KC Public Library Blog

Program Notes: America America (1963)

America America movie poster

Most films about the immigrant experience begin with the protagonist’s arrival in a new land. America America, though, ends with a shot of the Statue of Liberty as its hero sails into New York Harbor. It’s the physical and emotional journey he takes to get there that interested filmmaker Elia Kazan.

Film Series Introduction: I Lift My Lamp Beside the Golden Door

Statue of Liberty - photo credit Pepijn Schmitz

Unless you're a full-blooded Native American, you're an immigrant or the descendant of immigrants.

You could even say that the journey to the New World is built into our DNA.

The experiences of our forefathers in coming to this country — and the struggles of today's immigrant — is the subject of The Golden Door film series playing in September at the Kansas City Public Library's Central Library.

Library Life

Robert W. Butler and the Library: A Beautiful Friendship

Robert Butler

Robert W. Butler is a movie critic’s movie critic. He knows his early Buñuels from his later Godards and can talk Hollywoodese with the layman. When you prick him, he bleeds Peckinpah. It’s no wonder why, when Butler’s four decades at the Kansas City Star came to an end this past May, Roger Ebert summed up his feelings on Twitter in a single word: “Damn.”

Book Reviews

Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi

Rossi

I confess, I picked up Portia de Rossi’s memoir, Unbearable Lightness, for the title. The blurbs on the back were by some of my favorite authors, a plus. A quick scan of the inside jacket was enough to convince me to give it a try (I don’t like to read the whole blurb because I don’t want to know the ending).

Featured Authors

Southern Living at the Library

Scarlett O'Hara

What do you call one part Southern Comfort, three parts cranberry juice, and a squeeze of lime shaken and served up in a martini glass? Answer: a bibulous good time for a bibliophile like yourself at the Kansas City Public Library this Tuesday night.

Book Reviews

Crafty Reads: Six Books for Outside-the-Box Crafters

ReadyMade

Tired of the same old crafts? Feel ho-hum about textiles or beads? Well, how about giving duct tape a try?  In Ductigami: The Art of the Tape, author Joe Wilson shows how to cut, rip, and fold duct tape to make objects such as wallets, aprons, tool belts, lunchboxes, Halloween masks, and more.

Library Life

School's In at the I.H. Ruiz Branch

Julie and PT

Thursday, August 11, 2011, marked the 10th anniversary of the Back to School Pep Rally at the Irene H. Ruiz Branch. And though it was a milestone for one of the Kansas City Public Library's biggest outreach-oriented events, according to Branch Manager Julie Robinson, the kids who came didn't care.

Book Reviews

One Nation Under Sex by Larry Flynt and David Eisenbach

Free-speech advocate, Hustler magazine magnate, and campaigner against political hypocrisy, Larry Flynt teams up with Columbia University professor David Eisenbach, Ph.D. in One Nation Under Sex, to shed light on how the private lives of America’s political leaders have shaped American history.

Library Life

Teen Idol: Librarian Amanda Barnhart Locks Teens Into Reading

Amanda Barnhart

Who says you can't rock out in a library? At least, don't tell that to Amanda Barnhart, young adult coordinator at the Trails West Branch of the Kansas City Public Library. And certainly don't tell any of her teens.

Book Reviews

Read Locally: 5 Novels Every Kansas Citian Should Check Out

Kansas City and its surrounding lands have inspired – and starred in – some fine fiction. Some of the authors in this roundup of locally grown novels disguise their native habitat, while others name it outright. Still other authors call KC home and drop their characters in foreign lands or challenging moral situations.

Featured Authors

Batmen: ‘Right off the Bat’ and 10 Other Smashing Stick-and-Ball Reads

Screwballs or doosras? Pitchers or bowlers? Hot dogs and beer or cucumber sandwiches and tea? The strangely parallel worlds of baseball and cricket needn’t be mutually exclusive.

Book Reviews

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt

Dust off your spurs, slap on your chaps and saddle up your favorite reading chair to enjoy Patrick deWitt’s gritty and darkly amusing new western, The Sisters Brothers.

Learn Something

Video: How to Download E-books for Your Smartphone or Tablet PC

Whether you’ve got a Xoom tablet, Droid phone, or one of those myriad gadgets that begin with a lowercase “i,” downloading Library e-books onto your device is easy. All you need is the OverDrive Media Console app and, of course, a free Kansas City Public Library Card and PIN.

Local History

Know Your KC History: The Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps

Sanborn Map

Fires, a hazard of the industrial revolution, often caused uninsured property owners to suffer great financial loss. To protect against such calamity, fire insurance companies sprang up all over the U.S.  Policy writers, however, could not always inspect properties in person. In 1866, D. A. Sanborn, an enterprising surveyor in Massachusetts, began creating specialized maps to help under-writers evaluate the risks.

Off-the-Wall Preview: Blood and Wine

Blood and Wine

As Blood and Wine nears its final reel, Jack Nicholson pulls himself out of a hammock in a flailing effort notable for its lack of grace. It is obvious he is not ready for what is coming at him – an experience that an audience ill-prepared for this film might share.