Previous Special Events

Friday, April 1, 2016
9:00am @ Plaza Branch

The Wide Open Town Symposium, featuring presentations from professional historians and a keynote lecture at the Kansas City Public Library's Plaza Branch, explores the 1920s and '30s in Kansas City history. It is free and open to the general public.


Tuesday, March 29, 2016
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

This event was originally scheduled for January but was rescheduled due to inclement weather in the Washington D.C. area.

In the wake of the Super Tuesday primaries, the Library and the Truman Library Institute launch a new season of Dateline: Washington focusing on the 2016 elections – the candidates, their campaigns, and the hot-button issues. Time magazine Editor-at-Large David Von Drehle holds a public conversation with RealClearPolitics’ Carl Cannon, taking an insider’s look at politics, partisanship, and the election playbook.

Carl Cannon is the Washington bureau chief at RealClearPolitics and co-author of Reagan’s Disciple: George W. Bush’s Troubled Quest for a Presidential Legacy. He has won numerous awards, including a share of the Pulitzer Prize in 1989 and the Gerald R. Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting of the Presidency.


Thursday, March 24, 2016
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Democrats have occupied the White House for 15 of the past 23 years, and Thomas Frank pointedly asks: What do they have to show for it? Wall Street gets bailouts. Free-trade deals keep coming. The decline of the middle class has only accelerated. Why has so little been done to advance traditional liberal goals – to expand opportunity, fight for social justice, and ensure that workers get a fair deal?


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Among the things Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants left behind when they fled Kandahar after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 was a cache of more than 1,500 audiotapes. Discovered a year later, the recorded sermons, songs, and intimate conversations lent extraordinary insight into bin Laden and Al-Qa’ida’s theoretical and organizational development.

Flagg Miller, a University of California, Davis, professor and expert in Arabic literature and culture, was called in to study the tapes, and laid out their revelations in his new book, The Audacious Ascetic. The Kansas City native sits down with Writers at Work series organizer Whitney Terrell for a public conversation about the effort.


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Until the late 18th century, Shakespeare’s works were known in America only on the page – and not the stage. Felicia Hardison Londré, the Curators’ Professor of Theatre at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, traces the Bard’s trajectory in this country from colonial times to today’s vast network of Shakespeare festivals. Her illustrated presentation explores, in part, the glory days of Shakespearean tours and the Bard’s popularity on the Western frontier.

The event help celebrate a special upcoming exhibit, First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare, on tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library. All related events are made possible by a generous contribution from the David W. Newcomer IV and Gene Ann Newcomer Family Foundation Fund in memory of Gene Ann’s brother, Professor John Klier.


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Efforts to combat blight and “renew” Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri, took off after the end of World War II, but the results were mixed. Visionary ideas often came at the expense of established neighborhoods, architectural landmarks, and a sense of community. Adding to the difficulty, the two cities had been always tied at the hip. Although the interests of the bordering municipalities aligned, their municipal, county, and state political structures divided them.


Sunday, March 20, 2016
2:00pm @ Plaza Branch

Hollywood has adapted, sampled, and stolen from William Shakespeare for more than a century – seeing his works as a source of prestige as soon as the commercial possibilities of narrative movies were apparent. The Ciné Shakespeare series features four of the best films featuring the Bard or his works in the past 20 years. Joan FitzPatrick Dean, the Curators Professor of English at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, introduces the selections and leads a discussion after each Sunday afternoon screening.

Director Richard Loncraine successfully relocates the story of the murderously scheming king to 1930, and Ian McKellan delivers a memorable performance in the title role. Also starring Annette Bening, the film drew Oscar nominations for art direction and costume design. This title is Rated R and is recommended for adult audiences only.


Friday, March 18, 2016
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Eric Vaughn’s passion for magic started when he was 10 years old. He’s now one of the busiest magicians in the Midwest, keeping audiences laughing and scratching their heads at the same time with performances that are wacky, enthusiastic, interactive, and entertaining. Appropriate for all ages.


Thursday, March 17, 2016

The three artists behind the new exhibition Measured Space – on display in the Rocky and Gabriella Mountain Gallery through May 22, 2016 – discuss their sculptural works, which explore philosophies relating to construction, technology, and place.


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Educators and researchers have long recognized the importance of mastering reading by the end of third grade. Students falling short often falter in later grades and are four times more likely than proficient readers to fail to graduate from high school on time.

What’s being done and what more is needed, to insure that local schools are helping students make the grade? The Library and American Public Square address the questions in the latest in a series of mannerly discussions of local issues.


Kansas City Public Library Beta