Event Video

To view a video recording of a previous Library special event, click the icon. The Library offers recordings only with the permission of the presenter.

  • Library Director Crosby Kemper III interviews civil rights advocate Alvin Sykes about the role libraries have played in his work, his appointment as the 2013 scholar in residence, and the publication of the biographical monograph Pursuit of Truth.
    A Conversation with Alvin Sykes
    Thursday, January 30, 2014
    Central Library

    As a self-taught human rights worker who relies on local libraries for his primary research, the Kansas City Public Library's 2013 scholar in residence Alvin Sykes works with the justice system on behalf of minorities and the poor.

    In a public conversation with Library Director Crosby Kemper III, Sykes talks about testifying before Congress, bending the ears of politicians, and his role in creating the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act, which gives the U.S. Department of Justice the means to investigate long-ago cases of civil rights violations.

  • In a discussion of his new book, historian Sean McMeekin reveals how a small cabal of European statesmen used the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand to initiate a long-awaited showdown among the Continent’s powers, ultimately leading to the start of World War I.  Wednesday, January 29, 2014 Reception: 6 p.m. Program: 6:30 p.m.   Central Library 14 W. 10th St.
    July 1914: Countdown to War
    Wednesday, January 29, 2014
    Central Library

    When a Serbian assassin gunned down Archduke Franz Ferdinand in June 1914, there was nothing to suggest the event would lead to a horrific world war. In a discussion of his new book, historian Sean McMeekin reveals how a small cabal of statesmen used the Archduke's murder to set up a long-awaited showdown among the European powers. July 1914: Countdown to War reveals how in a single month a handful of men changed the course of the 20th century.

  • Historian Hal Wert marks the  75th anniversary of the year when Europe faced a period of escalating tensions, diplomatic crises and armed agressions that culminated in the German blitzkrieg of Poland and the outbreak of World War II.
    1939: Into the Abyss
    Wednesday, January 22, 2014
    Central Library

    2014 marks the 75th anniversary of the year when Europe faced what Winston Churchill memorably called “the gathering storm” — a period of escalating political tensions, diplomatic crises, and armed aggressions that culminated in the German blitzkrieg of Poland and the outbreak of World War II.

    Hal Wert, professor of history at the Kansas City Art Institute, examines the key events of 1939, a year that saw Fascist victory in the Spanish Civil War, the final dismemberment of Czechoslovakia, and the Russian invasion of Finland. In the U.S. the economy looked as if it might emerge from Depression, Hollywood produced some of its greatest films, the New York World’s Fair wowed audiences from around the globe, and the ailing Lou Gehrig retired from baseball.

  • The Brookings Institution’s  Bruce Katz joins a panel of experts for a conversation about how cities - not the federal government - are creating more and better jobs driven by innovation, exports and sustainability.
    The Metropolitan Revolution
    Wednesday, January 15, 2014
    Plaza Branch

    In the face of federal gridlock, economic stagnation, and fiscal turmoil, power in the United States is shifting away from Washington and toward our major metropolitan areas.

    In a discussion of his new book, The Metropolitan Revolution, Brookings Institution Vice President Bruce Katz describes how the emerging metropolitan-led "next economy" will produce more and better jobs driven by innovation, exports, and sustainability.

  • Military historian Richard Barbuto commemorates the 199th anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans, in which the vaunted British Army suffered defeat at the hands of makeshift American forces under the command of Andrew Jackson.
    Andrew Jackson and the Battle of New Orleans
    Wednesday, January 8, 2014
    Central Library

    On January 8, 1815 — 199 years ago — the vaunted British Army suffered an epic defeat by makeshift American forces under the command of Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans in what became the closing act of the War of 1812. Jackson’s remarkably improbable victory, which took place two weeks after the peace treaty ending the war had been signed, brought him national acclaim and led directly to his election to the presidency in 1828.

    Richard Barbuto, deputy director of the department of military history at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, delves into this triumph of American arms, the last time U.S. and British forces ever fought against each other.

