Previous Special Events

Thursday, March 26, 2015

There is a movement along the nation’s political right encompassing younger voters who cling to the tenets of smaller government, fewer regulations, and fiscal conservatism but not necessarily social conservatism. They take a more libertarian approach to such issues as gay marriage and drug control.

Can these “conservatarians” feed the momentum gained by Republicans in the 2014 midterm elections?

National Review writer Charles C.W. Cooke examines this hybrid constituency in a discussion of his new book – what defines them, where they stand on the hot-button issues of the day, and how they could instigate change within the GOP.

Co-sponsored by the National Review Institute.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

This event has exceeded our expectations. We are anticipating that both the Truman Forum Auditorium and the Plaza Branch parking garage likely will be over capacity. We are working to provide overflow seating in the Northwest Corner of the Plaza Branch, where the event will be shown via closed circuit-television, and additional parking in the lower levels of the garage.

If you elect not to attend the event, please know that it will be recorded by C-SPAN’s American History TV for later broadcast.

For the Greatest Generation, memories of World War II replay as vividly as motion picture newsreels. Whether they parachuted into France or joined an assembly line, virtually every American—every Kansas Citian—went to war.

Launching a new series, War Stories: World War II Remembered, Time magazine editor-at-large David Von Drehle interviews three of the city’s most recognizable veterans of the six-year conflict. Civic giants Henry Bloch, Edward T. Matheny Jr., and Bill Dunn Sr. were barely out of their teens when they rallied to the cry of “Remember Pearl Harbor." Now, 70 years after the war's end, they share their personal stories and reflect on the leadership of President Harry S. Truman, their hometown commander-in-chief.


Friday, March 20, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

You don’t just sit and watch a Peanut Butter Hamster performance. Terry and Melissa Wright make you a part of an interactive show – singing, dancing, laughing, having more fun than humans young or old should be allowed. Appropriate for all ages.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

As underscored by The Huffington Post six months ago, when it named Kansas City one of America’s “coolest” cities, things are looking bright for the onetime cowtown. While much of the buzz is about downtown’s revitalization, the historic West Bottoms has slowly and quietly undergone its own transformation over the past decade, emerging as a destination for restaurants, art studios, vintage shops, and other businesses.

What is behind the revival, and what does the future hold for the West Bottoms? Gina Kaufmann, host of KCUR’s Central Standard, moderates a timely conversation with local stakeholders.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Kansas Citians go to the polls in April and June to elect a mayor and 12 city council members who will direct the city for the next four years. What are the talking points? The priorities?

Concluding the second season of Citizens Project forums, outgoing city council members Melba Curls, Ed Ford, Jan Marcason, and John Sharp identify and discuss the issues they believe the candidates ought to be addressing. Dave Helling of The Kansas City Star moderates.

The series is co-presented by the nonpartisan Citizens Association of Kansas City. Two previous discussions featured the perspectives of the media and city administrators.


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Bordered by rugged cliffs and the Missouri and Kansas rivers, the West Bottoms provided the spark for a rugged cowtown to become an urban metropolis. Steve Noll, executive director of the Jackson County Historical Society since 2004, draws from his personal collection and from Cowtown: Cattle Trails and West Bottom Tales, a new book by longtime attorney and civic leader Edward T. Matheny Jr., in recounting the epic story of how cowboys, stockyards commission men, meat packers, railroaders, and assorted hangers-on formed a vibrant, now-vanished Bottoms community.

Cowtown is the product of an innovative collaboration between a local author, the Jackson County Historical Society, and Woodneath Press, a new print-on-demand service developed by the Mid-Continent Public Library.


Thursday, March 12, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Short, balding, and soft-spoken, James Madison was overshadowed by many of America’s other, more dynamic Founding Fathers. His list of accomplishments ran long, however: outlining what became the Constitution, co-writing the Federalist Papers, creating the Bill of Rights, forming America’s first political party, supervising the Louisiana Purchase, and serving as the country’s first wartime president (during the War of 1812).

In a discussion of his new book, Madison's Gift: Five Partnerships That Built America, author David O. Stewart reveals a rare leader who artfully collaborated with others toward common goals while worrying little about who got the credit.

The event is part of the Hail to the Chiefs series co-presented by the Truman Library Institute and made possible by grants from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Legacy Fund.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Comedian, columnist, broadcaster, and author Colm O’Regan is renowned throughout Ireland for his hilarious standup routines and series of bestselling books celebrating the wit, wisdom, pragmatism, and warmth of the women he admires as Irish Mammies.

You know a Mammy. You might be one. There are matriarchal equivalents around the world, advising “you’ll get another wear out of that” and admonishing “I don’t care WHO started it. I’m FINISHING it.” They establish tea towel hierarchy and the importance of airing clothes properly.

Less than a week before St. Patrick’s Day, O’Regan — whose popular Twitter account spawned the books — examines the global influence of the Irish Mammy through history, science, politics, and literature. Were you aware, for instance, that Hamlet had an Irish Mammy?


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

With the end of the Civil War in sight as he delivered his second inaugural address in March 1865, Abraham Lincoln eloquently implored his divided countrymen “to bind up the nation’s wounds” and “do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace.”

But the chaos of war was not yet ended. The South was reeling from Sherman’s destructive March to the Sea. Entire cities, including the Confederate capital of Richmond, were being overrun. Forty-one days after being sworn in for a second term, Lincoln was felled by an assassin’s bullet.

Terry Beckenbaugh of the U.S Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth discusses those tumultuous final months and examines the start of the Reconstruction of the South.


Sunday, March 8, 2015
2:00pm @ Plaza Branch

The Library’s ninth season of Script-in-Hand performances, featuring the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre continues with Same Time, Next Year.

George and Doris have separate families, separate lives — and a physical attraction and growing emotional bond that bring them to the same California country inn every year. One of the most popular romantic comedies of the past century drops in on their clandestine relationship every five years for 25 years. The times change. They change, experiencing the ups and downs of marriage, career change, and childrearing against a backdrop of national turmoil. Their annual weekend together becomes a time of solace, reflection, challenge and, when Doris shows up eight-months pregnant, even birth.