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Kansas City Public Library

Through a public-private partnership headed by the Downtown Council, and utilizing funds from federal, state and municipal sources, corporations, foundations, individuals and the Library district itself, the Library raised the nearly $50 million needed for the project. As a result, the new Central Library opened its doors in 2004. The location features state-of-the-art technology, improved and increased services, meeting rooms, a screening room, a coffee shop and much more, all within the walls of a building originally constructed to convey a sense of strength and continuity. It is upon that foundation the Library places its vision for the next century to come.

Upcoming Events

February 2017

U.S. – Japan Relations

February 27 @ 6:00 pm

U.S. President Donald Trump has gotten off to something of a rocky start on foreign policy issues. But weeks into his administration he appears to have found an ally in Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, with the U.S. confirming its intention to meet defense commitments in the region and Japan signaling a willingness to invest in America’s infrastructure. Kunio Watanabe and William R. Farrell –leaders in the fields of international business and U.S.-Japan relations – discuss the economic and political…

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To Make a Poet Black, and Bid Him Sing

February 28 @ 6:00 pm

Glenn North, the inaugural poet laureate of Kansas City’s 18th & Vine Jazz District, discusses his work as an accomplished poet and spoken word artist, sharing passages from his recently published City of Song. The poetry collection celebrates the KC jazz tradition and the African-American experience, and North will reflect on what it means to be a black poet in the current cultural milieu. The event – taking its title from a line in Countee Cullen’s 1927 poem “Yet Do…

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March 2017

From the Bottom Up: The Story of the Irish in Kansas City

March 2 @ 6:30 pm

Irish immigrants were the first large ethnic group to settle in Kansas City and literally helped carve out its skyline, cutting roads into the limestone bluffs at the edge of the Missouri River. They laid miles of bricks and rails, butchered livestock, and kicked down barriers at City Hall and the courthouse for themselves and generations to come. Pat O’Neill, a fifth-generation Kansas Citian and champion of all things Irish, chronicled their history in From the Bottom Up: The Story…

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Working Together: KC History Through the Kansas City Athenaeum

March 5 @ 2:00 pm

In 1894, when women’s lives and choices were restricted and their influence was limited, a group of Kansas Citians answered a call to “stand shoulder to shoulder in the uplifting of the mental, moral, and physical status of our city.” They established the Kansas City Athenaeum women’s club, which advocated in ensuing decades for improved health, education, and public safety throughout the city. It lent women the voice and impact to exact positive change. Joyce Merrill, a longtime member of…

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Coterie Theatre: Sam and Dave Dig a Hole

March 5 @ 2:00 pm

Coterie Theatre artists read from Mac Barnett’s and Jon Klassen’s witty, award-winning story of two young boys looking – and digging – for something extraordinary. Young audience members can “jump into the story,” adding their own improvisation. Suitable for all ages.

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An Afternoon With Jake Heggie Jake Heggie, Gene Scheer

March 5 @ 4:00 pm

The odds of a new opera lasting beyond a single production are long. Jake Heggie defied them with his first full composition, an adaptation of Sister Helen Prejean’s best-selling book Dead Man Walking, which has been seen in close to 50 productions worldwide since premiering in San Francisco in 2000. In conjunction with Dead Man Walking’s debut in Kansas City – in four performances at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts – Heggie joins award-winning librettist and longtime collaborator…

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Sound Off: The Kansas City Star’s New Editorial Board

March 7 @ 6:30 pm

When introduced in January with the rest of The Kansas City Star’s revamped editorial board, new editorial page Editor Colleen McCain Nelson asserted that the newspaper “is redoubling its efforts to take a leading role in civil public discourse and to deliver unique, impactful opinion content.” Indeed, the opinion page serves as a sort of public square, a place to join in a dialogue about important issues of the day. Nelson joins fellow members of The Star’s six-member editorial board…

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An Evening With Francine Prose

March 8 @ 6:00 pm

Francine Prose describes herself as a “sentence person” – a best-selling author, reviewer, distinguished writer in residence at Bard College, and former president of PEN American Center, the New York-based free speech organization. One of the country’s leading literary figures, she sits down with Library Director Crosby Kemper III for a public conversation about her work; her latest novel, Mister Monkey; and what she views as an ever more critical need for the written word in today’s America. The presentation…

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Dodge City: Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and the Wickedest Town in the American West

March 9 @ 6:30 pm

Dodge City, Kansas, still conjures images of the wild and unruly West: streets lined with saloons and brothels and a populace thick with gunmen, horse thieves, and desperadoes of every sort. Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson laid down the law there and moved on, but were summoned back to restore order in what became known as the Dodge City War of 1883. In a discussion of his new book, best-selling author Tom Clavin separates fact from legend and film lore…

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Fatal Attraction (1987)

March 11 @ 1:30 pm

Clarice Starling and Jackie Brown. Alex Forrest and Annie Wilkes. In observance of Women’s History Month, the Library screens four movies in March that revolve around some of Hollywood’s most memorable female characters—from the admirable to the abominable. SATURDAYS AT 1:30 P.M. Stanley H. Durwood Film Vault Central Library, 14 W. 10th St. March 4       The Silence of the Lambs (1991; R) March 11     Fatal Attraction (1987; R) March 18    Jackie Brown (1997; R) March 25    Misery (1990; R)

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March 11 @ 2:00 pm

The tragedy of December 14, 2012 – 20 schoolchildren and six adult staff members dying at the hands of a 20-year-old gunman in Newtown, Connecticut ¬ took a nation’s breath away. “I don’t think that any of us who were in there feel that anybody needs to know specifically what we saw,” a responding police officer says in the 2016 documentary Newtown. But “emotionally, I think the world needs to know, to understand it.” Newtown uses deeply personal testimonies in…

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Miller’s Crossing

March 12 @ 1:30 pm

This annual series wraps its psychological studies of movies directed by Joel and Ethan Coen with 1990’s Miller’s Crossing (R). This gangster film, set during Prohibition, stars Gabriel Byrne as a trusted lieutenant to Irish mob boss Albert Finney. Their control of an unnamed Eastern city is challenged by Italian mafia, and their partnership is strained by simultaneous affairs with the same woman (Marcia Gay Harden). Psychoanalyst Marilyn Metzl and Trey Hock, assistant professor of filmmaking at the Kansas City…

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