Previous Special Events

Tuesday, January 20, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Football’s evolution from sport to religion will be reconfirmed Feb. 1, 2015, when 85,000 fans in Glendale, Arizona, and a global TV audience of more than 100 million obsess over Super Bowl Sunday.

We love football so much that best-selling author Steve Almond says we’ve become blind to the fact that it simply isn’t good for us. Players suffer brain damage. Children and teenagers are susceptible to the same injuries and the same debilitating, long-term effects. Beyond that is a question of whether our addiction to football fosters a tolerance for violence, greed, racism, and homophobia.

Almond, who contributes to The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The Los Angeles Times, sits down with longtime Kansas City TV sports anchor (and former Villanova University football standout) Frank Boal for a conversation about Almond’s unflinching book about America’s most popular sport.


Friday, January 16, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Now in its 12th year of delivering science education programming to area children, Mad Science of Greater Kansas City dazzles and amuses its young audience with foggy, dry ice storms; giant beach balls floating in the air; and a special, Mad Science “burp potion” – all in the name of learning about chemical reactions, air pressure, and the states of matter.

Recommended for all ages.


Friday, January 16, 2015

Organizers of the 2014 Kansas City Digital Inclusion Summit — a first-of-its-kind event addressing troublesome gaps in residents’ access to computers and the Internet — return three months after that daylong gathering to deliver their official report.

The October summit examined trends, discussed challenges and opportunities, spotlighted current inclusion efforts, and shared best practices. Since then civic leaders and other individuals and organizations have been exploring ways to bridge Kansas City's digital divide by providing better Internet access and quality tech education.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

The story of the U.S. Marine Corps is one rich in history – of serving the nation from the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli, let alone the ability to survive in the political theater in Washington, D.C.

That history threads through the Civil War, where Marines exhibited a signature ability to adapt, innovate, and utilize critical thinking and reasoning to support the Union cause. Approaching the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Fort Fisher, a two-part, Marine-assisted Union assault on the last major coastal stronghold of the Confederacy, Wilburn “Bud” Meador of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Leavenworth discusses the Marines’ role throughout the war.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery has a unique mission among U.S. museums: to reveal biography and history through the portraits of the men and women who have had a decisive impact on American society from the country’s origins to the present day. From grand manner-style oil paintings to the latest video installation, Senior Historian David C. Ward gives a virtual tour of the Portrait Gallery’s collection, discussing the ways portraiture works both as an artistic statement and as a visual portal into past times and lives.

Additionally, National Portrait Gallery Director Kim Sajet outlines plans for the museum as it approaches its 50th anniversary and announces the latest addition to the America’s Presidents exhibition: a portrait of Harry S. Truman purchased with support from the William T. Kemper Foundation. A reproduction of the portrait, which will hang permanently in the Truman Forum, will be unveiled as part of the evening’s program.


Sunday, January 11, 2015
1:30pm @ Plaza Branch

The annual Searching the Psyche Through Cinema film series returns in January and February with screenings of movies starring the late Academy Award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. A discussion featuring experts in cinema and psychoanalysis follows each screening.

Hoffman won a best-actor Oscar for his brilliantly layered portrayal of author and social gadfly Truman Capote. Post-screening discussion led by psychoanalyst David Donovan and Tom Poe, associate professor of film and media arts at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.


Saturday, January 10, 2015
8:00pm @ Plaza Branch

The KC Keepers Chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance and Plaza Branch Teen Services Cordially Invite You to the Yule Ball, a Harry Potter themed Holiday Party!

There will be games, dancing, snacks, live music, and lots of Hogwarts Holiday Cheer. Proceeds from a silent auction of wizarding-world goodies will go to benefit reStart. Requested dress code is either semi-formal or ugly holiday sweater.


Sunday, January 4, 2015
2:00pm @ Plaza Branch

Coterie Theatre artists read from favorite children's books, while young audience members enjoy an opportunity to “jump into the story” – adding their own improvisation. Dramatic Story Times take place one Sunday every month at 2 p.m. throughout the 2014-2015 school year, beginning October 5th, 2014.

January's Selection:
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

Appropriate for all ages.


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Washburn University’s Tom Averill, an O. Henry Award winner, discusses his inventive new novel, which subtly evokes Charles Dickens’ Christmastime classic in telling the story of a small-college librarian in Topeka, Kansas, who’s fascinated by transition – among other things, from the Victorian age to the modern age. Her life, incidentally, is going through major change.

Averill is a professor of English and writer-in-residence at Washburn, and has written three other novels: rode, Secrets of the Tsil Café, and The Slow Air of Ewan MacPherson. He spoke at the Library in September 2013 as part of its Big Read initiative focusing on the classic Western novel True Grit.


Friday, December 12, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Enjoy holiday music with a percussive twist. Tri-Percussion Ensemble members John Currey, Mark Lowry, and Ray DeMarchi are joined by drummer Sam Wisman in celebrating Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, the Winter Solstice, and of course Christmas.

The festive program brings seasonal favorites to life on the marimba, vibraphone, glockenspiel, chimes, and an eclectic array of rhythmic percussion instruments including West African and Afro-Latin hand drums.

Appropriate for all ages.