Previous Special Events

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Nazi Germany’s defeat of France in May and June 1940 stunned the world. How could the French, the dominant military power of the First World War, collapse so rapidly in the opening stages of World War II? Was it Germany’s boldness, advanced tank technology, and modern doctrine? Or did France’s internal societal weaknesses lead to the Third Republic’s humiliating end?

Marking the 75th anniversary of the fall of France, Mark Gerges of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth examines the key military actions of this critical period as well as the myths that continue to surround this momentous French defeat.


Friday, June 26, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Join Kansas City's Paul Mesner Puppets in a veggie-centric love story about two avid gardeners, Okra and Romaine, who meet, marry, and have a beautiful daughter, Rapunzel. Enter an evil witch, a foreboding tower, and a handsome prince. Of course, our heroes leave happily ever alfalfa. Appropriate for all ages.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Economics needn’t be shrouded in byzantine theory and mathematical formulas. In a discussion of his new book Popular Economics: What the Rolling Stones, Downton Abbey, and LeBron James Can Teach You About Economics, Forbes magazine editor John Tamny takes a clear, comprehensible, real-world look at how money works – and how he says it should work.

Tamny, also managing editor of the website RealClearMarkets and a senior economic advisor to the Toreador Research and Trading investment management firm, draws from movies, sports, pop culture, and marquee businesses. The Rolling Stones, football’s Dallas Cowboys, and celebutante Paris Hilton are examples of good and bad tax policy. The Godfather, Gone with the Wind, and The Sopranos illustrate the downside of antitrust regulation.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Opening a five-day series of Urban Grown events—culminating in the Urban Grown Tour of urban farms and community gardens on June 27-28—a panel of community leaders explores the past decade of urban agriculture and local food in Kansas City and what the future may hold. Kansas City Star food editor and restaurant critic Jill Wendholt Silva leads the discussion. Joining her are KC Councilman Scott Wagner, Assistant City Manager Kimiko Gilmore, Cultivate Kansas City co-founder and Executive Director Katherine Kelly, Ivanhoe neighborhood Health Initiatives Manager Dina Newman, and organic farmer and food activist Brooke Salvaggio.

The reception is provided by Renee Kelly’s Harvest, The Farmhouse, and The Sundry, and beer is provided by Boulevard Brewing Company.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

The role of women during World War II is little known, obscured by attention to the men who fought and led. But women were essential to the outcome. In the U.S. and Britain, they volunteered en masse, serving in non-combat roles. Soviet women joined front-line troops. French women helped replace men sent to Germany as forced laborers, joined the resistance, or became “horizontal collaborators” later subjected to punishment and humiliation after their country’s liberation.

French military historian Dominique François examines these unknown soldiers, whose participation and support helped the Allies win the war. The presentation is part of the Eisenhower 125 series co-presented by the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum and Boyhood Home with support from the W.T. Kemper Foundation - Commerce Bank, Trustee.


Friday, June 19, 2015

Doors open: 8 p.m. • Program: 8:45 p.m.

The Library’s annual summer Off-the-Wall film series takes filmgoers Down the Rabbit Hole, celebrating movies about people cast into strange, through-the-looking-glass lands. In Tron, a video game programmer (Jeff Bridges) is transported through a pixel portal into the neon world he created.


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.


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