Previous Special Events

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

As Scottish voters prepare for this autumn’s national referendum on leaving the United Kingdom, military historian Tony Mullis looks back on the country’s earlier, bloodier struggle for independence and a pivotal battle exactly 700 years ago.

In 1314, English King Edward II led an army north to quell the rebellious Scots and their king, Robert Bruce. At the Battle of Bannockburn on June 24, 1314, the Scots prevailed despite being outnumbered 2-1, forcing the English to formally concede Scotland’s independence.

A frequent speaker at the Library, Mullis is a professor of military history at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014
10:00am @ Plaza Branch

Sing along, march, clap hands in time to the music, dance and take part in the fun of a live musical performance. Janie’s smile and enthusiasm are contagious, and her original songs are so catchy that they’ll stick in your head, and you won’t want them to leave!

Appropriate for preschool and early elementary aged children.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

On October 21-23, 1864, a Confederate army led by General Sterling Price clashed with its Union counterpart commanded by General Samuel Curtis. The immediate results of this large-scale battle, called by some the “Gettysburg of the West,” were a decisive Union victory and Price’s ignoble retreat from Missouri for the remainder of the Civil War.

Daniel Smith takes a ground-level look at this epic battle, as well as its lasting legacy, and asks: what does it mean, and why does it matter today? As area groups gear up this year to re-enact the Battle of Westport, Smith explores earlier efforts by participants and successive generations to remember and commemorate this significant historical event.


Sunday, June 22, 2014
2:00pm @ Plaza Branch

Chicago architect George Washington Maher was a giant of the Prairie School movement, whose buildings are treasured by communities lucky enough to have them. How did Kansas City forget that at the turn of the last century, Maher designed a significant home — possibly the city’s first Prairie School structure — for the prominent Velie family (an offshoot of the John Deere clan) in the then-fashionable Warwick neighborhood?

Kicking off the Library’s 2014 Kansas City Architecture Series, architecture enthusiast Ross Freese describes this landmark building (razed in the early ’50s to make way for All Souls Unitarian Church) and the old postcard that piqued his interest in it.


Friday, June 20, 2014

The 2014 edition of the long-running Off-the-Wall Film Series, co-presented by The Kansas City Public Library and The Pitch, features musically-themed titles from 1984.

In Breakin', a struggling jazz dancer (Lucinda Dickey) finds inspiration on the streets, thanks to the moves of Adolfo “Shabba-Do” Quinones and Michael “Boogaloo Shrimp” Chambers. Plotwise the film is typical hey-kids-let’s-put-on-a-show, but it provided for millions an introduction into hip-hop culture and music. Check out Ice-T in his first movie role as a rappin’ emcee.

These five films, presented on one Friday each month from May through September on the Rooftop Terrace of the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St., offer a tuneful sampling of what Americans were listening to 30 years ago. Featured are such musical artists as Prince and the Talking Heads, an early cinematic celebration of break dancing, and a classic cult film noted for its innovative musical soundtrack.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Jason Kendall knows baseball inside and out. Emphasis on the inside.

The former Kansas City Royals catcher, whose career spanned 15 seasons and five teams, delivers a behind-the-scenes look at the Grand Old Game in a conversation with The Kansas City Star’s Lee Judge – with whom he has co-authored an insightful new book.

There’s the game everybody sees. And there’s the game within the game that fans don’t see or fail to notice – the superstitions, subtle strategies, and mind games (at which Kendall was a master). He and Judge take you on the field, into the dugout, and behind the closed doors of a major league clubhouse.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) is among the most overlooked presidents in U.S. history even though his progressive values helped shape the course of the nation.

In a discussion of his new book, John Quincy Adams: American Visionary, Fred Kaplan sheds light on a leading abolitionist and fervent Federalist who championed both individual liberty and the government’s role in driving progress and prosperity. Adams’ forward-thinking values, definition of leadership, and vision for the future are as much about 21st century America as his own time.

This event is part of the Hail to the Chiefs series co-presented by the Truman Library Institute and made possible by a Legacy Fund grant by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

George F. Kennan (1904-2005) was America’s most respected foreign policy thinker of the 20th century, a man who advised presidents, raised alarms about the Soviet Union’s intentions, and outlined the policy of “containment” that guided U.S. strategy during the Cold War.

Through most of his life, Kennan kept journals that covered a staggering 88 years in more than 8,000 pages. Historian Frank Costigliola has edited them into a more reader-friendly volume, The Kennan Diaries, and will examine this trove of ideas, anecdotes, and essays in a discussion at the Central Library.

Costigliola is professor of history at the University of Connecticut.


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Join Michelle Pond, Judith Towse Roberts, and Rhiannon Ross, Kansas City artists, writers and members of Rocket Grants 2012 Award-winning team Vox Narro, for an afternoon celebrating Kansas City’s Liberian community. Following the presentations, sample a variety of West African cuisine.

The program and post-event reception are presented by the Vox Narro project, which pairs writers and immigrant groups for a discussion of the cultural traditions and stories of immigrant communities. Vox Narro is supported by the Rocket Grants program, which is funded by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and administered by the Charlotte Street Foundation and the Spencer Museum of Art in support of innovative, public-oriented work in nontraditional spaces.


Friday, June 13, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Fizz! Boom! Pow! A science experiment has gone terribly wrong, and the animals have taken over the lab. Will they take over the world? Join StoneLion and Einstein R Rat, super genius, in this wacky musical – “The Lab Rat Science Experiment” – for the answers to those questions and an entertaining introduction to the three states of matter, magnetic attraction, and other awesome science concepts.

Recommended for preschool through 6th grade.