Previous Special Events

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

For nearly 30 years Mark Skousen — financial economist, university professor, and author — has been collecting the wisdom of Wall Street in the form of adages, proverbs, and legends. He discusses how interviews with financial old-timers, his reading of rare business books, and his own experiences in the markets has resulted in his new collection of pithy sayings and observations in Maxims of Wall Street: A Compendium of Financial Adages, Ancient Proverbs, and Worldly Wisdom.


Monday, November 4, 2013

The creative challenges of writing a book are at least matched by the difficulty of shepherding it to publication.

Author Mira Bartok offers a common-sense guide to navigating the world of publishing, from finding an agent and publisher to undergoing the editorial process and handling publicity.


Sunday, November 3, 2013
2:00pm @ Plaza Branch

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.


Friday, November 1, 2013
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Join us the day after Halloween for sugar-free fun! Be prepared to sing, dance, and listen to a not-so-scary Halloween story.

For 15 years Kansas City’s Kevin “Dino O’Dell” Dolan has taught music, drama, language arts, and improvisation at preschools, elementary schools, theaters, churches, and libraries.

Appropriate for all ages. Children are encouraged to dress in their Halloween costumes.


Friday, November 1, 2013
2:00pm @ Plaza Branch

Abuse of consumers by the funeral industry has only worsened in the decades since Jessica Mitford’s landmark expose The American Way of Death. But a funeral consumer movement is awakening, as Joshua Slocum explains in a discussion of his book Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death.

As with natural childbirth and hospice care, Americans are asserting their right to take charge of this major event in their lives. Many still want the help of a funeral director – but to assist, not direct. And many are handling it themselves with home burials, green burials, or direct arrangements with a crematory.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013


The fictional Rooster Cogburn, made famous in Charles Portis’ novel True Grit, is probably a bit too idiosyncratic—cranky, bellicose, boozy, trigger-happy—to be a successful modern-day U.S. marshal.

But as U.S. Marshal Anthony Gasaway explains, Cogburn’s story nevertheless reveals many truths about the professional duties and dangers faced by officers of the country’s oldest law enforcement agency. He discusses the history of the U.S. Marshal Service and the role it plays in law enforcement today in a program titled U.S. Marshals: A Popular History of the Nation’s Oldest Law Enforcement Agency.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

“God is beautiful and loves beauty,” said the Prophet Muhammad. Now Harvard’s Ali Asani explores various artistic and literary forms to open the sacred, complex, and culturally diverse worlds of Islam. “The arts help to humanize cultures where political discourse based on nationalist ideologies tend to dehumanize,” Asani says.

Asani is chair of the Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations Department and the director of Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program at Harvard University.


Sunday, October 27, 2013
1:30pm @ Plaza Branch

James Whale’s Frankenstein was a somber adaptation of Mary Shelly’s 1818 novel about a scientist who builds a creature from dead bodies and gives it life. It made an overnight star of actor Boris Karloff, who played the mute “monster.” The Bride of Frankenstein employed most of the same creative team that produced the original Frankenstein four years earlier. Yet this sequel is a much different animal – and much superior.


Friday, October 25, 2013
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch


Members of the Out Loud Teen Readers’ Theatre, made up of local teens interested in reading, performing, and sharing stories, bring to life the compelling and complex characters of this year’s Big Read pick, True Grit.

The young actors will have spent three weeks rehearsing their performance. Their efforts culminate in this interpretation of Charles Portis’ classic Western novel. Appropriate for ages 11-18.


Thursday, October 24, 2013
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Is True Grit’s Mattie Ross a genuine feminist hero or a merely a woman who mimics traditional masculinity?

Panelists Brenda Bethman, Adrianne Russell, and Crystal Gorham Doss — led by moderator Jane Wood — discuss the concept of the female hero and how this image has evolved. They delve into questions of the media portrayal of women (with special note of the Western genre), diversity in female depiction of heroism, and current activism in the Kansas City area to empower women and girls.