John McDonald

Last night a crowd of 538 gathered in Kirk Hall at the Central Library to hear the entrepreneurial story of Boulevard Brewing Co. founder John McDonald and drink his beer – 20 cases of Wheat, Pale Ale, and Pilsner, to be exact. In the words of Public Affairs Director Henry Fortunato, we effectively “put the pub in 'public library.'”

But we also learned a thing or two about the beer business.

The August 3, 2011, event was part of the Kansas City Public Library’s Cradle of Entrepreneurs program, a series of public conversations with prominent members of the Kansas City business community.

Boulevard at Night

If beer, as Benjamin Franklin is sometimes believed to have said, “is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy,” then it’s hard to think of a Kansas City entrepreneur who has made more people happy than John McDonald.

The founder of Boulevard Brewing Co., McDonald presides over the largest specialty brewery in the midwest and the second-largest brewery in Missouri. McDonald will visit the Kansas City Public Library tomorrow night, Wednesday August 3, for a public conversation with Crosby Kemper III. The event is part of our ongoing Cradle of Entrepreneurs series of talks with local business owners. The event is free; please RSVP online if you wish to attend.

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Calla Torr, the alpha of the Nightshades werewolf pack, is destined to marry Ren Laroche, the alpha of the Banes pack. But when she rescues a hiker that got attacked by a bear in the woods, the boy ends enrolling as a new kid at her school!

While he’s trying to get Calla alone to thank her for rescuing him she on the other hand tries her best to stay away from him. Because if the Keepers find out that she violated the law just to save him, she's going to be in BIG trouble. Guardians aren’t supposed to save humans or use their powers in front of humans. They are supposed to use it only for the Keepers.

The Keepers are sorcerers who created the werewolves to protect them, hence the name Guardians. And that's what all Guardians are sworn to do, to protect, obey and take command.

Calla and Ren are sworn to each other even before their births and now Calla is starting to have feelings for this new guy, Shay, but not in the same way she feels with Ren. The girl is so confused that she doesn’t know what to do so she just keeps breaking rules and breaking rules until all the lies and deceits catch up to her and literally threatens to rip her throat out.

It’s time to celebrate – Kansas City finally has its own Trader Joe’s. It was a long wait for many. Thousands of Kansas Citians signed petitions encouraging Trader Joe’s to locate here. Unwilling to wait, some local folks even paid others to make runs to Trader Joe’s in St. Louis.

For years devotees wondered why we were seemingly being ignored. All of that is in the past now, for we have not one but two Trader Joe’s to call our own.

Even though I have never stepped foot inside a Trader’s Joe or raised a glass of Two-Buck Chuck, I couldn’t help but to join in the countdown to July 15th.  As I listened again and again to the recitation of friends’ shopping lists, and as I overheard excited talk emanating from office cubicles about a store like no other store, I knew that something big, something really big, was about to happen to Kansas City.

Have you checked out an e-book from our OverDrive collection? E-books are becoming more and more popular, but some Library customers have found the process of downloading an e-book and getting it onto an e-reader rather tricky. Here’s a handy video tutorial to help you along.

Radical

Does the American dream contradict with authentic Christianity? David Platt believes so. In pursuing a comfortable life, Christians in America forget to follow the Great Commission in Matthew 28. Having a promising career, 401(k), and a nice suburban home is now more important than doing God’s work.

American churches focus on building a multi-million dollar facility and devising a fancy church program that “revolves around catering to ourselves.” The Church forsakes its first and foremost responsibilities of propagating the gospel and helping the poor near us and around the world. In his latest book, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, Platt raises the following questions:

How many of us are embracing the comforts of suburban America while we turn a deaf ear to inner cities in need of the gospel? How many of us are so settled in the United States that we have never once given serious thought to the possibility that God may call us to live in another country? How often are we willing to give a check to someone else as long as we don’t have to go to the tough places in the world ourselves?

Disquiet

In a world of blogging, vlogging, and tweeting, anyone can broadcast their thoughts, creativity, and  identity to the world. But that wasn’t always the case – and for some even now, a pixellated platform isn’t enough. Thank heaven for zines.

If you’ve been to a locally owned coffee shop, record store, or music venue in the past quarter to half-century or so, you’ve probably seen them lying around or being passed from hand to hand. Self-published and resolutely independent, these paperbound notes from underground tell as many different stories as the lives of those who made them.

For example, the mini-comic Junk Yard Buddha by Jeremy McConnell, founder of Kansas City's Hip-Hop Academy, mixes philosophical musings with community-focused themes.

Kansas City has been home to a thriving zine culture over the years, and thanks to the efforts of librarian Stephanie Iser, the Kansas City Public Library has begun collecting zines, mail art, and mini comics produced by local authors, artists -- and, in a few cases, anarchists.

Move over, Moms! With so many tasty recipes, beautiful photos, and easy-to-follow directions, Teen Cuisine by Matthew Locricchio will inspire young adults to head for the kitchen and start cooking like they were aspiring gourmet chefs.

With a focus on organic, made-from-scratch dishes, Teen Cuisine is perfect for the teenager who is serious about learning to cook. The recipes do not rely on prepackaged or canned items thrown together for a convenient, but less than nutritious, meal. Instead, the book concentrates on creating savory meals with fresh, easy-to-find, inexpensive ingredients. 

Even better, the more than 50 flavorful dishes are broken down into small, easy steps with comfort-food favorites like Max Mac and Cheese and Chicken Pot Pie along with pizza recipes from three different regions of the United States. Teen Cuisine’s menu also includes delicious breakfast, snack, soup, salad, sandwich, side dish and dessert offerings. And for the more inexperienced teen cooks, there are also sections about kitchen safety and essentials, culinary equipment and utensils, and “chef tips” on many pages.

