Events

While Big Read Wichita officially starts October 1, our slate of programs begins in September. Events listed on this page are free and open to the public.

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The Vietnam War: A Special Screening
Wichita Public Library, in partnership with KPTS, will host a screening of a special 1-hour preview to The Vietnam War: A Film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. The full 18-hour series tells the epic story of the Vietnam War as it has never before been told on film. The Vietnam War features testimony from nearly 80 witnesses, including many Americans who fought in the war and others who opposed it, as well as Vietnamese combatants and civilians from both the winning and losing sides. Kansas veteran John Musgrave is featured in the documentary, and he will speak at this event. Musgrave will discuss his service during the Vietnam war and what it was like to be interviewed for the documentary. Following the 1-hour screening, Musgrave will be available for questions.
Monday, September 11, 6-7:45 p.m., Central Library, 223 S. Main
The Vietnam War: "Déjà vu"
The Vietnam War, a new 10-part, 18-hour documentary film series directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, will premiere on PBS stations nationwide. Each episode will repeat immediately following its premiere. The Vietnam War features testimony from nearly 80 witnesses, including many Americans who fought in the war and others who opposed it, as well as Vietnamese combatants and civilians from both the winning and losing sides.
Episode 1. With the Cold War intensifying, Vietnam is divided in two at Geneva. Communists in the north aim to reunify the country, while America supports Ngo Dinh Diem’s untested regime in the south.
Sunday, September 17, 7 p.m.
The Vietnam War: "Riding the Tiger"
Episode 2. President Kennedy inspires idealistic young Americans to serve their country and wrestles with how deeply to get involved in South Vietnam.
Monday, September 18, 7 p.m.
The Vietnam War: "The River Styx"
Episode 3. With South Vietnam in chaos, hardliners in Hanoi seize the initiative and send combat troops to the south, accelerating the insurgency.
Tuesday, September 19, 7 p.m.
The Vietnam War: "Resolve"
Episode 4. As an antiwar movement builds back home, hundreds of thousands of soldiers and Marines discover that the war they are being asked to fight in Vietnam is nothing like their fathers’ wars.
Wednesday, September 20, 7 p.m.
The Vietnam War: "This Is What We Do"
Episode 5. Hanoi lays plans for a massive surprise offensive, and the Johnson Administration reassures the American public that victory is in sight.
Thursday, September 21, 7 p.m.
Big Read Kick-off Party
In advance of the 10th Big Read Wichita, enjoy entertainment, food, and a taste of what to expect from this year's many community events! The 2017 Big Read Wichita book selection is The Latehomecomer by Kao Kalia Yang, a woman born in a refugee camp in Thailand, telling the true story of her family’s escape across the Mekong River into the refugee camp and their immigration to the United States. The emcee for this year’s party will be KAKE News Anchor Lily Wu. Music and refreshments begin at 2 p.m.; the program begins at 2:30.
Saturday, September 23, 2-3:30 p.m., Wichita Art Museum, 1400 W. Museum Blvd
National Hunting and Fishing Day
Hmong family life is deeply rooted in hunting and fishing. Celebrate great outdoor activities with hands-on archery and fishing clinics. Presentation at 6 p.m. showcasing how long-lasting family bonds are strengthened with time spent in activities like hunting, fishing, trapping, hiking, herping, boating, and camping.
Saturday, September 23, 4-7 p.m., Great Plains Nature Center, 6232 E. 29th St. N.
The Vietnam War: "Things Fall Apart"
Episode 6. The president decides not to run again, and the country is staggered by assassinations and unrest.
Sunday, September 24, 7 p.m.
The Vietnam War: "The Veneer of Civilization"
Episode 7. Public support for the war declines, and American men of draft age face difficult decisions and wrenching moral choices.
Monday, September 25, 7 p.m.
Tuesday Topics: The Sudanese Refugee Crisis

Learn more about the largest refugee crisis happening in the world today, what conditions led these people to flee their homeland, and what steps are being taken to make lives better for these refugees who long to return to their country of origin. Claudine Leary will speak on the work she is doing to improve the lives of refugees.

Tuesday Topics are co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters - Wichita Metro that are timely & relevant to our community. Room opens at 11:30. Drinks provided; feel free to bring a brown bag lunch.

