Previous Special Events

All Library locations will be closed on Monday, May 25 in observance of Memorial Day.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Among our “greatest generation” was a succession of U.S. presidents who were informed and defined by World War II. Harry Truman, who oversaw the end of the war, credited his combat experience in World War I for his success in the Oval Office. Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush all served in World War II.

Theodore A. Wilson, emeritus professor of history at the University of Kansas, examines the impact of their experiences and the fact that, today, the connection between wartime service and the presidency is severed. If it is within the crucible of combat that great leaders are made, will 21st-century commanders-in-chief have the “right stuff?”


Monday, May 4, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

The Kansas City Royals were on their way to a fourth 100-loss season in five years when Dayton Moore took over as general manager in June 2006, and their string of non-playoff seasons would stretch to 28 before his painstaking rebuilding plan memorably kicked in a year ago.

Sitting down with Matt Fulks, the co-author of his new book More Than a Season, Moore discusses the leadership principles, strategies, and decisions that guided the Royals’ transformation into American League champions and World Series darlings. The event precedes the public launch of the book, the proceeds from which go to Moore’s C You in the Major Leagues Foundation.


Sunday, May 3, 2015
2:00pm @ Plaza Branch

Coterie Theatre artists read from favorite children's books, while young audience members enjoy an opportunity to “jump into the story” – adding their own improvisation. Dramatic Story Times take place one Sunday every month at 2 p.m. throughout the 2014-2015 school year, beginning October 5th, 2014.



May's Selection:
Take Me to Your BBQ by Kathy Duval

Appropriate for all ages.


Friday, May 1, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Kansas City’s Cultural Crossroads initiative looks at the variety of holidays celebrated around the world, helping young participants learn and understand other cultures by creating crafts to take home. Appropriate for all ages.


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Stanford University’s Eric Hanushek puts the value of quality teaching in stark economic terms. Place even a slightly above-average teacher in front of a class of 20, and the resultant gain is more than $400,000 in future earnings over the earnings of students exposed to an average teacher. Replacing the bottom 5 to 8 percent of teachers with average instructors, he says, could lift the U.S. near the top of international math and science rankings.

Hanushek, the Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, discusses the economic value of effective teachers and the assertion that their impact is sufficiently large to make significant changes in how we evaluate and reward them.

Co-sponsored by the Show-Me Institute and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Granted, there are creative lone wolves out there. But history and social psychology tell us that success stems far more often from one-to-one collaboration. Think John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.

Writer Joshua Wolf Shenk sits down with native Kansan and former colleague Robert Day to discuss the elements and impact of creative chemistry and Shenk’s new, science-backed book Powers of Two: Finding the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

The ranch house became an integral part of the vocabulary of the U.S. housing market after World War II, when the demand for a single-family home reached record levels.

Today, there is a resurgence of interest in this modernistic, uniquely American architectural creation and a new generation of homebuyers is discovering its allure. Mary van Balgooy, a leading authority on the ranch house and biographer of influential architect and ranch house pioneer Cliff May, discusses the legendary builder, the ranch home’s influences and features, and the race to preserve it.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Aristocratic and sophisticated, Edith Kermit Roosevelt, the wife of Theodore Roosevelt, ran the White House with a sure hand and figured prominently in how the institution of the first lady developed during the 20th century. But her reputation as a secular saint is misleading, says historian Lewis L. Gould, who points among other things to her virulent racism.

Gould, the Eugene C. Barker Centennial Professor Emeritus in American History at the University of Texas at Austin, discusses the complex subject of his book Edith Kermit Roosevelt: Creating the Modern First Lady.

The presentation is part of the Beyond the Gowns series, made possible by grants from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to the Kansas City Public Library and the Truman Library Institute.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

LaShonda Katrice Barnett’s debut novel—about a black female journalist escaping the early-1900s Jim Crow laws of the South and fighting injustice in Kansas City through her African American newspaper—has drawn praise from the Chicago Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, and Oprah Winfrey’s O magazine, among other publications.

The Kansas City-born author sits down with journalist Eric Wesson of the city’s own landmark African-American newspaper, The Call, for a public conversation about the elegantly written work of historical fiction, which gains resonance from today’s social discontent. Events in Jam on the Vine lead up to and include the Red Summer of 1919, when race riots broke out in a number of American cities.


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Kansas mills, located literally in the breadbasket of America, produced an enormous quantity of flour in an era when women routinely baked their families’ bread at home. Mill owners used cotton flour sacks as advertising tools to proudly display their names, locations, and unique brands, as well as to catch the consumer’s eye. The empty sack also served as a needed piece of fabric during the Depression.

Avid collector Nancy Jo Leachman, a longtime reference librarian at the Salina Public Library, has accumulated more than 100 vintage flour sacks from the 1920s-1940s, representing more than 30 Kansas counties. Her illustrated lecture of the best and most colorful—nothing “run-of-the-mill” here—reveals how each sack carries a fascinating story, be it advancing nutritional information, expressing political views, or reflecting popular culture.