libraries

Paul Andrews

According to Cheptoo Kositany-Buckner, the digital divide is the civil rights issue of the 21st century.

“Having internet access is essential. It’s not a luxury,” she says.

Kositany-Buckner, the deputy director of the Kansas City Public Library, has been working to bridge the digital divide in Kansas City. And the library is the place to do it, she says.

“We provide access to digital content — whether it’s e-books, audio books or research tools you can access online,” says Kositany-Buckner.

Last month, NPR’s Morning Edition announced the second session of its book club. A few members of the Kansas City chapter share their opinions of the selected book, A God In Ruins.

Guests: 

New Master Plan for Johnson County Libraries

May 21, 2015

There's a new master plan for the Johnson County Library system. On this segment of Up to Date, hear consultants' recommendations how many new libraries should be built and which existing ones should be expanded.

Guests:

  • Christopher Leitch is the Community Relations Coordinator for the Johnson County Library.
  • Jill Eyres is an Associate at Group 4 Architecture, Research & Planning.  She is a consultant on the library master plan.

Laura Spencer / KCUR

For centuries, scientists have looked to artists to help visualize the complexities of the human body. The techniques have changed — from wood engravings and copper plate prints to microscopic photos and digital animation — but the focus on storytelling is the same. It’s a profession known as medical illustration and there’s an effort to cultivate more of it in Kansas City. 

Mixing art with science 

The illustration department at the Kansas City Art Institute is tucked into a former grocery store at 43rd and Oak. At two long tables near the entrance, a handful of students quietly surf the Internet or eat a snack just before the start of a biomedical visualization class.

Charvex / Wikimedia -- CC

Every Kansas Citian has a list of out-of-towner attractions — barbecue, the Nelson-Atkins, a stroll through the Plaza. But we have been wondering: what should Kansas Citians be putting on our own to-do list? What hidden gems are right next to us that we need to see (or do) at least once?

We asked you to give us your suggestions, and we got a ton of them!

Here we present the incomplete "Kansas Citian bucket list" — a list of things every person in Kansas City should do at least once. Feel free to add additional items in the comments.

Johnson County Public Library

As we increasingly turn to Google and other search engines  for our information needs, is the library becoming obsolete?

Educator and technology expert John Palfrey doesn't think so, though he thinks it needs a system update.

Courtesy Johnson County Library

Johnson County might not have a reputation as a hot spot for cultivating young poets. But that’s exactly what’s been happening for more than a decade now, thanks to some librarians.

Earlier this month, the Johnson County Library published the latest edition of Elementia, a gorgeous glossy magazine with original artwork and poetry by nearly 60 middle and high school students.

courtesy: Johnson County Public Library

Johnson County is the largest and fastest-growing county in Kansas.

And it’s becoming more diverse. But if you take a quick look at the latest census numbers, the population is still more than 80 percent white. It’s also about 7 percent Hispanic or Latino, 5 percent Asian, and 5 percent African-American.

This fall, the library launched a series of programs called Beyond Skin

“I received the telephone call around three o’clock in the morning. Bernard Powell was dead.”

That's Telester Powell, talking about her husband. Bernard Powell was a well-known Kansas City Civil Rights activist in the 1960s. He joined the NAACP at age 13 and marched with Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma. Powell was on the rise, winning accolades such as Outstanding Man of the Year from the National Junior Chamber of Commerce. He had a dream of becoming Missouri’s first black governor.

A Fistful Of Spaghetti Westerns

Jul 16, 2014
Clint Eastwood for A Fistful of Dollars / Wikimedia Commons

A half century ago, nobody expected much of Sergio Leone’s 1964 Italian Western A Fistful of Dollars – not even its young American star, Clint Eastwood. On Wednesday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske explores how this film's fiery success ignited the popularity of an entire genre known as "spaghetti westerns".

Guests:

Esther Honig / KCUR

Libraries have long been a place where new technologies can be seen and interacted with for the first time. In the 1980s, it was the personal computer. In the 1990s, the World Wide Web. Now, 3-D printers are becoming increasingly available in libraries across the country, and they are part of the transformation of the role of the institution. 

Penguin Books

From haunted hotels, to the real life story of Nazi hunters in Argentina, these summer reading picks are sure to get your young ones' imaginations churning.

On Wednesday's Up to Date, Johnson County librarians Kate McNair and Dennis Ross, and retired librarian Debbie McLeod bring their recommendations to keep kids and teens occupied during the dog days of summer. 

Recommendations:

In recent years, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games  and Twilight series have been favorites among young readers. However, a survey of the most frequently checked out books at the Johnson County libraries also includes classics from decades past.

Creative Commons

Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants series recently received the dubious distinction of topping the American Library Association's list of most-challenged books of 2013. With the author on his way to Kansas City, Central Standard took a look at what makes some of the most-challenged books so controversial.

