Library Life

Our Spring Tournament of Books has returned for the third year! It's book vs. book and you get to decide the winners. The results of the Sweet 16 round are below, and you can Vote in the Elite 8 of Booketology until March 31. Based on NCAA Basketball's "Bracketology," we pit favorite book titles against one another, with voting for the champions open to anyone. Some are beloved classics, others are new and buzz-worthy titles.

The votes are in for the Sweet 16 round, and we had our closest competition ever in the history of Booketology. In the New & Notable category, Terry McMillan's Who Asked You? defeated Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by only one vote!

Watchmen was victorious in Graphic Novels, beating out Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns with 59% of the vote.

Mystery went to Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl over Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich.

Children's literature was a close battle. A Wrinkle in Time won by only fifteen votes. Sorry, Charlotte.

John Green's YA juggernaut The Fault in Our Stars destroyed the competition, taking 71% of votes over Monster by Walter Dean Myers.

Ender Wiggin won the war in Science Fiction, with Ender's Game taking 63% of votes over Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land.

In Classics, Little Women took the top spot over Animal Farm.

And finally in Fantasy, Neil Gaiman's new work, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, beat out Terry Pratchett's Raising Steam with 78% of the votes.

The full vote breakdown from our last round is below. If you'd like to check any of these books out from the Library the full Booketology list, with catalog links, is here.


  
  
  
  

Now that the field of competitors have been narrowed down to the Elite 8, it has become a battle of genres: Mystery is pitted against Graphic Novels, Fantasy faces off with Children's literature, Science Fiction takes on the New & Notable, and finally, it's Young Adult vs. Classics. Only four books can advance, and you decide.

Check out all the competitors in the Elite 8 bracket:


The full Booketology Schedule voting schedule:

Round 1: March 22-24
Sweet 16: March 25-27
Elite 8: March 28-31
Final 4: April 1-3
Championship: April 4-6



The championship book will be announced on April 7!
Vote now and have fun, everyone!


About the Author

Liesl Christman

Liesl Christman is the digital content specialist for The Kansas City Public Library, managing content for the Library's blogs and social media accounts. She is an unabashed enthusiast of comic books, roller derby, and all things food.

Kansas City Public Library on Facebook    Kansas City Public Library on Twitter    Kansas City Public Library on YouTube    Follow KCLibrary on Pinterest    KC Unbound RSS feed

Our Spring Tournament of Books has returned for the third year! It's book vs. book and you decide the winner. Check out the results of our first round, and Vote in the Sweet 16 of Booketology.

Based on NCAA Basketball's "Bracketology" we pit favorite book titles against one another, with our staff and patrons voting for the champions.

Our first round ended Monday night, and it was an interesting battle. Janet Evanovich's Takedown Twenty narrowly defeated Randy Wayne White's Bone Deep by only 4 votes, while the largest lead goes to Stranger in a Strange Land, which took its competition against Like a Mighty Army with 87% of the vote.

Super heroes were triumphant against the memoirs in Graphic Novels, with both Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns advancing to the next round.

In Classics, the March sisters took down the whale, with Little Women defeating Moby Dick.

And in Young Adult, Rainbow Rowell's fans fought hard for Eleanor & Park, but in the end the showdown went to John Green's The Fault in our Stars.

The full Round 1 vote breakdown is below. Are you not familiar with some of the competitors? The list of books (with links to check them out from our catalog) is here.


  
  
  
  


The full Booketology Schedule voting schedule:

Round 1: March 22-24
Sweet 16: March 25-27
Elite 8: March 28-31
Final 4: April 1-3
Championship: April 4-6



The championship book will be announced on April 7!
Vote now and have fun, everyone!


About the Author

Liesl Christman

Liesl Christman is the digital content specialist for The Kansas City Public Library, managing content for the Library's blogs and social media accounts. She is an unabashed enthusiast of comic books, roller derby, and all things food.

Kansas City Public Library on Facebook    Kansas City Public Library on Twitter    Kansas City Public Library on YouTube    Follow KCLibrary on Pinterest    KC Unbound RSS feed

After 95 rounds and nearly six hours of competition, spilling into an extraordinary overtime that drew worldwide media attention, Kush Sharma emerged Saturday, March 8, 2014, as champion of the Jackson County Spelling Bee.

The seventh-grader from Kansas City's Frontier School of Innovation carefully spelled out "definition" - the 57th word of the day and 261st of the championship bee - to nail down the title and a berth in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., in May. Runner-up Sophia Hoffman gave him an opening moments earlier, missing on "stifling." She had appeared to mishear the pronunciation and spelled it s-t-e-i-f-l-e-i-n, but an appeal was unsuccessful.

Sharma, starting a new round, then stepped to the microphone and drew a breath. Per his routine, he asked for the definition of what would be the bee's final word, its origin, use in a sentence, and part of speech. He mimed writing it in the palm of his hand, and calmly spelled it.

It ended a duel that was suspended two weeks earlier when bee officials famously exhausted their supply of words. News of the stalemate went national, then global, picked up by media outlets as far away as India, Pakistan, and Australia.


Emcee Wick Thomas joked with the spellers before the competition.

Saturday's spell-off in the Kansas City Public Library's downtown Central Library drew television crews from NBC's Today and Inside Edition, as well as each of Kansas City's four network affiliates. While the spellers faced off in front of family members, other invited guests, and reporters in the upstairs Helzberg Auditorium, some 70 spectators followed the contest via live-streaming on a projection screen in Central's main-floor Kirk Hall.


The competitors posed for photos with their families.

After surviving 66 rounds on February 22 — the last 47 head to head — the two finalists battled through 29 rounds in Helzberg. The 13-year-old Sharma sailed through such words as "Waywiser," "grabble," and "igneous." Hoffman, 11, correctly spelled "Permian," "belladonna," and muumuu," among others.

Sharma, who says he aspires to be a heart surgeon, will join some 280 other qualifiers in the 2014 Scripps national bee in Washington, held May 25-31.


Media interviewed both Kush and Sophia after the Bee.

The Kansas City Public Library is a partner in the Jackson County Spelling Bee with the Mid-Continent Public Library, the Local Investment Commission (LINC), and the Kansas City Chapter of the American Federation of Teachers.

Steve Wieberg, Department of Public Affairs

An extraordinary Jackson County Spelling Bee — down to two students who’ve survived 66 championship rounds — will resume Saturday, March 8, 2014, at 9 a.m. in our Central Library.

Sophia Hoffman, a fifth-grader at Highland Park Elementary School in Lee’s Summit, and Kush Sharma, a seventh-grader at Frontier School of Innovation in Kansas City, will pick up where they left off after four-plus hours of competition on Saturday, February 22. The day had started with a championship field of 25.

The two finalists went head to head for 47 rounds. After they’d worked their way through the list of words provided by the Scripps National Spelling Bee, then through an additional 20 words picked from Merriam Webster’s 11th-edition dictionary, officials called a temporary halt to the duel and set the March 8 continuation — overtime, if you will. Competition will resume in Central’s fifth-floor Helzberg Auditorium.

Mary Olive Thompson, the Library’s outreach manager and co-coordinator of the championship bee, said new words will be drawn from a separate Scripps list and from Merriam Webster’s. Given Hoffman’s and Sharma’s proficiency, “We probably need an additional 150-200 words just to be safe,” she said.

The winner will advance to the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., in May. Telecast by ESPN, it draws a global audience.

Only a little more than three years ago, the Jackson County bee was without a home. The (Independence, Missouri) Examiner had given up its sponsorship after several decades. Thompson, then working at the L.H. Bluford Branch, saw the Library’s involvement as a means of pulling Kansas City public schools into the competition, and Library Director Crosby Kemper III agreed. The Library became a co-presenter with the Mid-Continent Public Library, the Local Investment Commission (LINC), and the Kansas City Chapter of the American Federation of Teachers.

The bee, however, still lacks a sponsoring organization to cover or defray the costs of getting the local winner and an accompanying adult to Washington, D.C. “We have managed to get by the last three years with the help of an anonymous donor, but there is no guarantee that funding will continue,” Thompson says.

She expressed hope that the interest in this year’s bee will attract a long-term sponsor.


The spellers with their families.

The Kansas City Public Library is offering a new, refreshingly quick — and free — way to get music, television shows, movies, and audiobooks.

Library patrons can now use Hoopla Digital to access an array of audio and video materials via Netflix-style streaming on their computers, tablets and smart phones. It's the latest addition to the Library's extensive menu of electronic resources.

All Hoopla content is available on demand. No holds necessary. No waiting. Users can watch or listen to their selections via online streaming or by temporarily downloading selections to a mobile device for viewing without an internet connection.

Hoopla's digital collection counts tens of thousands of titles - some 100,000 CDs; 10,000 audiobooks; 3,000 movies; and 500 TV series - and continues to expand. The Holland, Ohio-based service struck new streaming deals late in 2013 with NBCUniversal, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, National Geographic, and BBC America. It already had agreements with Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and eOne Music.

Movie selections range from the classic To Kill a Mockingbird to 2013's Parkland and Stuck in Love, television titles from NOVA to all 10 seasons of Stargate SG-1, music from Sinatra to Taylor Swift to Lorde, audiobook authors from Studs Terkel to Walter Isaacson to Suzanne Collins. Many of the video titles are not currently available on Netflix or Amazon Instant Video.

