Event Audio

All Library locations will be closed on Monday, September 7th for Labor 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.

  • Jeff Clements punctuates the argument in his book that the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision  to ease restrictions on political spending by corporations and labor unions “upended the American ideal that we are a government of people rather than a government  of corporate wealth.”
    Corporations Are Not People - Jeff Clements
    Wednesday, October 29, 2014
    Central Library

    It has been a little more than 4½ years since the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its controversial ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, sharply easing restrictions on political and campaign spending by corporations and labor unions. The argument over its merits has scarcely subsided.

    Supporters hold to the court’s assertion that political speech is “indispensable to decisionmaking in a democracy, and this is no less true because the speech comes from a corporation rather than an individual.” Jeff Clements is among the opponents — along with President Obama and a majority of the U.S. Senate — who see a ruinously unfair advantage for candidates who can cultivate the wealthiest donors. Clements, a former Massachusetts assistant attorney general and the founder of Free Speech for People, a nonpartisan movement to overturn the 2010 decision, makes his case in a discussion of his book, Corporations Are Not People: Reclaiming Democracy from Big Money and Global Corporations.

  • On the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Westport, Terry Beckenbaugh of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College examines the defeat that sent Confederate Gen. Sterling Price into retreat and signaled the end of rebels’ conventional military presence in Missouri.
    The Battle of Westport: Culmination of the Border War
    Thursday, October 23, 2014
    Central Library

    In 1864, Confederate Gen. Sterling Price mounted a last-gasp raid into Missouri in hopes of capturing St. Louis and ultimately the state. The end of the line, for all practical purposes, was Westport, where Price’s army – after passing up St. Louis and then failing to take Jefferson City – absorbed a decisive defeat and began its retreat.

    On the 150th anniversary of the October 23, 1864, Battle of Westport, military historian Terry Beckenbaugh of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth explains how the encounter ended the conventional Confederate military presence in Missouri. He also examines the worst aspects of the guerrilla war that plagued the state from 1861-64.

  • Former Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker discusses his newly released biography of Bill Cosby – covering the well-known triumphs of the iconic comedian, actor, producer, author, educator, and social activist as well as his setbacks and personal dramas.
    Cosby: His Life and Times - Mark Whitaker
    Thursday, October 16, 2014
    Central Library

    He grew up in a Philadelphia housing project, the son of an alcoholic, largely absent father and a loving but overworked mother. A high school dropout, he turned his life around in the Navy, made his way into college, and caught a few early breaks as a standup comedian. From there, Bill Cosby went on to become a national treasure.

    Mark Whitaker, the former editor of Newsweek and later a senior executive with NBC News and CNN Worldwide, discusses his newly released biography of the now 77-year-old creator and star of television’s The Cosby Show. Cosby not only towers as a groundbreaking comedian, producer, and actor but also as an author, educator, and social activist. Whitaker delves, too, into his setbacks and personal dramas, from an affair that sparked public scandal to the murder of his only son.

  • In a discussion of his new book, Kristian Coates Ulrichsen examines a less-remembered theater of World War I – the Middle East – and explains how the fighting’s devastation and postwar re-mapping sowed the seeds for much of the region’s instability today.
    The First World War in the Middle East - Kristian Coates Ulrichsen
    Wednesday, October 15, 2014
    Central Library

    It’s easy to think of World War I as a European war, but fierce fighting all over the Middle East brought about great changes on socio-economic, cultural, and political levels. Kristian Coates Ulrichsen explores the lasting impact of the Great War on the region’s political geography in The First World War in the Middle East, and shows how national identities were formed as the Ottoman Empire disintegrated.

    Kristian Coates Ulrichsen is a Research Fellow at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy in Houston and an Associate Fellow at Chatham House in London.

    Co-presented by the Kansas City Public Library and the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial.

  • In a discussion of his new book, On the Rocketship: How Top Charter Schools are Pushing the Envelope, veteran reporter and former USA TODAY editorial writer Richard Whitmire spotlights the nonprofit Rocketship Education network of public elementary charter schools.
    What Fuels the Rocketship? - Richard Whitmire
    Tuesday, October 14, 2014
    Plaza Branch

    In a discussion of his new book, On the Rocketship: How Top Charter Schools are Pushing the Envelope, veteran reporter and former USA TODAY editorial writer Richard Whitmire spotlights the nonprofit Rocketship Education network of public elementary charter schools.

    Whitmire, who tracked Rocketship through an entire school year fraught with change and controversy, examines the group’s beginnings, its growing pains, and why some see it as an innovative model for improving public education for lower-income urban students.

    The event – co-presented by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation – is part of the KC Education Speaker Series, which brings leading thinkers in education to Kansas City audiences.

