Previous Special Events

Sunday, October 9, 2011

On May 22, 2011, a massive EF-5 tornado devastated Joplin, Missouri, killing 159 people and injuring countless others.

Reporters Eric Adler and Laura Bauer of The Kansas City Star discuss Joplin 5:41, a new book chronicling the newspaper’s coverage of the devastating tornado.

The book celebrates the heroic efforts of Joplin residents and the thousands of volunteers who rushed to the scene to begin the healing. All royalties from sales of the book go to the Joplin Recovery Fund.

Sunday, October 9, 2011
2:00pm @ Plaza Branch

The Hindu and the Cowboy, produced by the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre, is a one-act play inspired by stories of area residents, giving voice to people while bringing forward the experiences that shaped their lives.

The play follows the lives of a Muslim student and his reaction to post-9/11 hatred, a Shawnee cowboy and his grasp on family prairie land, and a Jewish woman and her daring act at Auschwitz.

Co-sponsored by Saint Andrew Christian Church and the Kansas City Festival of Faiths.

Friday, October 7, 2011
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

The 2011 Big Read and Kansas City Ballet present a night of classic games from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

Cast members from the Ballet’s performance of Tom Sawyer teach children how to play the classic games.

The event is appropriate for all ages.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Central Standard, the award-winning KCUR morning program, hosts a variety show to commemorate the one year anniversary of its inception.

Since replacing the legendary Walt Bodine Show Monday-Thursday at 10 a.m. beginning in October 2010, Central Standard host Jabulani Leffall and producer Andrea Silenzi have rapidly developed a strong, eclectic following in the area by exploring the different worlds within Kansas City.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Faced with a divided nation, Abraham Lincoln deemed the loyalty of the border slave states crucial to the preservation of the Union. But while most scholars contend that these states were secure by the end of 1861, award-winning historian William C. Harris argues in Lincoln and the Border States: Preserving the Union, that Confederate campaigns and guerrilla activities kept the region in constant turmoil, and that those states preoccupied Lincoln throughout the war.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

American Library Association President Molly Raphael explains why current social and economic conditions are forcing libraries of all types to change rapidly in order to survive.

How can libraries be positioned not just to survive but to thrive? What difficult choices will have to be made in the next few years so that patrons continue to value the services libraries provide? How can libraries ensure that they are seen as both essential for learning and for life in the communities they serve?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Brian Selznick, creator of The Invention of Hugo Cabret, a Caldecott Medal winner, presents his newest novel, Wonderstruck. This event is part of Turning the Page: Building a Community of Readers campaign to benefit Joplin Missouri schools. A percentage of the evening’s book sales will be donated to the campaign.

RSVP online at or pick up a free ticket from Reading Reptile.

Co-sponsored by Reading Reptile.

No audio or video recording of Brian Selznick’s presentation will be permitted.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The annexation of the Philippines by the United States was a contentious issue at the turn of the last century. Supporters of annexation called the notion “benevolent assimilation,” while Mark Twain – interested by the racial and religious ideologies circulating amid the national debate – called it “hogwash” and “pious hypocrisy.”

KU professor Susan Harris examines a rarely seen political side of Twain, whose questions about America’s role in the world remain as relevant in 2011 as they were in 1900.

This presentation is a part of The Big Read.

Monday, October 3, 2011

In the six months since choosing Kansas City as a test market for its new fiber-optic network, Google has asked for community input in planning how this technology will be used.

Sunday, October 2, 2011
2:00pm @ Plaza Branch

You have read and perhaps even re-read the Mark Twain classic – now watch this compelling film adaptation – MGM’s musical Tom Sawyer (1973), starring Johnny Whitaker and Jodie Foster and filmed almost entirely on location in Missouri. Join Big Read discussion facilitator Kaite Stover for a lively conversation comparing the written word to its dramatic interpretation. Participants are encouraged (but not required) to read the source novel prior to attending the film screening.

Kansas City Public Library Beta