Previous Special Events

Saturday, November 22, 2014

This event is at capacity. RSVPs are now closed at the presenters' request.

Christoph Wolff, the world’s preeminent authority on iconic composer Johann Sebastian Bach, returns to the Library to provide commentary throughout a performance by Kansas City’s Bach Aria Soloists.

Thursday, November 20, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

In the early twentieth century, publicly staged productions of historical events became increasingly popular—and increasingly grand—in Ireland. These pageants, not unlike the opening ceremonies of today’s Olympic Games, could mobilize huge numbers of citizens in elaborate presentations that offered the Irish a sense of their own past.

Joan FitzPatrick Dean, the Curators Professor of English at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, looks at the historical significance of these spectacles in a discussion of her new book, All Dressed Up. She presents a nation forging an identity by reimagining its past.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Johnson County Community College

For four years, noted pedestrian Henry Fortunato, the Library’s director of public affairs, has been planning and preparing for his trans-Kansas trek, a 500-mile expedition on foot starting at his front door in Overland Park.

In September and October 2014, he finally did it. Fortunato spent the night at Truckhenge and climbed to the top of the Capitol dome with the lieutenant governor. He judged a chili contest in Wilson and walked in darkness for nearly half an hour on a dirt road in blind faith that he would find the rural farmhouse where he was supposed to stay. He also had numerous encounters with county sheriffs, visited a family living in a former missile silo, and gained first-hand experience with the unique qualities of Kansas mud.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014
6:00pm @ Plaza Branch

Every Wednesday we will have an official National Novel Writing Month Write-In, lead by Nanowrimo Municipal Liaisons. Laptops and coffee will be available to help churn out those novels!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

One of Kansas City’s greatest entrepreneurs, Henry W. Bloch co-founded H&R Block Inc. in 1955 and helped build it into the world’s largest tax preparation company.

Now 92, he sits down with his son, Tom Bloch, for a conversation covering seven timeless lessons for entrepreneurs gleaned from his experiences. The presentation is held in conjunction with Global Entrepreneurship Week and the paperback release of the younger Bloch’s 2010 book Many Happy Returns: The Story of Henry Bloch, America’s Tax Man.

Tom Bloch worked closely with his father at H&R Block for nearly two decades. He left the company in 1995 to teach in inner-city Kansas City, and co-founded University Academy.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Although Kansas joined the Union as a free state, African Americans entering this new land looking for homes and livelihoods encountered a rigid color line. The conflict between lofty ideals and racist realities became a central theme of the African American experience in Kansas.

In Separate But Not Equal: The Quest for African American Civil Rights at the University of Kansas, 1865-1970, historian Bill Tuttle details the story of a century-old fight for freedom at the state’s flagship university – which mirrored many Lawrence institutions in congratulating itself on its racially open admissions policy while enforcing until the 1960s a strict Jim Crow system of racial separation.

Friday, November 14, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

As explorers and pioneers arrived in Missouri, what kind of wildlife did they see?

Staff members from the co-presenting Wornall/Majors House Museums and Operation WildLife, the largest publicly funded wildlife clinic in Kansas, are on hand to help answer that question – accompanied by live animals.

Recommended for ages 5 and up.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Sandra Moran’s first novel, Letters Never Sent, resonated deeply in the LGBT community when it was released a little more than a year ago.

She discusses her story of three women, united by love and kinship and struggling to conform to the social norms of their times, which won 2013 Rainbow Awards for best lesbian historical romance and best lesbian debut novel. This year, it earned the Golden Crown Literary Society’s General Fiction Award and Ann Bannon Popular Choice Award.

An assistant adjunct professor of anthropology at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Moran previously worked as a reporter for The Topeka Capital-Journal and on the staff of Kansas Gov. Bill Graves.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The United States remains the world’s pacesetter in science. The origins of many of its breakthroughs may surprise you, however. A sizable number of pioneering scientists were “outsiders,” emerging from undergraduate institutions of only modest scientific renown.

That outsider’s status, the University of Wisconsin’s J. Rogers Hollingsworth says, fosters an entrepreneurial spirit that feeds creativity. A professor emeritus of history and sociology Wisconsin, he discusses his analysis of the institutions and scientists associated with major discoveries of the past century.

Hollingsworth is currently a visiting scholar at the BioCircuits Institute at the University of California, San Diego and is a former senior scholar with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The event is co-presented by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Established in 1857, Union Cemetery is the oldest public cemetery in Kansas City. Buried there are early pioneers, veterans, and others who have left lasting and unique legacies. Judy King and Bruce Mathews – along with other civic-minded contributors to their book, Kansas City’s Historic Union Cemetery: Lessons for the Future from the Garden of Time – present poignant recollections of people now interred there whose hard work and persistence helped push the nation’s move west while strengthening social equality.

This Veterans Day event underscores the value of preserving the cemetery and the history it encompasses, and serves as the launch of the new book.

A 6 p.m. reception precedes this event.