Library Life

In Memoriam - Phil Kirk, 1937-2014

Many of you will know Phil Kirk as the man for whom we named Kirk Hall at the Central Library. Or as this generation’s downtown Kansas City real estate developer par excellence. Or a genial figure at many of our Library programs and special events.

He was much, much more. His family, and notably his father Jim, were prominent in local business and philanthropy. Jim Kirk's office furniture from Kirk Welding ended up in One North at the Central Library as part of our soft seating there. Mike Kirk, Phil's brother, has been an active supporter of the Library.

Phil's career involved guidance of DST 's redevelopment of the West Side of downtown in partnership with Kansas City Southern, Financial Holding Corporation, State Street, and many others, but the transformation was uniquely his vision.

He was a key part of the civic group that picked the First National Bank building to renovate for the Central Library, and then gave and raised substantial amounts of the Capital Campaign money, after which he was always our tireless champion and advocate.

He was also the primary supporter of our great partnership with Crossroads Academy charter school, and typical of Phil, his last charitable act was to secure funding for their building.

No individual is more responsible for the revival of downtown and the Library's central role in that. We owe him a lot and we will deeply miss him.

Crosby Kemper III
Director,
The Kansas City Public Library





A memorial service for Phil Kirk will be held Tuesday, October 28, 2014, at 10 a.m. at Saint Michael and All Angels Church, 6630 Nall Avenue, Mission KS 66202. More information is available in the obituary in The Kansas City Star.



Articles:

Phil Kirk, a giant in downtown Kansas City real estate, dies at age 76.  The Kansas City Star.

Downtown champion Phil Kirk has died.  Kansas City Business Journal.

Food For Fines Week Returns

Clear up your overdue fines and do good for the community! The Library is partnering with Harvesters for Food for Fines Week, October 13-19, 2014. For each non-perishable food item donated at the Library, you get a $1 credit towards your existing fines.

The most-needed items include canned meat, peanut butter, canned fruit, canned vegetables, and boxed meals. Non-nutritional beverages such as soda and any beverages in glass containers will not be accepted. All the details are below. You can donate at any Kansas City Public Library location through Sunday, October 19, 2014.




What is Food for Fines? Food for Fines is an annual program that allows Library patrons to trade one nonperishable food item for one dollar in existing fines on their Library accounts.

Which fines/fees are forgiven? Non-perishable food items may be used for Kansas City Public Library accounts with existing overdue fines. Only overdue fines are eligible for this program.

Which fines/fees cannot be forgiven? Referral fees, lost or damaged item fees, replacement Library card fee, video and/or DVD rental fees, printing fees, flash drives, ear buds, Friends of the Library books for sale, Friends of the Library memberships, lost items owned by Consortium Libraries, lost items that are Interlibrary Loans.

Which food items are acceptable? Non-perishable food items in cans, boxes, or plastic containers, household and personal care items that are unopened. Pet food in boxes or cans. No glass containers may be accepted. Examples of acceptable items: canned vegetables, boxed dinners, canned juices, peanut butter, soap, deodorant, shampoo, toilet tissue, facial tissues, paper towels, cleaning supplies. Ramen noodles are acceptable. 4 packages of Ramen noodles equals one dollar in fines. Items in multi-packs are acceptable at $1 per item. i.e. A four-pack of paper towels equals $4 in forgiven fines. Bottled water in 8 oz. or greater containers is acceptable. SlimFast and other diet drinks are acceptable. Government issued food, i.e. peanut butter, welfare items, etc. are also acceptable.

Which food items are not acceptable? Perishable food items; glass containers of any kind; soda pop; candy and/or gum; cardboard drink containers; drink pouches; alcoholic beverages; items in damaged/rusty/open containers; items WITHOUT a nutrition label; items with a past due expiration date; homemade or home-canned items. Travel size containers of personal care items, i.e. toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, hand lotion, etc.

Who gets the food? Harvesters—The Community Food Network

What is Harvesters and what does it do with the food? Harvesters is Kansas City’s only food bank and was organized in 1979. Harvesters provides essential food resources for a network of over 620 charitable agencies such as emergency food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, day care centers and senior centers in 26 counties. Further information about Harvesters is available at harvesters.org or by calling 816.929.3000.

Can I donate even if I don’t have any fines? Yes.

Can the Library credit my account for future fines? No. Food for Fines is only for EXISTING fines on a Library account.

