Previous Special Events

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

Wednesday, July 31, 2013
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Over decades, Mexican film producer Jacque Gelman and his wife, Natasha Gelman, built one of the world’s most significant private collections of Mexican art.

Now the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art’s Stephanie Fox Knappe explores their treasure trove in a talk complementing the museum’s exhibit Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Masterpieces of Modern Mexico from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection on display through August 18, 2013.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Library director Crosby Kemper III holds a public conversation with NCTQ President Kate Walsh about the recently released Teacher Prep Review: A Review of the Nation’s Teacher Prep Programs.

Once the world leader in education, the United States has slipped well into the middle of the pack. While there is no shortage of causes for America’s educational decline - budget cutbacks, poverty, crowded classrooms, and shorter school years – a prime culprit is teacher education, according to a major new study by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ).


Sunday, July 28, 2013
2:00pm @ Plaza Branch

Bev Chapman screens and discusses her new documentary about Nawang Gombu, who became the first man to twice scale Mount Everest, pioneered a safer style of mountaineering in the Himalayas, and became a champion of Sherpa culture.

Heart of a Tiger was filmed in Colorado, Washington state, California, Switzerland, Austria, and India, and features early mountaineers like Jim Whittaker, “Bull” Kumar, and Jim Wickwire.

Chapman was for 26 years a reporter for KMBC-TV. She retired in 2010.


Friday, July 26, 2013
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

The trio of Mark Lowry, Raymond DeMarchi, and John Currey present a variety of musical styles performed on percussion instruments from all over the globe.

Appropriate for all ages.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

As the man behind Communism, Karl Marx has been revered as a prophet and blamed for some of the darkest atrocities of modern times. In his new biography of Marx, Jonathan Sperber challenges many of our misconceptions about this political firebrand-turned-London-émigré-journalist, presenting Marx’s personal story within the larger historical stage of a European continent roiling with political and social unrest.

Sperber is the Curators’ Professor of History at the University of Missouri.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Homer Plessy—a man of seven-eighths Caucasian descent and one-eighth African descent who was nevertheless considered black under Louisiana law—boarded a train car reserved for whites and was promptly arrested. Hearing the appeal of his conviction, the U.S. Supreme Court in 1896 upheld the Louisiana statute, thus ushering in a half-century of legally sanctioned segregation under the "separate but equal" doctrine.

Williamjames Hull Hoffer examines that controversial decision and its repercussions in a discussion of his book about the landmark case. Hoffer is associate professor of history at Seton Hall University.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Arguments may ensue on the merits of individual barbecue joints, but no one disputes the extent that the “culture” of B-B-Q has helped define everyday life in Kansas City.

Local filmmakers Kevin Fossland and Martin Diggs are currently filming The Kansas City Barbecue Documentary, which chronicles the city’s cherished barbecue culture. They will share their initial findings and conversations with the people behind the countless competitions, secret sauce, and elaborate tailgating parties.


Sunday, July 21, 2013
2:00pm @ Plaza Branch

The 2013 Kansas City Architecture Series examines how historic buildings in Kansas City’s downtown area have been repurposed and given new life.

For the first program Annette Thomas, member of the Historic Kansas City Foundation, discusses the transformation of the old Kansas City Public Library (1897-1960) on 9th Street into the Ozark National Life Insurance Building. This was the topic of her 1997 master’s thesis at UMKC.


Friday, July 19, 2013

Part of the 2013 Off-the-Wall Film Series featuring comedies starring Kansas City native Paul Rudd. Rudd shot into the comedy stratosphere playing Peter, a painfully uncool guy desperate to strike up a friendship with the hip Sydney (Jason Segal). The film was noteworthy for Rudd’s off-the-charts comedy improvisations. With Rashida Jones. This title is recommended for adult audiences only.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Military historian Terry Beckenbaugh examines the failed 1863 attack on the Confederacy’s Fort Wagner on Charleston Harbor – an incident that provided further evidence to both the North and South that African-American troops were ready to fight and die for the Union cause.

Beckenbaugh is an assistant professor in the Department of Military History at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.

Co-sponsored by the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Foundation.