Library Life

Sanda Day O'Connor

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.

Pat Nichols

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.

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.

The Orphan Master's Son

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.

Booketology 2013

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.

In celebration of National Library Week, we have compiled a list of books for all ages that highlight the value of libraries, librarians, and library workers.


Free for All: Oddballs, Geeks, and Gangstas in the Public Library
by Don Borchert

Don Borchert writes an unvarnished and entertaining account of his time working in a suburban L.A. public library system. Libraries are no longer the ivory towers full of dusty tomes and shushing ladies that people still expect, and Borchert provides a unique perspective on the role of the modern library and librarian.


The Night Bookmobile
by Audrey Niffenegger

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

And then there were two: The Booketology Championship has come down to a battle between two iconic literary figures: Huckleberry Finn and Harry Potter!

Vote now in the Booketology Championship! Voting will only be open for one day, April 8!

It was an amazing Elite 8 round for Booketology! Jane Marple fell to Huck Finn. In an upset, Princess Buttercup defeated Batman! Jane Austen’s heroine Elizabeth Bennet easily defeated the Hunger Games tribute Katniss Everdeen. And Harry Potter took the round against Marie Curie, with a 70 vote margin!

It's all down to the Elite 8! Our victors have won in their genres, now they face off against each other! It's Romance vs. Sci-Fi when Elizabeth Bennet battles Katniss Everdeen! Classics winner Huck Finn challenges top sleuth Jane Marple! Princess Buttercup has to defend her title against Batman! And Biography champ Marie Curie takes on Harry Potter!

Vote in the Elite 8 round here and be entered in to the drawing for four tickets to the College Basketball Experience and copies of our winners' books!

Voting for the Elite 8 will be open from April 1 through April 3. Curious how your picks did? Scroll down for the Sweet 16 results.

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

The Great Gatsby

Round 2 results have been tallied, and we have entered our Sweet 16 round! The characters are now fighting for top of their genre, and for the honor of having their book become part of our Booketology Grand Prize! Did your picks survive?

There were some hard-fought victories. Lewis Carroll's Alice barely squeaked past Willy Wonka in a contentious battle, and Captain Ahab defeated Anna Karenina by only two votes! Others crushed their competition, The Great Gatsby's Daisy Buchanan easily beat Lady Brett Ashley, and Katniss Everdeen garnered over twice the number of votes as Rick Deckard. Read more below for the complete results.

Vote in the Sweet 16 now! This round will be open from March 28 through March 31.

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

Thank you everyone for an amazing Round 1 of Booketology! Are you ready for Round 2? Check the updated bracket to see if your choices made it to the second round, and vote now! Round 2 will be open from Monday, March 25 through Wednesday, March 27!

This round brings some epic match-ups: Scarlett O’Hara vs. Elizabeth Bennet! Alice in Wonderland vs. Willy Wonka! Princess Buttercup vs. Smaug! Decide who wins in Round 2!

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

Did your favorites survive the first round of voting? Some outcomes were crushing defeats, such as when Scarlet O’Hara sent Amber St. Clare packing by a margin of 7-to-1, while others won by the narrowest of margins, like Easy Rawlins’ three vote victory over Stephanie Plum!

Round 1 Highlights:

With March Madness arrives an equally important event, Booketology, the Kansas City Public Library’s annual tournament! Last year, books fought to the bitter end. It was genre against genre, literary masterpiece vs. best seller. In the end, To Kill a Mockingbird took the championship. This year, your favorite characters are getting in on the action. Voting is closed, find out the winner here!

We have selected eight genres, and in each, eight literary characters. You decide who wins it all. From Thursday, March 21 through April 8, you can vote for your favorite champion.

Booketology Championship
See the Results Here!

You’ll also be entered into a drawing for tickets to the College Basketball Experience as well as copies of our "Elite 8" characters’ books! More information is in The Rules below.

Irish Legends by Iain Zaczek

Ireland is a country full of storytellers. It seems every citizen of the Emerald Isle was born with a golden tongue and a quick mind. KCPL has pulled together a Pinterest board of some of Ireland's most famous writers and poets. It's the Readin' O' the Green for March!

About the Author

Kaite Stover

Kaite Mediatore Stover is the Director of Readers’ Services at the Kansas City Public Library. She is a regular guest on KCUR's Book Doctors segment and moderator of The Kansas City Star’s FYI Book Club. She can tap dance, read tarot cards, and doesn’t bite.

Looking for more books about good love gone bad, bad love that feels good and love in all the wrong places?

Check out our KCPL Pinterest page, Books of Love.

Pin Winner

The Library’s latest Pinterest Contest, Christmas Books: Past, Present, and Future, is over. But before we settle down for a long winter’s read, we’d like to congratulate Kristi Bond, the winner in the drawing for the grand prize.