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.

  • In a discussion of his new book, historian John B. Judis looks back to the Truman administration in an examination of the roots of the Arab/Israeli conflict and explains how it might be ended.
    Genesis: Truman, American Jews, and the Origins of the Arab/Israeli Conflict
    Tuesday, February 25, 2014
    Central Library

    John B. Judis, senior editor at The New Republic, examines the half-century of raging conflict between Jews and Arabs—a violent, costly struggle that has had catastrophic repercussions in a critical region of the world.

    The fatal flaw in American policy, Judis says, can be traced back to the Truman administration. What happened between 1945 and 1949 sealed the fate of the Middle East for the remainder of the century and explains why every subsequent attempt to stabilize the area has failed—right down to George W. Bush’s unsuccessful and ill-conceived effort to win peace by holding elections among Palestinians and Barack Obama’s failed attempt to bring both sides to the negotiating table.

  • In this one-man show, historic re-enactor Charles Everett Pace portrays the slave who fled to freedom and became one of America’s most eloquent voices for abolition and civil rights.
    An Evening With Frederick Douglass
    Wednesday, February 19, 2014
    Central Library

    Veteran re-enactor Charles Everett Pace brings his one man show to Kansas City to portray prominent abolitionist and social reformer Frederick Douglass.

    Born enslaved in 1818, Douglass successfully escaped from bondage in 1838 and quickly rose to the front ranks of leading abolitionists, becoming the most famous black American of his day. In the years leading up to the Civil War, his incisive anti-slavery writings and mesmerizing speeches reached broad audiences in the United States and the British Isles. Following emancipation, Douglass continued to lecture and write on civil rights issues, including women’s rights and desegregation. He wrote several versions of his autobiography between 1845 and 1892.

  • Library Director Crosby Kemper III interviews civil rights advocate Alvin Sykes about the role libraries have played in his work, his appointment as the 2013 scholar in residence, and the publication of the biographical monograph Pursuit of Truth.
    A Conversation with Alvin Sykes
    Thursday, January 30, 2014
    Central Library

    As a self-taught human rights worker who relies on local libraries for his primary research, the Kansas City Public Library's 2013 scholar in residence Alvin Sykes works with the justice system on behalf of minorities and the poor.

    In a public conversation with Library Director Crosby Kemper III, Sykes talks about testifying before Congress, bending the ears of politicians, and his role in creating the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act, which gives the U.S. Department of Justice the means to investigate long-ago cases of civil rights violations.

  • The Brookings Institution’s  Bruce Katz joins a panel of experts for a conversation about how cities - not the federal government - are creating more and better jobs driven by innovation, exports and sustainability.
    The Metropolitan Revolution
    Wednesday, January 15, 2014
    Plaza Branch

    In the face of federal gridlock, economic stagnation, and fiscal turmoil, power in the United States is shifting away from Washington and toward our major metropolitan areas.

    In a discussion of his new book, The Metropolitan Revolution, Brookings Institution Vice President Bruce Katz describes how the emerging metropolitan-led "next economy" will produce more and better jobs driven by innovation, exports, and sustainability.

  • Sportscaster Roger Twibell and a panel of NFL veterans – former Chiefs general manager Carl Peterson, former Chiefs quarterback Trent Green, and three-time Pro Bowl offensive guard Conrad Dobler – look at the complicated issue of player health and safety from both personal and institutional points of view.
    Big Hits, Lasting Hurts
    Tuesday, December 3, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    Players in today’s National Football League are bigger and faster than ever — and that means devastating collisions on the gridiron. The health issues confronting these Sunday gladiators — from concussions to blown-out knees, and the medical care provided them after they retire from the game — are explored by CBS Sports Network’s Roger Twibell and a panel of experts.

    Former Kansas City Chiefs general manager Carl Peterson (now chairman of USA Football), former Chiefs quarterback Trent Green, and three-time Pro Bowl offensive guard Conrad Dobler look at the complicated issue of player health from both personal and institutional points of view and discuss the sport's future in the face of these safety concerns.

  • Author Hank Phillippi Ryan discusses her latest novel, a mystery in which reporter Jane Ryland investigates a respected adoption agency that may be guilty of the ultimate betrayal: reuniting birth parents with the wrong children.
    The Wrong Girl
    Thursday, November 21, 2013
    Central Library

    Agatha Award-winning author Hank Phillippi Ryan discusses her latest mystery, The Wrong Girl, about an investigation of a respected adoption agency that may be guilty of the ultimate betrayal: reuniting birth parents with the wrong children.

    Ryan is the creator of the Charlotte McNally series of mysteries (Prime Time, Air Time, Face Time, and Drive Time) and has won 30 Emmys for her investigative reporting for Boston’s WHDH-TV. She is also the president of Sisters in Crime, which supports women who write mysteries.

  • Biographer Terry Teachout discusses his new book about Duke Ellington, the greatest jazz composer of the 20th century — and an impenetrably enigmatic personality whom no one, not even his closest friends, claimed to understand.
    Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington
    Wednesday, November 20, 2013
    Central Library

    Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington was the greatest jazz composer of the 20th century – and an impenetrably enigmatic personality whom no one, not even his closest friends, claimed to understand. Biographer Terry Teachout sheds new light on this creative genius in a discussion of his new book about the grandson of a slave who wrote such classics as “Mood Indigo” and “Sophisticated Lady.”

    Teachout, a Kansas City resident from 1975 to 1983, is the author of Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong, The Skeptic: A Life of H.L. Mencken, and the play Satchmo at the Waldorf. For The Wall Street Journal, he is drama critic and the author of “Sightings,” a column about the arts in America. He is the critic-at-large at Commentary, and writes the blog About Last Night.

  • Filipino-American poet Patrick Rosal–who has been known to punch up his readings by strumming the guitar, playing the piano, and dancing-discusses his work with New Letters on the Air host Angela Elam.
    A Conversation with Patrick Rosal
    Tuesday, November 12, 2013
    Central Library

    Patrick Rosal’s poetry, writes one critic, “skillfully navigates between despair and love, between violence and music, between loss and transcendence ... I’ve seen him make people cry during his readings. I’ve seen him play a guitar, play the piano, sing, and yes, dance.”

    Rosal holds a discussion about his work with New Letters on the Air host Angela Elam.

  • Writer Deborah Shouse discusses her book about caring for her aging mother. She is joined by storyteller Ron Zoglin and Alzheimer’s expert  Michelle Niedens.
    Love in the Land of Dementia: Finding Hope in the Caregiver’s Journey
    Sunday, November 10, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    During her mother’s struggle with Alzheimer’s, Deborah Shouse explored ways to connect with her and developed new rituals to anchor holidays and other celebrations. She is joined by Ron Zoglin, a professional storyteller, and Michelle Niedens, education director of the Heart of America Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, for a discussion of her book, which offers humor and hope to family members, friends, and caregivers.

  • Legendary BBC reporter Martin Bell – Britain’s answer to Walter Cronkite – discusses his life, war experiences, career in Parliament, and recent incarnation as a poet.
    Martin Bell: Conflicts, Politics, and Poetry
    Wednesday, November 6, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    In the same way that Walter Cronkite was “the most trusted man in America,” Martin Bell represents journalistic integrity and straight talk to several generations of Britons.

    Beyond his career as a reporter, Bell is a member of the Order of the British Empire who has also been elected to Parliament, an ambassador for UNICEF, and a tireless critic of the state of journalism.

    Now Bell discusses his life, his war experiences, his brief political career, and his recent incarnation as a poet.

    Co-sponsored by the English-Speaking Union.