Tuesday, September 26, Noon-1 p.m., Central Library, 223 S. Main
The Vietnam War: "The History of the World"
Episode 8. As news breaks of an unthinkable massacre committed by American soldiers, the public debates the rectitude of the war, while and incursion into Cambodia reignites antiwar protests with tragic consequences.
Tuesday, September 26, 7 p.m.
The Vietnam War: "A Disrespectful Loyalty"
Episode 9. South Vietnamese forces fighting on their own in Laos suffer a terrible defeat. Massive U.S. Airpower makes the difference in halting an unprecedented North Vietnamese offensive.
Wednesday, September 27, 7 p.m.
The Vietnam War: "The Weight of Memory"
Episode 10. While the Watergate scandal rivets Americans’ attention and forces President Nixon to resign, the Vietnamese continue to savage one another in a brutal civil war.
Thursday, September 28, 7 p.m.
Books & Brews
This is a regularly scheduled meeting of Central Standard Brewing's monthly book discussion group.
Sunday, October 1, Noon-1:30 p.m., Central Standard Brewing, 156 S. Greenwood St.
The Window & the Mirror: A Memoir Workshop

Just as this year's Big Read author wrote the story of her life, you can tell your story, too. Attend this 2-part workshop on writing your own memoir - it is free, but registration is required for each date; call (316) 337-9456 or register via the Library's online events calendar.

Dr. Kim Stanley, Chair of the Modern Languages Department at McPherson College, will teach these sessions which will give you the chance to do some writing of your own and get feedback on your work. Prof. Stanley is particularly interested in ways in which literature can be used to help people examine their lives and talk about values. She has served for ten years as a book discussion leader for the Kansas Humanities Council where she used stories to teach hospice values, to lead book discussions in a state prison, and to conduct a project teaching imprisoned fathers to read to their children. She was lead scholar for a Vietnam War project: "The Big Read" (funded by the NEA).