Flickr user Sue Craske

There’s a new resource in town for Kansas City gardeners: a seed library. Starting this spring at the Ruiz branch of the Kansas City Public Library, anyone with a library card can check out seeds for typical garden plants, from cilantro to tomatoes. At the end of the season, patrons return the seeds they harvest from the plants they grow.

Writer Ray Bradbury was an American icon. His work straddled genres, uniting the seemingly-disparate worlds of science fiction and high literature, haunting readers' imaginations with side shows, skeletons, bright stars, the dark skies of space, solitary front porches and late night train whistles. 

Examining 100 Years Of The Panama Canal

Mar 31, 2014
Lyn Gateley / Flickr-CC

You’ve heard of the man, his plan and that canal: Panama. Well, it’s been 100 years since its construction, and the waterway is getting a facelift.

On Monday's Up to Date, we talk about a new local exhibit that explores that century of innovation.

Guest:

  • Alberto Aleman Zubieta, former CEO of the Panama Canal Authority
  • Lisa Browar, president of the Linda Hall Library

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Kansas City native Alvin Sykes is a self-taught civil rights activist who has done instrumental work with the justice system, particularly with unsolved civil rights crimes, including the high-profile murder of Emmett Till, and the 1980 murder of Kansas City musician Steve Harvey.

This month he is giving a talk at the Kansas City Public library, where he was the 2013 scholar in residence. Sykes educated himself in law and civil rights using resources from the city's public library system.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

The National Endowment for the Arts started the initiative called The Big Read as a way to encourage reading. This year, for its Big Read selection, the Kansas City Public Library chose the novel True Grit.

It’s the story of a teenager in the late 1800s who seeks to avenge her father’s murder. The library is hosting a series of public events, including a performance of songs inspired by the era of the novel.

Writing songs from Mattie's perspective

Laura Spencer / KCUR

After more than 20 years of showing rotating artwork, mostly of local artists, an exhibition program at University of Kansas Medical Center has closed. Officials say it’s the impact of steep cuts to state funding. And the KU Chancellor defended the school's commitment to free speech Tuesday. But others are calling it censorship. 

Inside and outside the library

Laura Spencer / KCUR

Playbills from performances, snapshots of family and friends, and personal letters of the late choreographer Alvin Ailey are now housed at the Black Archives of Mid-America.

The collection is called the Allan Gray Family Personal Papers of Alvin Ailey. And it's on long-term loan to the Black Archives.

Ryan Schuessler / KCUR

Ask any genealogist – they’ll say researching family history begins and ends with stories: tales from Ellis Island, settling the frontier, fighting in the Civil War. These stories, and more, are all being told over and over again at a library in Independence, Mo. – but if you’re there, all you’ll hear is silence.

“This is the largest free-standing public genealogy library in the United States,” says Cheryl Lang, manager of the Midwest Genealogy Center.

Alex Smith / KCUR

Say you’re researching for a book report. Or looking up local history. Maybe you want to learn to some do-it-yourself home repair. Chances are good you’ll log on to the internet and get your answers in a few minutes without leaving your chair.

This leaves old-fashioned libraries with a problem: how to get people back to the stacks.

One local library has a unique solution for facing the future by embracing the past. The new branch of the Mid-Continent Public Library literally joins a 21st century building with a pre-Civil War home.

Kent Smith / courtesy of the Lawrence Public Library

The John Cotton Dana Award is considered one of the most prestigious in the library marketing and public relations field.  Out of eight winners this year, two area libraries - Lawrence Public Library and Mid-Continent Public Library - were recognized.

Greetings From Kansas City

Jan 24, 2013

  Before friends could tell their friends about their travels through email, social media and phone calls, postcards were the way to tell people where one was traveling. On Monday, the Kansas City Public Library will open its "Greetings From Kansas City" exhibit which showcases 200 postcards about Kansas City from the 1930s and 40s.

These postcards tell the story of Kansas City as the booming metropolis of the Midwest during this time period and depicts different scenes from around town.


courtesy of Henry Fortunato

In recent years, urban planners have renewed their focus on creating walkable communities. Walking is the most basic mode of transportation – and yet, in the Kansas City metropolitan area, it’s not as common as in other parts of the country.

Susan B. Wilson / KCUR

Once upon a time, youth in the '50s and '60s lived in fear. They practiced going to “fallout” shelters to escape the atomic bomb.

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR

Studies from Google indicated that 42 percent of lower income areas in Kansas City don’t have access to internet.

KC History: What Led To Vietnam

Aug 31, 2012

How did America end up in Vietnam? Coming up on Central Standard Friday, a look at the 40 years of political, military and diplomatic decisions that led to U.S. involvement in Indochina, going back to Versailles Peace Conference in 1919.

For those of you who still have some summer vacation remaining, or for those of you who have a bit more free time now that the kids are finally returning to school this week, look no further than the Book Doctors for a few new reading recommendations.

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