Previous Special Events

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The 1876 raid by the James-Younger gang on Northfield, Minnesota, may be the most famous bank robbery in history.

Recognizing what was happening, citizens armed themselves. Leaving the bank, the outlaws ran into a devastating hail of bullets. Two died in the street. The survivors, several badly wounded, fled Northfield, setting off one of the Old West’s most extensive manhunts.

In a discussion of his new book, Shot All to Hell: Jesse James, the Northfield Raid, and the Wild West’s Greatest Escape, Western historian, writer, and musician Mark Lee Gardner recreates this bloody, desperate episode. With compelling details that chronicle the two-week chase that followed — the near misses, fateful mistakes, and final shootout on the Watonwan River — Gardner delivers a galloping, true tale of frontier justice.


Sunday, April 27, 2014
1:30pm @ Plaza Branch

If only we could strike it rich, then our problems would be over. Right? Not according to John Huston’s The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, which demonstrates that with newfound wealth comes plenty of bad baggage: bloodthirsty bandits, betrayal, and madness. Shot almost entirely in Mexico (one of the first Hollywood movies made on a foreign location) and oozing authenticity with every frame, this superb adventure won two Oscars for John Huston (directing and screenplay) and another (supporting actor) for his father – the only such father-son win in Academy history.


Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Kansas City Public Library plays host to the annual Missouri 5th Congressional District student art exhibit and town hall gathering, where U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II and his wife, Dianne Cleaver, will recognize local high school artists.

All submissions will be on display at the Central Library from April 22-28, 2014. One will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., for a year, an honor that went to a Lee’s Summit North High School student in 2013.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Mary Roach, designated as “America’s funniest science writer” by The Washington Post, takes us on a tour of the alimentary canal, that much-maligned tube from mouth to rear.

In a public conversation with Kaite Stover, the Library’s director of readers’ services, Roach will discuss her latest book and ask questions others fear: How much can you eat before your stomach bursts? Why doesn’t the stomach digest itself? Can wine tasters really tell a $10 bottle from a $100 bottle? Why is crunchy food so appealing? Can constipation kill you? Did it kill Elvis? She examines a pet food taste-test lab and delves into a live stomach to observe the fate of a meal.

Roach is the best-selling author of Stiff (about the human body after death), Bonk (the science of sex), and Spook (the afterlife).


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Kansas City author and Writers at Work series organizer Whitney Terrell conducts a public conversation with investigative reporter Christopher Leonard about his new book, the first-ever account of how a handful of companies have seized the nation’s meat supply. They raise meat prices for consumers, he maintains, while pushing down the price they pay to farmers and derailing efforts to improve the system.

Leonard is a former business reporter with the Associated Press and a fellow with the New America Foundation.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

For decades, the fictional world of superheroes was dominated by male characters. Wonder Woman was the only female with any real clout.

Filmmaker Kristy Guevara-Flanagan presents and leads a discussion of her feature documentary exploring the concept of heroic women from the birth of superheroes in the 1940s to the TV and big screen action blockbusters of today. Actresses Lynda (Wonder Woman) Carter and Lindsay (The Bionic Woman) Wagner, feminist Gloria Steinem, and punk rocker Kathleen Hanna are among those interviewed in the film.

Presented by the University of Missouri-Kansas City Women’s Center.


Monday, April 21, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

After months of contentious debate, the Missouri State Board of Education has finalized a plan to address the state’s unaccredited school districts. Squarely in its sights is the Kansas City, Missouri School District, which has been operating without state accreditation since 2012. Coupled with a school transfer law set to go into effect this summer, the impact on the beleaguered Kansas City district could be immense. But just as enormous is the ripple effect these two events could have on neighboring districts throughout the metro.

The implications of these developments are explored by KCPT-TV‘s Nick Haines and a panel of experts including Chris Nicastro, Missouri education commissioner; Stephen Green, superintendent of the Kansas City Public Schools; state Sen. David Pearce, chair of Missouri Senate Education Committee; John Martin, Missouri State Board of Education; and Missouri State Senator Jason Holsman.


Saturday, April 19, 2014
10:00am @ Central Library

Not sure how to work up a budget? How to teach your children to be money-savvy? When and how to start planning for retirement? The Kansas City Public Library is offering guidance on an array of personal finance issues.

This event features a dozen free educational sessions on topics ranging from smart budgeting to home buying, planning for college, estate planning, and improving your credit score. Participants can also sit down with a financial adviser and review free copies of their credit reports.

Money Smart Day is sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City as part of
Money Smart Month of Greater Kansas City.

The Library will waive up to $30 in overdue fines and fees for any Kansas City Public Library cardholder who attends one or more of these Money Smart Month events.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

What was termed the last Confederate funeral took place exactly 10 years ago — the burial of eight crew members of the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley. The 25-foot underwater craft was raised from the sea floor outside Charleston, South Carolina, a little more than 136 years after becoming the first sub to sink an enemy warship and then mysteriously going down itself.

The Hunley had exacted a heavy toll before that, seeing 13 crew members perish during training exercises and acquiring the nickname the Peripatetic Coffin.

Historian James L. Speicher, formerly a military science professor at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Leavenworth, recounts the alternately fascinating and tragic stories of the historic vessel and the lost souls who served her.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Does the 2008 financial collapse lie at least in part at journalists’ feet?

Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Dean Starkman, formerly of The Wall Street Journal, exposes the critical failure of America’s business press to cover the systemic corruption in the financial industry and other events leading up to the 2008 economic meltdown.

He maintains that deep cultural and structural shifts — some unavoidable, some self-inflicted — eroded journalism’s appetite for its role as watchdog, and the result was a deafening silence about questionable, even dishonest practices. Tragically, that silence grew more profound as the mortgage madness reached its apogee from 2004-06.