Because the Library is charged each time an item is checked out on one of its cards, we currently limit users to 15 items per card per month. Each TV episode counts as an item.

Checkout time for videos is 72 hours. For music CDs, it's seven days. And for audiobooks, it's three weeks. Hoopla is not accessible via blocked Library cards.

Downloaded titles are automatically removed at the end of their checkout period, eliminating worries about late fees.

Tablet and smart phone users can download the Hoopla app from their app store (just search for "Hoopla Digital"). Desktop computer users simply go to hoopladigital.com and install a plug-in (Widevine). The service works from all major browsers, including Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Google Chrome.

Video tutorials are available on Hoopla Digital's YouTube Channel.

Problems? Questions? Check out the Hoopla Support page, or contact us.

Looking for some chills and thrills this month? We have some suggestions for you!

Our staff here at The Kansas City Public Library has picked some of their Halloween favorites. This diverse list includes a little of everything: children's picture books, graphic novels, classic Lovecraft, and modern Horror literature.

Do you have a favorite scary story? Please share it in the comments below!




The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories by H.P. Lovecraft

"As the original master of horror, Lovecraft has so thoroughly influenced the genre that the themes and elements of his stories may seem familiar to readers even if they’ve never before paged through any of the author’s works. While Lovecraft’s writing style tends to be a tad verbose (why only spend a few words describing the slimy fishflesh of leviathan god-beasts when you can do it in lengthy paragraphs?), the mythology he created set the bar for tales of mystery and monsters in such a way that “Lovecraftian” has become the de facto term for a certain type of fiction. Lovecraft’s terrifying visions have earned him fans such as writer Stephen King, who called the author “The Twentieth Century's greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale,” and visual artist H.R. Gieger, designer of the titular creature in the Alien movies. Nearly a century after they were written, Lovecraft’s stories—and the dark creations that inhabit them—still exude an eerie, visceral menace." - Andy, Senior Graphic Designer

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

In Joe Hill's debut novel, aging heavy metal star Judas Coyne is a collector of the morbid, macabre, and strange—until he purchases a dead man's suit online, supposedly possessed by the man's ghost. Only it turns out to be real. From there Heart-Shaped Box rapidly descends into a terrifying and relentless story that does not let the reader catch their breath until the very end. Suggested by Kaite, Director of Reader's Services. Joe Hill's most recent novel NOS4A2 was also highly recommended by Suzanne in Public Affairs!

The Red Hourglass: Lives of the Predators by Gordon Grice (non-fiction)

"In The Red Hourglass: Lives of the Predators an enthusiastic rattlesnake-eater describes the taste as having 'a wild richness.' The same could be said of Grice’s book: it is wild—even exotic—because the subjects are so unknown and the events described so thrilling. Of the deadly recluse spider, Grice writes, 'we understand almost nothing about the venom and its attendant array of human suffering.' More is known of the black widow spider and Grice’s captivating tale contains personal narrative and a trove of history, including an account of a Dr. Blair’s 1933 experiment in which he provoked a black widow into biting him for ten minutes. Horrific pain lasted for days. Grice’s writing is rich in gripping detail. He rears the widow, recluse, tarantula and others in terraria and has observed them closely. Grice knows and tells their previously unknown lives." - Jill, Customer Service

Hellblazer by Jamie Delano, Garth Ennis, Warren Ellis, et al.

Equal parts con-man and occult magician, John Constantine, originally created by author Alan Moore as a supporting character in Swamp Thing in the 1980s, is one of the most unrepentant antiheroes in the world of graphic novels/comic books. Hellblazer, the DC/Vertigo title based around him, is a gritty, adult horror comic that consistently pushed boundaries over its 25 years of publication, from writer Jamie Delano's British political commentary, to Garth Ennis' more introspective stories. My personal pick from the series would be the Dangerous Habits story arc, in which Constantine attempts to trick the devil to escape his impending death from lung cancer. (Just forget about the Keanu Reeves film adaptation.) -Liesl, Public Affairs

Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow

A spine-chilling werewolf novel written entirely in verse. It sounds crazy, but it works. As Kaite, our Director of Reader's Services, wrote in her Booklist review of Sharp Teeth, it's "spicy as a taco, as relentless as the pounding surf, and as lulling as a moon-drenched beach, Barlow's hip werewolf saga is highly recommended for adults and YAs who just don't get all the fuss about Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Series."

