke the Filibuster
    Wednesday, September 28, 2011
    Central Library

    Biographer James Grant discusses his new portrait of late nineteenth-century Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Thomas B. Reed, who served with greater influence than any Speaker who came before him.

    Until 1890, members of the House would often filibuster by refusing to answer roll call – even if they were present – depriving the chamber of a quorum. During one such filibuster, Reed directed the clerk to count anyone in attendance as present.

    Grant is editor of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer.

  • From hilarious scenes from his youth to the present state his parents helped create, Frank Schaeffer asks what the leading right-wingers and the paranoid fantasies of their “echo chamber” are really about. Here’s a hint…sex.
    Frank Schaeffer: Sex, Mom, and God
    Tuesday, September 27, 2011
    Central Library

    In his New York Times best-selling book, Frank Schaeffer uses his life as a lens through which to view a larger narrative: the rightward lurch of American politics since the 1970s.

    The central character is Schaeffer’s far-from-prudish evangelical mother, who sweetly but bizarrely provides startling juxtapositions of the religious and the sensual throughout Schaeffer’s childhood.

    Schaeffer asks what the leading right-wingers and the paranoid fantasies of their “echo chamber” are really about. Here’s a hint... sex.

  • The Reading Reptile and the Kansas City Public Library present the former National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature,  Jon Scieszka. A portion of the book sales will be used for the elementary schools destroyed by the Joplin tornado.
    Turning the Page with Jon Scieszka
    Monday, September 26, 2011
    Plaza Branch

    The Reading Reptile and the Kansas City Public Library present the former National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Jon Scieszka. A portion of the proceeds from books sales will be used to build and stock portable classroom libraries for the elementary schools destroyed by the Joplin tornado.

  • Author Carolyn Brewer discusses the 1957 tornado that killed 39 people and left 531 injured and shares first-person narratives collected during a 50-year reunion and memorial rededication.
    Carolyn Brewer - Caught Ever After: Children of the Ruskin Heights Tornado
    Sunday, September 25, 2011
    Plaza Branch

    On the evening of May 20, 1957, an F-5 tornado tore into the communities of Ottawa and Spring Hill, Kansas, and Martin City, Grandview, Hickman Mills, and Ruskin Heights, Missouri. The storm left 39 people dead and 531 injured. More than 840 homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed.

    Author Carolyn Brewer tells the story of the tragic event, as well as the rebuilding effort, through a series of first-person narratives collected during a 50-year reunion and memorial rededication.

  • Columnist and political commentator John Avlon discusses the history of the American newspaper column and shares his views on where the newspaper industry is headed in what has proven to be a tumultuous period for all media.
    John Avlon - Deadline Artists: America’s Greatest Newspaper Columns
    Thursday, September 22, 2011
    Central Library

    Columnist and political commentator John Avlon discusses his new book Deadline Artists: America’s Greatest Newspaper Columns.

    Deadline Artists is a celebration of the American newspaper column. It includes columns by several masters of the craft, including: H.L. Mencken, Ernie Pyle, Murray Kempton, Jimmy Breslin, and Mike Royko. It also includes columns written by public figures, including one by Theodore Roosevelt that appeared in The Kansas City Star.

  • Jack Becker, executive director of Minnesota-based Forecast Public Art and publisher of Public Art Review, discusses the complex, beneficial, and sometimes contentious role that art plays in the public realm.
    Jack Becker: Public Art/Civic Catalyst
    Wednesday, September 21, 2011
    Central Library

    Public art and its accompanying community participation contribute significantly to the identity of a city. In addition to inspiring dialogue and providing visual appeal, a varied civic public art collection often symbolizes the vitality of the city it inhabits.

    Jack Becker, executive director of Minnesota-based Forecast Public Art and publisher of Public Art Review, discusses the complex, beneficial, and sometimes contentious role that art plays in the public realm.

  • Mark Twain scholar Robert Hirst examines how the author maximized the appeal of his book for both young readers and adults—including changes Twain made to the text that preserved necessary “proprieties,” which can be rather mysterious to readers 135 years later.
    Where the Twain Meet: The Enduring Cross-Generational Appeal of Tom Sawyer
    Tuesday, September 20, 2011
    Plaza Branch

    Mark Twain wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in such a fashion that his first novel simultaneously addressed two divergent audiences: the young and the formerly young. At times, his story ridicules boyhood fantasies (such as finding buried treasure and rescuing a damsel in distress) and later grants these same ridiculous hopes and dreams. In creating a text that speaks to two age groups, Twain appears as the literary forerunner of Pixar Animation Studios.

  • From the State Historical Society of Missouri, art historian Joan Stack examines the challenges Benton faced in translating Tom Sawyer  into a more modern visual style.
    Thomas Hart Benton on Tom Sawyer: Re-envisioning Twain in the 20th Century
    Sunday, September 18, 2011
    Central Library

    Already an established artist of worldwide fame, Missouri artist Thomas Hart Benton was a natural choice for the Limited Editions Club’s illustrated version of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Likewise, the boy from Mark Twain’s most accessible novel was a perfect subject for Benton, whose influence on the Regionalist movement emphasized a need for works that conveyed a uniquely American character. But Tom Sawyer presented a challenge as the artist strained to translate the humor and ease of the vernacular prose into a modern visual style.

  • Princeton scholar Esther Schor discusses her new biography of Emma Lazarus, whose work gave voice to the Statue of Liberty. This talk complements the Emma Lazarus: Voice of Liberty, Voice of Conscience exhibit now on display at the Central Library.
    Esther Schor: Emma Lazarus
    Thursday, September 15, 2011
    Central Library

    Esther Schor discusses her book about the life of Emma Lazarus, the iconoclastic 19th century poet and activist whose poem gave voice to the Statue of Liberty.

    Schor is a poet and professor of English at Princeton University. Her work has been published in The Times Literary Supplement as well as The New York Times. Schor curated the exhibit Emma Lazarus: Voice of Liberty, Voice of Conscience now on display at the Central Library.