Previous Special Events

Sunday, March 23, 2014

After the deaths in the early 1950s of botanist T.J. Fitzpatrick and his wife, a treasure trove of rare books was found in their modest home in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Retired KCPL librarian Sherrie Smith traces the strange history of these early 20th century “hoarders,” who amassed a fabulous collection of rare books, pamphlets, and Western Americana. In 1953, Missouri Valley Special Collections purchased more than 20,000 items from the Fitzpatrick estate.

Smith spent several years working with the Fitzpatrick collection, especially its extensive Mormon collection and Lewis & Clark volumes.

Friday, March 21, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Calling all future engineers ... or just any youngster who loves to build! Join the LEARN Science and Math Club for an evening of fun with LEGOS! LEARN will provide the bricks; you provide the imagination.

LEARN Science and Math Club provides rich science and math experiences through the use of robotics and engineering projects, fostering kids’ collaboration and communication skills.

Appropriate for all ages.

Thursday, March 20, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

For nearly a half-century, Eric Mann has worked on anti-war, labor, and environmental causes. He looks at how race, labor, and immigration are reshaping the political and social lives of our urban areas. And he talks of forging coalitions, nurturing inclusion, seeding innovation, salvaging identity, and building community.

Mann is director of the Labor/Community Strategy Center in Los Angeles, a “think tank/act tank” that trains organizers to work for “environmental justice, mass transportation, and civil rights.”

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Rachel Cantor helps local readers escape the winter blahs with a discussion of her debut novel, A Highly Unlikely Scenario, or a Neetsa Pizza Employee’s Guide to Saving the World. Cantor, whose résumé includes an Italian childhood, French jazz festivals, and Australian food festivals, dishes up an uproarious tale of Leonard, who operates a pizza chain complaint hotline and finds himself inundated with medieval Kabbalists, rare book librarians, and latter-day Baconians.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The U.S. government is disintegrating … and that’s a good thing, according to National Review contributor Kevin Williamson, whose new book sees innovative solutions to various social problems emerging from the failure of politics and government.

Politics, he argues, cannot deal with crucial problems in education, health care, social security, and monetary policy. Meanwhile, those who don’t look to the state for goods and services — from home schoolers to Wall Street to organized crime — are experimenting with replacing the state’s outmoded social software with market-derived alternatives.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Best-selling urban fiction author ReShonda Tate Billingsley discusses and reads from her new novel (written with Victoria Christopher Murray) about the rival wives of Baptist preachers who team up for a reality TV show that will expose their lives in uncomfortable detail. Fortune & Fame reunites the fictional Rachel Jackson Adams and Jasmine Larson Bush, heroines of previous best sellers Sinners and Saints and Friends & Foes.

The author of almost two dozen books for adults and teens, Billingsley is a five-time winner of the National Association of Black Journalists Spirit in the Words competition.

Sunday, March 16, 2014
2:00pm @ Plaza Branch

Barry’s 1939 comedy—about a ditzy socialite whose wedding plans are complicated by the simultaneous arrival of her ex-husband and a newspaper reporter—was written specifically for Katharine Hepburn, and became her first great triumph after a number of commercial failures. It subsequently became a hugely popular film starring Hepburn and Cary Grant, and was the source of the musical High Society.

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

Saturday, March 15, 2014
2:00pm @ Plaza Branch

In the years after emancipation, many African Americans remained in virtual slavery through such insidious practices as prison labor and sharecropping. This documentary, nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, exposes a brutal system that would persist until the onset of World War II.

Randal M. Jelks, associate professor of American Studies with a joint appointment in African and African American Studies at the University of Kansas, provides opening and closing remarks.

Friday, March 14, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Get your game on! Board games are a great way for families to relax together, bond, and learn along the way. Join Plaza staff members in the Kid Corner for an evening of Sorry, Jenga, Boggle, or new favorites like Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Cheese Touch.

We will have games for all ages, so bring the whole family and get ready to PLAY!

Appropriate for all ages.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Despite a Union advantage in men and resources, the Confederates dominated in the early months of the Civil War. Only one federal general seemed to have the will and skill to beat them: Ulysses S. Grant.

The U.S. Army Command and General Staff College’s Ethan S. Rafuse analyzes Grant’s personality, the factors that led to his rise to supreme commander, his military strategies, and the operations he personally directed in 1863-64 against the North’s most dangerous foe, Robert E. Lee.