Previous Special Events

Sunday, February 8, 2015
1:30pm @ Plaza Branch

The annual Searching the Psyche Through Cinema film series returns in January and February with screenings of movies starring the late Academy Award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. A discussion featuring experts in cinema and psychoanalysis follows each screening.

Meryl Streep is an old-school nun and parochial academy principal who believes that Hoffman's parish priest has entered into an improper relationship with a student. The post-screening discussion is led by psychoanalyst Alice Brand Bartlett and Melissa Lenos, assistant professor of English at Donnelly College in Kansas City, Kansas.


Friday, February 6, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Through storytelling and song, vocalist and cultural historian Brother John helps young audience members explore the hidden, coded meanings and messages of classic spirituals and folk tunes used by Underground Railroad conductors in spiriting fugitive slaves to freedom.

Recommended for ages 5 and older.


Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Kansas City Public Library, The Black Archives of Mid-America, and UMKC's Black Studies Program are working in partnership to present the Black History Month Book-to-Film Series Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the month of February.

Detectives “Gravedigger” Jones (Godfrey Cambridge) and “Coffin Ed” Johnson (Raymond St. Jacques) investigate a wayward reverend in this Blaxploitation prototype directed by Ossie Davis. Taken from Chester Himes’ 1965 novel. 97 minutes. This title is Rated R and is recommended for adult audiences only.

Discussion leader: Delia Cook Gillis, director of the Center for Africana Studies and professor of history, University of Central Missouri.


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Even before Kansas became a state, Kansans wanted a university. What no one knew in territorial days or in the earliest years of statehood — or even after the University of Kansas opened for classes — was how big and how good it might become. In KU’s first semester, 55 students enrolled but the faculty of three found not one prepared for college work.

The university would grow into a vast and intricate educational machine that in the 21st century counts more than 27,000 students and 1,600 faculty members across multiple campuses. Former Kansas City Star and Kansas City Times editor Monroe Dodd, who has written a new coffee table book for Kansas City Star Books that commemorates the school’s sesquicentennial, discusses the often difficult, 150-year journey through wars, economic pitfalls, clashes of ideas and ideologies, and the unending demands of politics.


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Bill Zahner made a tough call shortly after taking charge of the family business in the late 1970s, shifting the focus of the A. Zahner Co. from siding and deck work to metal fabrication.

He shaped an architectural powerhouse whose work now adorns skyscrapers, museums, and artwork around the world. Among its current projects is construction of the facade for an elaborate, $130 million aquarium scheduled to open this year in Fortaleza, Brazil. Locally, the company created the distinctive “sky station” sculptures atop Bartle Hall and the corkscrewing, stainless steel spire on the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints Temple in Independence.

Zahner sits down for a public conversation with Library Director Crosby Kemper III in the latest installment of the Library's Kansas City: Cradle of Entrepreneurs series.


Tuesday, February 3, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

The Kansas City Public Library, The Black Archives of Mid-America, and UMKC's Black Studies Program are working in partnership to present the Black History Month Book-to-Film Series Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the month of February.

Diana Ross earned an Oscar nomination for best actress for her portrayal of legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday, based loosely on Holiday’s 1956 autobiography. 144 minutes. This title is Rated R and is recommended for adult audiences only.

Discussion leader: Adrienne Walker Hoard, director of the Black Studies Program and professor of art, UMKC.


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Nobody knows more about the four-legged star of Groundhog Day than Kenneth Armitage.

An emeritus professor of behavioral ecology at the University of Kansas, Armitage has studied marmots — whose family tree includes the groundhog — for some 50 years. So great is his reputation that Sony turned to him when it released a 15th-anniversary edition of the movie Groundhog Day in 2008, enlisting the master of the marmot to talk on camera about the mammal’s “real life” for a DVD extra.

Armitage visits the Library on the eve of the nation’s observance of Groundhog Day to discuss the cultural influences of this unique celebration and offer insight into the marmot itself. His presentation coincides with the publication of a new book based upon Armitage’s decades of research, Marmot Biology: Sociality, Individual Fitness, and Population Dynamics.


Sunday, February 1, 2015
2:00pm @ Plaza Branch

Coterie Theatre artists read from favorite children's books, while young audience members enjoy an opportunity to “jump into the story” – adding their own improvisation. Dramatic Story Times take place one Sunday every month at 2 p.m. throughout the 2014-2015 school year, beginning October 5th, 2014.

February's Selection:
Anansi and the Talking Melon retold by Eric A. Kimmel

Appropriate for all ages.


Friday, January 30, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Join Kansas City’s Tippi Toes Dance Company in a night of magic and fun drawing from the Academy Award-winning animated classic, Frozen. There’ll be dancing and crafts – and a visit from our Frozen friend, Elsa.

Recommended for all ages.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Vikings maintain their grip on our imagination, but their image is too often distorted by medieval and modern myth. It is true that they pillaged, looted, and enslaved. But they also settled peacefully and developed a vast trading network. They traveled far from their homelands in swift and sturdy ships, not only to raid but also to explore.

Yale University historian Anders Winroth dismantles the myths and captures the innovation and pure daring of the Vikings without glossing over their destructive heritage in a discussion of his new book, The Age of the Vikings.

Winroth is the Frost Family Professor of History at Yale.