Previous Special Events

All Library locations will be closed on Sunday, April 20, in observance of the Easter holiday.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Though far from the fashion center of New York, Kansas City once boasted a large, vibrant garment manufacturing industry. During its heyday in the early-to-mid twentieth century more than 4,000 workers were engaged in the business, and one in seven American women owned a garment designed and made in Kansas City.

Ann Brownfield, curator of the Kansas City Garment District Museum, examines this important piece of local industry in a discussion of her new book We Were Hanging by a Thread.


Saturday, September 14, 2013
1:00pm @ Plaza Branch

This event has been cancelled due to scheduling conflicts.


Thursday, September 12, 2013
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Jeffrey Frank discusses his new book Ike and Dick, which examines the 20-year political and private relationship of Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon to reveal hurtful slights and tense misunderstandings. The two men brought out the best and worst in each other, and their association had important consequences for their respective presidencies.

Frank is a former senior editor at The New Yorker and deputy editor of The Washington Post’s Outlook section. He is the author of four novels, including the Washington Trilogy - The Columnist, Bad Publicity, and Trudy Hopedale.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The need to understand China has never been more pressing, yet the complexity of this ever-transforming giant doesn’t make that easy.

China expert Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom provides answers to the most urgent questions regarding the world’s newest superpower in a discussion of his book China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know. Wasserstrom is Chancellor’s Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Theodore Roosevelt was one of the major figures in America’s Progressive movement in the early 20th century. But key to his influence was the support of Kansas City Star publisher William Rockhill Nelson. Historian Lewis L. Gould maintains that Nelson played a larger role in Roosevelt’s political fortunes than has been realized.

Gould is visiting distinguished professor of history at Monmouth College. Among his books are Theodore Roosevelt, The William Howard Taft Presidency, and The Modern American Presidency.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Built in 1942 in Johnson County, Kansas, the Sunflower Ordnance Works quickly became the world’s largest producer of rocket propellant, an essential part of America’s “Arsenal of Democracy” during World War II.

Anne Jones, curator of collections at the Johnson County Museum, and Matt Gilligan, the museum’s curator of interpretation, examine the plant’s long history as part of the defense industry, as well as the many ideas – like a Land of Oz theme park – proposed to use the space when the property’s military role ended in 1992.


Friday, September 6, 2013
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Enjoy an evening of traditional and contemporary folk songs as Adam Miller performs his Singing Through History program. Miller is one of the premier autoharpists in the world and a natural-born American folksinger and storyteller. His performances at festivals and concert halls across the United States have won him fans of all ages. Miller is masterful entertainer who never fails to get his audience singing along.

Admission is free. Appropriate for all ages.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Writer Norma Cantú, internationally known scholar of Latino and Chicano literature and studies, reads from her book Canicula: Snapshots of a Girlhood en la Frontera, a chronicle of life on the U.S.-Mexico border. She will also read from her poetry book manuscript Meditacion Fronteriza/Borderlands Meditation and from her novel-in-progress, tentatively titled Champú or Hair Matters.

Formerly a professor of English at the University of Texas at San Antonio, Cantú recently joined the UMKC Department of English and the Latina/Latino Studies Program. Her areas of interest and research include border studies, cultural studies, feminist studies, and folklore.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Long before the Civil War began violence was commonplace along the Missouri-Kansas border. There a recurring cycle of robbery, arson, torture, murder, and revenge was established over the same issues that would fuel the larger conflict.

Jonathan Earle, associate professor of history at the University of Kansas, and Diane Mutti Burke, associate professor of history at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, are editors of the new book Bleeding Kansas, Bleeding Missouri. They are joined by contributing writers Kristen Oertel of the University of Tulsa, Jennifer Weber of the University of Kansas, and Jeremy Neely of Missouri State University for a discussion that blends political, military, social, and intellectual history to explain why the region’s divisiveness was so bitter and persisted for so long.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

When police in Ohio raided Dollree Mapp’s home looking for evidence in a bombing, all they found were some “lascivious books.” Mapp appealed her pornography conviction, leading the Supreme Court under Earl Warren to address not only the search-and-seizure question but also the “exclusionary rule” concerning the use of evidence not specified in a search warrant.

Carolyn N. Long is associate professor of political science at Washington State University – Vancouver.