Previous Special Events

Sunday, October 27, 2013
1:30pm @ Plaza Branch

James Whale’s Frankenstein was a somber adaptation of Mary Shelly’s 1818 novel about a scientist who builds a creature from dead bodies and gives it life. It made an overnight star of actor Boris Karloff, who played the mute “monster.” The Bride of Frankenstein employed most of the same creative team that produced the original Frankenstein four years earlier. Yet this sequel is a much different animal – and much superior.

Friday, October 25, 2013
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Members of the Out Loud Teen Readers’ Theatre, made up of local teens interested in reading, performing, and sharing stories, bring to life the compelling and complex characters of this year’s Big Read pick, True Grit.

The young actors will have spent three weeks rehearsing their performance. Their efforts culminate in this interpretation of Charles Portis’ classic Western novel. Appropriate for ages 11-18.

Thursday, October 24, 2013
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Is True Grit’s Mattie Ross a genuine feminist hero or a merely a woman who mimics traditional masculinity?

Panelists Brenda Bethman, Adrianne Russell, and Crystal Gorham Doss — led by moderator Jane Wood — discuss the concept of the female hero and how this image has evolved. They delve into questions of the media portrayal of women (with special note of the Western genre), diversity in female depiction of heroism, and current activism in the Kansas City area to empower women and girls.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Like her older brother, Benjamin, Jane Franklin was a passionate reader, a gifted writer, and a shrewd political observer. While he was rich and famous, she was poor and obscure. Yet Jane was a constant presence and influence in her brother’s life—in fact, Benjamin Franklin wrote more letters to her than to any other individual.

Historian Jill Lepore explores this extraordinary, overlooked life in a discussion of her new book Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin.

Lepore is the David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History at Harvard University and a staff writer at The New Yorker.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

In a 2007 college football season filled with unfathomable twists and turns, Missouri and Kansas—unranked at the start of the season—kept winning, setting up the biggest game ever played in the oldest rivalry west of the Mississippi. The winner would be ranked No. 1 in the nation.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Martin Espada, widely recognized as “the Latino poet of his generation,” joins Angela Elam from New Letters on the Air for a reading and discussion based on his most recent collection of poems, The Trouble Ball, winner of the Milt Kessler Award, a Massachusetts Book Award, and an International Latino Book Award.

Monday, October 21, 2013
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

In Gryphon, his career-spanning collection of short stories, author Charles Baxter offers yarns in which our acutely observed reality is rocked by the exotic, the surreal, and by Baxter’s comic-melancholic world view.

Now Baxter—whose novel The Feast of Love was a National Book Award finalist and became a feature film starring Morgan Freeman and Greg Kinnear—holds a discussion about his work with New Letters on the Air host Angela Elam.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

American West specialist Jim Hoy provides an insider’s look at the Library’s exhibit What True Grit (Might Have) Looked Like: The Photographs of F.M. Steele (on display through December 1, 2013). Shot on the open ranges of Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma, these photographs provide insight into how cowboys worked and played.

Hoy is a professor of English and director of the Center for Great Plains Studies at Emporia State University, where he specializes in Medieval English literature and literature of the American West.

Friday, October 18, 2013
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Children's books come alive with music from the Fine Arts Chorale! Celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Caldecott Medal with this program filled with stories and music.

After reading excerpts from award-winning children’s books, music director and conductor Terri Teal leads the Chorale in music inspired by the literature.

The Fine Arts Chorale has been part of the Kansas City musical community since 1972.

Appropriate for all ages.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Competition between Kansas and Missouri goes back to the years before the Civil War, when Jayhawkers and “border ruffians” battled over the issue of slavery. But in recent years the “border war” has taken on economic implications, with both states launching initiatives and introducing legislation to entice businesses to jump across the state line.

Is this poaching of jobs and industries healthy or harmful? A panel of experts examine the history and impact of this conflict and discuss what—if anything—should be done about it.