Library Life


We’re only a couple of days into our Pin Your Perfect Library Pinterest contest for National Library Week, and the collective inspiration level is higher than a 12-foot cabinet of vertical files.

For those just catching up, on Monday we began inviting people on the social network Pinterest to start gathering and posting (“pinning”) their ideas for the perfect library. It’s in celebration of National Library Week, April 8 – 14, 2012, the American Library Association’s annual campaign to raise awareness for libraries nationwide.

Because Pinterest is a platform built for sharing visual ideas, and because people who love to read often also love images of libraries, bookshops, bookshelves, library cats, and the like, we thought a great way to celebrate NLW would be to crowdsource the perfect library.

If you’d like to take part, the rules are simple: (1) Follow the Kansas City Public Library on Pinterest. (2) Create a board called The Perfect Library and add the description “This is my board for @kclibrary’s Pin Your Perfect Library Contest for #NLW12.” (3) Start pinning things you’d like to have in your ideal library. (4) E-mail us the URL of your board to enter the contest, which ends at midnight on Sunday, April 15, 2012.

Pinterest Logo

What would you put in your perfect library? April 8 – 14, 2012, is National Library Week, and to celebrate, the Kansas City Public Library is holding a Pin Your Perfect Library Pinterest Contest.

What is Pinterest?

It’s a social network that lets you collect your favorite photos, videos, and links and post them to visual “pinboards.” These boards form collages of your favorite areas of interest, whether it’s arts and crafts, fashion, food, books, travel destinations, or other odds & ends from around the web.

Pinterest is currently invitation-only, so if you don’t have an account, you should request an invitation. (Or, you can e-mail me, and I’ll send you an invitation.).

Pin Your Perfect Library Contest: April 9-15, 2012

If you were to build your perfect library, what would it look like? What books would you stock on the shelves? What kinds of furniture would you set out for patrons to lounge in as they read?

Starting Monday, April 9, through midnight on Sunday, April 15, 2012, we want you to build your perfect library on Pinterest.

Booketology prize pack

It was an epic bracket. Booketology, the Library's March tournament of titles, began with 64 books representing eight genres. Over the past two weeks hundreds of voters narrowed the field down to just two: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and To Kill a Mockingird.

The two all-star classics met on the Booketology Championship court yesterday from noon to midnight. Sherlock wore his best tweed and deerstalker, and Atticus Finch sported his finest (slightly frayed) cream-colored suit.

Both books had fought their way across a worthy bracket. Starting out in Classics, Mockingbird tossed Pride & Prejudice, Slaughterhouse-Five, and The Great Gatsby out of its nest, then jettisoned Sci-Fi champ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Not so easy to dispatch was Final Four favorite The Fellowship of the Ring, which cut through Booketology like John Rhys-Davies through a pack of orcs – until it heard Mockingbird sing.

To Kill a Mockingbird

Tonight, April 2, 2012, in New Orleans, Louisiana, the two “most winningest” teams in the NCAA – the University of Kansas Jayhawks and the University of Kentucky, um … what’s their mascot again?

Sorry about that. Honestly, we’re a little distracted.

Though we’re excited for our nearby collegiate athletes, their faculty, and their fans, we’ve got a much bigger game on our hands.

It’s time for the Booketology Championship Round!

Two books are going into the final matchup: Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

How did it come to such a dizzying duel?

Over the Final Four weekend, Mockingbird beat Tolkien’s fantasy-genre-definer The Fellowship of the Ring by just five votes. (Sorry, Fantasy fans.) Meanwhile, Sherlock squashed Capote’s true crime masterpiece In Cold Blood by a margin of 50.

Now it’s a cross-pond, cross-century book battle for the ages!

Vote Now: Booketology Championship Round

Atticus Finch

After their upset of UNC earlier this week, KU has advanced to the NCAA Final Four. Meanwhile on the court of literature, the Jayhawks’ feathered friend To Kill a Mockingbird has also soared into the Booketology semifinals.

