Event Audio

All Library locations will be closed on Saturday, July 4 in observance of Independence 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.

  • Best-selling urban fiction writer Kimberla Lawson Roby discusses and reads from her newest novel; the latest installment in her series based on the life of the Rev. Curtis Black.
    The Prodigal Son - Kimberla Lawson Roby
    Wednesday, May 21, 2014
    Central Library

    Best-selling urban fiction author Kimberla Lawson Roby discusses and reads from the latest novel in her popular series about the Rev. Curtis Black and his frequently dysfunctional family. Here the Reverend tries to win back his estranged son Matthew while dealing with long-hidden offspring Dillon, the result of a youthful dalliance.

    Roby self-published her first book 17 years ago. She has written almost two dozen novels, among them The Perfect Marriage, Be Careful What You Pray For, Changing Faces, and Casting the First Stone. She is the winner of a 2013 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work - Fiction.

  • Food critic Charles Ferruzza explores our town’s carnivorous proclivities, connecting the historical and cultural dots between the Kansas City Stockyards, local steak joints, and the changing eating habits of the American people.
    Steaks, Stockyards, and Sin: Kansas City’s Meat & Potato Past - Charles Ferruzza
    Sunday, May 18, 2014
    Central Library

    A now forgotten advertising slogan once proclaimed that Kansas City — proud of its “cowtown” heritage — was “where the steak is born.”

    Local food critic Charles Ferruzza explores our town’s carnivorous proclivities, connecting the historical and cultural dots between the iconic Kansas City Stockyards, local steak joints, and the changing eating habits of the American people.

    Ferruzza writes a weekly restaurant column for The Pitch, appears regularly on KCUR-FM and hosts the talk show “Anything Goes” on KKFI-FM.

  • As he prepares to repeat his solo canoe trip down the Mississippi, author Eddy Harris discusses his first trip 30 years ago and the changes the intervening years have wrought – on the river, on the country, and on himself.
    An Old Black Man Meets Old Man River
    Tuesday, May 13, 2014
    Plaza Branch

    Thirty years ago Eddy Harris took a solo canoe trip down the Mississippi River. The result was the acclaimed Mississippi Solo: A River Quest.

    As he prepares a second journey down the big river, Harris discusses his past and present and the changes the intervening years have wrought — on the river, on the country, and on himself.

    Harris’ penetrating accounts of his travels — among them Native Stranger and Still Life in Harlem — center on his own identity and the identity of blacks in general, and how places either embrace or alienate black culture.

  • In a discussion of his new book, Western historian Mark Lee Gardner explores the James-Younger gang’s 1876 raid on Northfield, Minnesota. Their bank robbery ended in chaos when citizens fought back, setting off one of the Old West’s most extensive manhunts.
    Shot All to Hell - Mark Lee Gardner
    Sunday, April 27, 2014
    Central Library

    The 1876 raid by the James-Younger gang on Northfield, Minnesota, may be the most famous bank robbery in history.

    Recognizing what was happening, citizens armed themselves. Leaving the bank, the outlaws ran into a devastating hail of bullets. Two died in the street. The survivors, several badly wounded, fled Northfield, setting off one of the Old West’s most extensive manhunts.

    In a discussion of his new book, Shot All to Hell: Jesse James, the Northfield Raid, and the Wild West’s Greatest Escape, Western historian, writer, and musician Mark Lee Gardner recreates this bloody, desperate episode. With compelling details that chronicle the two-week chase that followed — the near misses, fateful mistakes, and final shootout on the Watonwan River — Gardner delivers a galloping, true tale of frontier justice.

  • Mary Roach, called “America’s funniest science writer” by The Washington Post, joins the Library‘s director of readers’ services, Kaite Stover, for a tour of the alimentary canal, that much-maligned tube from mouth to rear end.
    Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal
    Thursday, April 24, 2014
    Central Library

    Mary Roach, designated as “America’s funniest science writer” by The Washington Post, takes us on a tour of the alimentary canal, that much-maligned tube from mouth to rear.

    In a public conversation with Kaite Stover, the Library’s director of readers’ services, Roach will discuss her latest book and ask questions others fear: How much can you eat before your stomach bursts? Why doesn’t the stomach digest itself? Can wine tasters really tell a $10 bottle from a $100 bottle? Why is crunchy food so appealing? Can constipation kill you? Did it kill Elvis? She examines a pet food taste-test lab and delves into a live stomach to observe the fate of a meal.

