Previous Special Events

Thursday, April 9, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

The Nation—the self-described “flagship of the left”—is the country’s oldest continuously published weekly magazine, jabbing at political sensitivities since its founding by Republican abolitionists at the time of the Civil War and particularly since finding a more progressive voice in the 1930s.

The new documentary Hot Type marks the publication’s 150th anniversary, spotlighting current and past writers and editors in chronicling daily life working on the magazine. Directed by two-time Academy Award winner Barbara Kopple, the film also follows participants in The Nation’s much-sought-after internship program.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The importance of libraries continues to grow. More than book repositories, they can serve as bulwarks against some of the most critical challenges of our age: unequal access to education, jobs, and information.

Yet educator and technology expert John Palfrey maintains they’re imperiled and must evolve. The world is rapidly modernizing. Government funding is dwindling.

Nearing the end of the 10th anniversary year of the opening of Kansas City’s elegant downtown Central Library, the head of Massachusetts’ esteemed Phillips Academy discusses his soon-to-be released book, BiblioTech, and suggests changes he says are vital to libraries’ survival. He urges them to move toward a digital future as quickly as possible—converting print material and ensuring that born-digital items are publicly available online—while continuing to fill their vital, longtime role as public spaces.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Women comprise about half of the U.S. labor force, including half of all professional and management positions. But they account for fewer than 15 percent of the executive officers of Fortune 500 companies.

How are both women and men perceived in the workplace? How does that affect the way they feel about themselves? Ashley Milne-Tyte, a regular contributor to Public Radio International’s Marketplace and producer and host of the podcast The Broad Experience: A Conversation About Women, the Workplace, and Success, examines the ways in which gender affects people’s working lives.

Friday, April 3, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Students from the private elementary Community School #1 stage a new look at the story of The Pied Piper of Hamelin. Incorporating memorable music and witty lyrics, the adapted script reflects their love for Kansas City and for having a good time. Appropriate for all ages.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

On the morning of May 3, 1863, on the cusp of one of the most remarkable tactical battlefield victories in American military history, Gen. Robert E. Lee rode to a crossroads clearing in Virginia known as Chancellorsville amid the cheers of his high-spirited Confederate troops.

Few in that moment of triumph could envision the South’s complete defeat in less than two years. Ethan S. Rafuse of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth discusses the factors and events leading to Lee’s surrender in April 1865, including an examination of Lee’s legendary generalship.

Co-sponsored by the Command and General Staff College Foundation.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015
2:00pm @ Plaza Branch

Screening: 2 p.m. * Discussion following

Since 2011, the after-school Play On, Philly! initiative has provided daily musical instruction to hundreds of Philadelphia students in communities that otherwise have little access to music education. Modeled after Venezuela’s acclaimed El Sistema youth orchestra project, it is one of two U.S. programs—with New York’s Sistema-inspired Harmony Program—featured in the 2014 documentary Crescendo: The Power of Music.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Thanks to Shakespeare, Julius Caesar’s stabbing is the most famous assassination in history. But what actually happened on March 15, 44 B.C., is even more gripping than the Bard’s depiction.

In a discussion of his newly released book, Cornell University’s Barry Strauss details the true story. While Shakespeare portrayed Caesar’s murder as an amateur and idealistic affair, it actually was a carefully planned paramilitary operation executed by disaffected officers. Brutus and Cassius were, indeed, key players but had the help of a third man, Decimus, a leading general and lifelong friend of Caesar who became a mole in his entourage.

Sunday, March 29, 2015
2:00pm @ Plaza Branch

The Library’s ninth season of Script-in-Hand performances, featuring the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre continues with Barefoot in the Park.

Neil Simon’s longest-running Broadway hit, which became a 1967 movie starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda, focuses on newlyweds Paul and Corie as they begin their life together in a tiny, fifth-floor apartment in a New York City brownstone. He is a strait-laced attorney. She’s a far more spontaneous free spirit who wants him to loosen up — to walk barefoot in the park. The young couple also must contend with a lack of heat, a skylight that leaks snow, several long flights of stairs, oddball neighbor Victor Velasco, and Corie's well-meaning mother. Marriage, it turns out, isn’t so easy.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

There is a movement along the nation’s political right encompassing younger voters who cling to the tenets of smaller government, fewer regulations, and fiscal conservatism but not necessarily social conservatism. They take a more libertarian approach to such issues as gay marriage and drug control.

Can these “conservatarians” feed the momentum gained by Republicans in the 2014 midterm elections?

National Review writer Charles C.W. Cooke examines this hybrid constituency in a discussion of his new book – what defines them, where they stand on the hot-button issues of the day, and how they could instigate change within the GOP.

Co-sponsored by the National Review Institute.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

For the Greatest Generation, memories of World War II replay as vividly as motion picture newsreels. Whether they parachuted into France or joined an assembly line, virtually every American—every Kansas Citian—went to war.

Launching a new series, War Stories: World War II Remembered, Time magazine editor-at-large David Von Drehle interviews three of the city’s most recognizable veterans of the six-year conflict. Civic giants Henry Bloch, Edward T. Matheny Jr., and Bill Dunn Sr. were barely out of their teens when they rallied to the cry of “Remember Pearl Harbor." Now, 70 years after the war's end, they share their personal stories and reflect on the leadership of President Harry S. Truman, their hometown commander-in-chief.

Kansas City Public Library Beta