KC Public Library Blog

Local History

How the Irish Laid the Groundwork for Downtown Kansas City

The view north on Walnut from 3rd Street, 1868.

Though Kansas City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade moved out of downtown several years ago, the historical imprint the Irish have left on our metropolitan landscape will never fade.

Library Life

Movin' On Up: Librarian Paul Smith Gets National Honors

Paul Smith by Lauren Hunt

The newest issue of Library Journal has a familiar face on its cover. Familiar, at least, to anyone who’s been to a film screening, book discussion group, or special event at the Kansas City Public Library anytime in the past four and a half years.

Book Reviews

Inspirational Book Review: Heaven by Randy Alcorn

Do you think of Heaven as a place where disembodied spirits float in the clouds, listening to harp music for eternity? Many people stereotype life in Heaven as a church service that never ends.

Featured Authors

Tweet It & Read It: Win Jasper Fforde's New Book

In advance of bestselling author Jasper Fforde’s appearance at the Plaza Branch on March 17, 2011, the Kansas City Public Library is giving away two first-edition hardback copies of his new book, One of Our Thursdays Is Missing, the latest installment in the Thursday Next series. The Library will give away both books via a random drawing facilitated by Twitter.

Book Reviews

Belles of the Epoque: Four Great Edwardian Reads

Move over Jane Austen, there are new “It Girls” in town. After getting their fill of the witty, drawing-room banter of impoverished spinsters with no prospects in the Regency period, readers and viewers are ready for the lusty power plays of spirited wealthy heiresses and socially manipulative dowager countesses and their secret sidekicks, butlers and ladies’ maids. In short – it's a whole new century!

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.