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.

  • 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.

  • Daniel Serda reports his findings on immigration, discrimination, and preservation of Hispanic culture followed by Gene Chavez discussing the social and political dynamics that shape how communities co-exist and thrive.
    Daniel Serda and Gene Chavez: Nuestra Herencia Americana (Our American Heritage)
    Wednesday, September 14, 2011
    Central Library

    The 2011 Corinthian Hall lecture addresses minority heritage and a museum’s mission, capacity, and duty in this arena.

    Nuestra Herencia Americana (Our American Heritage) features Daniel Serda and his findings on immigration, discrimination, and preservation of Hispanic culture. Following Serda’s presentation, Gene Chavez discusses the social and political dynamics that shape how majority and minority communities co-exist and thrive.

    Co-sponsored by the Kansas City Museum at Corinthian Hall.

  • Australian motivational speaker and personal trainer M.D. “Dorsal” Finn discusses his book The Vulture Perspective, which he calls “a self-help book for the average Joe six-pack.”
    Denis Finn - The Vulture Perspective: A Real Man’s Guide to a Happy, Successful Life
    Tuesday, September 13, 2011
    Central Library

    Australian motivational speaker and personal trainer M.D. “Dorsal” Finn discusses his book, The Vulture Perspective, which has been billed a “self-help book for the average Joe six-pack.”

    Finn considers the book to be an instructional manual for the game of life. He seeks to help men (and women) find the answers to all of life’s big questions and covers subjects ranging from choosing a partner to living a balanced life to careers, success, and wealth.

    Finn recently published his second book, The Female Vulture Perspective.

  • Author and former Kansas City resident Justin Martin discusses his new biography of renowned landscape architect, abolitionist, and early environmentalist Frederick Law Olmsted.
    Justin Martin - Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted
    Wednesday, September 7, 2011
    Central Library

    Author and former Kansas City resident Justin Martin discusses his latest book, Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted, a biography of the renowned landscape architect, early environmentalist, and abolitionist.

  • Karen Cox explains how northern-based advertisers, manufacturers, musicians, writers, and filmmakers fashioned a romantic version of Dixieland to push products, calm anxiety about modernity – and maintain a racist status-quo.
    Karen Cox - Dreaming of Dixie: How the South Was Created in American Popular Culture
    Tuesday, August 30, 2011
    Central Library

    From the late nineteenth century through World War II, popular culture portrayed the American South as a region ensconced in its antebellum past, draped in moonlight and magnolias, and represented by such southern icons as the mammy, the belle, the chivalrous planter, white-columned mansions, and even bolls of cotton. But what if this constructed nostalgia for the Old South was actually manufactured by outsiders?

  • Cricket enthusiast Martin Rowe discusses the parallel and occasionally intertwined history of baseball and cricket.
    Martin Rowe: Right Off the Bat
    Wednesday, August 24, 2011
    Central Library

    Cricket buff Martin Rowe, co-author of Right Off the Bat, explains the parallel and occasionally intertwined history of baseball and cricket in a presentation that includes anecdotes, diagrams, photographs, and a curve (or dipper) or two.

    Along the way, Rowe examines how the two sports mirrored British and American social and racial struggles while expanding beyond the shores of their founding countries to become multinational endeavors commanding global followings that now challenge the future of both sports.

  • Library Director Crosby Kemper III leads a public conversation with Boulevard Brewing Company founder John McDonald exploring how his award-winning company became the largest craft brewer in the Midwest and the largest independent American brewer  in Missouri.
    A Conversation with John McDonald
    Wednesday, August 3, 2011
    Central Library

    Join a public conversation with local brewing pioneer John McDonald, founder of Boulevard Brewing Company.

    McDonald, recently named the 2011 Brewers Association Recognition Award winner, started the brewery in 1989 and hand delivered Boulevard beer to local restaurants in his pick-up truck. Today, his company employs over 90 people.

    Since 1989, the award-winning company has grown to become the largest craft brewer in the Midwest and the largest independent American brewer in Missouri.

  • John Ferling discusses his compelling and accessible one-volume chronicle of the most pivotal period in America’s history, the battle in the Continental Congress over declaring American independence.
    John Ferling - Independence: The Struggle To Set America Free
    Wednesday, July 27, 2011
    Central Library

    No event in American history was more pivotal — or more contested — than the decision by Congress to declare independence in July 1776. Even months after American blood had been shed at Lexington and Concord, many colonists remained loyal to Britain.