There are many fine cultural organizations in the metro, but the Kansas City Public Library would be a major draw in any city. It boasts an excellent collection, a gorgeous old building (its Central Library, built in 1895), a gorgeous new one (the Plaza Branch), film series, art exhibits, and a fabulous website. But best of all is its knockout literary programming. Over the past year, the library has presented more than 100 authors, including Yann Martel, Chang-Rae Lee, Anna Quindlen, John McPhee, Sandra Cisneros, Lewis Lapham and Joseph O'Neill. And all of the events are free.