Young Friends Present Booktoberfest

I became a “beer guy” in 1995. That was when I discovered Boulevard Wheat and my eyes were opened to the idea that there were more than two flavors of beer – regular and light. A year later I took a trip to Colorado and visited a rapidly expanding restaurant chain called Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom that advertised more than 100 different beers. At that point, there was no going back.

I have spent the last 18 years — wow, 18 years — exploring the wide world of craft beer. Boulevard was a blessing for Kansas City. It produced a fantastic product and made Kansas City a big-time player in the craft beer revolution. Unfortunately, for a long time, it was the only Kansas City player. But if you are going to have only one, it might as well be the George Brett of craft brewing, right?

In recent years, things have changed. Boulevard is still there — the anchor that ensures Kansas City will always be mentioned whenever anyone anywhere talks about great craft beer communities — but others have joined the party.

So when the Young Friends of the Kansas City Public Library settled on Booktoberfest (a novel beer tasting experience) as their first fundraising activity, I was delighted. Here was a chance to promote reading, the Library, and Kansas City’s great craft beers.

Booktoberfest is not your typical beer-tasting event. There are not 50 breweries from all over the country. There will be no huge crowds. You will not pay for admission and then have to buy food.

We made a conscious decision to keep it small. We wanted the emphasis to be on showcasing the Library and the great craft beers that are being produced in our community. We partnered with four small, true micro-breweries that are doing some pretty exciting things in Kansas City.

I should point out here that I am not an expert on the subject of beer. I cannot identify types of hops by scent. I know nothing about the brewing process. I can’t even always remember the names of the styles of beer I am drinking. I’m just a guy who knows what he likes in a beer, and I like to think that I have pretty good taste.

Participating breweries include:

KC Bier Company
Located at 310 W. 79th Street in Waldo, KC Bier Company is the largest brewery featured at Booktoberfest. While many American breweries shy away from German-style beers because they’re too similar to traditional North American lagers, KC Bier Company embraces them. Much like my experience with Boulevard Wheat all those years ago, KC Bier Company is helping people realize that just because a beer looks like something you’d pour out of a domestic bottle doesn’t mean it can’t be a great craft brew.

Rock & Run Brewery
Located at 110 E. Kansas Street in downtown Liberty, Rock & Run Brewery features a combination of traditional beers, less common styles, and experimental offerings. It was here that I developed a real taste for smoked beers – the barley dried over an open flame to give it a distinctive, smokey flavor.

Cinder Block
Located at 110 E. 18th Avenue in North Kansas City, Cinder Block is one of my favorite locations. Off the beaten path, the taproom has a very industrial feel. It emanates cool. And the beer is top notch. The Block IPA is a favorite of many, but my personal favorite is Cultivate Saison, a big beer that rivals my all-time favorite in that style – Boulevard’s Tank 7.

Crane Brewing Company
While not yet open to the public (it hopes to open soon in Raytown), Crane places an emphasis on sour (another one of my favorites) and wild beers. I tried the brews from Crane for the first time in the lead-up to Booktoberfest. I was a fan of its Marcel, a dry-hopped saison, but the one that created the most buzz around the office was Ruby, an eye-catching red cream ale brewed with beets.


We hope to make Booktoberfest a more civilized beer tasting event.

The event takes place on Friday, October 10, at the Central Library (14 W. 10th Street). Free parking is available in the Library district parking garage at 10th & Baltimore. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. At that time, people will be able to check in and enjoy hors d’oeuvres provided by Cosentino’s Downtown Market and pizza from Milwaukee Delicatessen.

Tickets are $35 or two for $50 and are available at booktoberfestkc.eventbrite.com. Booktoberfest is co-presented by Recommended Daily.

All proceeds will benefit the Young Friends of the Kansas City Public Library in support of the Library’s efforts to make Kansas City a community of readers.

We will assign every ticketholder to a small group, and at 7 p.m. a “tour guide” will escort the groups to their first tasting station. The groups will get to spend about 30 minutes at each station, sampling beers, talking about their breweries, and experiencing the beauty of the Central Library. Of course, we couldn’t do an event that night without first ensuring that attendees can follow the Royals’ American League Championship Series opener against Baltimore. It will be shown on large screens at each tasting station.

To wrap up the evening, we will congregate on the Library’s rooftop terrace for cookies from Swoon Cookies and pretzels from Farm to Market Bread Company and to watch the end of the Royals game.

I hope you can join us Friday night for an evening of books, beer, bites … and baseball.

- Steve Woolfolk, Assistant Director of Public Affairs

Banned Books Week: September 21−27

Author: 
Alison Bechdel

Held annually in September, Banned Books Week allows libraries across the country to celebrate the freedom to read and discuss the books that have been subjected to bans or had their presence in schools, bookstores, and library collections challenged.

In Article III of the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights states that “Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.” It’s a directive we take seriously here at the Kansas City Public Library.

In 2014, Banned Books Week focuses on comic books and graphic novels. As a medium, comics have faced increased scrutiny due to their visuals and the erroneous assumption that they are only for kids.

This is nothing new. Fredric Wertham, in his 1954 book Seduction of the Innocent, asserted (through long-discredited research) that comics were encouraging juvenile delinquency and criminal behavior.

Join us as we wrap up
Banned Books Week with Celebrating the Freedom
to Read

Saturday, Sept. 27, 4pm
at the Plaza Branch

Special guests include the Collins family, who recently drew international attention to their efforts to keep a Little Free Library in their Leawood, Kansas, front yard.

This led to Senate hearings and the institution of a self-regulatory “Comics Code” to avoid government regulation. The Code wasn’t fully abandoned by publishers until 2011.

Challenges to comics continue to this day. Jeff Smith’s award-winning series Bone was the 10th-most challenged title, according to the American Library Association in 2013. Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis has also faced recent bans. Last year, Chicago Public School administrators ordered that copies of the book be removed from some school libraries and classrooms, though officials quickly backpedaled after facing protests.

And recent MacArthur Genius Grant recipient Alison Bechdel often has faced attempted censorship of her work. Her graphic memoir Fun Home — winner of the Eisner Award, Lambda Literary Award, GLAAD Media Award, and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award — was cited as one of the titles that led the South Carolina legislature to temporarily cut funding to two state colleges that had included the book in their required reading for freshman students.

So join us this week in celebrating these books, and increasing awareness of attempts to ban and remove these works of literature from bookshelves everywhere.




Banned Books Week Resources:

Books Banned or Challenged in Kansas and Missouri (KC Library Pinterest Board)
American Library Association: Banned & Challenged Books
Office for Intellectual Freedom
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund: Banned Books Week


About the Author

Liesl Christman

Liesl Christman is the digital content specialist for The Kansas City Public Library, managing content for the Library's blogs and social media accounts. She is an unabashed enthusiast of comic books, roller derby, and all things food.

Kansas City Public Library on Facebook    Kansas City Public Library on Twitter    Kansas City Public Library on YouTube    Follow KCLibrary on Pinterest    KC Unbound RSS feed

How I Got My First Library Card

I grew up in a family that was filled with voracious readers. From the time my brothers and sister and I were very, very young, we heard our parents reading to us and telling us stories of when they were young.

I fell in love with words and letters as far back as I could remember. I found it fascinating to watch Mom and Dad simply look down at an open book and then hear as this steady flow of words and sentences and paragraphs and stories would flow out of their mouths.

At that time, I didn’t have the necessary words I needed to describe what I was feeling, but I could see that my parents had the key to unlock this amazing mystery, and I yearned, almost ached to discover the secret so I could do the same thing.

My mom loved to tell the story about when my sister Barb and I first got our library cards.

I grew up in Boise, Idaho, and our family made regular trips to the Boise Public Library, which I later learned was one of the Carnegie libraries. It sat on the outskirts of the downtown business area, its entrance just one block west, as the crow flies, from the entrance to the church we attended. The children's department was partly below ground level, and had its own separate entrance on the south side of the building—concrete steps leading down from the sidewalk that circled from the front of the building, where the grown-up steps went up to the front entrance.

For local residents the only requirement to get a library card was to write your name on the form. (I imagine you also had to show some form of ID, but Mom’s library card apparently probably covered Barb and me.) I was about four years old and, as I’ve indicated, already deeply fascinated with letters. (We had a small framed blackboard with an attached tripod, letters surrounding the frame—probably in alphabetical order. I loved copying the letters from the frame onto the blackboard in different combinations, then asking Mom if I had written a word. As I remember, considering that I wrote random combinations, I had a fair amount of success. Perhaps I was already starting to associate the shape of letters with sound.)

After we had entered the children's department, Barb and I walked up to the circulation desk with Mom and told the children's librarian that we wanted to get our library cards. Mom filled in our address and other information, and then put the forms in front of Barb and me.

My mind was already attuning itself to the nuances of language, especially when it came to how rules were laid out. I had discussed my idea with Mom, so after the librarian told us all we had to do was write our names, she was rather surprised when Barb and I each reached into a pocket and pulled out a piece of paper upon which Mom had printed our name.

With great care I spread the paper flat on the counter and then, with painstaking focus, copied the letters of my name onto the form.

The librarian got a big, big smile and told Mom she had never known of any children who had wanted a library card as much as we did.

From then on there was no stopping us.

About the Author

Dr. John Arthur Horner of the Missouri Valley Room has a Ph.D. in Dramatic Art from UC-Santa Barbara, as well as a deep love of history. He is an award-winning playwright and member of the Dramatists Guild of America. He lives in Independence with his wife, two pianos, and their multitude of books.

Kansas City Public Library on Facebook   Kansas City Public Library on Twitter   Kansas City Public Library on Flickr   Kansas City Public Library on YouTube   Follow KCLibrary on Pinterest   KC Unbound RSS feed

Libraryland: Mid-Continent Adds To KC Area’s Roll of National Medal Winners

Call us America’s library capital – or at least, one of them.

The Mid-Continent Public Library, whose sprawling system counts five branches in Kansas City and more than two dozen others in the surrounding area, has been named a recipient of the nation’s highest honor for libraries: the National Medal for Museum and Library Service.

Here here! The announcement was made Thursday, April 24, 2014, by the Washington, D.C.-based Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The Kansas City Public Library was a National Medal honoree in 2008, cited for making “a significant impact on individuals, families, and communities.” The Johnson County Public Library received the award in 2005. The area is a confirmed bastion of library excellence.

Only Chicago — with three National Medal libraries in the city, itself, and another in suburban Skokie, Illinois — compares. Los Angeles has a couple. San Antonio has two, including the medical library at the University of Texas Health Science Center.

Missouri has produced two other honorees since National Medals were first awarded in 1994: the State Historical Society of Missouri in Columbia (in ’94) and the Bootheel Youth Museum in Malden (in 2012).

In response to this year’s selections, Mid-Continent Director and CEO Steven Potter wrote on the system’s website, “This is an unbelievable honor and a testament to all the hard work and great service performed by (the) library and the team of dedicated library professionals, both past and present.”

Agreed. We thought the IMLS got it right in 2005 and 2008. It did again in 2014.

Booketology 2014 Championship


We have a winner!

Our 2014 Booketology Champion is: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle! In the final, 65% of you chose A Wrinkle in Time over Louisa May Alcott's Little Women.

You can see the bracket of all the competing Booketology titles below:

Thank you to everyone who voted for their favorite books! Let us know what you thought of Booketology this year, and give us your ideas for next year. What books would you like to see battle it out?

About the Author

Liesl Christman

Liesl Christman is the digital content specialist for The Kansas City Public Library, managing content for the Library's blogs and social media accounts. She is an unabashed enthusiast of comic books, roller derby, and all things food.

Kansas City Public Library on Facebook    Kansas City Public Library on Twitter    Kansas City Public Library on YouTube    Follow KCLibrary on Pinterest    KC Unbound RSS feed

Booketology: Final 4 Winners

And then there were two! The Final 4 round of Booketology is complete, and our winning books now move on to the Championship. Check out the voting results from this last round.

So how did your favorite books do? Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time defeated Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl with 70% of all votes.

And the classic Louisa May Alcott novel Little Women crushed Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game.

The full breakdown of votes is below.

  

Here is the full Booketology Championship bracket, you can vote for the final winner through Sunday, April 6.


The full Booketology Schedule:

Round 1: March 22-24
Sweet 16: March 25-27
Elite 8: March 28-31
Final 4: April 1-3
Championship: April 4-6



Our book champion will be announced on April 7!
Vote now and have fun, everyone!


About the Author

Liesl Christman

Liesl Christman is the digital content specialist for The Kansas City Public Library, managing content for the Library's blogs and social media accounts. She is an unabashed enthusiast of comic books, roller derby, and all things food.

Kansas City Public Library on Facebook    Kansas City Public Library on Twitter    Kansas City Public Library on YouTube    Follow KCLibrary on Pinterest    KC Unbound RSS feed

Booketology: Elite 8 Winners

Our Spring Tournament of Books has returned for the third year! Check out the results of the Elite 8, and vote in the Final 4 of Booketology, where it's book vs. book and you decide the winner!

