Event Audio

All Library locations will close at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, December 24 and remain closed on Thursday, December 25 in observance of the Christmas holiday.

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.

  • Author Kirstin Downey discusses her book about FDR’s Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins who implemented the forty-hour work week, child labor laws, Social Security, unemployment compensation, and other essential New Deal programs.
    The Woman Behind the New Deal: Frances Perkins
    Wednesday, August 28, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    She is no longer a household name, but during Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration Frances Perkins was one of America’s most influential women. As the first female secretary of labor she was responsible for implementing programs that reshaped society and business and established the social safety net we enjoy today.

    Biographer Kirstin Downey examines Perkins’ life and enduring impact in a discussion of her book The Woman Behind the New Deal: The Life and Legacy of Frances Perkins – Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, and the Minimum Wage.

  • Time magazine editor-at-large  David Von Drehle holds a public conversation about The Future  of Space Exploration with The Washington Post’s Joel Achenbach. The two will also discuss the recent sale of The Post to billionaire Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com.
    The Future of Space Exploration and the Sale of The Washington Post : Joel Achenbach
    Tuesday, August 20, 2013
    Central Library

    The August Dateline: Washington event at the Kansas City Public Library was supposed to be about outer space. Just outer space. Host David Von Drehle and The Washington Post’s Joel Achenbach were to talk about the future of NASA and the American space program now that our astronauts are being launched from sites in Russia. But the recent sale of The Post to billionaire Jess Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon.com, gives special meaning to the event.

    Not only is Achenbach a current Washington Post employee, but Von Drehle is a former Post reporter. So it’s only natural that they will devote part of the evening to discussing this seismic upheaval in the world of American journalism.

  • Library Director Crosby Kemper III conducts a public conversation  with Gail, president and owner of Gail’s Harley-Davidson, and one of the few female Harley-Davidson dealership owners.
    A Conversation with Gail of Gail’s Harley-Davidson
    Tuesday, August 13, 2013
    Central Library

    Library Director Crosby Kemper III conducts a public conversation with Gail of Gail’s Harley-Davidson.

    A native of Belton, Missouri, Gail worked as a teenager at her father’s motorcycle shop and entered the male-dominated white-collar business world as a Harley-Davidson finance manager. In 2000 she purchased the dealership from her parents, becoming one of the few female Harley-Davidson dealership owners. Today Gail’s is the largest Harley dealership in the Midwest and one of the top in the country. In 2006 it was named one of the Top 10 Small Businesses in Kansas City by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.

  • Author Robert Rebein discusses his new book about growing up in, leaving, and returning to Dodge City, Kansas, the iconic cowboy town molded both by its Old West heritage and a New West reality.
    Dragging Wyatt Earp: A Personal History of Dodge City
    Sunday, August 4, 2013
    Central Library

    Author Robert Rebein explores what it means to grow up in, leave, and ultimately return to the iconic Western town of Dodge City in a discussion of his new book.

    The essays that make up Dragging Wyatt Earp range from memoir to reportage to revisionist history. Rebein contrasts his hometown’s Old West heritage with a New West reality that includes salvage yards, beefpacking plants, and bored teenagers cruising up and down Wyatt Earp Boulevard.

  • Educator Kate Walsh and Library director Crosby Kemper III hold a public conversation about a controversial new report faulting America’s colleges for being part of “an industry of mediocrity” churning out first-year teachers with inadequate knowledge and classroom management skills.
    A Review of the Nation’s Teacher Prep Programs
    Tuesday, July 30, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    Library director Crosby Kemper III holds a public conversation with NCTQ President Kate Walsh about the recently released Teacher Prep Review: A Review of the Nation’s Teacher Prep Programs.

    Once the world leader in education, the United States has slipped well into the middle of the pack. While there is no shortage of causes for America’s educational decline - budget cutbacks, poverty, crowded classrooms, and shorter school years – a prime culprit is teacher education, according to a major new study by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ).

  • Seton Hall’s Williamjames Hull Hoffer examines the repercussions of the controversial 1896 Supreme Court decision that legitimized the segregation of Jim Crow America and ushered in a half-century of “separate but equal.”
    Plessy v. Ferguson: Williamjames Hull Hoffer
    Tuesday, July 23, 2013
    Central Library

    Homer Plessy—a man of seven-eighths Caucasian descent and one-eighth African descent who was nevertheless considered black under Louisiana law—boarded a train car reserved for whites and was promptly arrested. Hearing the appeal of his conviction, the U.S. Supreme Court in 1896 upheld the Louisiana statute, thus ushering in a half-century of legally sanctioned segregation under the "separate but equal" doctrine.

    Williamjames Hull Hoffer examines that controversial decision and its repercussions in a discussion of his book about the landmark case. Hoffer is associate professor of history at Seton Hall University.

  • Historian Terry Beckenbaugh examines the assault by black Union troops on the Confederate stronghold Fort Wagner as well as the role black soldiers played in other battles and skirmishes, particularly in Missouri and the Midwest.
    The Battle of Fort Wagner: African American Troops in the Civil War
    Thursday, July 18, 2013
    Central Library

    Military historian Terry Beckenbaugh examines the failed 1863 attack on the Confederacy’s Fort Wagner on Charleston Harbor – an incident that provided further evidence to both the North and South that African-American troops were ready to fight and die for the Union cause.

    Beckenbaugh is an assistant professor in the Department of Military History at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.

    Co-sponsored by the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Foundation.

  • Time magazine editor-at-large  David Von Drehle conducts a public conversation with Politico chief political correspondent Mike Allen, providing an insider’s look at politics, partisanship, and the ebb and flow of power in the nation’s capital.
    Politico’s Mike Allen
    Wednesday, July 17, 2013
    Central Library

    In the new series Dateline: Washington with David Von Drehle, journalists covering the nation’s capital offer an insider’s look at politics, partisanship, the ebb and flow of power, and the challenges facing our country today.

    David Von DrehleTime magazine’s editor-at-large and a Kansas City resident – holds a public conversation with Politico chief political correspondent Mike Allen. Allen is creator of the influential daily news digest Playbook and “the man the White House wakes up to,” in the words of The New York Times Magazine.

  • KCPT’s Nick Haines moderates a panel of experts discussing proposals to replace the city’s three-terminal airport with a single-terminal design, as well as the movement for a citywide vote on the issue.
    KCI Terminal Replacement: What Does the Future Hold?
    Thursday, July 11, 2013
    Central Library

    When it opened 40 years ago, Kansas City International Airport and its three-terminal design was hailed as the most convenient airport in the country. But with changing times and new security demands, is it time for a new facility? A panel of experts discusses whether it’s time to build a new KCI.

    This is the third of four public forums in 2013 examining current municipal issues. Up next: the economic border war between Kansas and Missouri (on October 17, 2013).

  • Rutgers University Distinguished Professor of Law Earl M. Maltz examines the controversial 1856 Supreme Court decision that found blacks were not citizens of the United States.
    Dred Scott and the Politics of Slavery - Earl M. Maltz
    Wednesday, June 26, 2013
    Central Library

    The slave Dred Scott claimed that his residence in a free state transformed him into a free man. When the Court decided otherwise, the ruling sent shock waves through the nation and helped lead to the Civil War.

    Earl M. Maltz discusses his book Dred Scott and the Politics of Slavery and argues that the case revealed a political climate that had grown so threatening to the South that overturning the Missouri Compromise was considered essential.