Previous Special Events

Sunday, April 3, 2016
2:00pm @ Plaza Branch

Coterie Theatre artists read from favorite children's books while young audience members can “jump into the story,” adding their own improvisation. Appropriate for all ages.


Saturday, April 2, 2016
(All day) @ Central Library

There is beauty in a billowing supercell in the distance, in jagged streaks of lightning and thin, swaying funnels reaching down to the countryside. That’s what is conveyed in Stephen Locke’s photography, not merely the mayhem of a spring or summer storm.


Friday, April 1, 2016
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

The 1920s and '30s marked Kansas City's transformation from a rough "cowtown" into a vibrant, modern city – despite such hindrances as political corruption, the Great Depression, and strained relations among the races and sexes. The period is spotlighted during the Wide Open Town Symposium at the Library on April 1-2.

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David M. Kennedy, a professor emeritus at Stanford University, provides a national context for the scholar-led symposium, examining the Depression and other transformative milestones in America during that era.

Liquor during the reception will be provided by Tom's Town Distilling Co.


Friday, April 1, 2016
9:00am @ Plaza Branch

The Wide Open Town Symposium, featuring presentations from professional historians and a keynote lecture at the Kansas City Public Library's Plaza Branch, explores the 1920s and '30s in Kansas City history. It is free and open to the general public.


Tuesday, March 29, 2016
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

This event was originally scheduled for January but was rescheduled due to inclement weather in the Washington D.C. area.

In the wake of the Super Tuesday primaries, the Library and the Truman Library Institute launch a new season of Dateline: Washington focusing on the 2016 elections – the candidates, their campaigns, and the hot-button issues. Time magazine Editor-at-Large David Von Drehle holds a public conversation with RealClearPolitics’ Carl Cannon, taking an insider’s look at politics, partisanship, and the election playbook.

Carl Cannon is the Washington bureau chief at RealClearPolitics and co-author of Reagan’s Disciple: George W. Bush’s Troubled Quest for a Presidential Legacy. He has won numerous awards, including a share of the Pulitzer Prize in 1989 and the Gerald R. Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting of the Presidency.


Thursday, March 24, 2016
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Democrats have occupied the White House for 15 of the past 23 years, and Thomas Frank pointedly asks: What do they have to show for it? Wall Street gets bailouts. Free-trade deals keep coming. The decline of the middle class has only accelerated. Why has so little been done to advance traditional liberal goals – to expand opportunity, fight for social justice, and ensure that workers get a fair deal?


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Among the things Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants left behind when they fled Kandahar after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 was a cache of more than 1,500 audiotapes. Discovered a year later, the recorded sermons, songs, and intimate conversations lent extraordinary insight into bin Laden and Al-Qa’ida’s theoretical and organizational development.

Flagg Miller, a University of California, Davis, professor and expert in Arabic literature and culture, was called in to study the tapes, and laid out their revelations in his new book, The Audacious Ascetic. The Kansas City native sits down with Writers at Work series organizer Whitney Terrell for a public conversation about the effort.


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Until the late 18th century, Shakespeare’s works were known in America only on the page – and not the stage. Felicia Hardison Londré, the Curators’ Professor of Theatre at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, traces the Bard’s trajectory in this country from colonial times to today’s vast network of Shakespeare festivals. Her illustrated presentation explores, in part, the glory days of Shakespearean tours and the Bard’s popularity on the Western frontier.

The event help celebrate a special upcoming exhibit, First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare, on tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library. All related events are made possible by a generous contribution from the David W. Newcomer IV and Gene Ann Newcomer Family Foundation Fund in memory of Gene Ann’s brother, Professor John Klier.


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Efforts to combat blight and “renew” Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri, took off after the end of World War II, but the results were mixed. Visionary ideas often came at the expense of established neighborhoods, architectural landmarks, and a sense of community. Adding to the difficulty, the two cities had been always tied at the hip. Although the interests of the bordering municipalities aligned, their municipal, county, and state political structures divided them.


Sunday, March 20, 2016
2:00pm @ Plaza Branch

Hollywood has adapted, sampled, and stolen from William Shakespeare for more than a century – seeing his works as a source of prestige as soon as the commercial possibilities of narrative movies were apparent. The Ciné Shakespeare series features four of the best films featuring the Bard or his works in the past 20 years. Joan FitzPatrick Dean, the Curators Professor of English at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, introduces the selections and leads a discussion after each Sunday afternoon screening.

Director Richard Loncraine successfully relocates the story of the murderously scheming king to 1930, and Ian McKellan delivers a memorable performance in the title role. Also starring Annette Bening, the film drew Oscar nominations for art direction and costume design. This title is Rated R and is recommended for adult audiences only.


Kansas City Public Library Beta