Some contests were close: The classic Little Women defeated new kid The Fault in Our Stars, though John Green fans can take comfort in the fact that the book lost by a margin of less than 20 votes! And the Mystery Gone Girl narrowly edged out the iconic Graphic Novel Watchmen.

Other brackets were dominated by long-time favorites: Ender's Game quickly defeated Terry McMillan's Who Asked You? While The Ocean at the End of the Lane lost to A Wrinkle in Time, which took three out of four votes.


The full breakdown from the Elite 8 is below. All of the competing books are available for checkout from the Library.


  
  

Here is the Booketology Final 4 bracket, you can vote in this round from Tuesday, April 1, through Thursday, April 3.


The full Booketology Schedule voting schedule:

Round 1: March 22-24
Sweet 16: March 25-27
Elite 8: March 28-31
Final 4: April 1-3
Championship: April 4-6



The championship book will be announced on April 7!
Vote now and have fun, everyone!


About the Author

Liesl Christman

Liesl Christman is the digital content specialist for The Kansas City Public Library, managing content for the Library's blogs and social media accounts. She is an unabashed enthusiast of comic books, roller derby, and all things food.

Kansas City Public Library on Facebook    Kansas City Public Library on Twitter    Kansas City Public Library on YouTube    Follow KCLibrary on Pinterest    KC Unbound RSS feed

Booketology Sweet 16 Results

Our Spring Tournament of Books has returned for the third year! It's book vs. book and you get to decide the winners. The results of the Sweet 16 round are below, and you can Vote in the Elite 8 of Booketology until March 31. Based on NCAA Basketball's "Bracketology," we pit favorite book titles against one another, with voting for the champions open to anyone. Some are beloved classics, others are new and buzz-worthy titles.

The votes are in for the Sweet 16 round, and we had our closest competition ever in the history of Booketology. In the New & Notable category, Terry McMillan's Who Asked You? defeated Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by only one vote!

Watchmen was victorious in Graphic Novels, beating out Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns with 59% of the vote.

Mystery went to Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl over Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich.

Children's literature was a close battle. A Wrinkle in Time won by only fifteen votes. Sorry, Charlotte.

John Green's YA juggernaut The Fault in Our Stars destroyed the competition, taking 71% of votes over Monster by Walter Dean Myers.

Ender Wiggin won the war in Science Fiction, with Ender's Game taking 63% of votes over Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land.

In Classics, Little Women took the top spot over Animal Farm.

And finally in Fantasy, Neil Gaiman's new work, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, beat out Terry Pratchett's Raising Steam with 78% of the votes.

The full vote breakdown from our last round is below. If you'd like to check any of these books out from the Library the full Booketology list, with catalog links, is here.


  
  
  
  

Now that the field of competitors have been narrowed down to the Elite 8, it has become a battle of genres: Mystery is pitted against Graphic Novels, Fantasy faces off with Children's literature, Science Fiction takes on the New & Notable, and finally, it's Young Adult vs. Classics. Only four books can advance, and you decide.

Check out all the competitors in the Elite 8 bracket:


The full Booketology Schedule voting schedule:

Round 1: March 22-24
Sweet 16: March 25-27
Elite 8: March 28-31
Final 4: April 1-3
Championship: April 4-6



The championship book will be announced on April 7!
Vote now and have fun, everyone!


About the Author

Liesl Christman

Liesl Christman is the digital content specialist for The Kansas City Public Library, managing content for the Library's blogs and social media accounts. She is an unabashed enthusiast of comic books, roller derby, and all things food.

Kansas City Public Library on Facebook    Kansas City Public Library on Twitter    Kansas City Public Library on YouTube    Follow KCLibrary on Pinterest    KC Unbound RSS feed

Booketology Returns!

Our Spring Tournament of Books has returned for the third year! It's book vs. book and you decide the winner. Check out the results of our first round, and Vote in the Sweet 16 of Booketology.

Based on NCAA Basketball's "Bracketology" we pit favorite book titles against one another, with our staff and patrons voting for the champions.

Our first round ended Monday night, and it was an interesting battle. Janet Evanovich's Takedown Twenty narrowly defeated Randy Wayne White's Bone Deep by only 4 votes, while the largest lead goes to Stranger in a Strange Land, which took its competition against Like a Mighty Army with 87% of the vote.

