Kansas City Public Library

Designing and planning an urban landscape is about more than just figuring out which building goes where, and John Ruble should know. His architectural firm has taken on projects around the world that he hopes will serve their host cities for years to come.

The American Housing Act of 1949 reshaped Kansas City in enduring ways, but was it for the best? Local historian Michael Wells, who works in the library's special collections department, examines how the law changed the metro's infrastructure and how its effects are felt today.

The kidnapping of a red-headed, half-Irish, half-Mexican Arizona boy was the unlikely impetus for the longest war in American history, says historian Paul Andrew Hutton. The Apache Wars lasted from 1861 until 1890, and revealed the tensions that existed between tribal communities and American settlers.

The DLC / Flickr -- CC

How do you tell a city's history? We talk with the head of one of the city's largest and most important historical collections on his last day on the job.

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Activist and author Irene Tinker has spent more than 60 years of her life researching women's contributions to homes and societies all over the world. Despite being encouraged by decades of progress toward parity, she says barriers to equality still exist.

The federal government created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to enforce laws aimed at reducing discrimination in the workplace. In its 51-year history, the commission has made real progress but work remains to be done.

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Are we a society of bullies? We talk to two sociologists who make the case we can’t fix bullying in schools until we take a close look at the bigger institutional factors in America that encourage it.

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In researching Topeka's Westboro Baptist Church, Arkansas State University sociologist Rebecca Barrett-Fox got an intimate view of the ministry's operations. Despite what most people think, Barrett-Fox found the congregation and its roots aren't that far off the beaten path.

Paul Andrews/paulandrewsphotography.com

On his 9th birthday, Crosby Kemper III realized that his family was different.

His aunt’s ex-husband had kidnapped his cousin, and the uncle was arrested by the FBI at the New Orleans airport. That incident made the front pages of newspapers all over the country.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

To say they know a little something about national politics would be an understatement: David Von Drehle, editor-at-large for TIME, and Mike Allen, chief White House correspondent for POLITICO, share their insights on the presidential race so far and what to expect from the rest of the election season.

At the turn of the 20th Century, Kansas City was known for more than just a raucous drinking and gambling scene. The "Paris of the Plains" also served as a center for new, syncopated styles of ragtime, blues and jazz. With the music came an assemblage of composers and music publishers who called KC home.

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Paul Andrews/paulandrewsphotography.com

Crosby Kemper III is a library executive, the co-founder of a politically conservative think tank and the heir to a famous Kansas City name. What was it like growing up Kemper ... and then, to make a name of one's own?

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Kansas City author and teacher Whitney Terrell embedded with the U.S. military in Iraq about a decade ago — writing for publications such as Slate Magazine and The Washington Post. Some of the stories he heard became the basis for his third novel, The Good Lieutenant, an eye-opening look at women in the military.  

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

Let’s admit it: A lot of us aren’t as up on our Shakespeare as we ought to be (even some of us who were English majors).

For those who’d like to feel a little smarter as they head to Southmoreland Park for the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival's Twelfth Night, or What You Will, we consulted Geraldo U. Sousa, a professor of English at the University of Kansas who has written several books on Shakespeare and teaches Twelfth Night almost every semester.
 

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

It may look like just another hefty tome, but Shakespeare's First Folio is a big deal. Up To Date hit the road for a live, first-hand look at one of the most valuable, and rare, literary documents in the English language.

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You know the story; with a good education, hard work, and a little stick-to-itiveness, you can make a better life for yourself and your kids. It's quite literally the American dream. Political scientist and author Robert D. Putnam wonders, though, if that narrative is becoming less attainable.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Within ten minutes of his first day of school Juan Felipe Herrera was spanked, scolded, and left crying, all for speaking Spanish, the only language he knew. You wouldn't have guessed it then, but Herrera would grow up to be named the United States Poet Laureate. Twice.

His journey may never have happened if it weren't for his third-grade teacher, Mrs. Sampson.

"She said something that stayed with me for the rest of my life, and that I tell everyone I meet," Herrera said in an interview on KCUR's Up To Date, "you have a beautiful voice."

We might be breaking kayfabe in saying so, but it's well-known that most professional wrestling is three parts theater, one part combat. While the moves in the ring might be choreographed, the injuries sustained by performers and the emotion from the crowd is anything but a farce.

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Literature lovers owe a debt of gratitude to industrialist Henry Folger, who assembled the largest collection of William Shakespeare's folios, including the famed First Folio. Without that anthology, "half of his plays would have ended up on the ash heap of history," says author Andrea Mays.

C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

Juan Felipe Herrera's official duty is to be the "lightning rod for the poetic impulse of Americans."

That's how the Library of Congress begins its job description for the United States poet laureate. In other words, the poet-in-chief "seeks to raise the national consciousness to a greater appreciation of the reading and writing of poetry."

Stephen Locke/Tempest Gallery

Storms in the Midwest can be dangerous, but there’s often beauty to be found in a streak of lightning or a billowing supercell.

"Chasing Weather," an exhibition at the Kansas City Public Library's downtown branch, combines 17 vivid storm photographs by Stephen Locke with poems by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg. 

Across the globe, distinct political institutions and governing mechanisms have developed, but how and when did political order even begin? Starting with our primate ancestors through the eve of the French Revolution, we look at how our politics continue to evolve — or not — today.

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Is our definition of what it means to be 'literate' changing in a digital age? Should it? We talk about why young people today need to understand how to use digital media for all aspects of their lives.

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Courtesy of Jillian Shoptaw / Generation Listen KC

Did you keep a diary as a kid? If you did, are you willing to read it to the entire world?

Five brave souls did just that at reBound: Book Exchange and Podcast Party at The Buffalo Room in Westport last week.

Open Book (R)

Feb 10, 2016
Paul Andrews

In this encore presentation of Central Standard, we talk with Cheptoo Kositany-Buckner. Until recently, she was the Deputy Director of the Kansas City Public Library. Next month, she'll be heading the American Jazz Museum.

She discusses the role of the library in the 21st century, her efforts to bridge the digital divide and to archive information — as well as her dream of being a jewelry designer.

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Kansas City Public Library

A Kansas City librarian has won one of the most coveted awards in her profession. 

April Roy, who manages the Kansas City Public Library's Lucile H. Bluford Branch at 30th and Prospect, was one of ten people from around the country who accepted the American Library Association's I Love My Librarian Award last Thursday in New York City.

Sex trafficking occurs in all fifty of the United States and too often the victims are our children. Steve Kraske examines sex trafficking with a Kansas City FBI agent and the filmmaker of a documentary that looks at the effects on the victims, their families and law enforcement.

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Former chess champion-turned-political activist Garry Kasparov insists that one man is more dangerous to the Western world than any other foreign threat. Armed with lots of weapons and plenty of cash, he says Vladimir Putin has grown into something far more than a dictator.

These days, we've become accustomed to booking our own travel and pumping our own gas, but there was a time when tasks like bagging groceries was a job someone was paid to do. We discuss the social and financial implications of filling our day with additional unpaid tasks.

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Kansas City Artists Interpret "Alice In Wonderland"

Oct 20, 2015

Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland has inspired countless unique interpretations within art, literature, dance, theatre, music and film. We take a look at some local artists' versions as the story turns 150 years old.

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