We have some selections for younger audiences as well:

Stay Out of the Basement by R. L. Stine

"R.L. Stine’s Stay Out of the Basement from his series Goosebumps, transforms everyday plants into frightening experiments gone wrong. Stine easily scares readers to stay out of basements of botanists forever and avoid unusual green food." -Skyler, Public Affairs



Skeleton Man by Joseph Bruchac

"This book is creepy-scary. Molly's parents didn't come home one evening and when Social Services gets wind of her situation, they place Molly with a creepy man who claims to be her great uncle even though she's never heard of such a relative before. Molly's story is framed by the Mohawk myth that her father used to tell her about a skeleton man." -Jamie, Central Youth Services Manager


The Hallo-wiener by Dav Pilkey

"What Halloween picture book focuses on the serious topic of bullying and stars an adorable dachshund? That’s Dav Pilkey’s The Hallo-wiener! Pilkey’s story centers on Oscar, a dog whose peers tease him and whose mama inadvertently makes matters worse. When mean cats wreak havoc on Halloween, though, Oscar’s diminutive height and embarrassing hotdog costume save the day. The colorful and cartoonish pictures and plentiful puns pack a humorous punch. For preschool or elementary-aged kids who want to laugh while gaining appreciation of their unique traits, this book is a great pick. It also lightens the tone when mixed with more spooky fare." -Anna, Library Outreach

Still hungry for more Horror? Kaite has also contributed to the RA for All: Horror blog, and John Horner, from Missouri Valley Special Collections, originally wrote this poem for the anthology, October Nightmares and Dreams. Happy Halloween!

About the Author

Liesl Christman

Liesl Christman is the Digital Content Specialist for The Kansas City Public Library, managing content for the Library's blogs and social media accounts. She is an unabashed enthusiast of comic books, roller derby, and all things food.

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Looking for some instant literary gratification?

New & Notable, a Kansas City Public Library collection and concept now being piloted at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St., features a wide assortment of newly released and best-selling books and some unique features — 14-day checkouts, no holds or renewals — designed to keep the catalog fresh and well-stocked. Readers can pop in, browse the shelves, grab a good read, and pop back out.

It’s a new, quick, and convenient way to use the Library.

“There’s no wait,” says Central Library Director Lillie Brack. “You can come in and find lots of popular titles on the shelves, slip in and out during lunch, or grab a weekend read or two on your way home from work on Friday. There’s little or no standing in line; a self-checkout machine is nearby. And there’s no waiting on holds.”

Update, Nov. 25:

New & Notable is now available at the Plaza Branch, in addition to the Central Library!

The collection, located just inside the Library’s main entrance, houses multiple copies of the latest fiction and nonfiction releases and other sought-after titles, many of them on current bestseller lists. Among current offerings: Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep, his long-anticipated sequel to The Shining; James Patterson’s Gone; Reza Aslan’s Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth; and Missourian Daniel Woodrell’s first novel since 2006’s Winter's Bone, the historically based The Maid’s Version.

The offerings augment the Library’s full collection, where the same titles are available via conventional checkout, holds and renewal.

The New & Notable format is available for now only at the Central Library. Plans are underway to extend it to the Plaza Branch by the end of the year and, in time, the collection could be extended to additional Kansas City Public Library locations.

September is upon us and fall is fast approaching, even if it doesn't feel like it outside. And being September, it means that we are overdue for another Staff Picks blog!

We have a little bit of everything with our picks this time around — Award-winning Science Fiction, True Crime, Modern Classics, and even Picture Books for our younger readers out there. These titles were all enjoyed by our staff, so why not give one a try?

Have you read something else lately you'd like to recommend to others? Feel free to add your own picks in the comments below!

 
 

True Grit by Charles Portis

We'd be remiss if we didn't include True Grit in our list of Staff Picks this month. Why? Because it's the focus of our Big Read campaign this September & October! This iconic 1968 Western novel tells the story of 14-year-old Mattie Ross as she seeks retribution for the murder of her father with the assistance of U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn a Texas Ranger named LaBoeuf. Join the rest of Kansas City in reading this novel and discover why it is considered a modern classic.
 

Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas by John Scalzi

“I read Redshirts when it came out last year, but given that it just won the Hugo, I figure it’s appropriate. A lot of people think that it won simply because it was so popular – but I believe it won because it truly was the best Science Fiction novel of the year (being popular doesn’t automatically mean that isn’t also an amazing book!) Yes, it's hysterically funny! Yes, it's astoundingly clever and brilliantly satirical! It's all kinds of laudable comedic things! But it amazed me because it's also much more than that. It's very, very smart, genuinely thoughtful, and thought-provoking. It's a no-kidding, real Big Idea story (that's also hilarious satire). I suspect I'm going to re-read this book many more times over the years, and it will always delight!” - John, Digital Branch
 

Trout Fishing in America by Richard Brautigan

“Brautigan's book—a perennial bestseller of the hippie era—manages to weave together a novel (well, sort of) from seemingly-unrelated chapters, all incorporating the phrase ‘Trout Fishing in America’ in very different ways. Unfolding both in Brautigan’s childhood and in his adult life in mid-60s San Francisco, this ‘cult’ hit is worth another look.” - Bob, Public Affairs.