Our March tournament of books has had a thrilling inaugural run.

In the early rounds, we watched with bittersweet enthusiasm as newer favorites like Twilight, The Hunger Games, and The Help were crushed by the classics.

Then, in the middle rounds, we nearly averted our eyes as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone fell to Fellowship of the Ring in an explosive wizards’ duel and looked on in smirking awe as Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy fired its Improbability Drive and left Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? eating spacedust.

But now, the Final Four is upon us, and it’s time to vote.

Check out the updated bracket below, and vote through midnight on April 1. Come back on Monday, April 2, for the one-day Championship match between the last two books.

Hitchhiker's Guide

Round 2 has closed in Booketology, the Library’s 2012 Tournament of Books, and Round 3 has officially begun! Check the bracket below for the results, and cast your votes in the “Sweet 16” until midnight on Sunday, March 25.

If there’s a lesson to be gleaned so far from Booketology, it’s that genre classics trump newer contenders. Just look at Sci-Fi. Even with a much-hyped film backing The Hunger Games in theaters nationwide, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979) focused its Vogon planet destroyer beam on the blockbuster YA novel and blasted it off the bracketsphere. Sorry, kids. Go forth into the universe – and don’t forget your towel.

Meanwhile over in Horror, founding fathers Poe and Stoker brutalized the rookie competition (see: Twilight’s loss in the first round) to emerge as the finalists in our “Sweet 16” third round, which will determine the winners from each genre.

Oh and by the way, if you’re a Fantasy fan, you may wish to avert your eyes from this next round…

Check the updated bracket below, and follow the link to the next round of voting, which runs through midnight on Sunday, March 25.

Marty Hatten

If you've visited our Waldo Branch in the past 24 years, you've likely met Marty Hatten. Whether teaching readers' advisory classes to seniors or representing the Library on neighborhood action committees, Marty is working to connect her Waldo community to her beloved branch.

Booketology logo

Round 1 has closed in Booketology, the Library’s 2012 Tournament of Books, and Round 2 has officially begun. Check the bracket below for the results, and cast your votes in the field of 32 until midnight on Wednesday, March 21. May the best book win!

Voting in the first round of Booketology was, to quote one of the books in the match, “extremely loud and incredibly close.” We fielded hundreds of ballots over the weekend, and when voting closed Sunday at midnight, many fine books lay crushed in defeat – some by narrow margins, others by landslides.

Falling into the latter category was the overwhelming victory of Bram Stoker’s vampiric classic Dracula over Stephenie Meyer’s more recent bloodsucking love story, Twilight, which only got 19 percent of the votes. Sorry, Edward and Bella – overhype in the wider world brought you Booketology garlic.

Check the updated bracket below, and follow the link to the next round of voting, which runs through midnight on Wednesday, March 21.

Click for larger, printable bracket

Vote: Booketology Round 2

Other highlights:


Let the March book madness begin! Round 1 of Booketology, the Kansas City Public Library’s spring tournament of books, has begun. Vote for your favorites in the field of 64 through Sunday, March 18.

Booketology logo

March into reading madness with Booketology, the Kansas City Public Library’s spring tournament of books! Sixty-four books will hit the court starting Thursday, March 15. Which title will triumph? That’s up to you.

ZaiTavian and Amaureion Kerr

School closings. Teacher layoffs. Low graduation rates. Superintendent upheaval. Battles with the mayor. It's been a rough year for Kansas City Public Schools. That's why a new partnership with the Kansas City Public Library couldn't come at a better time.

If all goes according to a Memorandum of Agreement signed into effect January 26, 2012, over the next year, the school district will receive an influx of Library cards, services, and resources. The Library, in turn, will receive an influx of new users, broadening our community of readers and making a direct impact in an area of great need in the city.

But first, every student in Kansas City Public Schools is about to get a brand-new Kansas City Public Library card.

"We want to make it easy for students to get access to Library resources, and the first step is to ensure that every child has a card," says Deputy Director Cheptoo Kositany-Buckner.


