Previous Special Events

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

2015 commemorates not only the 125th anniversary of the birth of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, but also the U.S. Census Bureau’s declaration that the American frontier had closed. As historian Tim Rives explains, these two events are not unrelated.

Like other progressives of his generation, Eisenhower saw the extinction of the frontier as the end of the first phase of American history, and the beginning of a new age in which the federal government would replace the lost reservoir of free land and abundant resources with economic cooperation and individual security through social programs. More than any other single factor, Eisenhower’s interpretation of the vanished frontier is what distinguishes his “Middle Way” political philosophy from the conservative wing of the Republican Party he led through two terms as a president.

Tim Rives is the deputy director and supervisory archivist of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum and Boyhood Home in Abilene, Kansas.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Kansas City’s Green Duck Tavern, at 26th Street and Prospect Avenue, was once an unassuming seat of power, owned by politician and civil rights activist Leon Jordan and a place for him and other leaders of the political organization Freedom, Inc., to map out strategy. A recent addition to the Kansas City Register of Historic Places, it also is where Jordan was gunned down gangland-style one early morning in 1970.

Joelouis Mattox, who serves as historian for the city’s Historic Preservation Commission, discusses the Green Duck and other notable places in KC with … um, checkered reputations. Also among them: the Castle Theater at 12th and Paseo; the Rhythm Lanes Skating Rink, Ray’s Golden Lounge, and Inferno Lounge on Troost; the Carver Theater and the Linwood Theater, both on Prospect; and Party House and the Log Cabin Lounge, both on 31st.

Saturday, October 10, 2015
11:00am @ Plaza Branch

Film director Debra Granik introduced Ronnie “Stray Dog” Hall to a national audience in the Academy Award-nominated Winter’s Bone, in which she cast the real-life Missouri biker as drug supplier Thump. Granik was so taken with Hall’s personal story — behind the tattoos and leather vest is a decent, tender-hearted man troubled by his time in Vietnam but devoted to helping his immigrant family and fellow veterans — that she made him the subject of her new documentary Stray Dog.

The acclaimed doc kicks off a series of monthly films at the Library as part of the PBS-backed Indie Lens Pop-Up community cinema initiative. Hall, Stray Dog’s star, is featured in a subsequent discussion of the social issues it spotlights.

Friday, October 9, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Celebrate Alice’s 150th birthday at a Mad Hatter tea and birthday party. Come in an outlandish hat or make your own. Crafts, games, snacks, and other silly fun suitable for all ages.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The life stories of Langston Hughes, Jean Toomer, Arna Bontemps, and other luminaries of the Harlem Renaissance extended well west of New York City. Hughes, for example, was raised in Kansas, and his move to Mexico opened a window on African Americans’ transnational experiences. Toomer’s interaction with a multi-national, multi-racial population in Taos, New Mexico, buttressed his notion of a “new American race.”

Emily Lutenski, an assistant professor of American studies at Saint Louis University, offers a newly nuanced look at the roots and influences of these key literary figures in a discussion of her book West of Harlem: African American Writers and the Borderlands.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The latest installment of the Library’s Real/Modern series features a conversation with local fashion experts about topics ranging from Kansas City’s style scene to new industry innovations. How do designers take their creations from concept to closets? Can a well-designed outfit impact personal and professional empowerment? How are creative types looking beyond the runway to incorporate technology into their work or their business?

Monday, October 5, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert B. Reich worries that America’s economic recovery is bypassing most Americans. Adjusted for inflation, median hourly and weekly pay has dropped over the past year. Since the depths of the Great Recession in 2009, median household income has fallen nearly 4.5 percent. Well-funded special interests have been allowed to tilt the market to their benefit, shrinking the middle class and creating the greatest income inequality and wealth disparity in 80 years.

In a discussion of his new book, Reich examines how the economic system that helped make our country strong is now failing us. And he lays out what’s needed to fix it. Many of today’s workers aren’t paid what they’re worth. A higher minimum wage doesn’t equal fewer jobs. And corporations needn’t serve shareholders before employees.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Two years after their first performance together, Kansas City-area soprano Jayne Siemens and baritone Thomas Dreeze rejoin pianist Ellen Sommer to celebrate the ardent Hispanic spirit as expressed in music from European classical traditions and contemporary American songs.

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

Coterie Theatre artists read from Aaron Reynolds’ Caldecott Medal-winning book about Jasper Rabbit and his discovery that the scariest vegetables of all — in his case, carrots — are the ones that follow you home. Young audience members can “jump into the story,” adding their own improvisation. Appropriate for all ages.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Location: City Market, 400 Grand St.

Join us on the first Saturday of every month (June–October) as the Friends of the Kansas City Public Library present the eighth annual City Market Summer Book Sale, from 9 a.m.–2 p.m. At the City Market, 400 Grand St. - North Walkway next to the Steamboat Arabia. For additional information, contact, or call 816.701.3468.

Kansas City Public Library Beta