Previous Special Events

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Author Jack Cashill discusses his new book, Scarlet Letters: The Ever Increasing Intolerance of the Cult of Liberalism and documents what he calls an unfortunate mutation in America's liberal tradition, namely the unholy rise of neo-puritanism.

Cashill argues that progressive neo-puritans show less interest in celebrating the many colors of the multicultural rainbow than they do in condemning those who resist the celebration. The accusers insist, he says, that resistance is born out of hatred – of blacks, of gays, of immigrants, of Muslims, of women, of poor people, even, yes, of mother earth. “Hate” stands as the umbrella sin for all dissenters.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Best-selling author and screenwriter Chris Enss—born and raised in Norborne, Missouri—specializes in stories of the men and women who shaped the history and mythology of the American West, a passion she shares with fellow award-winning writers Bill Markley, Monty McCord, and Sherry Monahan.

Led by Enss, the four writers discuss their latest works and share their stories of the Old West on the first stop of their Most Intrepid Western Authors Posse tour of the Midwest.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The political gulf between them may have been wide, but conservative icon William F. Buckley and the left-wing Norman Mailer cut remarkably parallel tracks through the 1960s. Both wrote best-selling first books (Buckley’s God and Man at Yale and Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead). Both founded important periodicals (National Review and The Village Voice, respectively). Both ran for mayor of New York.

They argued publicly about every major issue of the decade—the counterculture, Vietnam, feminism, civil rights, the Cold War—but behind the scenes were friends and confidantes.

University of Illinois at Chicago historian Kevin M. Schultz discusses his revealing new book about two towering figures who served as the Sixties’ ideological bookends.

Sunday, July 26, 2015
2:00pm @ Plaza Branch

Jon Knight, who oversees design senior principal at Populous, describes the changes being made to the Board of Trade Building (4800 Main St.). The 49-year-old building will soon be the new home of Populous, the Kansas City-based architecture firm specializing in sports stadiums and arena design, as well as various other tenants.

The 2015 Kansas City Architecture Series examines how historic buildings in Kansas City’s downtown area have been repurposed and given new life.

Saturday, July 25, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Community experts and local teens conduct workshops on activism and empowerment. Among the speakers: Dawson Barrett, an assistant history professor at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Texas, whose book Teenage Rebels: Stories of Successful High School Activists from the Little Rock 9 to the Class of Tomorrow examines the policies and political struggles that have shaped the lives of high school students over the past century.

Friday, July 24, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Dads and longtime musicians Chuck Folds, Steve Willard, and Eddie Walker are a high-energy, power-pop band—Big Bang Boom—whose mix of alternative, hip-hop, country, pop, and other genres makes it hard for both kids and grownups to stay in their seats. Youngsters can take the stage for the Sponge Bob Chorus and take on their parents in the Hokey Pokey Challenge. Appropriate for all ages.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Kansas City civil rights activist Alvin Sykes first encountered former U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn in 2007, when Coburn was stalling the Sykes-backed Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act.

Sykes sought and got a meeting. The two men talked. And Coburn dropped his opposition, opening the door to the Till Bill’s passage in September 2008. He paid tribute to Sykes as a difference-maker on the Senate floor.

Coburn left office at the end of last year. He and Sykes, who educated himself and still does much of his research in local libraries, recall their history and Sykes’ lifelong work in a public discussion moderated by Library Director Crosby Kemper III. The event is part of the Library’s Scholar-in-Residence Lecture Series.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The proposal to add a new 800-room hotel to Kansas City’s convention-hosting amenities reaches a critical juncture on the afternoon of Thursday, July 23, when the city council is expected to vote on whether to move the $311 million project forward. Would it be good business, boosting the city’s convention prospects? Or is the cost, including tax incentives, too high and the return on investment too iffy?

Hours before the council meets, the Library hosts a public forum on the much-debated issue. Among the participants: Heywood T. Sanders, one of the country’s foremost experts on urban development and author of the cautionary book Convention Center Follies: Politics, Power, and Public Investment in American Cities. He maintains that heavy investment in convention facilities across the country—including the expansion of Kansas City’s Bartle Hall—mostly has failed to deliver promised new jobs, private development, or tax revenues.

Current and newly elected council members have been invited to attend.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Can a recently announced, 800-room Hyatt hotel, scheduled to open in 2018, boost Kansas City’s convention prospects when it opens? The city has invested heavily in its downtown convention center – from Bartle Hall’s $144 million expansion in the 1990s to a $150 million upgrade completed in 2007 – and yet business has lagged.

Heywood T. Sanders, one of the country’s foremost experts on urban development, notes that KC is not alone. In a discussion of his book, Convention Center Follies: Politics, Power, and Public Investment in American Cities, he notes a nationwide surge in convention center development in the past two decades amid promises of new jobs, private development, and tax revenues. In Boston, Orlando, and elsewhere, the returns have similarly been limited. So why does the building continue?

Sanders is a professor of public administration at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

From its earliest days as a fur-trading outpost to its heyday as a livestock center and current configuration as a city of pet lovers and barbecue aficionados, animals have been central to Kansas City’s identity and landscape. In fact, KC can more accurately be described as a “zoopolis,” a multi-species urban location, than a standard metropolis.

Local geographer Julie Urbanik lends new a new way of looking at our city, examining the web of past and present connections between its human and animal inhabitants and recasting the traditional, human-centric stories that portray people as the only principals. In essence, she says, Kansas City would not be Kansas City without its animals – cattle, horses, mules, and even the zoo’s popular polar bears, Nikita and Berlin.

Kansas City Public Library Beta