Previous Special Events

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

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Two hundred years ago today, on a sodden Belgian field, one of the greatest conquerors of all time went down to agonizing and ultimate defeat. All that remained was “La Gloire,” the intangible exhilaration shared by all who participated and survived.

Napoleon Bonaparte, by dint of relentless focus and ambition, abetted by unmatched talent, once had crowned himself emperor of France. His military and political genius was manifest throughout Europe and, indeed, the world. But hubris proved a fatal flaw.

Richard Barbuto of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth discusses the leaders and followers, the myths and the legends, and the swirling maelstrom of combat that marked Napoleon’s Waterloo.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Time magazine theater critic Richard Zoglin grew up watching Bob Hope’s movies and followed the comedian’s rise to multimedia superstardom and tireless work for U.S. troops and charities. “Then I watched as he alienated himself from an entire generation during the Vietnam War,” Zoglin says, recalling the heat Hope took for supporting American involvement, “and that made him even more interesting to me.”

Zoglin, a Kansas City native who has been with Time since 1983, discusses the gifted but flawed subject of his book Hope: Entertainer of the Century. Hope, the star, was a dogged worker, gracious with fans, and generous with friends. He also could be cold and self-centered, was an indiscriminate womanizer, and regrettably stayed in show business too long, becoming a cue card-reading antique.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Library launches a new series, Real/Modern: KC, that takes a humorous, opinionated, intimate, and informative look at the modern world of design, technology, and media engagement. In this inaugural installment, social media and digital marketing veterans Ramsey Mohsen and John Kreicbergs lead a panel discussion about the ways local organizations use Kansas City as a selling point. Is the current Cowtown buzz helping area firms attract clients and recruit talent? Are developments like Google Fiber making KC a major player on the tech scene? Does the city need more than hometown sports and cultural offerings to elevate its reputation?

The fast-paced format features three elements: a quick rundown of timely industry news and topics followed by an interactive, in-person and online question-and-answer session and finally a lively conversation among Mohsen, Kreicbergs, and a panel of featured guests.


Saturday, June 13, 2015
1:00pm @ Plaza Branch

The HEAR Now Festival—the audio equivalent of a film festival—returns to Kansas City to celebrate storytelling in all its forms: live and scripted solo performances, multi-voiced performance, classic radio drama, experimental narrative, and more.


Friday, June 12, 2015

Program: 6:30 p.m. • Reception Follows

On the eve of the annual West 18th Street Fashion Show, Kansas City’s fashion industry harkens back to its illustrious past – to the golden age of the 20th century when more than 150 garment design and manufacturing companies boasted a workforce of more than 5,000.

A panel of seamstresses from the Garment District heyday—Cherry Barthel, Sarah Guillen, Loretta Ortiz, Catalina Reyes, and Fatma Konyalioglu—sit down with Jennifer Lapka Pfeifer, the co-executive producer of this year’s fashion show, to share their unique stories. It was their skill and work ethic that powered the Garment District, and they serve today as a valuable resource for the growing number of individuals making a living in Kansas City’s fashion community.

Co-sponsored by the Friends of the Kansas City Public Library and the West 18th Street Fashion Show.


Friday, June 12, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Some are born to be heroic, and others just bumble into it. Jay Cady and Leslie Seifert-Cady utilize juggling, a touch of magic, and the adventures of library hero Dewey Decimal as they explore feats of skill, daring, and just plain, dumb luck. Appropriate for all ages.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Revolutions historically have come in waves, and the world appears to be riding one now – from the Arab Spring to anti-austerity protests in Greece to the more recent Occupy movement.

In a discussion of his new book, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges examines the social and psychological factors that foster rebellion. And he makes the case that environmental destruction and wealth polarization are planting the seeds of modern revolt in the U.S. and around the globe.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

One of the grandest experiments of American urban planning, the Country Club District, lies tucked in the heart of Kansas City. Initiated in 1905, it eventually spilled over 6,000 acres and attracted national attention to a city still forging its identity.

In a discussion of her new book, author LaDene Morton examines a project that required a half-century of careful development to fully fulfill the vision of founder J.C. Nichols. Home today to many of the city’s most exclusive residential areas and commercial properties, the district’s boundaries still are unmarked. Only now is the entirety of its story being told.


Tuesday, June 9, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

At the height of World War II, the city of Oak Ridge, Tennessee—then known only as the Clinton Engineering Works—boasted 75,000 people and yet did not appear on any map. Thousands of civilians, many of them young women, were recruited to the secretive site and trained not to talk about what they did or knew.

This was where the U.S. enriched the uranium that led to the first atomic bombs, a fact not revealed to workers until the bombs were dropped on Japan in 1945.

Journalist Denise Kiernan recounts the women’s experiences in a discussion of her book The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II. The presentation continues the series War Stories: World War II Remembered, which is co-presented by the Truman Library Institute and made possible by funding from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.


Sunday, June 7, 2015

The federal government has been keeping tabs on foreign visitors to these shores for decades. In 1940 the Immigration and Naturalization Service began issuing each of them an Alien Registration number, and in 1944—in the midst of World War II—began to use this number to create individual case files called Alien Files or “A-Files.” They contain all records from any active case of an alien not yet naturalized—visas, photographs, applications, affidavits, and official correspondence—gathered as the individual passed through the U.S. immigration and inspection process.

Archivist Elizabeth Burnes of the National Archives of Kansas City shows how the enterprising genealogist, biographer, or historian can access this treasure trove of information. The National Archives preserves and makes available to researchers more than 450,000 A-Files for individuals who were born in 1910 or earlier, many of them with direct connections to this area.