Nearly 14,000 student users have been added to the system, and under the direction of project leader Crystal Faris, director of Teen Services, our Outreach and Youth Services librarians have begun delivering cards.

Christopher Elbow Valentine heart

Tonight, Victorian love guru Jennifer Phegley visits the Central Library to discuss her book Courtship and Love in Victorian England. And today, right here on KC Unbound, we’ve got the results of our Victorian Valentines reader contest.

As alert readers are well aware, this past week we asked you to craft clever personal ads for characters from Victorian novels and post those ads to Facebook and Twitter. The winner, as chosen by a team of lovelorn librarians, would receive a copy of Phegley’s book plus a box of chocolates from local chocolatier par excellence Christopher Elbow.

Meanwhile, as the social media sphere around Kansas City saw an uptick in conversations with a 19th-century literary flare, we talked with Dr. Phegley about how real-life Victorians practically invented the newspaper personal ad.

Phegley will share more stories of how our Victorian forebears found love during her free 6:30 p.m. presentation tonight in Helzberg Auditorium. (RSVP now to attend.)

Black Archives facade

There’s a new joint down on 18th & Vine, and it’s not a jazz club. But that doesn’t mean that when it opens in June 2012, the Black Archives of Mid-America won’t get off to a swinging start.

With an upbeat blend of live programs, rich historic collections, and eye-catching exhibits – not to mention its recently renovated headquarters – the Black Archives will let Kansas Citians interact with a vision that has been decades in the making.

In its gorgeous, Silver LEED-rated home in the historic Parade Park Maintenance Building at 1722 E. 17th Terrace, the Black Archives will combine preservation with education and fun. Historians will visit to conduct research, and kids will come for the programs.

It’s a model not so different from a modern public library.

That’s no coincidence, either. The Kansas City Public Library has been helping to shape the Black Archives’ growth for decades.

The Library’s relationship with the Black Archives goes back to the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, when founder Horace Peterson was housing his collection of regional African-American historic documents, artifacts, and memorabilia in a former firehouse at 2033 Vine St.

Script-in-Hand banner

Our sixth annual Script-in-Hand series launches this Sunday with a free performance and a brand-new look. Produced by Kansas City's Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre, "Women of the Years" features six plays with insights into the lives of women, young and old.

One of the knocks against Hollywood is that as soon as an actress (Meryl Streep excepted) reaches an age where she has enough life and performing experience to really deliver the goods, she's considered too old to star in a movie.

The theater, though, loves its actresses. On the stage, getting older means getting better.

To see that you need only check the titles featured in the Library’s 2012 Script-in-Hand series, a program of free readers'-theater-style performances featuring local professional actors and directors.

Women of the Years is the topic this time around, and the six plays selected by the Metropolitan Theatre Ensemble’s Karen Paisley provide not only endless insights into the lives of women but terrific roles for actresses of all ages.

Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf, for example, is a mid-70s hit that through poetry reveals the inner lives of 20 African American women – the joys, the pain, the triumphs and defeats.

Adult Library Card

The age-old question What’s in your wallet? just got a smarter answer. Starting today, newly redesigned Library cards are available to all Kansas City Public Library customers, new and returning.

The new cards will provide the same all-access pass to our bounteous resources – books, DVDs, databases – and best of all, they don’t cost a thing. Yet. Today through the end of February 2012, you can come in and swap out your old card for a new one, free of charge.

After that, a fee will apply if you want to get a new card: $1 for adults, 50 cents for youth, which is what we charge to replace damaged or lost cards. Or, if you’re one of those contrarians who shuns all things new and shiny, you can hang onto your old card as long as you want. (This may also be useful if you are a power-user* who has memorized your Library card number.)

Important note: We have issued two different card designs, one for adults and one for youth.

The design differentiation serves both an aesthetic and a practical purpose. First, kids and teens get a card designed especially for them. Second, adults will never be able to check out materials onto a kid’s card, thereby risking accruing late fees on an innocent young patron’s account. So, hands off, Aunt Augustine.