 
 

Good Kings Bad Kings by Susan Nussbaum

“A group of teenagers fall in and out of love with each other, rebel against their elders, and make plans for their adult lives. Except these teens don’t live with their parents, they live in an institution for juveniles with disabilities. An honest, heartwarming, and humorous look at one of society’s most well-hidden groups.”
- Kaite, Reader's Services
 
 

Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery by Robert Kolker

“Journalist Robert Kolker delves into to the serial murders of of several online prostitutes on Long Island—murders that have yet to be solved. An engrossing narrative, this true-crime book ultimately highlights that even with all the changes that the Internet has brought to the underground world of prostitution, increased safety is not among them, and that victims from this industry still suffer from a lack of attention from investigators.” - Liesl, Public Affairs
 

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel by Robin Sloan

A laid-off tech worker takes a graveyard-shift job at an old bookstore, only to discover that there are secrets hidden in its tomes.

“Interesting and thought provoking but still enjoyable. I especially liked the ending. It reminded me of the conclusion of The Rule of Four: disarming for the simple, true human emotion.” – Jill, Customer Service
 

Little Chicken's Big Day by Katie & Jerry Davis

“Like many parents, Big Chicken is ALWAYS telling Little Chicken what to do. Like many kids, Little Chicken forgets to pay attention sometimes. Little Chicken's day out with his mama takes a scary turn in this sweet, simple picture book that's perfect for the preschool set.” - Melissa, Children's Associate, Plaza Branch

 
 

About the Author

Liesl Christman

Liesl Christman is the Digital Content Specialist for The Kansas City Public Library, managing content for the Library's blogs and social media accounts. She is an unabashed enthusiast of comic books, roller derby, and all things food.

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We may have been busy with our Summer Reading Program the past few months, but your Library staff still found time to do their own reading!

Here are just a few books chosen by our staff. Whether they are new releases, old favorites, or just something unique that we have come across, it caught the attention of the employees here at the Kansas City Public Library, and we want you to be as excited about reading as we are!

For August, we have a little of everything for our selections including classic Hollywood nostalgia, children's fantasy, murderous gunslingers, and pirates in love. Enjoy!

Cinnamon and Gunpowder by Eli Brown

“Owen Wedgwood, the Caesar of Sauces, has been kidnapped by Mad Hannah Mabbot, she-pirate Captain of the Flying Rose. As long as Owen keep Hannah plied with an exquisite meal every Sunday, she will not kill him. A delicious tale of love and piracy on the high seas.” – Kaite, Reader's Services



The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr

"In The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr, readers meet the teenage protagonist, Lucy, who was once a musical child-prodigy. Her younger brother, Gus, is still practicing to be competition-ready. In following her complex family dynamics, her friendships, and her crushes, readers come to care about the characters. As Lucy is beginning to define herself outside of her young musician persona, she has an opportunity to discover if, despite her leaving the pressure-filled life of the constant pursuit of perfection, she wants to return to the piano. Even people who do not read music can appreciate this book. They will leave thinking about the seemingly-real people in it and asking themselves, 'What do I love?'" – Anna, Library Outreach

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt

"A new-wave western about two heartless hired killers laying waste to just about anyone or anything that crosses their paths. This story tells of how Charlie and Eli Sisters get mixed up in the gold rush with an unscrupulous money-man named 'The Commodore,' and how one of the Brothers decides that maybe their murderous ways might not be the most productive way to live out their days. Funny, violent, sad and sometimes surprising, The Sisters Brothers was a fun and interesting read." – David, Interlibrary Loan

Adventures of a Hollywood Secretary: Her Private Letters from Inside the Studios of the 1920s by Valeria Belletti

"A young Valeria Belletti moved to New York to Hollywood in the 1920s becoming Samuel Goldwyn's personal secretary. Her real-life letters reveal the inner workings of the silent and Golden eras of cinema, with humor and unvarnished insight.”
Liesl, Public Affairs


Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein

"A dozen 12-year-old students have been invited to a lock in at Alexandriaville's new public library. This is not your typical library because it has been designed by Luigo Lemoncello - the world's most famous game maker. This library has game rooms, holograms, a dome with 10 huge video screens, and a secret exit. The students have 24 hours to solve several mysteries and find the secret exit. If you liked Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Mysterious Benedict Society, or The Potato Chip Puzzles, you're sure to like this." – Ron, Plaza Children's Librarian

Say Nice Things About Detroit by Scott Lasser

"25 years after his high school graduation, David moves back to a home everyone else has fled, Detroit. David is looking for escape from the death of his son and the divorce that quickly followed. The double murder of his high school sweetheart and her brother makes David wonder if he can truly go home again, especially if home is Detroit.” – Kaite, Reader's Services



About the Author

Liesl Christman

Liesl Christman is the Digital Content Specialist for The Kansas City Public Library, managing content for the Library's blogs and social media accounts. She is an unabashed enthusiast of comic books, roller derby, and all things food.

