Events: anytime, any location, all ages

All Library locations will be closed on Saturday, July 4 in observance of Independence Day.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Matthew Christopher has spent the past decade documenting the ruins of one of the greatest civilizations the world has known: our own. The Pennsylvania photographer catalogues abandoned structures in pictures and words, lending a haunting beauty to factories, theaters, churches, and prisons now vacant and left to the elements and vandals. They are places that once helped define communities’ identities.

Christopher, who features the images in his new book, Abandoned America: The Age of Consequences, discusses his work and its underlying importance. “I am dismayed,” he says, “at the prevailing blindness … that prizes a handful of nails or pottery fragments from an early colonial settlement but ignores sites that are still above ground and critical to preserving the accounts of accomplishments and missteps over the last century.”

Friday, July 17, 2015

Join Kansas City's Paul Mesner Puppets in a veggie-centric love story about two avid gardeners, Okra and Romaine, who meet, marry, and have a beautiful daughter, Rapunzel. Enter an evil witch, a foreboding tower, and a handsome prince. Of course, our heroes leave happily ever alfalfa. Appropriate for all ages.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Coinciding with the final three days of the KC Fringe Festival, the YOUth Fringe Festival delivers activities and performances by youth for youth – starting with a variety of Friday Night Family Fun acts by the 12-and-under set.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Doors open: 8 p.m. • Program: 8:45 p.m.

The Library’s annual summer Off-the-Wall film series takes filmgoers Down the Rabbit Hole, celebrating movies about people cast into strange, through-the-looking-glass lands. In Labyrinth, a girl (Jennifer Connelly) braves a magical maze of muppets to rescue her baby brother from a glam-rock Goblin King (David Bowie.)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

In July 1974, an estimated 100,000 members—and probably more—of the Woodstock generation descended on the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia for a weekend of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Amid the sweltering heat and the sounds of such popular bands as the Eagles, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and REO Speedwagon, they effectively overwhelmed the beleaguered town.

While considered the era’s “forgotten festival,” the episode still stirs both hard feelings among locals and fonder memories for its (then) youthful concertgoers.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

PGAV Architects’ Mike Schaadt and Kimberlee Reid of the National Archives at Kansas City explain how the Federal Historic Tax Credit and adaptive reuse technology allowed the Adams Express Building, previously a freight storage structure, to be converted into an archival facility used by the National Archives.

The 2015 Kansas City Architecture Series examines how historic buildings in Kansas City’s downtown area have been repurposed and given new life.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

From its earliest days as a fur-trading outpost to its heyday as a livestock center and current configuration as a city of pet lovers and barbecue aficionados, animals have been central to Kansas City’s identity and landscape. In fact, KC can more accurately be described as a “zoopolis,” a multi-species urban location, than a standard metropolis.

Julie Urbanik, a former associate professor of geosciences at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, lends a new way of looking at our city, examining the web of past and present connections between its human and non-human inhabitants. In essence, she argues, Kansas City would not be Kansas City without its animals – cattle, horses, mules, and even the zoo’s popular polar bears, Nikita and Berlin.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Can a recently announced, 800-room Hyatt hotel, scheduled to open in 2018, boost Kansas City’s convention prospects when it opens? The city has invested heavily in its downtown convention center – from Bartle Hall’s $144 million expansion in the 1990s to a $150 million upgrade completed in 2007 – and yet business has lagged.

Heywood T. Sanders, one of the country’s foremost experts on urban development, notes that KC is not alone. In a discussion of his book, Convention Center Follies: Politics, Power, and Public Investment in American Cities, he notes a nationwide surge in convention center development in the past two decades amid promises of new jobs, private development, and tax revenues. In Boston, Orlando, and elsewhere, the returns have similarly been limited. So why does the building continue?

Sanders is a professor of public administration at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Kansas City civil rights activist Alvin Sykes first encountered former U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn in 2007, when Coburn was stalling the Sykes-backed Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act.

Sykes sought and got a meeting. The two men talked. And Coburn dropped his opposition, opening the door to the Till Bill’s passage in September 2008. He paid tribute to Sykes as a difference-maker on the Senate floor.

Coburn left office at the end of last year. He and Sykes, who educated himself and still does much of his research in local libraries, recall their history and Sykes’ lifelong work in a public discussion moderated by Library Director Crosby Kemper III. The event is part of the Library’s Scholar-in-Residence Lecture Series.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Dads and longtime musicians Chuck Folds, Steve Willard, and Eddie Walker are a high-energy, power-pop band—Big Bang Boom—whose mix of alternative, hip-hop, country, pop, and other genres makes it hard for both kids and grownups to stay in their seats. Youngsters can take the stage for the Sponge Bob Chorus and take on their parents in the Hokey Pokey Challenge. Appropriate for all ages.