Previous Special Events

Friday, June 19, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Have you got what it takes to be a superhero? Attend our training camp and practice feats of strength, agility, and bravery. Make crafts. And get an official Library Superhero certificate.

Costumes are encouraged. Or you can make your own at camp.

Appropriate for all ages.


Friday, June 19, 2015

Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer David McCullough explores the lives, trials, and ultimate triumph of aviation pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright in his latest book, telling a great American story as it has never before been told.

The Dayton, Ohio, brothers endured four years of contrary weather, accidents, disappointment, and public indifference and ridicule before their Wright Flyer became the first mechanically powered, heavier-than-air machine to sustain controlled flight with a pilot aboard in December 1903. McCullough chronicles not only the technological achievements but also Orville’s and Wilbur’s human side – including their close relationship with sister Katharine, who would go on to marry Kansas City Star editor Henry Joseph Haskell.

McCullough, who earned Pulitzers for his biographies of Harry S. Truman and John Adams and National Book Awards for two other works, The Path Between the Seas and Mornings on Horseback, selects the Kansas City Public Library for this special engagement: a discussion of the new book and its two extraordinary subjects.


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Two hundred years ago today, on a sodden Belgian field, one of the greatest conquerors of all time went down to agonizing and ultimate defeat. All that remained was “La Gloire,” the intangible exhilaration shared by all who participated and survived.

Napoleon Bonaparte, by dint of relentless focus and ambition, abetted by unmatched talent, once had crowned himself emperor of France. His military and political genius was manifest throughout Europe and, indeed, the world. But hubris proved a fatal flaw.

Richard Barbuto of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth discusses the leaders and followers, the myths and the legends, and the swirling maelstrom of combat that marked Napoleon’s Waterloo.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Time magazine theater critic Richard Zoglin grew up watching Bob Hope’s movies and followed the comedian’s rise to multimedia superstardom and tireless work for U.S. troops and charities. “Then I watched as he alienated himself from an entire generation during the Vietnam War,” Zoglin says, recalling the heat Hope took for supporting American involvement, “and that made him even more interesting to me.”

Zoglin, a Kansas City native who has been with Time since 1983, discusses the gifted but flawed subject of his book Hope: Entertainer of the Century. Hope, the star, was a dogged worker, gracious with fans, and generous with friends. He also could be cold and self-centered, was an indiscriminate womanizer, and regrettably stayed in show business too long, becoming a cue card-reading antique.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Library launches a new series, Real/Modern: KC, that takes a humorous, opinionated, intimate, and informative look at the modern world of design, technology, and media engagement. In this inaugural installment, social media and digital marketing veterans Ramsey Mohsen and John Kreicbergs lead a panel discussion about the ways local organizations use Kansas City as a selling point. Is the current Cowtown buzz helping area firms attract clients and recruit talent? Are developments like Google Fiber making KC a major player on the tech scene? Does the city need more than hometown sports and cultural offerings to elevate its reputation?

The fast-paced format features three elements: a quick rundown of timely industry news and topics followed by an interactive, in-person and online question-and-answer session and finally a lively conversation among Mohsen, Kreicbergs, and a panel of featured guests.


Saturday, June 13, 2015
1:00pm @ Plaza Branch

The HEAR Now Festival—the audio equivalent of a film festival—returns to Kansas City to celebrate storytelling in all its forms: live and scripted solo performances, multi-voiced performance, classic radio drama, experimental narrative, and more.


Friday, June 12, 2015

Program: 6:30 p.m. • Reception Follows

On the eve of the annual West 18th Street Fashion Show, Kansas City’s fashion industry harkens back to its illustrious past – to the golden age of the 20th century when more than 150 garment design and manufacturing companies boasted a workforce of more than 5,000.

A panel of seamstresses from the Garment District heyday—Cherry Barthel, Sarah Guillen, Loretta Ortiz, Catalina Reyes, and Fatma Konyalioglu—sit down with Jennifer Lapka Pfeifer, the co-executive producer of this year’s fashion show, to share their unique stories. It was their skill and work ethic that powered the Garment District, and they serve today as a valuable resource for the growing number of individuals making a living in Kansas City’s fashion community.

Co-sponsored by the Friends of the Kansas City Public Library and the West 18th Street Fashion Show.


Friday, June 12, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Some are born to be heroic, and others just bumble into it. Jay Cady and Leslie Seifert-Cady utilize juggling, a touch of magic, and the adventures of library hero Dewey Decimal as they explore feats of skill, daring, and just plain, dumb luck. Appropriate for all ages.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Revolutions historically have come in waves, and the world appears to be riding one now – from the Arab Spring to anti-austerity protests in Greece to the more recent Occupy movement.

In a discussion of his new book, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges examines the social and psychological factors that foster rebellion. And he makes the case that environmental destruction and wealth polarization are planting the seeds of modern revolt in the U.S. and around the globe.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

One of the grandest experiments of American urban planning, the Country Club District, lies tucked in the heart of Kansas City. Initiated in 1905, it eventually spilled over 6,000 acres and attracted national attention to a city still forging its identity.

In a discussion of her new book, author LaDene Morton examines a project that required a half-century of careful development to fully fulfill the vision of founder J.C. Nichols. Home today to many of the city’s most exclusive residential areas and commercial properties, the district’s boundaries still are unmarked. Only now is the entirety of its story being told.