KC Public Library Blog

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.

Donald Rumsfeld and U.S. Foreign Relations

Dr. Dale Herspring discussed his book Rumsfeld's Wars: The Arrogance of Power at the Central Library on September 11, 2008. Learn more about the man who served as the U.S. Secretary of Defense from 2001-06 under President George W. Bush or read a book about recent or current U.S. foreign relations.

Language and the Mind

On September 9, 2008 at the Central Library, Steven Pinker discussed his book The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature. Check out other books by this two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize or a few books that explore the philosophy of language.

New Web Site - New Teens Section

Finally, you say! The teens of KC now have a library web page just for them. Check back often to view updates and add your content to the page.

Front Matter

"The best way to be boring is to leave nothing out." --Voltaire

Welcome to the inaugural post of Off the Page, the Kansas City Public Library’s blog for readers. Like most bloggy ideas, this one has many mothers.

Renaissance in Fiction

Enjoy a few novels set in the Renaissance before the Kansas City Renaissance Festival starts on August 30, 2008. From mysteries to romances to art-inspired works of fiction, authors depict this influential era to great effect in these books.

Zimbabwe

The Kansas City Public Library hosted two events in September that offered a look at the influence of Zimbabwe on international art. On September 4, 2008 at the Central Library, Roy Guthrie, the owner of Chapungu Sculpture Park, talked about how the troubled country of Zimbabwe became a destination for contemporary art collectors.

Chanel Fashion

Celebrate the 125th anniversary of Coco Chanel’s birthday this week. Born on August 19, 1883, Chanel transformed the fashion industry and women’s clothing in the twentieth century. Discover why in one of these biographies, learn how fashion inspires creative fiction, or sit down and watch high fashion on film.

Urban Education

On August 28, 2008 at the Plaza Branch, Tom Bloch discussed his new book, Stand For the Best: What I Learned After Leaving My Job as CEO of H&R Block to Become a Teacher and Founder of an Inner-City Charter School. Explore a few books or movies about urban education, the charter school movement, or how to make your own career change.

National Inventors Month

What inventions have you concocted in your basement? August is National Inventors Month, an event launched by the United Inventors Association of the USA, Inventors Digest, and the Academy of Applied Science in 1995 to help guide new inventors, inspire creativity, and promote the image of independent inventors. Read about some of the inventions that changed history and the people who created these innovations or take a break with a few novels featuring inventions in fiction.

At the Fair: Books for Kids

Blue ribbons, carnival rides, cotton candy, and corn dogs... Its fair time! The Missouri State Fair takes place on August 7-17, 2008 in Sedalia. Get in the mood with these books that are fun for kids and parents alike.