  • Vanity Fair contributing editor Howard Blum examines the German terror cell that operated in the U.S. early in World War I, hitting New Jersey’s munitions-packed Black Tom pier and other targets in a series of “accidents” involving explosives and biological weapons.
    Dark Invasion 1915: Germany’s Secret War and the Hunt for the First Terrorist Cell in America
    Wednesday, October 8, 2014
    Central Library

    What happens when German spies collaborate to unleash a campaign of terror upon America at the start of World War I?

    In Dark Invasion: 1915, a New York City policeman uncovers a German plot to sabotage ships, factories, and even J.P Morgan himself. Howard Blum tells a gripping, true story of espionage and terror on American soil during World War I and the Irish cop who hunted for the conspirators among a population of more than 8 million Germans.

    Blum is the author of The New York Times bestseller and Edgar Award-winning American Lightning. He is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and has twice been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting.

  • Following a screening of the great, John Ford-directed Hollywood Western The Searchers, Pulitzer Prize winner Glenn Frankel discusses the true-life story behind it – a saga that started with the Comanche kidnapping of a 9-year-old white girl in 1836.
    The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend
    Tuesday, September 30, 2014
    Plaza Branch

    Film Screening: 4 p.m.   Program 6:30 p.m.

    The John Ford-John Wayne film, The Searchers, is one of the great Hollywood Westerns. But the movie was only a late entry in a real-life saga stretching back to 1830s Texas.

    In a discussion of his book, Glenn Frankel traces the story from the 1836 kidnapping of a white girl by Comanche Indians to her “rescue” almost 25 years later, her subsequent unhappy life, and the various retellings of the epic tale in fiction, theater, and opera leading up to Alan LeMay’s 1954 novel and Ford’s 1956 film.

    The talk by Frankel, a Pulitzer Prize-winning former reporter, editor and foreign bureau chief for The Washington Post who now heads the University of Texas’ School of Journalism, is preceded by a screening of The Searchers at 4 p.m.

  • On the eve of a new Kansas City festival spotlighting the region’s vital role in the pork industry, a panel of craft butchers from across the country discusses sustainable pork production. A reception features locally prepared pork dishes.
    Knife and Pork
    Friday, September 26, 2014
    Plaza Branch

    The pig is big in these parts. Both Missouri and Kansas rank among the nation’s top 10 pork-producing states, annually putting more than 2 million pounds of bacon, ham, chops, and other cuts on grocers’ shelves and consumers’ tables.

    On the eve of a new, daylong Kansas City festival, Knife and Pork, that spotlights sustainability in the industry and the region’s vital role in it, four craft butchers from across the country – Rob Levitt of Chicago, Chris Eley of Indianapolis, and Jerry Traczyk and Jonny Hunter of Madison, Wis. – participate in a round-table discussion of sustainable pork production. A reception prior to the program offers locally prepared pork dishes.

    Co-presented by Recommended Daily and Local Pig, and co-sponsored by Tallgrass Brewing Company.

  • Philip K. Howard, founder of the nonpartisan coalition, Common Good, discusses his book on how to fix a broken government that leaves little to no room for common sense. His solution: Set goals and boundaries instead of dictating daily choices.
    The Rule of Nobody: Saving America from Dead Laws and Broken Government
    Tuesday, September 23, 2014
    Central Library

    Yes, there’s gridlock in Washington. There’s polarization and self-interest. But beyond those breakdowns, Philip K. Howard points to what he says is a deeper and more destructive hindrance to good government: The system itself is broken. Rules leave no room for common sense. Leaders lack the authority, or responsibility, to lead.

    Howard, a New York lawyer and founder of the nonpartisan coalition Common Good, which advocates an overhaul of government and the courts, discusses his new book, The Rule of Nobody, in which he argues for a return to the framers’ vision of public law – simply setting goals and boundaries, not dictating daily choices. Leaders, Howard says, should ask, “What’s the right thing to do?” not “What does the rule book say?”

    Co-presented by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

  • Art Stewart, who in more than six decades as a baseball scout brought Bo Jackson to Kansas City and signed 70-some other players including current Royals catcher Salvador Perez, discusses his career and new book with Kansas City Star columnist and co-author Sam Mellinger.
    The Art of Scouting - Art Stewart, Sam Mellinger
    Thursday, September 18, 2014
    Plaza Branch

    There are few storytellers like old baseball scouts because, well, nobody collects stories like the guys who spend a lifetime crisscrossing America’s byways and backwaters in search of future major leaguers.

    Art Stewart’s memory bank runs especially deep. Still active in his 45th season with the Kansas City Royals, he helped bring Bo Jackson to KC and signed pitcher Kevin Appier, outfielders Johnny Damon and Carlos Beltran, and current Royals catcher Salvador Perez among 70-some other big-league players.

    With his co-author, Kansas City Star columnist Sam Mellinger, the 87-year-old Stewart discusses his new book, The Art of Scouting: Seven Decades Chasing Hopes and Dreams in Major League Baseball. Other members of the Royals family will appear with them.

    Royals great George Brett and General Manager Dayton Moore deliver opening remarks.

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