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Hey kids! This summer you can get up close and personal with creatures like the barred tiger salamander (the state amphibian of Kansas) and the sugar glider (a tiny Australian marsupial related to the opossum).

In June and July curators and docents from the Kansas City Zoo are visiting branches of the Kansas City Public Library to make free presentations.

Children will learn about exotic animals from experts and get a chance to hold an ostrich egg and rub their fingers over the pelts of several animals.


[video:http://youtu.be/30Gk9YjxwYw]


Here's the list of upcoming Zoo to You events at the Library:

Tuesday, June 18, 2013
10:00 a.m. at the Southeast Branch

Tuesday, June 25, 2013
10:00 a.m. at the Westport Branch

Wednesday, June 26, 2013
11:00 a.m. at the Trails West Branch

Wednesday, July 10, 2013
2:00 p.m. at the Sugar Creek Branch

Monday, July 15, 2013
6:00 p.m. at the Lucile H. Bluford Branch

Tuesday, July 16, 2013
10:00 a.m. at Central Library

About the Author

Robert W. Butler is a lifelong Kansas City area resident, a graduate of Shawnee Mission East High School and the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas. For several decades he was the movie editor of the Kansas City Star; he now writes a movie-themed blog at butlerscinemascene.com. He joined the Library's Public Affairs team in 2012.

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Over the last 6+ years, the Kansas City Public Library has sought to transform the way the people of greater Kansas City use libraries to stay informed about current events and learn more about landmark moments in history with an aggressive schedule of programs featuring scholars, authors, and public figures made possible in large part due to a generous grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The response has been overwhelmingly positive with more than 14,000 people subscribing to the Library’s monthly print calendar of events and some 13,000 receiving weekly email updates.

On Monday, June 3, 2013, the Library (along with our partners at the Truman Library Institute and the Federal Court Historical Society) hosted retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor for a discussion of her new book Out of Order. The Library received nearly 1,400 RSVPs, declaring the free admission event a “sell out” two weeks before her appearance. Close to 1,000 people actually attended the event, filling the Central Library in downtown Kansas City with 500 people in the live viewing area and another 400+ in closed-circuit viewing areas in two mezzanines, an exhibit gallery, and the Grand Reading Room.

Central staff responded to this unprecedented turnout. Members of the Public Affairs and Facilities departments, joined by a dozen librarians, ensured that the process went smoothly and Library officials received rave reviews about the event and outstanding public service provided by those working the event.



Lining up to enter the Central Library - Photo courtesy of Mark McDonald.

The first woman appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States, O’Connor has learned firsthand the inner workings, history, evolution, and influence of the nation’s highest court.

The retired justice—who at 83 exhibits an energy level that keeps even her protective escort of U.S. Marshals busy—shared those insights in a presentation that combined personal insight with some big laughs.



The line wrapped around the Central Library - Photo courtesy of Amanda Graor.


Crowds waited outside before the event - Photo courtesy of Mark McDonald.

Out of Order sheds light on the 200 years of change and upheaval that transformed the Supreme Court from its uncertain beginnings into the remarkable institution we know today. From the early days of circuit-riding—when justices traveled thousands of miles each year on horseback to hear cases—to the changes in civil rights ushered in by Earl Warren and Thurgood Marshall, O'Connor weaves together stories and lessons from the Court's past.

Born to a ranch family near El Paso, Texas, Sandra Day O'Connor grew up on the Lazy B cattle ranch near Duncan, Arizona. She received her B.A. and law degree from Stanford University. Nominated by President Ronald Reagan as an associate justice of the Supreme Court, she took her seat as the first female justice in 1981. O'Connor retired from the Supreme Court in on January 31, 2006.



Library Director Crosby Kemper III introduced Sandra Day O'Connor - Photo courtesy of Mark McDonald.


Sandra Day O'Connor speaking at the Central Library - Photo courtesy of Mark McDonald.




Kirk Hall was filled to capacity for Justice O'Connor's talk, as were several overflow rooms within the Library - Photos courtesy of Mark McDonald.

