KC Public Library Blog

All Library locations will be closed on Monday, September 1, in observance of Labor Day.

Featured Authors

Worgul's World of Barbecue

Thin Blue Smoke by Doug Worgul

Kansas City is often referred to as the Barbecue Capital of the World – an assertion its citizens take very seriously. Doug Worgul’s new novel, Thin Blue Smoke, offers a fictionalized take on our town’s famous barbecue scene.

Featured Authors

The Moment of Hitchcock

Moment of Psycho - Thomson

Voyeurism is an acceptable trait in a filmmaker. But sadism? In his new book, The Moment of Psycho: How Alfred Hitchcock Taught America to Love Murder, celebrated critic David Thomson shows how Alfred Hitchcock damaged his audiences even more than his actresses.

Book Buddies Beat the Summer Slide

Book Buddies at Central

Getting kids energized about reading in the summertime demands creativity. During the months when a cool, dark bedroom and the flickering screen of a PSP beckons sweetly, it’s hard enough getting kids to pick up a book, much less come to the Library. Here's how a few crafty children's librarians got kids enjoying activities centered on reading.

Book Buddies Beat the Summer Slide

Book Buddies at Central

Getting kids energized about reading in the summertime demands creativity. During the months when a cool, dark bedroom and the flickering screen of a PSP beckons sweetly, it’s hard enough getting kids to pick up a book, much less come to the Library. Here's how a few crafty children's librarians got kids enjoying activities centered on reading.

Featured Authors

The Case for NASCAR

Real NASCAR - Daniel S. Pierce

No other sport has a history quite like American stock car racing. In his new book, Real NASCAR: White Lightning, Red Clay and Big Bill France, Daniel S. Pierce traces the rise of NASCAR from its roots in showdowns between Southern bootleggers to a billion-dollar brand with legions of fans.

Book Reviews

Book Review: Lies My Teacher Told Me

Lies My Teacher Told Me - Loewen

Have you ever wondered whether history books were telling the truth? James W. Loewen's Lies My Teacher Told Me sheds some new light on American history – and how high school textbooks are getting it wrong. Loewen speaks on misconceptions about slavery and the Underground Railroad on Thursday, July 29, at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library.

Learn Something

Open Up and Say Ahhh: The 10 All-Time Greatest Poisonings

Death of Socrates (detail) by Jacques-Louis David

The good. The bad. The thirsty. In honor of Adrienne Mayor’s arrival on Thursday, July 22, to present her book The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, we’ve compiled a list of 10 of the most famous cases of poisoning in history and literature.

Featured Authors

Book Review: The Poison King

Poison King Adrienne Mayor

Charismatic, brave and ruthless, the first century B.C. Persian king Mithradates was a master of warfare and toxicology who nearly brought the Roman Empire down. Adrienne Mayor’s The Poison King is a stunning portrait of the greatest ruler time forgot. Mayor will discuss her book this Thursday, July 22, at the Central Library.

Featured Authors

Book Review: The Facebook Effect

With more than 400 million users, Facebook is changing the way the world communicates. David Kirkpatrick’s new book, The Facebook Effect, gives a behind-the-scenes look at the world's biggest social network.

Artsy Films

Summer Hours

I’m often pegged as a cynic, but I’ll have you know that I can appreciate some fine art as much as the next guy. Just the other day I was watching Olivier Assayas’s Summer Hours (2008), and I found myself thinking about the nature of art, creative processes, how folks regard items of beauty . . . all that kind of stuff. In a nutshell, the film follows three siblings as they attempt to find a mutually-accommodating way to manage a rather extensive art collection left to them by their recently deceased mother. That’s the gist of Assayas’s script, however through his characters he addresses themes such as how artwork should be used and displayed, its worth across generations, and the differences between old-timey and newfangled what have yous. Thinking of these things caused me to recollect some of my favorite films depicting creative types doing and making stuff that generally makes me happy. Here goes nothing ...

East and Central High School's GreatStories Club Reviews

East and Central High School’s Book Clubs and Mary Thompson, Youth Librarian for the Kansas City Public Library - Bluford Branch, participated in YALSA's Great Stories CLUB (Connecting Libraries, Underserved teens and Books). The book club was created to provide teens with an opportunity to read and discuss books that are relevant to the changes in their lives and the lives of their peers.

"A Rage in Harlem"

On 11 March, Kaite Stover led a group in discussing Chester Himes' seminal mystery novel, "A Rage in Harlem." Published in 1957, the novel is the first to feature Himes' two Harlem police detectives, Gravedigger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson. We had a spirited discussion, with participants bringing a lot of their personal knowledge about the South (though the story is set in Harlem, a lot of the backstory is set in Mississippi). This was part of the Winter Reading Program and part of the Bluford Grand Re-opening.

The Amazing Adam Rex

Do you know someone who can write, draw, and they’re funny, too? Wow!

One of my favorites is Adam Rex. For a good giggle, check out The True Meaning of Smekday to find out what life is like on Earth when aliens (called the Boov) take over, or try Pssst! - and discover what happens when zoo animals make unusual demands.

Bluford Branch Reopens

After undergoing a $1.3 million renovation, the Lucile H. Bluford Branch of the Kansas City Public Library is now open to the public.

In the process of the renovation, the branch has tripled its number of available computers to 57 while pushing its overall collection, to primarily showcase the work of black authors, to 38,000 titles.

Visually, the branch boasts the unique Lucile H. Bluford exhibit, an engaging display of 10 glass panels featuring rarely seen photos of the people, places, and events Miss Bluford shaped through her seven decade career.

Miss Bluford, a pioneering civil rights activist and longtime editor of The Kansas City Call, used her journalistic talents to champion civil rights and strengthen the African-American community. She refused to give up on the issues and people she cared about, and through her tireless efforts effected positive change that continues to influence Kansas City today. The exhibit chronicles her life from her early days as a child living just blocks from the present-day branch, her role in dismantling educational discrimination, and her long and distinguished career at The Kansas City Call.

In addition to the exhibit, inspirational quotes from national and historic leaders can be seen in the lobby. Patrons can also learn the history of the east Kansas City community as told through Neighborhood Notables, a 17-panel display interpreting the lives and accomplishments of influential citizens who lived and worked in the neighborhood, ranging from poet Melvin Tolson to activist Bernard Powell to former mayor, Ilus W. Davis.

Aside from the aesthetic and tangible improvements, the branch is working to develop programs through flourishing community partnerships.

Among these is an ambitious effort involving Truman Medical Centers and Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley. The organizations are working on a health initiative that involves an online portal in the branch as well as Text-a-Nurse for teens, both coming in summer 2010. Text-a-Nurse will allow teens to text medical questions to a qualified nurse during scheduled hours. The partners are also exploring ways in which teen patrons of the branch can participate in a wide variety of internships in the health industry.

Another community partner is KCUR 89.3 FM. The NPR affiliate’s magazine-style show, KC Currents, focuses on issues in Kansas City’s minority communities. After a successful first live broadcast in the branch conference room that focused on the future of Kansas City schools, KC Currents will conduct two additional shows in the live format including a discussion on the upcoming mayoral election as well as healthy food alternatives for minority communities.

Learn Create Share @ your Library during Teen Tech Week!

Teen Tech Week

Pick up a TTW Bingo at your library or print one out here.

Enjoy some face time with a computer and complete a bingo. Bring the completed TTW Bingo to your library and get a techie prize!