Super heroes were triumphant against the memoirs in Graphic Novels, with both Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns advancing to the next round.

In Classics, the March sisters took down the whale, with Little Women defeating Moby Dick.

And in Young Adult, Rainbow Rowell's fans fought hard for Eleanor & Park, but in the end the showdown went to John Green's The Fault in our Stars.

The full Round 1 vote breakdown is below. Are you not familiar with some of the competitors? The list of books (with links to check them out from our catalog) is here.


  
  
  
  


The full Booketology Schedule voting schedule:

Round 1: March 22-24
Sweet 16: March 25-27
Elite 8: March 28-31
Final 4: April 1-3
Championship: April 4-6



The championship book will be announced on April 7!
Vote now and have fun, everyone!


About the Author

Liesl Christman

Liesl Christman is the digital content specialist for The Kansas City Public Library, managing content for the Library's blogs and social media accounts. She is an unabashed enthusiast of comic books, roller derby, and all things food.

Kansas City Public Library on Facebook    Kansas City Public Library on Twitter    Kansas City Public Library on YouTube    Follow KCLibrary on Pinterest    KC Unbound RSS feed

Kush Sharma Wins Memorable Jackson County Bee

After 95 rounds and nearly six hours of competition, spilling into an extraordinary overtime that drew worldwide media attention, Kush Sharma emerged Saturday, March 8, 2014, as champion of the Jackson County Spelling Bee.

The seventh-grader from Kansas City's Frontier School of Innovation carefully spelled out "definition" - the 57th word of the day and 261st of the championship bee - to nail down the title and a berth in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., in May. Runner-up Sophia Hoffman gave him an opening moments earlier, missing on "stifling." She had appeared to mishear the pronunciation and spelled it s-t-e-i-f-l-e-i-n, but an appeal was unsuccessful.

Sharma, starting a new round, then stepped to the microphone and drew a breath. Per his routine, he asked for the definition of what would be the bee's final word, its origin, use in a sentence, and part of speech. He mimed writing it in the palm of his hand, and calmly spelled it.

It ended a duel that was suspended two weeks earlier when bee officials famously exhausted their supply of words. News of the stalemate went national, then global, picked up by media outlets as far away as India, Pakistan, and Australia.


Emcee Wick Thomas joked with the spellers before the competition.

Saturday's spell-off in the Kansas City Public Library's downtown Central Library drew television crews from NBC's Today and Inside Edition, as well as each of Kansas City's four network affiliates. While the spellers faced off in front of family members, other invited guests, and reporters in the upstairs Helzberg Auditorium, some 70 spectators followed the contest via live-streaming on a projection screen in Central's main-floor Kirk Hall.


The competitors posed for photos with their families.

After surviving 66 rounds on February 22 — the last 47 head to head — the two finalists battled through 29 rounds in Helzberg. The 13-year-old Sharma sailed through such words as "Waywiser," "grabble," and "igneous." Hoffman, 11, correctly spelled "Permian," "belladonna," and muumuu," among others.

Sharma, who says he aspires to be a heart surgeon, will join some 280 other qualifiers in the 2014 Scripps national bee in Washington, held May 25-31.


Media interviewed both Kush and Sophia after the Bee.

The Kansas City Public Library is a partner in the Jackson County Spelling Bee with the Mid-Continent Public Library, the Local Investment Commission (LINC), and the Kansas City Chapter of the American Federation of Teachers.

Steve Wieberg, Department of Public Affairs

The Bee Goes into OT!

An extraordinary Jackson County Spelling Bee — down to two students who’ve survived 66 championship rounds — will resume Saturday, March 8, 2014, at 9 a.m. in our Central Library.

Sophia Hoffman, a fifth-grader at Highland Park Elementary School in Lee’s Summit, and Kush Sharma, a seventh-grader at Frontier School of Innovation in Kansas City, will pick up where they left off after four-plus hours of competition on Saturday, February 22. The day had started with a championship field of 25.

The two finalists went head to head for 47 rounds. After they’d worked their way through the list of words provided by the Scripps National Spelling Bee, then through an additional 20 words picked from Merriam Webster’s 11th-edition dictionary, officials called a temporary halt to the duel and set the March 8 continuation — overtime, if you will. Competition will resume in Central’s fifth-floor Helzberg Auditorium.

