Previous Special Events

Saturday, February 28, 2015
1:30pm @ Plaza Branch

PLEASE NOTE: At the request of spelling bee organizers, the start time for the Jackson-Clay County Spelling Bee championship has been changed to 1:30 p.m.

Last year’s Jackson County Spelling bee delivered an unforgettable duel between two finalists — one a fifth-grader, the other a seventh-grader — that stretched into overtime, lasting 95 rounds and attracting worldwide attention.

An expanded bee is back. This year’s contest included qualifiers from 102 schools in both Jackson and Clay counties who went through division competition earlier in the month. Those still standing now contend for the Jackson-Clay County Spelling Bee championship, with a single winner advancing to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., in May.

The bee is presented in partnership with the Mid-Continent Public Library and Local Investment Commission (LINC), and is co-sponsored by the Kansas City Federation of Teachers and School Personnel.


Friday, February 27, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Celebrate the Irish in everyone with a performance by Kansas City’s O’Riada Manning Academy of Irish Dance. The academy has offered a wide range of classes for both children and adults of all levels and backgrounds for more than 20 years. Appropriate for all ages.


Friday, February 27, 2015

Join Kansas City Public Library staff for film screenings and animated conversations centered on quality film versions of books that are official selections of the Love on the Rocks 2015 Winter Reading Program. Discussions immediately follow film presentations. These screenings are open to the public. Participants are encouraged (but not required) to read the source book prior to the film screening.

In a forgotten Mexico, Tita and Pedro fall in love but are forbidden to marry. When Tita is forced to make Pedro’s wedding cake, the guests at the wedding are overcome with sadness, and Tita discovers she can do strange things with her cooking. 105 minutes. This title is Rated R and is recommended for adult audiences only.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Kansas City novelist and Writers at Work series organizer Whitney Terrell sits down with author Elizabeth Gaffney for a public conversation about her new book and the New York-based literary magazine A Public Space, for which she is editor-at-large.

When the World Was Young, her second novel, follows the country’s changing physical and emotional landscape after World War II through the eyes and experiences of a girl growing up in the author’s hometown of Brooklyn, New York.

Joining Gaffney and Terrell is April Wolfe, one of three inaugural winners of Emerging Writer Fellowships from A Public Place (and once a former semipro wrestler). She discusses her work in fiction and poetry and role in writing and directing two short films.

The event is co-sponsored by the Writers at Work Roundtable and the UMKC English Department.


Thursday, February 26, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Harry S. Truman’s relationship with Canada has received limited attention from historians. But the 33rd president’s appreciation for our “good neighbor to the north” resulted in significant political and economic advances on both sides of the border while fostering an alliance that underpinned America’s global engagement.

Approaching the 70th anniversary of Truman’s move into the White House in April 1945, Roy Norton — the new Canadian consul general to Illinois, Missouri, and Wisconsin — discusses key elements from the period 1945-53 that saw Canada attain its ongoing status as America’s best customer and closest ally.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The latest installment of the Library’s Emmy Award-winning series, Meet the Past with Crosby Kemper III, spotlights one of the preeminent figures in 20th century African American literature, Zora Neale Hurston.

Kemper, the Library’s director, holds a public conversation with Hurston as portrayed by longtime Johnson County Community College professor Carmaletta Williams. The presentation will be taped by KCPT-TV for later broadcast.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

The Kansas City Public Library, The Black Archives of Mid-America, and UMKC's Black Studies Program are working in partnership to present the Black History Month Book-to-Film Series Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the month of February.

Halle Berry gives a towering performance in this made-for-television adaptation of Zora Neal Hurston’s classic novel about a free-spirited woman and her search for happiness amid several marriages and the challenges of small-town morals. Made for TV, 113 minutes.

Discussion leader: Veronica Wilson-Tagoe, teaching professor of black studies, UMKC.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015
10:00am @ Waldo Branch

Through storytelling and song, vocalist and cultural historian Brother John helps young audience members explore the hidden, coded meanings and messages of classic spirituals and folk tunes used by Underground Railroad conductors in spiriting fugitive slaves to freedom.

Recommended for ages 5 and older.


Sunday, February 22, 2015
2:00pm @ Waldo Branch

Join Bernard Norcott-Mahany and friends in an afternoon of stories and songs about “love gone wrong,” part of the Library’s Adult Winter Reading Program themed Love on the Rocks. The annual, two-month event spotlights books about broken hearts, bad romances, and the unfortunate reality that not every fairy tale ends happily ever after.

Norcott-Mahany, a senior technical assistant at the Library’s L.H. Bluford Branch, is accompanied by a cast of local actors and entertainers in staging scenes of ill-fated romance from Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Homer’s Odyssey, James Thurber’s short story “A Couple of Hamburgers,” and other familiar works. Mournful ballads and classic, lovelorn blues songs intersperse the performances.


Sunday, February 22, 2015
1:30pm @ Plaza Branch

The annual Searching the Psyche Through Cinema film series returns in January and February with screenings of movies starring the late Academy Award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. A discussion featuring experts in cinema and psychoanalysis follows each screening.

In his last starring role before his death, Hoffman portrays a worn German espionage agent who works with an array of murky characters to develop intelligence from the Muslim community in Hamburg. The post-screening discussion is led by psychoanalyst Joanne Hindman and Tom Poe, associate professor of film and media arts in UMKC's Department of Communications Studies. This title is Rated R and is recommended for adult audiences only.