Previous Special Events

All Library locations will be closed on Sunday, April 20, in observance of the Easter holiday.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

After spending the past two weeks as local and national celebrities — saluted on the editorial page of The Kansas City Star and celebrated on the set of television’s Good Morning AmericaSophia Hoffman and Kush Sharma get back to what they do best. Spell.


Friday, March 7, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Join a musical safari! Meet different African animals whose names are set to rhythm. Then pick up a percussion instrument and let the jungle jam begin!

As the rhythms of the animals blend an exciting sense of community begins to develop – along with a lot of fun.

Appropriate for all ages.


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Decades before Oprah, Dr. Phil, and today’s innumerable gurus peddling surefire plans for bettering ourselves, Missourian Dale Carnegie started the self-help revolution with his worldwide best seller How to Win Friends and Influence People. Life magazine named Carnegie one of its “100 most important Americans of the 20th Century.”


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Angela Elam of New Letters on the Air, aired locally on KCUR 89.3 FM, holds a public conversation with author and Independence resident Maija Rhee Devine about her new novel The Voices of Heaven. It follows the arranged marriage of a Korean couple from the final years of the Japanese occupation through the Korean War and into the economically advanced, high-tech South Korea of today.

Winner of an Emily Dickinson Poetry Award, Devine is working on a book of poems about Korean women forced to provide sexual services to Japanese troops. She is a survivor of the Korean War.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Due to a quirk in the calendar in the year 1849, one school of thought contends that Missourian David Rice Atchison deserves to be considered the 12th president of the United States. His “term of office” lasted just 24 hours — most of which he slept through — and took place 165 years ago today.

On Sunday, March 4, 1849, Atchison was serving as president pro tempore of the senate, then third in line for succession to the presidency. Because James K. Polk’s term ended at noon on that day and Zachary Taylor didn’t take the oath of office until noon the next day, Atchison technically may have been the chief magistrate of the land during that interim period.

Chris Taylor, executive director of the Atchison County Historical Society and the world’s smallest unofficial presidential library, offers a whimsical and educational review of Atchison’s brief administration.


Sunday, March 2, 2014
2:00pm @ Plaza Branch

This event has been canceled due to inclement weather.

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.


Saturday, March 1, 2014

Bayard Rustin helped shape Martin Luther King Jr., and organized the historic 1963 March on Washington. Now his life partner Walter Naegle discusses Rustin’s vision, explains why his ideas are still relevant , and introduces a screening of the documentary Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin.


Thursday, February 27, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

To kick off this year’s McKinzie symposium—One Nation Under God: The Politics of America’s Religious Diversity—the University of Wisconsin’s Charles L. Cohen delivers a keynote address on the issues facing minority religions in America.

Cohen is a professor of history and religious studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and director of the Lubar Institute for the Study of the Abrahamic Religions.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Kansas City’s River Market area was known in the 1970s as River Quay, a redeveloped home to restaurants and bohemian shops—and site of a violent Mafia turf war.

The dispute left three establishments burned or blown up and several mobsters killed, devastating the district. Gary Jenkins, a local attorney and documentary filmmaker, was a Kansas City police detective at the time and part of a subsequent investigation that uncovered a multi-city mob conspiracy to skim money from Las Vegas casinos.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

John B. Judis, senior editor at The New Republic, examines the half-century of raging conflict between Jews and Arabs—a violent, costly struggle that has had catastrophic repercussions in a critical region of the world.

The fatal flaw in American policy, Judis says, can be traced back to the Truman administration. What happened between 1945 and 1949 sealed the fate of the Middle East for the remainder of the century and explains why every subsequent attempt to stabilize the area has failed—right down to George W. Bush’s unsuccessful and ill-conceived effort to win peace by holding elections among Palestinians and Barack Obama’s failed attempt to bring both sides to the negotiating table.