Part 1: Sunday, October 1, 2-4 p.m.
Part 2: Sunday, October 22, 2-4 p.m., Westlink Branch Library, 8515 Bekemeyer
First Thursdays Book Discussion
This is a regularly scheduled meeting of the Evergreen Branch Library's Thursday evening book discussion.
Thursday, October 5, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Evergreen Branch Library, 2601 N. Arkansas
Big Read Lunch and a Movie
Bring your lunch and watch a Vietnam era film.
Friday, October 6, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., McConnell AFB Library, 53476 Wichita St.
We're Coming to America
Immigrants to America tell their stories.
Saturday, October 7, 10-11 a.m., Clearwater Public Library, 109 Ross Ave.
America's Secret War
While the United States was publicly engaged in the Vietnam War, a secret conflict was raging just next door in the country of Laos. Under the command of the CIA, a full-blown military operation engulfed Laos, with a select few of the U.S. Armed Forces participating. At Long Tieng, a secret airbase in the heart of Laos, the CIA trained an army of allied guerilla fighters including a large number of the Hmong people (an ethnic group from the mountainous regions of southern China, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand), to assist in destroying enemy supply lines. The hour-long documentary America’s Secret War uncovers the history of this covert war through the stories of Hmong elders and a rich collection of never-been-seen archival images, maps and documents, including recently declassified CIA intelligence.
Monday, October 9, 9-10 p.m.
Stories In Thread
Stories in Thread focuses on Hmong Pa Dau or Story Cloths. The handmade textiles are integral to what it means to be Hmong in America. The Hmong fought alongside American Soldiers and CIA operatives as a secret army in the Vietnam War. When the war was lost they faced a campaign of genocide. Many came as refugees to the United States. Despite this significance of Pa Dau to identity and cultural survival, the art form is disappearing. The perspective of the elder generation, the fighters and refugees from Laos, is expressed in their own Hmong language and their fear of cultural loss is immediate and painful. The story of Hmong Pa Dau is the story of identity change, and perseverance, it is an exploration of the refugee and immigrant experience and also a commentary on contemporary minority issues in America.
Monday, October 9, 10-10:30 p.m.
Author Event: Kao Kalia Yang
Hear from the author of this year's Big Read Wichita book! Kao Kalia Yang is a teacher, public speaker, and writer. She is the author of the award-winning book, The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir. Kao Kalia Yang is a member of the Hmong ethnic minority living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Born in Thailand's Ban Vinai Refugee Camp, Yang is now an American citizen. Her presentation will be followed by a Q&A and a book signing. Books will be for sale by Watermark Books at this event with is free and open to the public.
Thursday, October 12, 7-9 p.m., De Mattias Performance Hall, Newman University, 3100 McCormick Street
It's Tiger Time @ Storytime!
Join in the fun at our regular 10:30 Saturday morning storytime as we devour It's a Tiger by David LaRochelle and Never Trust a Tiger by Lari Don.
Saturday, October 14, 10:30-11 a.m., Watermark Books, 4701 E. Douglas
Asian-Inspired Cooking for Kids
Learn basic cooking techniques and make baked eggrolls. Create your own custom filling, or use a traditional Hmong recipe. For ages 8-12. Registration is required; call (316) 337-9119 or register online.
Saturday, October 14, 2:30-3:30 p.m., Alford Branch Library, 3447 S. Meridian
Film Screening: The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)
The Betrayal tells the epic story of a family forced to emigrate from Laos after the chaos of the secret air war waged by the U.S. during the Vietnam War. Once in the U.S., the children were forced to assimilate into neighborhoods ridden with crime, violence, and gangs, which only perpetuated the war mentality they had grown up with. Director Ellen Kuras spent 23 years chronicling the family's extraordinary journey in this deeply personal, poetic, and emotional film. (96 min., no rating)
Saturday, October 14, 2:30-4:15 p.m., Central Library, 223 S. Main
Big Read Book Review: The Song Poet
Author Kao Kalia Yang has written a second book about her father. Join this book review session to learn about Ms. Yang's newest book, The Song Poet.
Monday, October 16, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Central Library, 223 S. Main
Big Read Storytime
We will read It's a Tiger and make story cloths.
Tuesday, October 17, 10-11 a.m., McConnell AFB Library, 53476 Wichita St.
Third Tuesdays Book Discussion
This is a regularly scheduled meeting of the Westlink Branch Library's Tuesday afternoon book discussion.
Tuesday, October 17, 1-2 p.m., Westlink Branch Library, 8515 Bekemeyer
Book Discussion (El Dorado)
In this month's meeting of Bradford Memorial Library's Book Discussion Group, we'll talk about Big Read Wichita selection The Latehomecomer.
Tuesday, October 17, 6-7:30 p.m., Bradford Memorial Library, 611 S. Washington
#ICTBC Online Book Club
Join Wichita Public Library's online book club as Librarians Sara and Racine discuss this year's Big Read Wichita selection. Visit the Wichita Public Library's Facebook page over your lunch hour to watch the live discussion. Join the conversation by commenting along!
Wednesday, October 18, 12:30-1 p.m., www.facebook.com/wichitapubliclibrary
Book Discussion and Documentary
Join us to discuss this year's Big Read book. Before the discussion, we will watch The Place Where We Were Born, a brief documentary by the author.
Wednesday, October 18, 1-2:30 p.m., Derby Public Library, 1600 E. Walnut Grove
Third Thursday Book Discussion
This is a regularly scheduled meeting of Newton Public Library's Thursday night book discussion.
Thursday, October 19, 7 p.m., Newton Public Library, 720 N. Oak
Discover Hmong Story Cloths
Pictures can tell a story. In this Big Read Wichita program for children, explore the Hmong culture and make a story cloth of your own. Ages 6-12. Registration is required for each child beginning Aug. 1; call (316) 261-8512 or register online.
Monday, October 23, 2:30-3:30 p.m., Central Library, 223 S. Main
Stories In Thread (repeat)
Stories in Thread focuses on Hmong Pa Dau or Story Cloths. The handmade textiles are integral to what it means to be Hmong in America. The Hmong fought alongside American Soldiers and CIA operatives as a secret army in the Vietnam War. When the war was lost they faced a campaign of genocide. Many came as refugees to the United States. Despite this significance of Pa Dau to identity and cultural survival, the art form is disappearing. The perspective of the elder generation, the fighters and refugees from Laos, is expressed in their own Hmong language and their fear of cultural loss is immediate and painful. The story of Hmong Pa Dau is the story of identity change, and perseverance, it is an exploration of the refugee and immigrant experience and also a commentary on contemporary minority issues in America.
Monday, October 24, 9:30-10 p.m.
Welcome to Wichita's Asian Festival!
Days before the 37th anniversary of Wichita's Asian Festival, get a early look a program that has become a yearly tradition in our community. As part of the Big Read Wichita activities, you are invited to a preview program, where you will learn the history of the event and get an overview of the special things planned for this year's festival. If you have not been to the Wichita Asian Festival before, this is a great way to get an introduction to the wide array of elements that make up this annual event.
Thursday, October 26, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Central Library, 223 S. Main
Graphic Novel Reader's Theater
Voice actors will read aloud from The Boat, a graphic novel based on the story by Nam Le and adapted by Matt Huynh, while images and sounds carry viewers into the narrative. It is the harrowing story of a young woman's escape from Vietnam. The program contains heavy themes like suffering and death and may not be suitable for all audiences.
Saturday, October 28, 2:30-3:30 p.m., Central Library, 223 S. Main
America's Secret War (repeat)
While the United States was publicly engaged in the Vietnam War, a secret conflict was raging just next door in the country of Laos. Under the command of the CIA, a full-blown military operation engulfed Laos, with a select few of the U.S. Armed Forces participating. At Long Tieng, a secret airbase in the heart of Laos, the CIA trained an army of allied guerilla fighters including a large number of the Hmong people (an ethnic group from the mountainous regions of southern China, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand), to assist in destroying enemy supply lines. The hour-long documentary America’s Secret War uncovers the history of this covert war through the stories of Hmong elders and a rich collection of never-been-seen archival images, maps and documents, including recently declassified CIA intelligence.
Tuesday, October 31, 9:30-10:30 p.m.
Book Discussion and Documentary
Join us to discuss this year's Big Read book. Before the discussion, we will watch The Place Where We Were Born, a brief documentary by the author.
Thursday, November 2, 7-8:30 p.m., Derby Public Library, 1600 E. Walnut Grove
Lunch with a Vet
A Vietnam vet will provide a lunch and learn discussion about the treatment of soldiers coming home from the Vietnam War.
Friday, November 3, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., McConnell AFB Library, 53476 Wichita St.
Traditional Asian Dress Fashion Show
Enjoy a cultural fashion show! Authentic clothing from a variety of Asian countries will be worn by models, and commentary will explain the details of each style of clothing, including the significance of the color and detail, and on what occasions this type of clothing might be worn. The Wichita Asian Association is a co-sponsor of the program.
Sunday, November 5, 2:30-4 p.m., Evergreen Branch Library, 2601 N. Arkansas
Learning Circle: Rights of Refugees
Every day people fleeing war and persecution find the door slammed in their face. What rights do refugees have? Who is responsible for upholding them? In this course, learn from the experts at Amnesty International how to identify human rights violations and to claim, defend and promote the human rights of refugees.

