Previous Special Events

Wednesday, March 12, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Some countries are so good at educating children that virtually all their youngsters can make complex arguments and solve complex problems. In other words, they are learning to think.

In her bestselling book, author Amanda Ripley, an investigative journalist for Time and The Atlantic, follows three young Americans who have opted to study in Finland, Poland, and South Korea — hotbeds of education where rigorous teaching, parental input, and eager students are revolutionizing learning.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The 1964 murder of Catherine “Kitty” Genovese has become a defining moment in American social history. Early reporting described how she was stabbed to death on the front stoop of her New York City home in full view of 38 neighbors who “didn’t want to get involved.”

Fifty years after that notorious crime, Kevin Cook argues in his new book that much of what we think we know about the incident is just plain wrong.

Sunday, March 9, 2014
1:30pm @ Plaza Branch

John Ford’s The Grapes of Wrath spends two hours rubbing our noses in poverty and economic exploitation, yet somehow sends us off with hope-filled hearts. Cinematographer Gregg Toland (his next job would be Citizen Kane for Orson Welles) shot the film like a WPA documentary. His black-and-white images are utterly realistic yet achingly beautiful. And the performances from Jane Darwell (who won an Oscar) and Henry Fonda – who in Tom Joad found the greatest character of his storied career – are quietly spectacular.

Movies That Matter – The Sequel continues with screenings of great films with opening and closing remarks by former Kansas City Star film critic Robert W. Butler (now a member of the Library’s Public Affairs staff).

Saturday, March 8, 2014

After spending the past two weeks as local and national celebrities — saluted on the editorial page of The Kansas City Star and celebrated on the set of television’s Good Morning AmericaSophia Hoffman and Kush Sharma get back to what they do best. Spell.

Friday, March 7, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Join a musical safari! Meet different African animals whose names are set to rhythm. Then pick up a percussion instrument and let the jungle jam begin!

As the rhythms of the animals blend an exciting sense of community begins to develop – along with a lot of fun.

Appropriate for all ages.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Decades before Oprah, Dr. Phil, and today’s innumerable gurus peddling surefire plans for bettering ourselves, Missourian Dale Carnegie started the self-help revolution with his worldwide best seller How to Win Friends and Influence People. Life magazine named Carnegie one of its “100 most important Americans of the 20th Century.”

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Angela Elam of New Letters on the Air, aired locally on KCUR 89.3 FM, holds a public conversation with author and Independence resident Maija Rhee Devine about her new novel The Voices of Heaven. It follows the arranged marriage of a Korean couple from the final years of the Japanese occupation through the Korean War and into the economically advanced, high-tech South Korea of today.

Winner of an Emily Dickinson Poetry Award, Devine is working on a book of poems about Korean women forced to provide sexual services to Japanese troops. She is a survivor of the Korean War.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Due to a quirk in the calendar in the year 1849, one school of thought contends that Missourian David Rice Atchison deserves to be considered the 12th president of the United States. His “term of office” lasted just 24 hours — most of which he slept through — and took place 165 years ago today.

On Sunday, March 4, 1849, Atchison was serving as president pro tempore of the senate, then third in line for succession to the presidency. Because James K. Polk’s term ended at noon on that day and Zachary Taylor didn’t take the oath of office until noon the next day, Atchison technically may have been the chief magistrate of the land during that interim period.

Chris Taylor, executive director of the Atchison County Historical Society and the world’s smallest unofficial presidential library, offers a whimsical and educational review of Atchison’s brief administration.

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

This event has been canceled due to inclement weather.

Coterie Theatre Artists read from favorite children's books while the audience enjoys an opportunity to "jump into the story" and participate in an improvised story of their own making.

Appropriate for all ages, Dramatic Story Time programs take place one Sunday each month at 2 p.m. throughout the 2013-2014 school year, beginning October 6, 2013.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Bayard Rustin helped shape Martin Luther King Jr., and organized the historic 1963 March on Washington. Now his life partner Walter Naegle discusses Rustin’s vision, explains why his ideas are still relevant , and introduces a screening of the documentary Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin.