Previous Special Events

Monday, May 11, 2015

The world is blowing up, seemingly confronted by a violent new crisis every day: the bloody implosion of Iraq and Syria, the East-West standoff in Ukraine, abducted schoolgirls in northern Nigeria. The common thread, Sarah Chayes says, is government corruption so pervasive that some regimes now resemble criminal gangs.

A former adviser to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Chayes spent most of the past decade in Afghanistan. She discusses her new book Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security and the premise that structural corruption inevitably provokes resentment, prompting protests and revolts and often fueling extremist violence. The U.S., she argues, has a tendency not just to ignore such international corruption but also compound it, which in places like Afghanistan can be destabilizing and dangerous.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Library’s ninth season of Script-in-Hand performances, featuring the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre concludes with The Light in the Piazza.

This dreamy, Tony-winning musical revolves around wealthy Margaret Johnson and her beautiful but emotionally stalled teenage daughter, Clara, who spend a summer together in the Tuscan countryside. When Clara falls in love with an earnest, dashing, and passionate young Italian, a protective Margaret must decide what to do with a secret from the girl’s past — which could take romance off the table — while confronting her own deep-seated hopes and regrets.

Thursday, May 7, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Tired of an unfulfilling life in Kansas City, Patrick Dobson left his job and set off on foot across the Great Plains. He arrived over two months later in Helena, Montana, then set a canoe on the Missouri River and asked the waters to carry him back home.

Dobson, who teaches American history and literature at Johnson County Community College, discusses his new book Canoeing the Great Plains: A Missouri River Summer and a journey undertaken nearly 20 years ago that proved to be transformative. Dobson learned to trust himself to the flows of the river and its stark, serenely beautiful countryside – and to a cast of characters he met along the way. They assisted the novice canoeist with portaging around dams and reservoirs, finding campsites, and other travel tasks, and they fueled his personal renewal.

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.

Kansas City Public Library Beta