KC Public Library Blog

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.

Literary Lions Lost

It was a hard weekend in the book world. Two of its most respected and revered authors turned the last page.

Missing the Point While Missing the Exit

A couple of Sundays ago the New York Times Book Review devoted their front page to Traffic by Tom Vanderbilt. This scholarly and intriguing work of nonfiction explores the history of traffic patterns and driver culture, particularly in America. It was a glowing review of a book that deserves to be read by anyone holding a drivers’ license.

Bike-a-Thon: Have One at Home

Have a bike-a-thon at home with these movies available from your Kansas City Public Library.

Richard Wright: September Author Birthday

September marks the 100th birthday of influential African-American author Richard Wright. Born on September 4, 1908, Wright revolutionized the literary landscape with his depictions of African American culture, paving the way for future writers.

For the Love of Mud

What is mud, anyway? Mud can be wet soil, but the best, squishiest, ozziest mud puddles are wet clay. Clay is made of minerals (rocks are made of minerals, too).

I love mud. It's a sunscreen so I don't burn my nose or tail. Mosquitoes can't bite me. But best of all, mud can be made into mud pies, mud cupcakes, and mud strudel. I can make mud paintings and mud sculptures. People make houses and buildings out of mud. Adobe bricks are made of sand, clay, sticks, and straw. The bricks dry and harden in the sun. In ancient times, large temples and even whole cities were made from mud bricks.

A whole town is too much for a pig--but I'd really like a mud igloo someday.

Yours with snorts,
S. Will Burr signature

American Cowboys

Saddle up for Kansas City’s American Royal, running from September through November. On September 16, 2008 at the Plaza Branch, Dr. Jim Hoy gave a presentation inspired in part by Western novelist Louis L’Amour’s legacy entitled American Icon: The Enduring Appeal of the Cowboy. Check out a few books by Jim Hoy, enjoy a few classic cowboy novels, or discover a recent award-winning Western.