Learning Circles programs are lightly-facilitated study groups for learners who want to take online courses together in person. This Learning Circle meets weekly for 3 weeks. Registration is required and available at wichitalibrary.org/learningcircles.
Mondays, November 6-20, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Central Library, 223 S. Main
A Wichita Refugee Story
Wichita was the destination for many refugees from Vietnam in the 1970s. Hear a firsthand account of one of Wichita's refugees, Aphrodite Campbell, and what she experienced as a newcomer to the United States.
Wednesday, November 8, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Rockwell Branch Library, 5939 E. 9th
Immigration in Kansas Today
Mathew Sanderson will present "Immigration in Kansas Today." Since settlement in the 19th century, the story of Kansas has largely been a story of immigration. This presentation explores how immigration today compares to immigration since the 1860s, connecting the trends in the benefits and challenges that communities face when new people move in. Looking at history, how can today’s Kansas towns and neighborhoods develop socially and ecologically resilient communities? The social processes of integrating new cultures into our increasingly shared space will be examined, as well as the impact these changing demographics have on their natural environments. This program is part of the Kansas Humanities Council Speaker's Bureau.
Thursday, November 9, 7 p.m., Newton Public Library, 720 N. Oak
Early Morning Bookclub
This is a regularly scheduled meeting of the Early Morning Bookclub at the Linwood Senior Center.
Monday, November 13, 10 a.m., Linwood Senior Center, 1901 S. Kansas
Immigration in Kansas Today
Since settlement in the 19th century, the story of Kansas has largely been a story of immigration. This presentation explores how immigration today compares to immigration in the 1860s, connecting the trends in the benefits and challenges that communities face when new people move in. Looking at history, how can today’s Kansas towns and neighborhoods develop socially and ecologically resilient communities? The social processes of integrating new cultures into our increasingly shared space will be examined, as well as the impact these changing demographics have on their natural environments. Presented by Matthew Sanderson, associate professor of sociology at Kansas State University. This presentation is made possible by the Kansas Humanities Council.
Thursday, November 16, 10-11 a.m., Clearwater Public Library, 109 Ross Ave.
Craftaholics Anon. Book Discussion and Crafting
We will discuss The Latehomecomer as we craft our story with ink and water.
Friday, November 17, 6-8 p.m., McConnell AFB Library, 53476 Wichita St.
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