KC Public Library Blog

Library Life

Know Your Librarians: Gabi Otto

Fans of reggae music in Kansas City know the name "Sista G" like their favorite Royals player or barbecue joint. She's the host of KKFI 90.1 FM's Sunset Reggae - at 16 years and change, the city's longest-running reggae radio show. But what many fans of her Sunday-night show don't realize is that when she's not spinning cool island sounds, this Sista is working with teens at the Southeast Branch of the Kansas City Public Library.

Read It / Watch It: Children of Men

Readers and Cineastes assemble! The Kansas City Public Library brings together a great read and its equally great film adaptation for one sprawling conversation when the Read It / Watch It Discussion Group tackles P.D. JamesThe Children of Men on Sunday, March 13, at 2 p.m. at the Plaza Branch.

Book Reviews

Classics Reviewed: The Age of Innocence

Imagine an American Jane Austen writing about 19th century America, but more tragic than comic, and with a strangely helpless man at its center – and there you have Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence. Like Ms. Austen’s novels, Ms. Wharton’s work is focused on the mores and manners of the aristocracy.

Book Reviews

Book Review: Never Let Me Go

Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy grow up in what appears to be an idyllic English boarding school – but not everything is what it seems. The children at this school are groomed for a specific and special purpose. They are genetically engineered clones, bred to end their lives as organ donors for the rest of the population.

Free March Films in the Vault Feature Wastelands, Natalie Wood

Mad Max

In Patton Oswalt's new book, Zombie Spaceship Wasteland, the literate comedian divides his friends from childhood into three categories: worshippers of zombie-flick sire George Romero; Star Wars geeks; and Mad Max maniacs. This is the month for that last group – teenage "Wastelands" – at the Library, with a film series including the post-apocalyptic epic that introduced leather-clad Mel Gibson to the American teen psyche.

Local History

Winston Churchill in Missouri

Westminster College President Franc L. McCluer (far right) leads Harry S. Truman (far left) and Winston Churchill (center) on a tour of campus.

On March 5, 1946, Winston Churchill delivered one of the most significant speeches of the 20th century on the campus of Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. The famous “Sinews of Peace” speech, with its reference to Europe’s “iron curtain,” is still remembered 65 years later. But the trip proved costly for the former British prime minister – on the eve of his speech, Churchill nearly lost his shirt to President Harry S. Truman in a poker game.

Learn Something

How to Find Free E-books for Your E-reader Online

Is your e-reader running on empty? You may love your new Nook or Kindle, but building an e-book library can be costly. The good news is there’s plenty of free e-reading online, but you have to know where to look. Though libraries are becoming the best sources of free, newer e-books from major publishers (learn more), you can also find lots of new, classic, and unusual titles for the taking at a variety of sites.

Hearts At Stake - Teen Book Review

Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey

Meet Solange...A soon to be vampire and the only girl vampire to be born, not made. And being born the Drake family, the most powerful vampire clan in the world,she's surrounded by danger and even though she has her seven brothers and her parents to keep her safe, will it be enough? All her life she's known that she'll change on her 16th birthday but with danger and "suitors" lurking around every corner will she want to? But one night that all changes when her family captures a Helios-Ra,Vampire hunter, named Kieran and she starts falling for him. But when he escapes and she is called to court, everyone goes on high alert including her best friend Lucy...

Book Reviews

Book Review: Full Dark, No Stars

What scares you most about yourself? Is it the other person you hide just beneath your facade? The one you pretend doesn’t exist – the one capable of performing acts you could never commit on your own? That primeval fear is confronted in Stephen King’s new book, Full Dark, No Stars.

Library Life

Portrait of a Volunteer: Kevin Craig

"Library books lead many lives," says Kevin Craig. As a Library volunteer in the Collection Maintenance department, he would know. He sorts countless books, shelving and reshelving, shuffling in new purchases, finding misplaced volumes, and plucking out worn-out ones for the Friends of the Library book sales. Without workers like Craig, the Library couldn't function.

Learn Something

Crafty Reads: How to Use the Library to Get Started in Jewelry Making

Do you want to learn a craft or art, but don’t feel inspired or know where to start? Or maybe you’re already a crafter or artist but would like to learn more and dig deeper into your passion. At the Kansas City Public Library, inspiration and guidance can be found in a wide and wonderful selection of titles about many arts and crafts!

Teen Tech Week!

The Kansas City Public Library joins libraries nationwide in celebrating Teen Tech Week from March 6 – March 12, 2011. The Teen Tech Week theme – Mix and Mash @ Your Library – brings reading together with online and wireless technologies through two tech-driven activities:

Book Blurbs: Teens who text a review of their latest reads will receive a free custom set of earbud headphones and carrying case. All Book Blurbs should use no more than 160 characters and include the title, author, and thumbs up or down verdict—plus whatever else will fit! Book Blurbs should be sent to 816.876.6637. Other submission options include e-mailing teens@kclibrary.org. (All participants will receive an electronic receipt that may be redeemed for a free set of custom earbuds at any Library location.)

Video Trailer Workshops: Teens will receive one-on-one guidance on creating their own promotional video trailer for their favorite book (or movie, game, website, or magazine). No materials needed! The Library will provide filming equipment and offer tutorials on how to use free video-editing software. Join us for these awesome Video Trailer Workshops:

Friday, March 4 @ 7 p.m. @ Sugar Creek
Thursday, March 10 @ 4 p.m. @ Waldo
Thursday, March 17 @ 4 p.m. @ Bluford
Friday, March 18 @ 5 p.m. @ Ruiz
Saturday, March 19 @ 2 p.m. @ Central

Teen Tech Week is a national initiative (coordinated by the Young Adult Library Services Association [YALSA]) aimed at teens, librarians, educators, parents, and other concerned adults that highlights nonprint resources at the library. The 2011 theme — Mix and Mash @ your library — focuses on encouraging teens to use library resources to express their creativity by developing their own unique online content and safely sharing it by using online collaborative tools.

Library Life

Video: LeVar Burton Brings Joy of Reading to the KC Library

LeVar Burton – yes, the LeVar Burton – paid a special visit to our Central Children’s Library this past Friday to read to a group of kids from the Derrick Thomas Academy. It was like an episode of Reading Rainbow come to life. But you don’t have to take our word for it! Follow the “Read More” link to see a video of LeVar in the Library with friends, including local author and musician Shane Evans.

Book Reviews

Classics Reviewed: The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

Talk about synchronicity. When I decided that I was going to re-read James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time for the Library’s Building Bridges Book Club, I already happened to be reading Henry Louis Gates’ Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Man, a collection of profiles of prominent African-American men.

Book Reviews

Book Review: The Spectacular Now

Spectacular Now

Every now and then, we spend a little time doing something we know is wrong. Sometimes, especially if we get caught, we admit to the crime. But sometimes the crime feels a little too good to let go. Such is the case with Sutter Keely, a senior in high school on the brink of graduation. He has the world at his fingertips — and an ice-cold glass of 7&7 in his actual fingers. Constantly.