Justice O’Connor was the biggest headliner at the Library this week, but hardly the only one. On Tuesday (June 4, 2013), the Library hosted Steve Coll for a discussion of his new book Private Empire; and on Wednesday (June 5, 2013), Cynthia Kierner discussed the life and legacy of Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph. More than 250 people attended Coll’s talk and another 300 were on hand for Kierner’s presentation.



View more photos from this event on our Flickr page.

Want to know about other programming at the Kansas City Public Library? Check out our future events on kclibrary.org, and sign up for our weekly emails so you can always stay on top of what is happening at the Library!



About the Author

Liesl Christman

Liesl Christman is the Digital Content Specialist for The Kansas City Public Library, managing content for the Library's blogs and social media accounts. She is an unabashed enthusiast of comic books, roller derby, and all things food.

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Lawrence bluesman Pat Nichols made some new fans this spring when he kicked off the Library’s ambitious America’s Music series at the Plaza Branch.

It was blues night, and Nichols began the evening by serenading patrons at the pre-event reception. Later he wowed the crowd with a display of picking on the National steel guitar.

Now Nichols has released a CD of performances, Blues from the Delta and Beyond, that was recorded earlier this year at producer Mike West’s recording studio in a former garage in Lawrence.

“Normally when you cut a record you pick the songs in advance and work on them during recording until you have them just right,” Nichols said.

“We did it differently. It was a lot like the early blues recordings in the 1920s and ‘30s where the producer would have these bluesmen perform a song two or three times and, later on, the record company would pick one version to release.”

Nichols said that over an 11-hour recording session he played a big chunk of his repertoire with virtually no advance planning.

“If a first take was good, we kept it and moved on to something else,” he said. “If by the third take it wasn’t making the grade, we’d try a different song. The idea was for my producer to pick out the very best cuts. Some of the songs that ended up on the CD were those I’d have chosen ahead of time to put on CD. Others weren’t.”


[video:http://youtu.be/ROZOjOQXOTc]

Songs on Blues from the Delta… range from the traditional (“St. James Infirmary Blues,” “Walking Blues”) and a Willie Dixon classic (“Little Red Rooster”) to three tunes penned by California-based bluesman Kenny Sultan.

And Nichols contributes three of his originals: “Kansas City Blues,” “Boogie Woogie Dance,” and “Bad Luck With Women,” the latter an amusing lament about a guy whose romantic choices are always wrong:

Well that woman I got is mean as can be

I got a house full of children don’t look like me

Bad Luck, yeah, that’s bad luck

I got bad luck with women, happens all the time.

Nichols says the CD soon will be available through Amazon.com and iTunes. If you can’t wait, contact him at kingbee@sunflower.com. And you can check out patnicholsblues.com or Pat Nichols Country Blues on Facebook.

About the Author

Robert W. Butler is a lifelong Kansas City area resident, a graduate of Shawnee Mission East High School and the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas. For several decades he was the movie editor of the Kansas City Star; he now writes a movie-themed blog at butlerscinemascene.com. He joined the Library's Public Affairs team in 2012.

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As part of Preservation Week, we are highlighting one of the recent projects here at the Kansas City Public Library: the preservation of the Athenaeum Collection.

The collection, donated to the Library’s Missouri Valley Special Collections in July, 2012 by the Kansas City Athenaeum Board of Directors, includes the minutes, membership records, building blueprints, and photographs from the archives of this historic women’s organization.

The Athenaeum is the oldest active Kansas City women's club, founded in 1894. The history of the Athenaeum is closely tied with that of Kansas City, as its members campaigned for the betterment of our community. Over the years, the Athenaeum has been instrumental in advocating for women’s suffrage, juvenile court reforms, child labor laws, and educational reform.

The first Athenaeum president, Mary Harmon Weeks, was a leader in the public kindergarten movement and started the first Parent Teacher Association in Missouri. And Phoebe Jane Ess, a charter member and later president of the Athenaeum, guided the local women’s suffrage movement, also organizing the Susan B. Anthony Civic Club. Both of these organizations moved Jackson County toward becoming one of the first counties in Missouri to adopt women’s suffrage.

Today the Athenaeum is still active with philanthropy supporting Missouri Girls Town which it helped found, and has even started allowing membership by men in recent years.

Though the Athenaeum’s clubhouse at 900 East Linwood Boulevard is an historic structure built in 1913-1914 and nominated to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, the environmental conditions inside the building were detrimental to its historical collection, necessitating its removal to preserve the records for future generations.

The Athenaeum Collection, now occupying a full shelving unit within the Missouri Valley Special Collections at the Central Library, follows the organization from its founding in 1894 up through 2012, and includes the correspondence, newsletters, minutes, and other memorabilia.

