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.

  • Real-life U.S. Marshal Anthony Gasaway discusses the history of the U.S. Marshal’s Service and explains how the duties performed by True Grit’s fictional Rooster Cogburn compare with those assumed by members of today’s U.S. Marshal’s Service.
    The U.S. Marshals: A Popular History of the Nation’s Oldest Law Enforcement Agency
    Wednesday, October 30, 2013
    Central Library


    The fictional Rooster Cogburn, made famous in Charles Portis’ novel True Grit, is probably a bit too idiosyncratic—cranky, bellicose, boozy, trigger-happy—to be a successful modern-day U.S. marshal.

    But as U.S. Marshal Anthony Gasaway explains, Cogburn’s story nevertheless reveals many truths about the professional duties and dangers faced by officers of the country’s oldest law enforcement agency. He discusses the history of the U.S. Marshal Service and the role it plays in law enforcement today in a program titled U.S. Marshals: A Popular History of the Nation’s Oldest Law Enforcement Agency.

  • Harvard’s Ali Asani explores the art and literature of Islam in a discussion of the sacred, complex, and culturally diverse world of Muslim culture.
    Muslim Journeys: Understanding Islam and Muslims Beyond the Headlines
    Tuesday, October 29, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    “God is beautiful and loves beauty,” said the Prophet Muhammad. Now Harvard’s Ali Asani explores various artistic and literary forms to open the sacred, complex, and culturally diverse worlds of Islam. “The arts help to humanize cultures where political discourse based on nationalist ideologies tend to dehumanize,” Asani says.

    Asani is chair of the Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations Department and the director of Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program at Harvard University.

  • Harvard University professor and New Yorker staff writer Jill Lepore discusses her new biography of Benjamin Franklin’s younger sister, Jane-a passionate reader, gifted writer, shrewd political commentator, and mother of 12.
    Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin
    Wednesday, October 23, 2013
    Central Library

    Like her older brother, Benjamin, Jane Franklin was a passionate reader, a gifted writer, and a shrewd political observer. While he was rich and famous, she was poor and obscure. Yet Jane was a constant presence and influence in her brother’s life—in fact, Benjamin Franklin wrote more letters to her than to any other individual.

    Historian Jill Lepore explores this extraordinary, overlooked life in a discussion of her new book Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin.

    Lepore is the David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History at Harvard University and a staff writer at The New Yorker.

  • Martin Espada, widely recognized as “the Latino poet of his generation,” reads from and discusses his most recent award-winning collection of poems, The Trouble Ball.
    The Trouble Ball - Martin Espada
    Tuesday, October 22, 2013
    Central Library

    Martin Espada, widely recognized as “the Latino poet of his generation,” joins Angela Elam from New Letters on the Air for a reading and discussion based on his most recent collection of poems, The Trouble Ball, winner of the Milt Kessler Award, a Massachusetts Book Award, and an International Latino Book Award.

  • In recent years the Missouri-Kansas “border war” has taken on economic implications, with both states enticing businesses to jump across the state line. KMBC’s Micheal Mahoney moderates a panel of experts discussing whether this practice is healthy or harmful.
    The Missouri-Kansas Economic Border War
    Thursday, October 17, 2013
    Central Library

    Competition between Kansas and Missouri goes back to the years before the Civil War, when Jayhawkers and “border ruffians” battled over the issue of slavery. But in recent years the “border war” has taken on economic implications, with both states launching initiatives and introducing legislation to entice businesses to jump across the state line.

    Is this poaching of jobs and industries healthy or harmful? A panel of experts examine the history and impact of this conflict and discuss what—if anything—should be done about it.

  • Time magazine editor-at-large David Von Drehle and Washington Post reporter David Finkel explore the shocking, riveting, unflinching, and ultimately deeply humane stories of those who must live the rest of their lives with the realities of war.
    Aftermath of the Long War: David Finkel
    Wednesday, October 16, 2013
    Central Library

    Time magazine editor-at-large David Von Drehle holds a public conversation with Washington Post reporter David Finkel on the Aftermath of the Long War, the fourth offering of the Dateline: Washington series.

    Finkel was embedded with an infantry combat team in Iraq—an experience that resulted in his book The Good Soldiers. He followed those soldiers once they returned to the States, resulting in a second volume, the just-published Thank You for Your Service.

    Finkel, a 2012 MacArthur Fellow, won a Pulitzer Prize in 2006 for his reporting on U.S.-funded democracy efforts in Yemen.

  • Be part of the studio audience as KCPT tapes the latest installment of Meet the Past in which Library Director Crosby Kemper III interviews legendary African American horseman Tom Bass, as portrayed by Walter Coppage.
    Meet the Past: Tom Bass
    Thursday, October 10, 2013
    Central Library


    Meet the Past with Crosby Kemper III returns for a conversation with Tom Bass, portrayed by veteran actor Walter Coppage.

    Born a slave, Tom Bass became a world-famous horse trainer and equestrian showman. Though he spent most of his life in Mexico, Missouri, in the 1890s he operated a stable in Kansas City and became the first African American to ride in the American Royal Horse Show. He won countless equestrian awards and invented the Bass bit, a humane mechanism that protects a horse’s mouth during training. It is still in use today.

  • Christopher Leitch moderates a panel of Kansas City residents who participated in the Bracero Program (1942-1964), which brought 300,000 Mexican laborers to the U.S. to work as farmhands and railroad workers.
    Mexican Witness
    Wednesday, October 9, 2013
    Central Library

    Between 1942 and 1964, as many as 300,000 Mexican laborers—called braceros—were employed as farmhands or railroad workers in the United States. The Bracero Program eventually became the largest guest worker program in U.S. history.

    Veterans of the Bracero Program now living in the Kansas City area discuss their experiences in this panel conversation moderated by Christopher Leitch.

    The presentation complements Bittersweet Harvest, a bilingual exhibit about the Bracero Program on display through October 27, 2013, at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.

  • Former Royals great Willie Wilson discusses his 19 seasons as a Major League Baseball player, his record-setting career, and the drug conviction that might have ruined his life at the official launch of his new memoir, Inside the Park: Running the Base Path of Life.
    Inside the Park: Running the Base Path of Life
    Wednesday, October 9, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    Former Kansas City Royal Willie Wilson retired from Major League Baseball with 668 stolen bases (ranking 12th all-time) and 13 inside-the-park home runs (the most of any major leaguer playing after 1950). He was also among the first active major league players to serve jail time, having pled guilty to misdemeanor drug charges in 1983.

    Now Wilson and his co-author, former Kansas City Star sportswriter Kent Pulliam, discuss his life and career as chronicled in a new memoir.

  • Former U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton joins Library director Crosby Kemper III for a public conversation about his new memoir which chronicles Skelton’s life from his boyhood and a bout with polio to his ascent to the powerful chairmanship of the House Armed Services Committee.
    True Life, True Grit: Achieve the Honorable
    Tuesday, October 8, 2013
    Central Library

    Former U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton discusses his new memoir Achieve the Honorable in a public conversation with library director Crosby Kemper III.

    Achieve the Honorable is the story of how Skelton, a native of Lexington, Missouri, overcame boyhood polio to launch a career on Capitol Hill. Along the way, the book provides glimpses into the lives of political titans like Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton, and treats readers to Skelton’s engaging humor and shrewd political insight.