Mary Olive Thompson, the Library’s outreach manager and co-coordinator of the championship bee, said new words will be drawn from a separate Scripps list and from Merriam Webster’s. Given Hoffman’s and Sharma’s proficiency, “We probably need an additional 150-200 words just to be safe,” she said.

The winner will advance to the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., in May. Telecast by ESPN, it draws a global audience.

Only a little more than three years ago, the Jackson County bee was without a home. The (Independence, Missouri) Examiner had given up its sponsorship after several decades. Thompson, then working at the L.H. Bluford Branch, saw the Library’s involvement as a means of pulling Kansas City public schools into the competition, and Library Director Crosby Kemper III agreed. The Library became a co-presenter with the Mid-Continent Public Library, the Local Investment Commission (LINC), and the Kansas City Chapter of the American Federation of Teachers.

The bee, however, still lacks a sponsoring organization to cover or defray the costs of getting the local winner and an accompanying adult to Washington, D.C. “We have managed to get by the last three years with the help of an anonymous donor, but there is no guarantee that funding will continue,” Thompson says.

She expressed hope that the interest in this year’s bee will attract a long-term sponsor.


The spellers with their families.

Hoopla Digital is Here

The Kansas City Public Library is offering a new, refreshingly quick — and free — way to get music, television shows, movies, and audiobooks.

Library patrons can now use Hoopla Digital to access an array of audio and video materials via Netflix-style streaming on their computers, tablets and smart phones. It's the latest addition to the Library's extensive menu of electronic resources.

All Hoopla content is available on demand. No holds necessary. No waiting. Users can watch or listen to their selections via online streaming or by temporarily downloading selections to a mobile device for viewing without an internet connection.

Hoopla's digital collection counts tens of thousands of titles - some 100,000 CDs; 10,000 audiobooks; 3,000 movies; and 500 TV series - and continues to expand. The Holland, Ohio-based service struck new streaming deals late in 2013 with NBCUniversal, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, National Geographic, and BBC America. It already had agreements with Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and eOne Music.

Movie selections range from the classic To Kill a Mockingbird to 2013's Parkland and Stuck in Love, television titles from NOVA to all 10 seasons of Stargate SG-1, music from Sinatra to Taylor Swift to Lorde, audiobook authors from Studs Terkel to Walter Isaacson to Suzanne Collins. Many of the video titles are not currently available on Netflix or Amazon Instant Video.

Because the Library is charged each time an item is checked out on one of its cards, we currently limit users to 15 items per card per month. Each TV episode counts as an item.

Checkout time for videos is 72 hours. For music CDs, it's seven days. And for audiobooks, it's three weeks. Hoopla is not accessible via blocked Library cards.

Downloaded titles are automatically removed at the end of their checkout period, eliminating worries about late fees.

Tablet and smart phone users can download the Hoopla app from their app store (just search for "Hoopla Digital"). Desktop computer users simply go to hoopladigital.com and install a plug-in (Widevine). The service works from all major browsers, including Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Google Chrome.

Video tutorials are available on Hoopla Digital's YouTube Channel.

Problems? Questions? Check out the Hoopla Support page, or contact us.

Staff Picks: The Halloween Edition

Looking for some chills and thrills this month? We have some suggestions for you!

Our staff here at The Kansas City Public Library has picked some of their Halloween favorites. This diverse list includes a little of everything: children's picture books, graphic novels, classic Lovecraft, and modern Horror literature.

Do you have a favorite scary story? Please share it in the comments below!




The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories by H.P. Lovecraft

"As the original master of horror, Lovecraft has so thoroughly influenced the genre that the themes and elements of his stories may seem familiar to readers even if they’ve never before paged through any of the author’s works. While Lovecraft’s writing style tends to be a tad verbose (why only spend a few words describing the slimy fishflesh of leviathan god-beasts when you can do it in lengthy paragraphs?), the mythology he created set the bar for tales of mystery and monsters in such a way that “Lovecraftian” has become the de facto term for a certain type of fiction. Lovecraft’s terrifying visions have earned him fans such as writer Stephen King, who called the author “The Twentieth Century's greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale,” and visual artist H.R. Gieger, designer of the titular creature in the Alien movies. Nearly a century after they were written, Lovecraft’s stories—and the dark creations that inhabit them—still exude an eerie, visceral menace." - Andy, Senior Graphic Designer

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

In Joe Hill's debut novel, aging heavy metal star Judas Coyne is a collector of the morbid, macabre, and strange—until he purchases a dead man's suit online, supposedly possessed by the man's ghost. Only it turns out to be real. From there Heart-Shaped Box rapidly descends into a terrifying and relentless story that does not let the reader catch their breath until the very end. Suggested by Kaite, Director of Reader's Services. Joe Hill's most recent novel NOS4A2 was also highly recommended by Suzanne in Public Affairs!