Included as well are the annual albums compiled by the members, which contain everything from photographs and pressed flowers to membership and financial records, providing great insight into the daily lives and activities of the club members.

The Kansas City Public Library was awarded a Missouri Historical Records Grant in December 2012 to help preserve this collection. The funds are being used primarily for rehousing the records in new enclosures and better storage materials. This will allow the collection to be more stable long-term and safer for public access and future digitization.

Archivist Lucinda Adams is working with special collections librarian Kate Hill and project director Eli Paul, arranging and describing the collection, as well as adding the Athenaeum Collection to the MVSC’s online catalog. Currently the Athenaeum Collection is open only to Athenaeum members. The general public may have access once it is stabilized and cataloged. The estimated completion date of the preservation project is November 2014.

About the Author

Liesl Christman

Liesl Christman is the Digital Content Specialist for The Kansas City Public Library, managing content for the Library's blogs and social media accounts. She is an unabashed enthusiast of comic books, roller derby, and all things food.

Kansas City Public Library on Facebook    Kansas City Public Library on Twitter    Kansas City Public Library on YouTube    Follow KCLibrary on Pinterest    KC Unbound RSS feed

The Pulitzer committee just announced the 2013 prize winners and finalists, and we are happy to say that their numbers include authors who have made recent appearances at the Kansas City Public Library. Two of this year’s seven Pulitzer Prize winners in 2013 Pulitzer Prizes for Letters, Drama and Music – plus one of the finalists – gave public lectures at the Library this past year.

These programs are part of our ongoing program to build a community of readers by bringing the best contemporary authors to Kansas City to speak about their books, thanks in part to generous funding from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.



Adam Johnson, author of The Orphan Master’s Son and winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, appeared at the Library last April as part of the Writer’s at Work series organized by Kansas City novelist Whitney Terrell. The Orphan Master’s Son is an unforgettable tale about one man’s journey from his childhood in an orphanage up through the labyrinthine political ranks of North Korea. You can hear the audio of his discussion with Terrell here.

Fredrik Logevall, author of Embers of War and winner of this year’s Pulitzer Prize for History, also appeared at the Library in the fall. Logevall’s book offers a detailed examination of the political and military entanglements of both France and the United States in Vietnam. Watch the C-SPAN broadcast of the talk Logevall gave at the Central Library.

And David Nasaw, author of The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy, came to our Central Library in December. His biography about Joseph P. Kennedy paints a vivid portrait of a truly complicated figure, a man who shaped the lives of his sons and American politics. Watch a video of Nasaw’s talk at the Central Library.



With this quality of programming, make sure that you check out what else we have planned here at the Kansas City Public Library. You never know what award-winning author may be coming, and it’s all absolutely free.


About the Author

Liesl Christman is the Digital Content Specialist for The Kansas City Public Library.

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It's hard to believe that it's already the end of Booketology. Our second annual Booketology tournament started with 64 literary characters from eight genres, each fighting for the title of Booketology Champion. Hundreds of you voted for your favorite characters.

There were some amazing upsets: Princess Buttercup defeating Batman before finally falling in the Final 4, and Marie Curie beating out Martin Luther King Jr. for Biography champ! There were also some narrow, heartrending contests, such as when Harry Potter defeated Elizabeth Bennet by only two votes!

Yesterday, it all came down to two: Harry Potter and Huck Finn. Though there was great enthusiasm for our legendary Missourian, but in the end Harry Potter was victorious, beating Mark Twain's young rebel by 13 votes.

Congratulations, Mr. Potter! You have proven that J.K. Rowling's stories have a unique place in the hearts of readers.

Now, we've announced the Literary Character Champion, but what about our drawing? We randomly selected one Grand Prize winner, and four runner-up winners.

Congratulations to Katya Blair! You are the Booketology Grand Prize Winner. You will receive four gift certificates to the College Basketball Experience (redeemable for four adult admission tickets), and eight books, one for each of our Elite 8 winning characters!

And congratulations as well to our runners-up: Claudia Franks, Glen Miles, Becky McKee, and Jessica Kendall! You all win a copy of one of our Final 4 winning books!

Check out the final bracket:

 Click for Larger Image

Click the image above for the larger, printable version (choose File>Print Preview to scale the bracket to fit on one page when printing)

So did you all enjoy this year's Booketology Tournament? Have some suggestions for us about next year? Let your voices be heard: Sound off in the comments, or shoot us an email. Let us know what you thought, and keep on reading!

Booketology is part of Building a Community of Readers, a campaign to transform our community by promoting a lifelong love of reading!

About the Author

Liesl Christman is the Digital Content Specialist for The Kansas City Public Library.

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