  • Time magazine editor-at-large David Von Drehle examines When Fashion Meets Power in a public conversation with Pulitzer-winning fashion critic, Robin Givhan of The Daily Beast and Newsweek.
    When Fashion Meets Power - Robin Givhan
    Thursday, December 5, 2013
    Central Library

    Time magazine’s David Von Drehle and Pulitzer Prize-winning fashion critic Robin Givhan discuss When Fashion Meets Power in the sixth and final offering of the 2013 Dateline: Washington series.

    As fashion critic for The Washington Post and now Newsweek and The Daily Beast, Givhan has generated controversy about what politicians wear, saying of one Hillary Clinton outfit, “Just look away!” She criticized Vice President Dick Cheney for wearing a green parka: “I don’t want to be represented by someone … who looks like he’s at a Green Bay Packer game.”

  • Even in death, Britain’s “Iron Lady,” Margaret Thatcher, divides and polarizes. Victor Bailey, Distinguished Professor of Modern British History at the University of Kansas, examines the legacy of the first female and longest-serving Prime Minister of the last century.
    The Iron Lady: How Should We Rate Margaret Thatcher? - Victor Bailey
    Wednesday, December 4, 2013
    Central Library

    Even in death, Britain’s “Iron Lady,” Margaret Thatcher, divides and polarizes.

    Victor Bailey, Distinguished Professor of Modern British History at the University of Kansas, examines Thatcher’s political career, from leader of the Conservative Party to becoming the first female and longest-serving Prime Minister of the last century.

    Looking at her efforts to transform an ailing economy, roll back the frontiers of the state, and bring trade unionism within the rule of law, he asks: What was Thatcherism? Was it good or bad for Britain? And how will Margaret Thatcher be rated as a prime minister?

  • Sportscaster Roger Twibell and a panel of NFL veterans – former Chiefs general manager Carl Peterson, former Chiefs quarterback Trent Green, and three-time Pro Bowl offensive guard Conrad Dobler – look at the complicated issue of player health and safety from both personal and institutional points of view.
    Big Hits, Lasting Hurts
    Tuesday, December 3, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    Players in today’s National Football League are bigger and faster than ever — and that means devastating collisions on the gridiron. The health issues confronting these Sunday gladiators — from concussions to blown-out knees, and the medical care provided them after they retire from the game — are explored by CBS Sports Network’s Roger Twibell and a panel of experts.

    Former Kansas City Chiefs general manager Carl Peterson (now chairman of USA Football), former Chiefs quarterback Trent Green, and three-time Pro Bowl offensive guard Conrad Dobler look at the complicated issue of player health from both personal and institutional points of view and discuss the sport's future in the face of these safety concerns.

  • Historians from the University of Kansas – Theodore A. Wilson, Jonathan Hagel, Jennifer Weber, and Jeffrey P. Moran – take a fresh look at the impact and legacy of a president’s death.
    The Kennedy Assassination: 50 Years Later
    Friday, November 22, 2013
    Central Library

    On the 50th anniversary of one of America’s most traumatic events, historians from the University of Kansas – Theodore A. Wilson, Jonathan Hagel, Jennifer Weber, and Jeffrey P. Moran – take a fresh look at the impact and legacy of the death of President John F. Kennedy.

    They will discuss the countless theories that have sprung up around the assassination, the event’s depiction in and impact on popular culture, the central “what if?” of the assassination (would Kennedy have escalated or reduced our involvement in Vietnam?), and the connections between Kennedy’s death and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

  • Drawing from his book Dead Last: The Public Memory of Warren G. Harding’s Scandalous Legacy, historian Phillip G. Payne examines what is widely regarded as the most corrupt presidency in American history.
    Warren G. Harding - Phillip Payne
    Thursday, November 21, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    If George Washington and Abraham Lincoln are the saints in America’s civil religion, then the 29th president, Warren G. Harding, is our sinner, consistently judged a failure and ranked dead last among his peers.