Library Life

Battleship Potemkin movie poster

Silent movies were almost never silent. There was always music. The Library and the People’s Liberation Big Band will recreate the silent film experience with a screening of the classic Soviet silent feature Battleship Potemkin.

Kaite Stover, Publitzer juror

When the Pulitzer Prize board announced that there was no fiction winner this year, we came up with an award of our own: The Publitzer Prize. This week, we're letting you – the public – nominate potential finalists. But first, our jurors share their official Publitzer nominations.

Quick re-cap: As true fictionados like you already know, last week the Pulitzer board announced that due to a deadlock in voting, no fiction prize could be awarded in this year’s awards. Three finalists were summarily stiffed: The Pale King by David Foster Wallace, Train Dreams by Denis Johnson, and Swamplandia by Karen Russell.

As the literary world looks back in anger, we’re asking you to make up for the Pulitzer committee’s failure by nominating your favorite book from 2011 to compete in a vote to determine the winner of the 2012 Publitzer Prize. (Nomination Form)

Crosby Kemper III

The Pulitzer Prize board’s failure is your opportunity, says Library Director Crosby Kemper III. When it was announced that no Pulitzer award for fiction would be given in 2012, the Library launched a new prize in letters – one that’s ruled by the people.

Publitzer Prize Medal

When it was announced earlier this week that no award was given for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, we thought: Why not let the public decide? So, we cooked up the first-ever Publitzer Prize for Fiction. Cast your vote now!

Pin Your Perfect Library

If you were thinking of founding a library anytime soon, we have some exciting news: Our Pin Your Perfect Library Pinterest contest created a plethora of patron-sourced ideas for what objects, people, and books should go into the Perfect Library

For those just walking through the virtual turnstile, here's what went down. For National Library Week, April 8-15, 2012, we invited library-loving Pinterest users to collect their ideas for what items should go in their vision of “the perfect library." Books, bookshelves, fireplaces, hammocks, writers-in-residence, pets, plants, celebrity staffers, food, crafts -- if you could dream it, you could pin it.

Over the course of the week, entrants filed in from New York to Los Angeles. There was a strong local contingency, too. All in all, ten Pin-testants contributed 460 pins. The ideas ranged from eye-popping public art displays, to quirky bookshelves, to Ryan Gosling memes.

Alphabet City by Stephen T. Johnson

Have you ever spotted letters in unlikely places? Perhaps it’s a crack in the sidewalk shaped like an “R,” or a bridge railing that looks like an “N.” Stephen T. Johnson’s Caldecott Honor book Alphabet City is full of images of ABC’s spotted in city scenes.

This week at the Library, we want you to hit the streets of KC to find your own letters in the landscape and share them with us on social media.

An award-winning artist and children’s book illustrator, Stephen T. Johnson grew up in Kansas and lives in Lawrence. He got the idea for Alphabet City over ten years ago.

He was walking down a New York sidewalk and saw an ornamental keystone that looked like the letter S. “Then suddenly I saw the letter A in a construction sawhorse and the letter Z in fire-escapes,” he writes.

Pretty soon, he’d found the whole alphabet.

Johnson’s Alphabet City paintings are part of an exhibit at Central called Art, Language & Play. He will be conducting a kids’ workshop on Friday, April 20, at 10:30 a.m. at the Central Library (RSVP now).


We’re only a couple of days into our Pin Your Perfect Library Pinterest contest for National Library Week, and the collective inspiration level is higher than a 12-foot cabinet of vertical files.

For those just catching up, on Monday we began inviting people on the social network Pinterest to start gathering and posting (“pinning”) their ideas for the perfect library. It’s in celebration of National Library Week, April 8 – 14, 2012, the American Library Association’s annual campaign to raise awareness for libraries nationwide.

Because Pinterest is a platform built for sharing visual ideas, and because people who love to read often also love images of libraries, bookshops, bookshelves, library cats, and the like, we thought a great way to celebrate NLW would be to crowdsource the perfect library.

If you’d like to take part, the rules are simple: (1) Follow the Kansas City Public Library on Pinterest. (2) Create a board called The Perfect Library and add the description “This is my board for @kclibrary’s Pin Your Perfect Library Contest for #NLW12.” (3) Start pinning things you’d like to have in your ideal library. (4) E-mail us the URL of your board to enter the contest, which ends at midnight on Sunday, April 15, 2012.

Pinterest Logo

What would you put in your perfect library? April 8 – 14, 2012, is National Library Week, and to celebrate, the Kansas City Public Library is holding a Pin Your Perfect Library Pinterest Contest.

What is Pinterest?

It’s a social network that lets you collect your favorite photos, videos, and links and post them to visual “pinboards.” These boards form collages of your favorite areas of interest, whether it’s arts and crafts, fashion, food, books, travel destinations, or other odds & ends from around the web.

Pinterest is currently invitation-only, so if you don’t have an account, you should request an invitation. (Or, you can e-mail me, and I’ll send you an invitation.).

Pin Your Perfect Library Contest: April 9-15, 2012

If you were to build your perfect library, what would it look like? What books would you stock on the shelves? What kinds of furniture would you set out for patrons to lounge in as they read?

Starting Monday, April 9, through midnight on Sunday, April 15, 2012, we want you to build your perfect library on Pinterest.

Booketology prize pack

It was an epic bracket. Booketology, the Library's March tournament of titles, began with 64 books representing eight genres. Over the past two weeks hundreds of voters narrowed the field down to just two: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and To Kill a Mockingird.

