Previous Special Events

Thursday, February 26, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Harry S. Truman’s relationship with Canada has received limited attention from historians. But the 33rd president’s appreciation for our “good neighbor to the north” resulted in significant political and economic advances on both sides of the border while fostering an alliance that underpinned America’s global engagement.

Approaching the 70th anniversary of Truman’s move into the White House in April 1945, Roy Norton — the new Canadian consul general to Illinois, Missouri, and Wisconsin — discusses key elements from the period 1945-53 that saw Canada attain its ongoing status as America’s best customer and closest ally.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Kansas City novelist and Writers at Work series organizer Whitney Terrell sits down with author Elizabeth Gaffney for a public conversation about her new book and the New York-based literary magazine A Public Space, for which she is editor-at-large.

When the World Was Young, her second novel, follows the country’s changing physical and emotional landscape after World War II through the eyes and experiences of a girl growing up in the author’s hometown of Brooklyn, New York.

Joining Gaffney and Terrell is April Wolfe, one of three inaugural winners of Emerging Writer Fellowships from A Public Place (and once a former semipro wrestler). She discusses her work in fiction and poetry and role in writing and directing two short films.

The event is co-sponsored by the Writers at Work Roundtable and the UMKC English Department.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The latest installment of the Library’s Emmy Award-winning series, Meet the Past with Crosby Kemper III, spotlights one of the preeminent figures in 20th century African American literature, Zora Neale Hurston.

Kemper, the Library’s director, holds a public conversation with Hurston as portrayed by longtime Johnson County Community College professor Carmaletta Williams. The presentation will be taped by KCPT-TV for later broadcast.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

The Kansas City Public Library, The Black Archives of Mid-America, and UMKC's Black Studies Program are working in partnership to present the Black History Month Book-to-Film Series Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the month of February.

Halle Berry gives a towering performance in this made-for-television adaptation of Zora Neal Hurston’s classic novel about a free-spirited woman and her search for happiness amid several marriages and the challenges of small-town morals. Made for TV, 113 minutes.

Discussion leader: Veronica Wilson-Tagoe, teaching professor of black studies, UMKC.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015
10:00am @ Waldo Branch

Through storytelling and song, vocalist and cultural historian Brother John helps young audience members explore the hidden, coded meanings and messages of classic spirituals and folk tunes used by Underground Railroad conductors in spiriting fugitive slaves to freedom.

Recommended for ages 5 and older.


Sunday, February 22, 2015
2:00pm @ Waldo Branch

Join Bernard Norcott-Mahany and friends in an afternoon of stories and songs about “love gone wrong,” part of the Library’s Adult Winter Reading Program themed Love on the Rocks. The annual, two-month event spotlights books about broken hearts, bad romances, and the unfortunate reality that not every fairy tale ends happily ever after.

Norcott-Mahany, a senior technical assistant at the Library’s L.H. Bluford Branch, is accompanied by a cast of local actors and entertainers in staging scenes of ill-fated romance from Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Homer’s Odyssey, James Thurber’s short story “A Couple of Hamburgers,” and other familiar works. Mournful ballads and classic, lovelorn blues songs intersperse the performances.


Sunday, February 22, 2015
1:30pm @ Plaza Branch

The annual Searching the Psyche Through Cinema film series returns in January and February with screenings of movies starring the late Academy Award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. A discussion featuring experts in cinema and psychoanalysis follows each screening.

In his last starring role before his death, Hoffman portrays a worn German espionage agent who works with an array of murky characters to develop intelligence from the Muslim community in Hamburg. The post-screening discussion is led by psychoanalyst Joanne Hindman and Tom Poe, associate professor of film and media arts in UMKC's Department of Communications Studies. This title is Rated R and is recommended for adult audiences only.


Friday, February 20, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

This year’s winners of the 22nd Annual Young Writers Contest are recognized at a reception sponsored by the Kansas City Public Library, Johnson County Library, and Reading Reptile.

The contest is open to youth ages 5-12, with entries ranging from poems to essays to short stories. Appropriate for all ages.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Kyle Gann is one of the foremost experts on American music today, having spent almost two decades as the new-music critic for the Village Voice, teaching music theory, history, and competition at New York’s Bard College since 1997, and composing more than 100 of his own works.

He draws from his latest book — which Gann terms “the greatest achievement of my life” — in a discussion of Charles Ives’ masterful Concord Sonata. First published in 1919 and revised by Ives in 1947, the innovative piece is a musical portrait of four renowned, transcendentalist authors who lived in Concord, Massachusetts, in the 19th century: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott (and her father Amos Bronson Alcott), and Henry David Thoreau.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Kansas City Public Library, The Black Archives of Mid-America, and UMKC's Black Studies Program are working in partnership to present the Black History Month Book-to-Film Series Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the month of February.

Denzel Washington’s Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins, an employed World War II veteran, becomes a private detective and finds himself entangled in murder, corruption, and the Los Angeles underworld. From the 1995 novel by Walter Mosely. 102 minutes. This title is Rated R and is recommended for adult audiences only.

Discussion leader: Adrienne Walker Hoard, director of the Black Studies Program and professor of art, UMKC.