Anthology of Rap

What do hip-hop artists Common and Chuck D share with two English professors at Yale? They’ve all worked together to compile The Anthology of Rap, the first major publication celebrating the growth of hip-hop from a burgeoning underground music in the South Bronx to an influential, billion-dollar music industry traversing languages and cultures across the globe.

As Matt Labash of the Wall Street Journal points out in his review of the Anthology: for most people, five living rappers are easily more nameable than five living poets. Hip-hop’s larger-than-life MCs have become the poets of popular culture and modern life, influencing an entire generation of young people’s tastes in music, fashion, and culture.

Fire

This heat wave is no joke. The National Weather Service has placed KC under an excessive-heat warning through this weekend, and the city is encouraging area residents to take solace in cooling centers, such as public libraries. All this begs the eternal (and infernal) question, What to read?

Here are 10 books, both fiction and non-, that we found especially appropriate for these sweltering summer climes.

Heat: An Amateur’s Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany by Bill Buford – Can’t stand the heat? Visit Buford’s kitchen.

Into the Inferno by Earl Emerson – Seattle firefighter investigates a mysterious illness that has decimated his department.

California Fire & Life by Don Winslow – Claims adjuster investigates a series of arsons.

So you’ve developed your arts and crafts skills for some time now, and you’ve gotten pretty good. In fact you’ve gotten really good. People see your work and say things like, “Wow, you should sell those,” or “You could make money doing that!” Maybe you dream of quitting your day job to devote more time to doing what you love best.

It you haven’t made the leap yet, I advise to you to stop and truly think about it, and research it, because you will find that all that extra time (and then some) you thought you’d have to simply create is now devoted to producing, marketing, and selling. There is an also an art and craft to good business, so lucky for you, the Kansas City Public Library has plenty of resources to help you learn those skills to start and grow a craft-based business.

Side note – although this blog entry is mainly directed at crafters, I hope that artists, writers, musicians, actors, and performers of all stripes may find some of this information useful. Please refer to the bibliography appended to this entry for some titles specific to your profession.  

Miss Black America by Veronica Chambers

Miss Black America is a story about a girl named Angela who is growing up in Brooklyn during the 1970's when black pride was strong. Her life is good, she has a loving father and a loving mother. But one day she coms home from school and finds her mother gone. It's after this moment that her whole life falls apart.

She spends almost every waking moment wondering Why? Why did she leave us? Where? Where did she go? What? What did she leave our Family for? But with her mother gone her magician father must raise her...alone.

He also keeps her mothers disapearance a secet. As Angela matures into a more independent woman she still struggles over why her mother left their family In this heart moving novel Chambers tells about what it's like to live in a world of trouble and of hope. The sensations and situations of this book will get under your skin in more ways than one.

Reviewed by Sky - Age 14

Check out Miss Black America at the Kansas City, MO Public Library.

Robber Bride

It’s easy to appreciate fiction’s dedicated heroines. Who doesn’t admire Jane Eyre or Miss Jane Pittman?  Neither is it difficult to muster animosity for callous villainesses such as Lady Macbeth or Madame DeFarge.

But what about those characters who straddle the line by stirring up feelings of love, hate and everything in between?

We know we shouldn’t ape their actions, but we admire their chutzpah. Their battle cries are a mixture of “All be damned” and “So be it” — an intoxicating blend of challenge and acceptance, whether they’re Carrie Bradshaw in pursuit of the perfect pair of shoes or Medea in pursuit of the perfect revenge.

It’s not the ramifications of their actions we admire – no one could endorse spending the whole paycheck on Ferragamos or Medea’s concept of sole custody. It’s the dedication to a vision these women see as an integral part of themselves, no matter how ill-advised. And they manage to make us love them for it, even as we disapprove.

Nick Holmes

Nick Holmes has one of the best summer jobs ever: traveling around town, reading books to kids. While reading for a group of children on a recent July day, Holmes got some of the best feedback imaginable.

Working on behalf of the Kansas City Public Library's Summer Reading program, Holmes was sharing a book with a group of kids at Palestine Missionary Baptist Church. As is usually the case with Summer Reading, prizes had been given out to the kids for reading a prescribed amount of hours (up to 12 total), and one of those prizes was a toy sketch pad.

Midway through Go Away Big Green Monster, a girl in the audience wrote a message on her sketch pad and held it up for Holmes to see. 

I love this book, her message read.

Young book lovers at local church activity centers aren't the only kids the Library is reaching this summer. In what is probably the biggest Summer Reading Outreach initiative in Library history, from June 13 through August 5, Holmes and his crew are taking the love of reading to 20 non-Library locations. Their goal: to enroll 2,500 kids in the Summer Reading program.

Nick Holmes

Nick Holmes has one of the best summer jobs ever: getting paid to read to kids. While reading for a group of children on a recent July day, Holmes got some of the best payback imaginable.

Working on behalf of the Kansas City Public Library's Summer Reading program, Holmes was sharing a book with a group of kids at Palestine Missionary Baptist Church. As is usually the case with Summer Reading, prizes had been given out to the kids for reading a prescribed amount of hours (up to 12 total), and one of those prizes was a toy sketch pad.

Midway through Go Away Big Green Monster, a girl in the audience wrote a message on her sketch pad and held it up for Holmes to see. 

I love this book, her message read.

Young book lovers at local church activity centers aren't the only kids the Library is reaching this summer. In what is probably the biggest Summer Reading Outreach initiative in Library history, from June 13 through August 5, Holmes and his crew are taking the love of reading to 20 non-Library locations. Their goal: to enroll 2,500 kids in the Summer Reading program.

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