    Roach is the best-selling author of Stiff (about the human body after death), Bonk (the science of sex), and Spook (the afterlife).

  • Whitney Terrell holds a conversation with author Christopher Leonard about Leonard’s new book, the first-ever account of how a handful of companies have seized the nation’s meat supply, raising prices for consumers while lowering the prices they pay to farmers and derailing efforts to improve the system.
    The Meat Racket: The Secret Takeover of America’s Food Business
    Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Central Library

    Kansas City author and Writers at Work series organizer Whitney Terrell conducts a public conversation with investigative reporter Christopher Leonard about his new book, the first-ever account of how a handful of companies have seized the nation’s meat supply. They raise meat prices for consumers, he maintains, while pushing down the price they pay to farmers and derailing efforts to improve the system.

    Leonard is a former business reporter with the Associated Press and a fellow with the New America Foundation.

  • For too long, says author Zachary Karabell, we’ve adhered to outdated statistics for measuring economic health. Why follow a ’50s road map in the 21st century when newer, more useful guides are available?
    The Leading Indicators: A Short History of the Numbers That Rule Our World
    Thursday, April 10, 2014
    Central Library

    We’re bombarded with numbers that purport to tell us how our economy is doing and where it is headed. Statistics on unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence guide our actions, yet few know where they come from or what they mean.

    In a discussion of his new book, Zachary Karabell explores these indicators — born of the Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War — and the need to tap into a modern data revolution that makes far more useful information available. If you want to buy a home, look for a job, start a company, or run a business, you can formulate your own, more localized and meaningful indicators at the click of a button.

  • Time magazine editor-at-large David Von Drehle and RealClearPolitics’ Carl Cannon discuss Hillary Clinton’s likely Democatic nomination for president in 2016 – and her prospects of winning the general election in November.
    Can Anyone Stop Her? - Carl Cannon
    Wednesday, April 9, 2014
    Central Library

    Remember Barack Obama’s subtle 2008 putdown of Hillary Clinton, when he called her “likable enough?” Maybe the joke is on him.

    Not since Ronald Reagan remade the Republican Party in his own image in 1980 has a presidential nomination seemed as inevitable as it does for 2016. The Democratic Party appears settled on Clinton. Her likability rating has climbed in four years, and Democrats are more united than Republicans were in 1980 (or are today). The GOP, meanwhile, lacks a true frontrunner.

    Time magazine editor-at-large David Von Drehle and RealClearPolitics’ Washington bureau chief, Carl Cannon, examine the race and likelihood that the U.S. will elect its first female president.

  • Douglas C. Waller examines the colorful life and career of William Joseph Donovan, director during World War II of America’s first national intelligence agency –  the OSS – and the intellectual father of today’s CIA.
    Wild Bill Donovan: The Spymaster Who Created the OSS and Modern American Espionage
    Wednesday, March 26, 2014
    Plaza Branch

    Tapped to be Franklin Roosevelt’s spymaster during World War II, William Joseph “Wild Bill” Donovan became a mythic figure in the history of espionage, directing the Office of Strategic Services — America’s first national intelligence agency — and becoming the intellectual father of today’s CIA.

    Biographer Douglas C. Waller looks at the man who introduced the U.S. to the dark arts of covert warfare while often risking his own life unnecessarily. Waller reveals a complex figure who won a Medal of Honor in World War II, earned millions as a Republican lawyer on Wall Street, and gave ammunition to his political enemies through a series of extramarital affairs.

  • Columbia University’s Robert Jervis maintains that though the United States is now unusually secure, there persists a widespread sense that the world is in fact deeply threatening.
    Why Does the U.S. Spend So Much Money on Security and Feel So Insecure?
    Wednesday, March 26, 2014
    Central Library

    In this year’s Park University Hauptmann Lecture, international policy expert Robert Jervis maintains that though the United States is now unusually secure, there remains a widespread sense among both policy elites and the general public that the world is in fact deeply threatening. How are we to resolve this puzzle?

    Jervis is the Adlai E. Stevenson Professor of International Politics at Columbia University and past president of the American Political Science Association. Among his books are The Meaning of the Nuclear Revolution and Perception and Misperception in International Politics.