Previous Special Events

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Mary Roach, designated as “America’s funniest science writer” by The Washington Post, takes us on a tour of the alimentary canal, that much-maligned tube from mouth to rear.

In a public conversation with Kaite Stover, the Library’s director of readers’ services, Roach will discuss her latest book and ask questions others fear: How much can you eat before your stomach bursts? Why doesn’t the stomach digest itself? Can wine tasters really tell a $10 bottle from a $100 bottle? Why is crunchy food so appealing? Can constipation kill you? Did it kill Elvis? She examines a pet food taste-test lab and delves into a live stomach to observe the fate of a meal.

Roach is the best-selling author of Stiff (about the human body after death), Bonk (the science of sex), and Spook (the afterlife).


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Kansas City author and Writers at Work series organizer Whitney Terrell conducts a public conversation with investigative reporter Christopher Leonard about his new book, the first-ever account of how a handful of companies have seized the nation’s meat supply. They raise meat prices for consumers, he maintains, while pushing down the price they pay to farmers and derailing efforts to improve the system.

Leonard is a former business reporter with the Associated Press and a fellow with the New America Foundation.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

For decades, the fictional world of superheroes was dominated by male characters. Wonder Woman was the only female with any real clout.

Filmmaker Kristy Guevara-Flanagan presents and leads a discussion of her feature documentary exploring the concept of heroic women from the birth of superheroes in the 1940s to the TV and big screen action blockbusters of today. Actresses Lynda (Wonder Woman) Carter and Lindsay (The Bionic Woman) Wagner, feminist Gloria Steinem, and punk rocker Kathleen Hanna are among those interviewed in the film.

Presented by the University of Missouri-Kansas City Women’s Center.


Monday, April 21, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

After months of contentious debate, the Missouri State Board of Education has finalized a plan to address the state’s unaccredited school districts. Squarely in its sights is the Kansas City, Missouri School District, which has been operating without state accreditation since 2012. Coupled with a school transfer law set to go into effect this summer, the impact on the beleaguered Kansas City district could be immense. But just as enormous is the ripple effect these two events could have on neighboring districts throughout the metro.

The implications of these developments are explored by KCPT-TV‘s Nick Haines and a panel of experts including Chris Nicastro, Missouri education commissioner; Stephen Green, superintendent of the Kansas City Public Schools; state Sen. David Pearce, chair of Missouri Senate Education Committee; John Martin, Missouri State Board of Education; and Missouri State Senator Jason Holsman.


Saturday, April 19, 2014
10:00am @ Central Library

Not sure how to work up a budget? How to teach your children to be money-savvy? When and how to start planning for retirement? The Kansas City Public Library is offering guidance on an array of personal finance issues.

This event features a dozen free educational sessions on topics ranging from smart budgeting to home buying, planning for college, estate planning, and improving your credit score. Participants can also sit down with a financial adviser and review free copies of their credit reports.

Money Smart Day is sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City as part of
Money Smart Month of Greater Kansas City.

The Library will waive up to $30 in overdue fines and fees for any Kansas City Public Library cardholder who attends one or more of these Money Smart Month events.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

What was termed the last Confederate funeral took place exactly 10 years ago — the burial of eight crew members of the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley. The 25-foot underwater craft was raised from the sea floor outside Charleston, South Carolina, a little more than 136 years after becoming the first sub to sink an enemy warship and then mysteriously going down itself.

The Hunley had exacted a heavy toll before that, seeing 13 crew members perish during training exercises and acquiring the nickname the Peripatetic Coffin.

Historian James L. Speicher, formerly a military science professor at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Leavenworth, recounts the alternately fascinating and tragic stories of the historic vessel and the lost souls who served her.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Does the 2008 financial collapse lie at least in part at journalists’ feet?

Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Dean Starkman, formerly of The Wall Street Journal, exposes the critical failure of America’s business press to cover the systemic corruption in the financial industry and other events leading up to the 2008 economic meltdown.

He maintains that deep cultural and structural shifts — some unavoidable, some self-inflicted — eroded journalism’s appetite for its role as watchdog, and the result was a deafening silence about questionable, even dishonest practices. Tragically, that silence grew more profound as the mortgage madness reached its apogee from 2004-06.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Join representatives from Crossroads Academy, the Downtown Council, and the Kansas City Public Library to mark the home stretch of the second full year of successful operations for Crossroads Academy, the academically rigorous, tuition-free, K-8 charter school in downtown Kansas City that uses the Central Library as its school library.

Following a breakfast buffet, the program features the premiere of a student-produced video about the Library, plus a song by students in the school’s new performing arts program, and includes remarks by Dean Johnson and Susan Maynor from Crossroads Academy, Bill Dietrich of the Downtown Council, and Library Director Crosby Kemper III.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The concept of genius is a bit cheapened today, invoked too easily in assessments of football coaches, rock musicians, and savvy market traders. But history’s true masterminds — the Michelangelos, da Vincis, Shakespeares, and Einsteins — still inspire awe and a hint of mystery, a sense that these men have had almost otherworldly power to divine the secrets of the universe, to create, even to destroy.

Darrin McMahon, the Ben Weider Professor of History at Florida State University, details their stories in a discussion of his book, the first comprehensive history of the elusive concept of genius and how it has evolved over the centuries.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Winner of the 1937 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, You Can’t Take It With You centers on the Sycamore family, whose members initially seem crazy. After spending a bit of time with these loveable eccentrics, however, audiences conclude that it’s the rest of the world that is mad. The plot centers on the Sycamore daughter’s betrothal to the son of respectable, stick-in-the-mud parents. Director Frank Capra turned the play into a hit film in 1938.

The Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre performs its eighth season of Script-in-Hand – a series of classic comedies called Exit Laughing.