The two all-star classics met on the Booketology Championship court yesterday from noon to midnight. Sherlock wore his best tweed and deerstalker, and Atticus Finch sported his finest (slightly frayed) cream-colored suit.

Both books had fought their way across a worthy bracket. Starting out in Classics, Mockingbird tossed Pride & Prejudice, Slaughterhouse-Five, and The Great Gatsby out of its nest, then jettisoned Sci-Fi champ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Not so easy to dispatch was Final Four favorite The Fellowship of the Ring, which cut through Booketology like John Rhys-Davies through a pack of orcs – until it heard Mockingbird sing.

To Kill a Mockingbird

Tonight, April 2, 2012, in New Orleans, Louisiana, the two “most winningest” teams in the NCAA – the University of Kansas Jayhawks and the University of Kentucky, um … what’s their mascot again?

Sorry about that. Honestly, we’re a little distracted.

Though we’re excited for our nearby collegiate athletes, their faculty, and their fans, we’ve got a much bigger game on our hands.

It’s time for the Booketology Championship Round!

Two books are going into the final matchup: Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

How did it come to such a dizzying duel?

Over the Final Four weekend, Mockingbird beat Tolkien’s fantasy-genre-definer The Fellowship of the Ring by just five votes. (Sorry, Fantasy fans.) Meanwhile, Sherlock squashed Capote’s true crime masterpiece In Cold Blood by a margin of 50.

Now it’s a cross-pond, cross-century book battle for the ages!

Vote Now: Booketology Championship Round

Atticus Finch

After their upset of UNC earlier this week, KU has advanced to the NCAA Final Four. Meanwhile on the court of literature, the Jayhawks’ feathered friend To Kill a Mockingbird has also soared into the Booketology semifinals.

Our March tournament of books has had a thrilling inaugural run.

In the early rounds, we watched with bittersweet enthusiasm as newer favorites like Twilight, The Hunger Games, and The Help were crushed by the classics.

Then, in the middle rounds, we nearly averted our eyes as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone fell to Fellowship of the Ring in an explosive wizards’ duel and looked on in smirking awe as Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy fired its Improbability Drive and left Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? eating spacedust.

But now, the Final Four is upon us, and it’s time to vote.

Check out the updated bracket below, and vote through midnight on April 1. Come back on Monday, April 2, for the one-day Championship match between the last two books.

Harry Potter membase

Round 3 has closed in Booketology, the Library’s 2012 Tournament of Books, and Round 4 has officially begun! Check the updated bracket and cast your vote in the “Elite 8” until midnight on Wednesday, March 28.

It was an epic battle, and one that anguished many fantasy lovers.

How to choose between The Fellowship of the Ring and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – two books that each launched a classic series that changed the lives of generations of readers?

As Twitter follower @SoxLoverCL put it, it was the Sophie’s Choice of book matchups.

And so, as we went into the Booketology Sweet 16, we wondered whether Harry Potter’s expelliarmus spell would dislodge the Beowulf-like grip Tolkien has held on the tournament so far. Alas for Rowling fans, Sorcerer’s Stone fell to Fellowship by a hefty margin of 39 votes.

Hitchhiker's Guide

Round 2 has closed in Booketology, the Library’s 2012 Tournament of Books, and Round 3 has officially begun! Check the bracket below for the results, and cast your votes in the “Sweet 16” until midnight on Sunday, March 25.

If there’s a lesson to be gleaned so far from Booketology, it’s that genre classics trump newer contenders. Just look at Sci-Fi. Even with a much-hyped film backing The Hunger Games in theaters nationwide, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979) focused its Vogon planet destroyer beam on the blockbuster YA novel and blasted it off the bracketsphere. Sorry, kids. Go forth into the universe – and don’t forget your towel.

Meanwhile over in Horror, founding fathers Poe and Stoker brutalized the rookie competition (see: Twilight’s loss in the first round) to emerge as the finalists in our “Sweet 16” third round, which will determine the winners from each genre.

Oh and by the way, if you’re a Fantasy fan, you may wish to avert your eyes from this next round…

Check the updated bracket below, and follow the link to the next round of voting, which runs through midnight on Sunday, March 25.

Marty Hatten

If you've visited our Waldo Branch in the past 24 years, you've likely met Marty Hatten. Whether teaching readers' advisory classes to seniors or representing the Library on neighborhood action committees, Marty is working to connect her Waldo community to her beloved branch.

Booketology logo

Round 1 has closed in Booketology, the Library’s 2012 Tournament of Books, and Round 2 has officially begun. Check the bracket below for the results, and cast your votes in the field of 32 until midnight on Wednesday, March 21. May the best book win!

Voting in the first round of Booketology was, to quote one of the books in the match, “extremely loud and incredibly close.” We fielded hundreds of ballots over the weekend, and when voting closed Sunday at midnight, many fine books lay crushed in defeat – some by narrow margins, others by landslides.

Falling into the latter category was the overwhelming victory of Bram Stoker’s vampiric classic Dracula over Stephenie Meyer’s more recent bloodsucking love story, Twilight, which only got 19 percent of the votes. Sorry, Edward and Bella – overhype in the wider world brought you Booketology garlic.

Check the updated bracket below, and follow the link to the next round of voting, which runs through midnight on Wednesday, March 21.

Click for larger, printable bracket

Vote: Booketology Round 2

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