KC Public Library Blog

Floored by Gourds

Lots of things are growing on the farm where I live. Strange things. Pumpkins make me think of Halloween monsters. They grow in all sizes and many colors: reddish and warty, orange and ribbed, or smooth grayish white. I've seen gourds that look like little blue-green aliens that just hopped off of a spaceship.

What are gourds, anyway? Botanists, or people who study plants, say that gourds are fruit, like melons, cucumbers, and pumpkins.

Writing and Getting Published

Are there any aspiring writers out there? In October and November 2008, acclaimed writer Ann Hagedorn presented four talks for hopeful authors. On October 15, she provided an introduction to this four-part writing course. On October 22, she focused on the technical aspects of writing. On November 5, Hagedorn discussed storytelling and structure. Her final session on November 12 featured tips on pitching your book and finding a publisher. Get ready with these books on writing for publication and how to get published.

A Paul Newman Salute!

It’s difficult to pick only a handful of Paul Newman movies that encompass the scope and extent of his long and varied career, but these titles represent a sampling of him at his onscreen best. They’re all available on DVD at the Kansas City Public Library.

Banned Books Week 2008

Celebrate your freedom to read during Banned Books Week this year (September 27 – October 4, 2008). These books were the top ten books challenged last year, a “challenge” being a request to remove the book from a school or library. To find out why these books were challenged, visit the American Library Association’s page on the Most Frequently Challenged Books & Authors in 2007 or read additional details in the Illinois Library Association’s brochure, Books Challenged or Banned in 2007-2008 (pdf).

Taste Off @ Central

The teens at Central Library recently ate their fill at the first in a "Taste Off Series"! Hungry mouths from all over the city spent a Saturday sampling six different salsas from Kansas City businesses. Throughout the event, the most common response seemed to be the panting and airing of the tongue. Even with tongues a bit scorched, the teens managed to vote for their favorites.

Historic Preservation & Sustainability

On October 8 at the Central Library, Richard Moe explained how the preservation of historic and older buildings should be an important component of sustainable development efforts. Explore a few books about historic preservation, green remodeling, and architectural styles before his talk.

Rich Pig

Pigs are savers. I save letters from friends, stickers in my scrapbook, and funny noises. My computer has software that can record sounds. When I'm in my wheel barrow and writing to you, I might hear a frog croak, a bird whistle, or a beaver's tail slap the water in the stream. I record those sounds and save them. I like listening to them later. That's what's great about saving--you have something that you can share with someone else.

Climate Change: Books and Films

Climate change, or global warming, is a hot topic today. On October 3 at the Plaza Branch, the Library will host a conversation about climate change and global justice. The following week on October 8, the president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation will discuss how the preservation of older buildings should be an important component of sustainable development efforts, including efforts to combat climate change. This list of resources features some books about climate change for adults and kids, a few novels with climate change themes, and several documentary films about the topic.

Sit Down for Stand-Up

In case you missed Jerry Seinfeld’s recent local appearance in Kansas City, you can catch up to lots of the great stand-up comedy acts by visiting your Kansas City Public Library. Among the many DVDs available are these:

In the Grip of a Dybbuk

At last night’s second meeting of the Jewish American Literature book discussion series, Demons, Golems, and Dybbuks: Monsters of Jewish Imagination, over 30 eager readers gathered a the Waldo Branch to discuss S. Ansky’s seminal play, The Dybbuk.

Children's Literature

What books did you love as a child? On October 1, 2008 at the Plaza Branch, children’s book historian Leonard S. Marcus discussed his most recent book, Minders of Make-Believe: Idealists, Entrepreneurs, and the Shaping of American Children's Literature. Explore some of his work about children’s books, learn more about children’s literature, or check out a few classic Little Golden Books.

Spinning Tales

I was in the garden the other day (plucking peppers) and saw many wonderful bugs. Big black and yellow spiders strung webs among the tomato plants. The webs trapped insects as strong as grasshoppers and as small as flies.

Roly-poly bugs tracked across the dirt. They seemed to like devouring vegetables that fell to the ground. In the tall sunflowers, butterflies and moths flew: white ones, blue ones, monarchs, and little fuzzy ones with wings like autumn leaves.

What bugs have you seen this summer? Ask a Librarian to help you find great books or movies on spiders, grasshoppers, bees, butterflies, moths, ladybugs, praying mantises, or your favorite insect.

Yours with snorts,

S. Will Burr signature

Learning to Look

Prior to this year's Plaza Art Fair, explore the life and works of some prominent 20th and 21st century artists via these DVDs available through your local Kansas City Public Library.

Saturday Night Special

There are infinitely worse ways to spend a Saturday night in Kansas City, and not many better ones, than to spend it with Robert Day and the Kansas City Symphony at The Writers Place.

Spies: The British Secret Service during World War II

On September 25, 2008 at the Central Library, Jennet Conant discussed her new book, titled The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington. Explore Conant’s earlier books surrounding American involvement in World War II, learn more about author and spy Roald Dahl through his own memoirs, or pick up a title about British intelligence during wartime.