KC Unbound

Health and Wellness Center

One by one on Tuesday, April 22, 2014, some 60 people of varying size, shape, and age will step atop a scale at the L.H. Bluford Branch to measure the returns from 12 weeks of sweat and self-discipline.

Freegal Music
Freegal logo

Stream the music you want. When you want it. No ads. No charge.

Bernie Norcott-Mahany (at right) at the Jackson County Spelling Bee

Saturday may not be quite what Bernie Norcott-Mahany imagined when he said yes three years ago to serving as the pronouncer for the Jackson County Spelling Bee.

Walter Pidgeon in Dark Command

Relatively few Kansans have gone on to be immortalized in the movies, but William Clarke Quantrill, the Confederate guerrilla leader infamous for the August, 1863, sack of Lawrence, Kansas, has been depicted on screen numerous times.

Bob Walkenhorst’s regular gig at the Record Bar in Westport is usually standing room only. And in Norway he’s revered as a rock god. But you don’t have to stand in line, pay a cover charge, or fly to Scandinavia to get an earful of fresh Walkenhorst: He's coming to the Library.

Hadrian's Villa

It’s Sunday night and your research paper on Hadrian’s Villa ain’t gonna write itself. You need fast, easy-to-digest, and reliable reference information, but the library is closed and you’ve already mined Wikipedia and Google for all they’re worth.

What if you could use your computer to search inside every book inside your local library? Then, once you’d found the information you wanted, download the article for your ereader, listen to it as an MP3, or email it to a friend, all without leaving home?

That’s exactly what you can do with the nonfiction reference ebooks available in the Kansas City Public Library’s newest database.

The Gale Virtual Reference Library consists of more than 200 nonfiction ebooks in the humanities. Search them instantly for handy articles that you can save, print, and download to an ereader such as a Nook or a Kindle or an MP3 player such as an iPod.

It’s 100 percent free, and you can access it from home with your Kansas City Public Library Card and PIN.

Let’s take that Roman history example.

Ulysses - James Joyce

In honor of Bloomsday on June 16, the day Irish lit fans celebrate the novel Ulysses, our classics expert Bernie revisits James Joyce’s novel to determine what makes it so worthy of celebration.

New York Times - Obama Election - Page 1

If you’re an online news junkie, chances are the Gray Lady’s paywall is your bête noire. For the past year, The New York Times has been allowing readers limited access. But now, the Library is providing digitized microfilm of the Times and the Wall Street Journal for free, and from home, too.

In March 2011, the New York Times announced it would be imposing a paywall between its readers and all that wonderful content they’d previously been enjoying for free. With the new paywall, readers could view only 20 nytimes.com articles per month without a digital subscription.

Then, a year later in March 2012 the paper declared success on the paywall model and got even stricter, shrinking the number of free articles to 10.  Subscriptions now range from $15 to $35 a month, which is kind of pricey when you’re used to getting all the news that's fit to print for free.

KC Design Week 2012

Area high school students and their families receive an eyeful and an earful about design careers at the 2012 Design Futures/High School Program on Saturday, March 3, 2012 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.

New Library Card - Adults
New Library Card - Kids

We’ve got a strict policy at the Kansas City Public Library: No matter how old you look, we’ll card you. But we don’t want to see your driver’s license or ID. If you haven’t seen your card since the Clinton era, now is the perfect time to get a brand-new, shiny, redesigned Library card.

Through the end of February 2012, come into any branch and get a new Library card free of charge. (After February 29, a $1 replacement fee will apply.) The new cards come in two designs: blue for adults and orange for children and teens.

Why bother getting a new card? Here are three good reasons.

1. Security
If you come into the Library to use a public computer but don’t have your card handy (or your number memorized), our circulation staff will be happy to write your account number and PIN on a piece of paper for you.

Then, when you accidentally leave that scrap of paper lying around, a miscreant or ne’er-do-well (likely from out of the district), will be happy to check out books to your account. And never return them.

2. Speed
Skipping the lines at the circ desk is easy with a Library card. Simply scan the card’s barcode into one of our self-checkout machines and follow the directions to check out your materials.

Image copyright www.netglimse.com

In Chinese zodiac lore, the dragon is stately, proud, fiery, and passionate. And if you’re turning 12, 24, 36, 48 (or another multiple of 12) this year, congratulations, noble dragon, 2012 is all you! Here are some ideas for how you can celebrate the Chinese New Year on January 23 in Kansas City.

1. Join Winter Reading

Our annual Adult Winter Reading program began on January 9, and if you haven’t signed up yet, this is the perfect way to get started on your New Year’s resolution to read more great literature – and celebrate the Chinese New Year in one swoop. The theme this year is Destination: Anywhere!, and the reading list will take you to far-flung places, including, of course, China. Start off with Pearl S. Buck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of pre-revolutionary China, The Good Earth, or delve into Jung Chang’s multigenerational family history, Wild Swans. Get more suggested readings and sign up for Winter Reading here.

2. Attend the Greater Kansas City Chinese New Year Celebration

Family Read Aloud Month banner

There's no shortage of stories in American households. The TV flickers, video games blast and boom, the Facebook newsfeed crawls - all provide stories, in a sense. But what's missing in nearly half the homes in the U.S.?

Stories read aloud.

At the Kansas City Public Library, we believe that developing a lifelong love of reading leads to educational, professional, and social advantages for individuals as well as communities. And to really take root, the seeds of that love for reading must be sown early in life.

That's why, as part of our Building a Community of Readers initiative, the Library is encouraging Kansas City families to gather 'round the bedtime story and join us for Family Read Aloud Month this November.

The goal is to get 500 families to read aloud four or more hours (that's an hour a week) this month. Here's how it works:

Learning Express people walking image

Among my more satisfying moments working at the Reference Desk are the times when I can inform a customer, disappointed that the print book they want is not available, that the information they need can be found in one of the Kansas City Public Library’s online databases. Eyes light up, and frustration is eased – yea, Librarian Hero! 

People are even more pleased when they discover they can access many of these databases from home, with an Internet connection, a Library card, and PIN.

Dear Fellow Library Enthusiast,
It’s that time again. Fall is upon us, which means your Library is about to embark on another season of presenting, if I may be so bold, an extensive schedule of simply extraordinary public programs.

All of our programs are admission free, thanks to a generous grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, plus additional support from like-minded donors and our increasing ability to obtain competitively-awarded grants.

If you’re one of our growing band of regulars, we look forward to seeing you, well, regularly. If you’re not, well, what are you waiting for? Your Library has become one of Kansas City’s leading venues for engaging presentations by leading authors as well as a forum for civic engagement and public dialogue. It’s the place to be, this fall more than ever.

So you’ve developed your arts and crafts skills for some time now, and you’ve gotten pretty good. In fact you’ve gotten really good. People see your work and say things like, “Wow, you should sell those,” or “You could make money doing that!” Maybe you dream of quitting your day job to devote more time to doing what you love best.

It you haven’t made the leap yet, I advise to you to stop and truly think about it, and research it, because you will find that all that extra time (and then some) you thought you’d have to simply create is now devoted to producing, marketing, and selling. There is an also an art and craft to good business, so lucky for you, the Kansas City Public Library has plenty of resources to help you learn those skills to start and grow a craft-based business.

Side note – although this blog entry is mainly directed at crafters, I hope that artists, writers, musicians, actors, and performers of all stripes may find some of this information useful. Please refer to the bibliography appended to this entry for some titles specific to your profession.  

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