Previous Special Events

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Sandra Moran’s first novel, Letters Never Sent, resonated deeply in the LGBT community when it was released a little more than a year ago.

She discusses her story of three women, united by love and kinship and struggling to conform to the social norms of their times, which won 2013 Rainbow Awards for best lesbian historical romance and best lesbian debut novel. This year, it earned the Golden Crown Literary Society’s General Fiction Award and Ann Bannon Popular Choice Award.

An assistant adjunct professor of anthropology at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Moran previously worked as a reporter for The Topeka Capital-Journal and on the staff of Kansas Gov. Bill Graves.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The United States remains the world’s pacesetter in science. The origins of many of its breakthroughs may surprise you, however. A sizable number of pioneering scientists were “outsiders,” emerging from undergraduate institutions of only modest scientific renown.

That outsider’s status, the University of Wisconsin’s J. Rogers Hollingsworth says, fosters an entrepreneurial spirit that feeds creativity. A professor emeritus of history and sociology Wisconsin, he discusses his analysis of the institutions and scientists associated with major discoveries of the past century.

Hollingsworth is currently a visiting scholar at the BioCircuits Institute at the University of California, San Diego and is a former senior scholar with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The event is co-presented by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Established in 1857, Union Cemetery is the oldest public cemetery in Kansas City. Buried there are early pioneers, veterans, and others who have left lasting and unique legacies. Judy King and Bruce Mathews – along with other civic-minded contributors to their book, Kansas City’s Historic Union Cemetery: Lessons for the Future from the Garden of Time – present poignant recollections of people now interred there whose hard work and persistence helped push the nation’s move west while strengthening social equality.

This Veterans Day event underscores the value of preserving the cemetery and the history it encompasses, and serves as the launch of the new book.

A 6 p.m. reception precedes this event.

Sunday, November 9, 2014
2:00pm @ Plaza Branch

Despite their country’s institutionalized prejudice, hundreds of thousands of African Americans fought in the U.S. military during World War I. They manned two combat divisions, one of them the 92nd Infantry Division popularly known as the Buffalo Soldiers.

Besides fighting Germans “like devils from hell,” members had to deal with racism, character assassination and the myth that they were “subhuman.”

Joelouis Mattox, a frequent Library speaker, discusses the role of African Americans in World War I, focusing on the 92nd Division. Mattox is the historian for the American Legion’s Wayne Miner Post 149, named for the Kansas City serviceman who served in the 92nd. Miner was one of the last Americans killed in World War I in 1918.

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

The 15th Annual Kansas City Storytelling Celebration offers folk tales, multicultural stories, and animal stories, songs, and rhymes.

Opening the evening is a Friday Night Family Fun concert at 6:30 p.m. in the Kids’ Corner with LaRita Wright and Rosie Best-Cutrer. All ages are welcome.

It’s followed by a ghost-tales session at 7 p.m. in the Truman Forum Auditorium featuring four visiting storytellers: Lyn Ford, known for her “Affrilachian” tales; singing storyteller Anthony Clark; bilingual Carrie Sue Ayvar; and Antonio Rocha, a native Brazilian whose career spans nearly three decades and six continents. Appropriate for ages 13 and up.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Kansas City author and Writers at Work series organizer Whitney Terrell sits down with one of the country’s most accomplished novelists, Jayne Anne Phillips, for a public conversation about her mesmerizing 2013 book based on the real-life murder of a lonely widow and her 14-, 12-, and 9-year-old children. Stephen King hailed it as “the novel of the year.”

Phillips, a professor of English and director of the MFA program at Rutgers University-Newark, grew up near the scene of the 1931 crime in Quiet Dell, West Virginia. She took an In Cold Blood approach to the story, using real names and details of the case and filling in the characters’ thoughts, perceptions, and relationships.

Co-sponsored by the Writers at Work Roundtable and the UMKC English Department.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

His approval rating low and his own party disenchanted, Harry Truman had the look of a one-term president — unlikely to win a return to office — in the summer of 1948. With ingenuity born of desperation, his aides hit upon a plan: Take to the rails, crisscrossing the country and putting Truman in front of as many voters as possible.

Philip White, a guest lecturer at MidAmerica Nazarene University, recalls the remarkable journey in a discussion of his new book Whistle Stop: How 31,000 Miles of Train Travel, 352 Speeches, and a Little Midwest Gumption Saved the Presidency of Harry Truman. The trek, of course, ended with an election-day upset of Republican Thomas E. Dewey.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Caitlin Doughty is out to change the way we deal with dying.

Founder of the Order of the Good Death, a web forum promoting the open discussion of death, and host of the wry and popular web series Ask a Mortician, the 30-year-old Los Angeles funeral director sits down for a public conversation with Kaite Stover, the Library’s director of readers’ services, about U.S. attitudes toward death and death practices.

Doughty’s appearance coincides with the release of her first book, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory, both a witty memoir and an eye-opening examination of the American way of death. It was The Kansas City Star’s FYI Book Club selection in September.

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

Coterie Theatre artists read from favorite children's books, while young audience members enjoy an opportunity to “jump into the story” – adding their own improvisation. Dramatic Story Times take place one Sunday every month at 2 p.m. throughout the 2014-2015 school year, beginning October 5th, 2014.

November's Selection:
The Night the Scary Beasties Popped Out of My Head by Daniel & David Kamish

Appropriate for all ages.

Friday, October 31, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

If trick-or-treating isn’t your thing, join us a screening of Tim Burton’s 1993 classic animated film.

Bored with the same old scare-and-scream routine, Jack Skellington – the Pumpkin King – longs to spread the joy of Christmas. But his merry mission puts Santa in jeopardy and creates a nightmare for good little boys and girls everywhere.

Rated PG, the movie is recommended for ages 8 and up.

Kansas City Public Library Beta