Previous Special Events

Thursday, April 10, 2014

We’re bombarded with numbers that purport to tell us how our economy is doing and where it is headed. Statistics on unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence guide our actions, yet few know where they come from or what they mean.

In a discussion of his new book, Zachary Karabell explores these indicators — born of the Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War — and the need to tap into a modern data revolution that makes far more useful information available. If you want to buy a home, look for a job, start a company, or run a business, you can formulate your own, more localized and meaningful indicators at the click of a button.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Remember Barack Obama’s subtle 2008 putdown of Hillary Clinton, when he called her “likable enough?” Maybe the joke is on him.

Not since Ronald Reagan remade the Republican Party in his own image in 1980 has a presidential nomination seemed as inevitable as it does for 2016. The Democratic Party appears settled on Clinton. Her likability rating has climbed in four years, and Democrats are more united than Republicans were in 1980 (or are today). The GOP, meanwhile, lacks a true frontrunner.

Time magazine editor-at-large David Von Drehle and RealClearPolitics’ Washington bureau chief, Carl Cannon, examine the race and likelihood that the U.S. will elect its first female president.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

In a discussion of his book, business management and leadership expert Joel Kurtzman makes the argument that America remains by far the world’s dominant manufacturing power, that most of what we produce is recession-proof, and that we boast a stunning level of talent and creativity in the world’s fastest-growing economic sectors — including biotech, pharmaceuticals, computer hardware and software, and telecommunications. Further, the country has a staggering $4.4 trillion in capital now idle. When the business community fully grasps its opportunities and capabilities, he says, prosperity will return.


Monday, April 7, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Retired CIA officer turned political activist Ray McGovern examines whether 4th Amendment guarantees “against unreasonable searches and seizures” have become part of the debris of 9/11.

In his talk, Speaking Truth to Power, McGovern draws on his 27 years as an intelligence analyst — topped by a visit with Edward Snowden in Russia last fall — to question the political manipulation of vital intelligence, the National Security Agency’s collection of millions of Americans’ phone records, and the future of American security and civil liberties.

As a CIA analyst during a period spanning the administrations of John F. Kennedy to George H. W. Bush, McGovern has chaired National Intelligence Estimates and prepared the President’s Daily Brief.


Sunday, April 6, 2014
3:30pm @ Plaza Branch

This French-Belgian film – dubbed in English, featuring the voices of Forest Whitaker and teenage Twilight actress Mackenzie Foy – was one of five Academy Award nominees for best animated feature in 2014. Sweet and artfully animated, it revolves around an unlikely friendship between a mouse and a bear and the inability of their respective bear-fearing, mouse-eating brethren to accept their bond.


Sunday, April 6, 2014
2:00pm @ Plaza Branch

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.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

On a cold day in December 1890, near a creek called Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, the U.S. Army’s 7th Cavalry opened fire on an encampment of Sioux Indians. The ensuing massacre claimed more than 250 lives, including many Native women and children.

In a discussion of his new book, Jerome Greene, a retired research historian for the National Park Service, explores the complex events preceding the tragedy, the killings, their troubled legacy, and the episode’s connection to the Kansas City region.


Saturday, April 5, 2014
2:00pm @ Plaza Branch

This Emmy-winning documentary follows a group of black and white activists who, in the early ’60s, risked beatings and imprisonment by travelling together through the South in defiance of segregationist laws.

Randal M. Jelks, associate professor of American Studies with a joint appointment in African and African American Studies at the University of Kansas, provides opening and closing remarks.

The Created Equal film series is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Bridging Cultures, and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.


Friday, April 4, 2014
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

In observance of Earth Month, the StoneLion Puppet Theatre debuts I’d Rather Be a Hummingbird, a show based on the folk tale by Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai.

This new musical will transport you to a world where it’s not the size of the effort that matters most but rather the fact that you tried.

Recommended for preschool to Grade 4 and their families.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

The popularized, and wholly myopic, story of the United States’ westward expansion entails great Anglo-American explorers, hardy pioneers, and disappearing Indians. But as historian Anne F. Hyde makes clear in a discussion of her Bancroft Prize-winning book, this chapter in our country’s history is more complex than that.

The Louisiana Purchase didn’t procure entirely virgin wilderness. From previous French and Spanish ownership, there were existing political and military influences, and the territory also was held together — and divided — by ethnically mixed families, friendships, and other alliances.