Previous Special Events

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Like her older brother, Benjamin, Jane Franklin was a passionate reader, a gifted writer, and a shrewd political observer. While he was rich and famous, she was poor and obscure. Yet Jane was a constant presence and influence in her brother’s life—in fact, Benjamin Franklin wrote more letters to her than to any other individual.

Historian Jill Lepore explores this extraordinary, overlooked life in a discussion of her new book Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin.

Lepore is the David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History at Harvard University and a staff writer at The New Yorker.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Martin Espada, widely recognized as “the Latino poet of his generation,” joins Angela Elam from New Letters on the Air for a reading and discussion based on his most recent collection of poems, The Trouble Ball, winner of the Milt Kessler Award, a Massachusetts Book Award, and an International Latino Book Award.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

In a 2007 college football season filled with unfathomable twists and turns, Missouri and Kansas—unranked at the start of the season—kept winning, setting up the biggest game ever played in the oldest rivalry west of the Mississippi. The winner would be ranked No. 1 in the nation.


Monday, October 21, 2013
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

In Gryphon, his career-spanning collection of short stories, author Charles Baxter offers yarns in which our acutely observed reality is rocked by the exotic, the surreal, and by Baxter’s comic-melancholic world view.

Now Baxter—whose novel The Feast of Love was a National Book Award finalist and became a feature film starring Morgan Freeman and Greg Kinnear—holds a discussion about his work with New Letters on the Air host Angela Elam.


Sunday, October 20, 2013


American West specialist Jim Hoy provides an insider’s look at the Library’s exhibit What True Grit (Might Have) Looked Like: The Photographs of F.M. Steele (on display through December 1, 2013). Shot on the open ranges of Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma, these photographs provide insight into how cowboys worked and played.

Hoy is a professor of English and director of the Center for Great Plains Studies at Emporia State University, where he specializes in Medieval English literature and literature of the American West.


Friday, October 18, 2013
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Children's books come alive with music from the Fine Arts Chorale! Celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Caldecott Medal with this program filled with stories and music.

After reading excerpts from award-winning children’s books, music director and conductor Terri Teal leads the Chorale in music inspired by the literature.

The Fine Arts Chorale has been part of the Kansas City musical community since 1972.

Appropriate for all ages.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Competition between Kansas and Missouri goes back to the years before the Civil War, when Jayhawkers and “border ruffians” battled over the issue of slavery. But in recent years the “border war” has taken on economic implications, with both states launching initiatives and introducing legislation to entice businesses to jump across the state line.

Is this poaching of jobs and industries healthy or harmful? A panel of experts examine the history and impact of this conflict and discuss what—if anything—should be done about it.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Time magazine editor-at-large David Von Drehle holds a public conversation with Washington Post reporter David Finkel on the Aftermath of the Long War, the fourth offering of the Dateline: Washington series.

Finkel was embedded with an infantry combat team in Iraq—an experience that resulted in his book The Good Soldiers. He followed those soldiers once they returned to the States, resulting in a second volume, the just-published Thank You for Your Service.

Finkel, a 2012 MacArthur Fellow, won a Pulitzer Prize in 2006 for his reporting on U.S.-funded democracy efforts in Yemen.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Author-educator Herbert Alan Johnson explains how a lawsuit over a steamboat monopoly ultimately led to Congress gaining the power to regulate interstate commerce. Johnson is distinguished professor emeritus of law at the University of South Carolina.

Legal Landmarks is co-presented by the Kansas City Public Library, the Truman Library Institute, and the Federal Court Historical Society. The series is funded by grants from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Legacy Fund with additional support provided by Spencer Fane Britt & Browne LLP and co-sponsored by the University Press of Kansas and the University of Kansas School of Law.


Friday, October 11, 2013
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

With a background in children’s literature plus a Grammy nomination for his kids’ songs, Zak Morgan brings all of his life experiences and a simple delight in words and music to his live performances.

Morgan’s celebration of wordplay and humorous storytelling are typical of his songwriting. Morgan aims to inspire his listeners to enjoy learning for its own sake while providing nonstop entertainment

Appropriate for all ages.