Event Video

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  • American Library Association President Molly Raphael discusses the current social and economic conditions facing libraries and considers some possible changes that will ensure patrons continue to value the services libraries provide.
    Molly Raphael - Libraries: Essential for Learning, Essential for Life
    Wednesday, October 5, 2011
    Central Library

    American Library Association President Molly Raphael explains why current social and economic conditions are forcing libraries of all types to change rapidly in order to survive.

    How can libraries be positioned not just to survive but to thrive? What difficult choices will have to be made in the next few years so that patrons continue to value the services libraries provide? How can libraries ensure that they are seen as both essential for learning and for life in the communities they serve?

  • Biographer and financial guru James Grant discusses his new biography of Thomas B. Reed, one of the most powerful House Speakers in history.
    James Grant - Mr. Speaker! The Life and Times of Thomas B. Reed: The Man Who Broke the Filibuster
    Wednesday, September 28, 2011
    Central Library

    Biographer James Grant discusses his new portrait of late nineteenth-century Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Thomas B. Reed, who served with greater influence than any Speaker who came before him.

    Until 1890, members of the House would often filibuster by refusing to answer roll call – even if they were present – depriving the chamber of a quorum. During one such filibuster, Reed directed the clerk to count anyone in attendance as present.

    Grant is editor of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer.

  • From hilarious scenes from his youth to the present state his parents helped create, Frank Schaeffer asks what the leading right-wingers and the paranoid fantasies of their “echo chamber” are really about. Here’s a hint…sex.
    Frank Schaeffer: Sex, Mom, and God
    Tuesday, September 27, 2011
    Central Library

    In his New York Times best-selling book, Frank Schaeffer uses his life as a lens through which to view a larger narrative: the rightward lurch of American politics since the 1970s.

    The central character is Schaeffer’s far-from-prudish evangelical mother, who sweetly but bizarrely provides startling juxtapositions of the religious and the sensual throughout Schaeffer’s childhood.

    Schaeffer asks what the leading right-wingers and the paranoid fantasies of their “echo chamber” are really about. Here’s a hint... sex.

  • Jack Becker, executive director of Minnesota-based Forecast Public Art and publisher of Public Art Review, discusses the complex, beneficial, and sometimes contentious role that art plays in the public realm.
    Jack Becker: Public Art/Civic Catalyst
    Wednesday, September 21, 2011
    Central Library

    Public art and its accompanying community participation contribute significantly to the identity of a city. In addition to inspiring dialogue and providing visual appeal, a varied civic public art collection often symbolizes the vitality of the city it inhabits.

    Jack Becker, executive director of Minnesota-based Forecast Public Art and publisher of Public Art Review, discusses the complex, beneficial, and sometimes contentious role that art plays in the public realm.

  • Mark Twain scholar Robert Hirst examines how the author maximized the appeal of his book for both young readers and adults—including changes Twain made to the text that preserved necessary “proprieties,” which can be rather mysterious to readers 135 years later.
    Where the Twain Meet: The Enduring Cross-Generational Appeal of Tom Sawyer
    Tuesday, September 20, 2011
    Plaza Branch

    Mark Twain wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in such a fashion that his first novel simultaneously addressed two divergent audiences: the young and the formerly young. At times, his story ridicules boyhood fantasies (such as finding buried treasure and rescuing a damsel in distress) and later grants these same ridiculous hopes and dreams. In creating a text that speaks to two age groups, Twain appears as the literary forerunner of Pixar Animation Studios.

  • Princeton scholar Esther Schor discusses her new biography of Emma Lazarus, whose work gave voice to the Statue of Liberty. This talk complements the Emma Lazarus: Voice of Liberty, Voice of Conscience exhibit now on display at the Central Library.
    Esther Schor: Emma Lazarus
    Thursday, September 15, 2011
    Central Library

    Esther Schor discusses her book about the life of Emma Lazarus, the iconoclastic 19th century poet and activist whose poem gave voice to the Statue of Liberty.

    Schor is a poet and professor of English at Princeton University. Her work has been published in The Times Literary Supplement as well as The New York Times. Schor curated the exhibit Emma Lazarus: Voice of Liberty, Voice of Conscience now on display at the Central Library.

  • Author and former Kansas City resident Justin Martin discusses his new biography of renowned landscape architect, abolitionist, and early environmentalist Frederick Law Olmsted.
    Justin Martin - Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted
    Wednesday, September 7, 2011
    Central Library

    Author and former Kansas City resident Justin Martin discusses his latest book, Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted, a biography of the renowned landscape architect, early environmentalist, and abolitionist.

  • Library Director Crosby Kemper III leads a public conversation with Boulevard Brewing Company founder John McDonald exploring how his award-winning company became the largest craft brewer in the Midwest and the largest independent American brewer  in Missouri.
    A Conversation with John McDonald
    Wednesday, August 3, 2011
    Central Library

    Join a public conversation with local brewing pioneer John McDonald, founder of Boulevard Brewing Company.

    McDonald, recently named the 2011 Brewers Association Recognition Award winner, started the brewery in 1989 and hand delivered Boulevard beer to local restaurants in his pick-up truck. Today, his company employs over 90 people.

    Since 1989, the award-winning company has grown to become the largest craft brewer in the Midwest and the largest independent American brewer in Missouri.

  • John Ferling discusses his compelling and accessible one-volume chronicle of the most pivotal period in America’s history, the battle in the Continental Congress over declaring American independence.
    John Ferling - Independence: The Struggle To Set America Free
    Wednesday, July 27, 2011
    Central Library

    No event in American history was more pivotal — or more contested — than the decision by Congress to declare independence in July 1776. Even months after American blood had been shed at Lexington and Concord, many colonists remained loyal to Britain.

  • On the 50th anniversary of Alan Shepard's pioneering space mission, Roger D. Launius of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum reconsiders the legacy of Project Mercury and America's first astronauts.
    Roger D. Launius - The Right Stuff Revisited: Project Mercury 50 Years On
    Thursday, May 5, 2011
    Central Library

    On May 5, 1961, Alan Shepard became the first American in space, making a brief suborbital mission that marked the first manned launch of Project Mercury.

    Roger D. Launius, a senior curator at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, reconsiders NASA’s pioneering program, examining the origins of these first attempts to reach into space, the Cold War “space race,” and Project Mercury’s meaning a half-century later.