Patrick Rothfuss introduces The Slow Regard of Silent Things with a warning that it's not a proper story. It doesn't do the things a story is supposed to do. And it's wonderful. It's unlike most anything else I've read and I treasured every word of it.

Anna Francesca helps Rachel search the electronic catalog.

Sometimes it is about people.

About fifty high school students came to the Kansas City Central Library to do research for their National History Day projects. I took someone who was researching Walt Disney up to our Missouri Valley Special Collections area to see the unique primary sources we have about someone famous from the Kansas City area. Another student used WorldCat to find a foreign language book from somewhere else in the country. For a student who did not know how to spell her subject’s name (which was decidedly challenging), we used what she knew about how he fit into history to locate him—and in turn the correct spelling of his name--in the index of several books.

Still, I didn’t think about writing this blog until someone texted herself something that she had found in our catalog. She sounded so excited, and that’s contagious. “The Library reaches teens through technology.” The blog was already bubbling in my brain. I showed someone how to narrow a database search to magazine articles and someone else how to e-mail a digital finding to herself. Yes, this was it. All I needed was some solid quotations.

Bobblemas from the KC Rep visits Kansas City Public Library Central Youth Services.
Plant of Armour Packing, Co.

In the late 19th century, livestock and meatpacking industries had spurred Kansas City’s growth into an industrial giant. Almost 200,000 miles of railroad tracks covered the United States, and the refrigerator car had been nearly perfected.

What do ballet, break-dancing, brain science and blind spots have in common with spoken word, experiential art and new perspectives on social media and youth activism? For TEDxYouth@KC it adds up to “Beyond Truth.” With additional presentations about equal rights, scientific research and how to thrive on nearly nothing, join the Kansas City Public Library on the afternoon of Saturday, Nov. 15. It will be beyond expectations.

Click here for more info!

Have the holiday decorations and holly jolly music already put you in a decidedly Scrooge-ish spirit, and it's not even Thanksgiving? Then we have some reading suggestions for you, all completely saccharine- and schmaltz-free.


Sit back with some nog, pick up one of these books, and rediscover the joys of the season.


And then maybe take a BB gun to your neighbor's inflatable winter wonderland in the front lawn...

TEDxYouth@KC November 15th

What do ballet, break-dancing, brain science and blind spots have in common with spoken word, experiential art and new perspectives on social media and youth activism?

For TEDxYouth@KC it adds up to “Beyond Truth.”

With additional presentations on equal rights, scientific research and how to thrive on nearly nothing, TEDxYouth@KC will be beyond expectations.

Saturday, November 15th at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Event Agenda:
12:30pm Doors Open!!

Those of you who have been reading my classic mystery blogs must be scratching your heads about now. Mickey SpillaneClassics — what gives? And no doubt there are those who would agree with some of the scholars of the mystery field, who charged that Spillane had debased what had become a much more literary form thanks to the efforts of Raymond Chandler and Ross MacDonald.

I would argue, though, that one need only look at the early work of Dashiell Hammett, even up to his first novel, Red Harvest, to find work very similar to Spillane’s. Hammett, as you know, was the man credited with lifting hard-boiled fiction out of the pulps and into the academy.

Ready Player One

Ready Player One is a nostalgia trip like no other. It's an ode to the rise of gaming and geek culture, a recollection of the early history of geekdom, all crammed between the covers of a really good future dystopian Science Fiction novel.

Library Frights

Each day in the month of October, our librarians have selected a book or movie from our collection to share on social media. Some are famous, some obscure, but every one of these titles is full of thrills and chills — perfect for Halloween!

Pumpkin Ribbon

Summer has definitely gone on siesta. Winter hasn’t yet hinted it's near by dropping the temperature below freezing. Autumn, though, now blusters full-blast.

There are all kinds of ways that people bring warmth into their ever-cooling lives. A few are:

  1. Sipping hot cider or cocoa
  2. Wearing sweaters or jackets
  3. Cuddling with family or friends
  4. Sitting by a fireplace or fire pit (with a grown-up observing for safety).

You can also decorate your home to represent the season. I made the pumpkin décor that you see here using yarn, paper, and fabric along with scissors, tape, and a hole-punch. The idea came from Crafts for Kids by Gil Dickinson. I traded out the spider shape on the chain (page 53), using instead the outline from the Jack-O-Lantern template (page 141). By not putting on the Jack-O-Lantern faces, Halloween ending doesn’t send this string packing. It is perfectly appropriate to display pumpkins through November.

One of the sub-genres of the classic mystery genre is the “locked-room” mystery. In its most basic form, a person is found dead from violence in a room that is closed from within, and admits no egress. Though the person has clearly been murdered (there is no murder weapon in evidence), it seems impossible that anyone could have gotten to the victim to kill him (most times, the victim is male). The appeal of such mysteries is as much, if not more, on the ingenious solution to how the murder was committed as on the identity of the killer. We might call these “howdunits.”

The admitted master of this subgenre was John Dickson Carr, who wrote several mystery novels that might be classified as “locked-room” mysteries.

In 1935's The Hollow Man — also known by its American title, The Three Coffins — we have the epitome of the locked-room mystery. Not only is the book the exemplar of the type, but a whole chapter in the book (“Chapter 17: The Locked Room Lecture”) is devoted to a lecture by Carr’s main detective, Dr. Gideon Fell, on the topic of “locked room” murders. The novel is the sixth Gideon Fell novel out of a total of twenty-three.

Phil Kirk

Many of you will know Phil Kirk as the man for whom we named Kirk Hall at the Central Library. Or as this generation’s downtown Kansas City real estate developer par excellence. Or a genial figure at many of our Library programs and special events.

He was much, much more. His family, and notably his father Jim, were prominent in local business and philanthropy. Jim Kirk's office furniture from Kirk Welding ended up in One North at the Central Library as part of our soft seating there. Mike Kirk, Phil's brother, has been an active supporter of the Library.

The Kansas City Keepers chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance is transforming The Plaza Libary into Hogwarts to celebrate all things Harry Potter! Bring gently used clothing, coats, hats, and gloves to donate to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kansas City and to earn points for your house! Dress as your favorite Harry Potter character and help your team win the House Cup! We will have games, refreshments, a costume contest, and more!

Appropriate for all ages
Saturday, November 1, 2014
8 p.m. – Midnight
Plaza Branch | 4801 Main St.

Click here to RSVP on Facebook!

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