Previous Special Events

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

While perceived as a mostly southern phenomenon, racist violence existed everywhere in the decades following the Civil War – including Kansas and the larger Midwest despite the region’s identification with pastoral virtue and racial harmony.

In a discussion of his new book This Is Not Dixie: Racist Violence in Kansas, 1861-1927, University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley associate professor Brent M.S. Campney exposes the reality of the era. There were systemic and enduring white-on-black abuses in Kansas, from sensational demonstrations of white power such as lynchings and race riots to property damage, rape, forcible removal from town, and other, more routine means of intimidation. The South’s reputation offered cover, allowing commentators to deem each Midwest episode an anomaly and cultivate a sort of historical amnesia.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Local author and LEGO enthusiast Jonathan Bender headlines a public event marking the launch of the Library's new KC Kids Create discovery clubs.

Bender, author of LEGO: A Love Story, takes part in a public conversation about his book, which spotlights the thriving community of adult LEGO builders. Bender is joined by children’s librarian and project coordinator Kristan Whipple, who talks about how the Library will use LEGOs as an educational tool for youth.

Sunday, January 31, 2016
2:00pm @ Plaza Branch

Coterie Theatre artists read from favorite children's books while young audience members can “jump into the story,” adding their own improvisation. Appropriate for all ages.

Friday, January 29, 2016
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Kansas Citian Brian Wendling, a former International Jugglers Association team champion, combines astonishing juggling, comedy, and audience participation in an unforgettable, high-energy performance. Appropriate for all ages.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

August Bondi remains a compelling figure in Kansas history, a Jewish immigrant from Austria who fought alongside anti-slavery crusader John Brown and later became one of the first to enlist with the Union in the Civil War. He eventually settled in Salina, serving as postmaster, school board member, and local judge, among other civic endeavors.

On the eve of the state’s 155th birthday — celebrated as Kansas Day — former Kansas City Star television critic Aaron Barnhart revisits Bondi’s life in a discussion of the events behind his new book Firebrand. The historical novel explores the free-state fighter’s formative teenage years, drawing from Bondi’s posthumously published autobiography and a later novel, Border Hawk, based on the memoir. From that emerge new insights into the issues of race, violence, and conscience.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

The small-budget documentary Race to Nowhere has created big buzz since its release a little more than four years ago.

Shown in thousands of schools, churches, and community centers across the country, it takes a close-up look at the stress on today's students – at a culture that expects parents to raise children who are good at everything from academics and the arts to sports and community service. Has a preoccupation with testing and performance undermined actual learning in the classroom? Do the pressures threaten the healthy development of kids whose lives are so packed with activities that there’s little room for leisure or family time? The Library screens the film and follows with a panel discussion moderated by Library Director Crosby Kemper III.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

If you’re not familiar with the theory of disruptive innovation, you’ve seen it at work: the advent of the personal computer, the rise of Netflix, and other innovations that spring up unobtrusively and ultimately overwhelm industry incumbents. They transform markets. In some cases, they create them.

Whitney Johnson is a leading proponent, a former highly ranked equity analyst who co-founded a boutique investment firm with Clayton Christensen, the father of disruptive innovation. She sits down with Library Director Crosby Kemper III to discuss her new book, Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work, which helps individuals understand how they can apply the philosophy to their own businesses and careers.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Was the December 29, 1890, massacre at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, an act of war? U.S. government officials deemed it such. Or was the killing of some 200 Lakota men, women, and children by Army cavalrymen an act of premeditated murder, as claimed by survivors, their descendants, and American Indian advocates?

Eli Paul, manager of the Library’s Missouri Valley Special Collections, discusses the controversial incident and an introspective Library exhibit commemorating its 125th anniversary. Frozen in Time: Images of Wounded Knee and Pine Ridge, 1890-91 features more than 60 images of the aftermath and of leaders on both sides. It remains on display in the Central Library's Genevieve Guldner Gallery through March 13, 2016.

Sunday, January 24, 2016
1:30pm @ Plaza Branch

The annual Searching the Psyche Through Cinema film series returns in January and February with psychological studies of films starring three-time Academy Award winner Meryl Streep. A discussion follows each screening.

John Fowles’ acclaimed but complex novel is brilliantly adapted into parallel dramas, one entailing the 19th-century romance of Sarah Woodruff and Charles Smithson and the other tracking the modern-day affair between Mike and Anna – two actors playing Charles and Sarah in a filmed version of their story. Jeremy Irons stars as Mike and Charles. Streep earned an Oscar nomination Sarah/Anna. This title is Rated R and is recommended for adult audiences only.

Post-screening discussion led by psychoanalyst Sid Frieswyk and Jayson Quearry, adjunct instructor at the University of Missouri- Kansas City.

Friday, January 22, 2016
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

The Doo-Dads, a Kansas City-based band, have won a loyal following with its kid-cool, adult-friendly, rock- and-roll licks. Founder, lead singer, and songwriter Mike Niewald – aka Doo-Dad Mike – packs his solo performance with interactive, high-energy presentations featuring Doo-Dad favorites and other age-appropriate numbers. Appropriate for all ages.

Kansas City Public Library Beta