Previous Special Events

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Library focuses on 34-year-old Army National Guard Capt. Harry S. Truman in launching a series of programs commemorating the centennial of the start of the First World War.

D. M. Giangreco, author of The Soldier from Independence: A Military History of Harry Truman, shows how, as a field artillery battery commander in World War I, Truman already was making hard decisions that he knew to be right. He once saved a neighboring infantry regiment from a surprise German attack, only to be rebuked by his regimental commander; intervention by Gen. John J. Pershing headed off a career-killing court martial.


Saturday, August 2, 2014
4:00pm @ Plaza Branch

Eric Litwin’s Pete the Cat series has generated sales of 1.5 million books. Now, the children’s author is turning his attention to nuts – a new series of picture books, The Nuts, featuring daughter Hazel, son Wally, and mama Imma.

Litwin appears at the Library in conjunction with the release of Bedtime at the Nut House. A singer and entertainer as well as a writer, he delivers a fully interactive performance that also will highlight the beloved Pete the Cat. Appropriate for all ages.

Co-sponsored by Reading Reptile.


Friday, August 1, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Kansas City-based kid rocker Jim Cosgrove returns to the Library with a high-energy, interactive show that will get the whole family swingin’.

Appropriate for all ages.


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Celebrate what would have been the 102nd birthday of Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman as Mark Skousen relates stories from his long friendship with the economist and libertarian icon.

Friedman was the intellectual architect of the free market reforms of the post-World War II era who today is recognized as the father of the Chicago school of economics and libertarian philosophy. His book, Capitalism and Freedom, has sold well over half a million copies in English and been translated into 18 languages.

Skousen, a former CIA economist, has taught at Columbia Business School, Barnard College, and Columbia University and written for Forbes magazine. He is editor in chief of the Forecasts & Strategies newsletter.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Progressive Henry Wallace ran for president in 1948 on a platform that advocated an end to the Cold War (he thought domestic fascism was more dangerous than any threat from the USSR), a stop to racial segregation, full voting rights for blacks, and universal government health insurance. On many issues, he was decades ahead of his time.

Yet Wallace could not shake his label as a Communist dupe. As Thomas W. Devine points out in a discussion of his book — winner of the Harry S. Truman Book Award — this was an issue that would trouble progressive and liberal politicians for decades to come.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

For 15 years, aspiring novelist Walter Kirn was drawn into the fun-house world of Clark Rockefeller, a secretive young banker and art collector and an outlandish, eccentric son of privilege. Only later did Kirn realize that the purported member of the wealthy Rockefellers was a brazen impostor, child kidnapper, and brutal murderer.

In a discussion of his new book, Blood Will Out, Kirn reflects on his bizarre journey from the posh private clubrooms of New York City to the courtrooms and prisons of Los Angeles. As Kirn uncovered the truth about his friend, a psychopath masquerading as a gentleman, he also confronted hard truths about himself.

Kirn is the author of Thumbsucker and Up in the Air, both of which were made into films.


Sunday, July 27, 2014
2:00pm @ Plaza Branch

A former employee of Frank Lloyd Wright, Clarence E. Shepard specialized in residential architecture and was an artist and landscape engineer. He designed more than 600 houses in Kansas City, favoring the Prairie School style.

Among his work: the Judge Louis R. Gates House in Kansas City, Kansas, which has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a Kansas City Historic Landmark.

William Worley, a devotee of local history, discusses Shepard’s life and work. Worley, whose business interests include veterinary clinics, real estate development, and America’s largest chain of one-hour photo stores, co-founded the Kansas City Business Journal in 1982.


Friday, July 25, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

After five weeks of drama classes, participants in the Young Actors Workshop need an audience.

Enjoy comedic and dramatic performances by children from ages 3-17 under the direction of John Mulvey, who holds a Bachelor of Theatre Arts degree from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.

Appropriate for all ages.


Thursday, July 24, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

America is a country built by thinkers on a foundation of ideas. Alongside classic works of philosophy and ethics, however, our presidents have been influenced by the books, movies, TV shows, viral videos, and social media sensations of their day.

Thomas Jefferson famously said, “I cannot live without books.” Jimmy Carter loved movies. Abraham Lincoln loved theater. And Barack Obama has been known to kick back with a few episodes of HBO's The Wire.

Author Tevi Troy combines research with witty observations to tell the story of how our presidents have been shaped by pop culture in a discussion of his new book, What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted.

Troy is the former deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the administration of George W. Bush.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Railroads were essential to moving men and military supplies during the Civil War. The Battle of Atlanta, fought on July 22, 1864, was an attempt by federal troops under Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman to seize Atlanta’s rail center and cripple the Confederate war effort.

On the 150th anniversary of that battle, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College’s Christopher R. Gabel examines the importance of rail transportation to both Union and Confederate commanders.

The Confederacy’s rail system performed just well enough in the first two years of the war to keep the fledgling nation in the fight. Ultimately, though, the Southern railroads lost their capacity to support the war, while the Northern railroads achieved unprecedented levels of effectiveness.