The Red Hourglass: Lives of the Predators by Gordon Grice (non-fiction)

"In The Red Hourglass: Lives of the Predators an enthusiastic rattlesnake-eater describes the taste as having 'a wild richness.' The same could be said of Grice’s book: it is wild—even exotic—because the subjects are so unknown and the events described so thrilling. Of the deadly recluse spider, Grice writes, 'we understand almost nothing about the venom and its attendant array of human suffering.' More is known of the black widow spider and Grice’s captivating tale contains personal narrative and a trove of history, including an account of a Dr. Blair’s 1933 experiment in which he provoked a black widow into biting him for ten minutes. Horrific pain lasted for days. Grice’s writing is rich in gripping detail. He rears the widow, recluse, tarantula and others in terraria and has observed them closely. Grice knows and tells their previously unknown lives." - Jill, Customer Service

Hellblazer by Jamie Delano, Garth Ennis, Warren Ellis, et al.

Equal parts con-man and occult magician, John Constantine, originally created by author Alan Moore as a supporting character in Swamp Thing in the 1980s, is one of the most unrepentant antiheroes in the world of graphic novels/comic books. Hellblazer, the DC/Vertigo title based around him, is a gritty, adult horror comic that consistently pushed boundaries over its 25 years of publication, from writer Jamie Delano's British political commentary, to Garth Ennis' more introspective stories. My personal pick from the series would be the Dangerous Habits story arc, in which Constantine attempts to trick the devil to escape his impending death from lung cancer. (Just forget about the Keanu Reeves film adaptation.) -Liesl, Public Affairs

Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow

A spine-chilling werewolf novel written entirely in verse. It sounds crazy, but it works. As Kaite, our Director of Reader's Services, wrote in her Booklist review of Sharp Teeth, it's "spicy as a taco, as relentless as the pounding surf, and as lulling as a moon-drenched beach, Barlow's hip werewolf saga is highly recommended for adults and YAs who just don't get all the fuss about Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Series."

We have some selections for younger audiences as well:

Stay Out of the Basement by R. L. Stine

"R.L. Stine’s Stay Out of the Basement from his series Goosebumps, transforms everyday plants into frightening experiments gone wrong. Stine easily scares readers to stay out of basements of botanists forever and avoid unusual green food." -Skyler, Public Affairs



Skeleton Man by Joseph Bruchac

"This book is creepy-scary. Molly's parents didn't come home one evening and when Social Services gets wind of her situation, they place Molly with a creepy man who claims to be her great uncle even though she's never heard of such a relative before. Molly's story is framed by the Mohawk myth that her father used to tell her about a skeleton man." -Jamie, Central Youth Services Manager


The Hallo-wiener by Dav Pilkey

"What Halloween picture book focuses on the serious topic of bullying and stars an adorable dachshund? That’s Dav Pilkey’s The Hallo-wiener! Pilkey’s story centers on Oscar, a dog whose peers tease him and whose mama inadvertently makes matters worse. When mean cats wreak havoc on Halloween, though, Oscar’s diminutive height and embarrassing hotdog costume save the day. The colorful and cartoonish pictures and plentiful puns pack a humorous punch. For preschool or elementary-aged kids who want to laugh while gaining appreciation of their unique traits, this book is a great pick. It also lightens the tone when mixed with more spooky fare." -Anna, Library Outreach

Still hungry for more Horror? Kaite has also contributed to the RA for All: Horror blog, and John Horner, from Missouri Valley Special Collections, originally wrote this poem for the anthology, October Nightmares and Dreams. Happy Halloween!

About the Author

Liesl Christman

Liesl Christman is the Digital Content Specialist for The Kansas City Public Library, managing content for the Library's blogs and social media accounts. She is an unabashed enthusiast of comic books, roller derby, and all things food.

Kansas City Public Library on Facebook    Kansas City Public Library on Twitter    Kansas City Public Library on YouTube    Follow KCLibrary on Pinterest    KC Unbound RSS feed

Pages