Thursday, July 31, 2014

Make your own lava lamp

Here's a fun science experiment that we did Wednesday night at our Headlands Branch that you and your kids can do at home.
Jack fills his bottle with oil and water and lets them settle.
Jack fills his bottle with oil and water and lets them settle.
Step 1: Fill a plastic bottle with one part water, two parts oil and let them settle. Use a funnel or this experiment gets a lot messier.
Rachel adds food coloring to her mixture.
Rachel adds food coloring to her mixture.
Step 2: Once the water and oil have settled, add ten drops of food coloring—any color you like.
Ellie drops a glow stick in to add a little color.
Ellie drops a glow stick in to add a little color.
Step 3: If you're feeling funky, activate a glow stick by cracking it and then drop it in the bottle. (Note: if you're going to keep your lava lamp, you'll have to swap out your glow stick every now and again.)
Olivia reaches for an alka-seltzer tablet.
Olivia reaches for an Alka-Seltzer tablet.
Step 4: Drop an Alka-Seltzer tablet your bottle and watch the colored water erupt into the oil. The more pieces of tablet you put in, the crazier it will get.

Once the tablet dissipates, the oil and colored water will settle back down. But all you need is another tablet to get the party started again.

This year we’ve dedicated our Summer Reading Program to science, so we've been making fun experiments all summer.

In June, we made tiny hovercrafts out of CDs and balloons over at the Headlands Branch. On August 13, we'll be blowing stuff up. (Don't worry. The explosions will be small, though they may be a little messy.)

Our Summer Reading Program runs until Aug. 2. That means there is still time for your child to become a Library Champion.

Everyone who participates in our summer reading programs—either by reading and/or attending library programs—has a chance to win prizes. Grand prizes include a $100 gift card from Toys ‘R’ Us for kids and Nook eReaders for teens and adults. The more someone reads, the better chance they have of winning something.

And everyone is invited to our Summer Reading Finale, Aug. 7 over at our Read House, which is next door to our Main Branch on Mentor Avenue.

Visit Mentor Library’s Facebook page for more photos of kids making their own lava lamps.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Edgar Allan Poe visits the library

Aside from the occasional visit by Mark Twain, it's difficult to convince dead authors to speak at the library. So we considered it quite a coup when Edgar Allan Poe agreed to talk at Mentor Public Library this Friday.

Sure, it wasn't Poe, per se, but Jim Knight performing as Poe. But considering Poe has been quite dead for quite some time, Knight serves as an excellent substitute

In addition to hearing The Tell-Tale Heart and The Raven, we learned a few interesting facts about Poe's life on Friday.

For example, Poe never considered himself a horror, suspense or even a mystery writer. He was a romantic and nearly everything he wrote—even the macabre stuff—was in the pursuit of beauty. (Of course, you may disagree with what he considers beautiful.)

Oh, and he loathed Longfellow.

As we may have mentioned a few dozen times, we turned July into Know Poe month. We've celebrated all aspects of Poe this month: his writing; his influence on art and cinema; his groundbreaking work in suspense and detective fiction; his interest in codes and cryptography. It wasn't easy, but we even found an age-appropriate way to introduce Poe to kids.

We've given away hundreds of collections of Poe's poetry and short stories (and a few snazzy Know Poe T-shirts, as well.)
This gentleman earned his Know Poe shirt by quoting the entirety of "The Raven" to us during a Flash Library at the park.
This gentleman earned his Know Poe shirt by quoting the entirety of "The Raven" to us during a Flash Library at the park.
The festivities—or, rather, since we're talking about Poe, perhaps, we should say "the oddities"—are almost concluded. But there's still time to join us for one final Know Poe book talk. It's this Thursday, July 31, at 7 p.m. in Wildwood Cultural Center.

Join us for a discussion on Poe. Talk about what you loved, what you disliked, what scared you, what impressed you about him. Find out what other people thought.

We hope you join us and we hope you enjoyed getting to Know Poe this July.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Wands, Wishes & More Fairies at the Library


Kayla casts a spell during our Wands & Wishes story time.
Kayla casts a spell during our Wands & Wishes story time.
Another fairies story time with more wishes? Why not? After all, you shouldn't limit how many wishes a kid can make. (Unless you're a genie. Then three is pretty much the accepted maximum.)

On Friday, kids had a special scavenger hunt in which they searched our Read House yard for clues to the ingredients of Fairy Soup. (That's a soup FOR fairies, not made OF fairies, by the way.)

They also practiced casting spells and made wish boxes in which they can keep their wishes.
There's a lot of glitter in this Fairy Soup but absolutely no fairies.
There's a lot of glitter in this Fairy Soup but absolutely no fairies.
Once the kids figured out all of the ingredients, they made a special batch of Fairy Soup.

And the soup was so good our fairy friends, Brzzt and Ivy Greenbriar, returned to thank the children for their gift.
Ivy Greenbriar is the one with the wings.
Ivy Greenbriar is the one with the wings.
Fairy Soup may look pretty with all of its flower petals and glitter, but it's not especially tasty; so the kids snacked on cupcakes afterward, instead.
Hazel's dress coincidentally coordinated with her cupcake.
Hazel's dress coincidentally coordinated with her cupcake.
You can visit Mentor Public Library's website for more children's programs, and check out its Facebook page for more photos from its Wands & Wishes story time.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Splish Splash Water Science at Mentor Library

Saige and Natasja relax with a pair of freeze pops
Saige and Natasja relax with a pair of freeze pops.
This year we've dedicated our Summer Reading Program to science, so we had some fun with the science of water last week.

Kids tested the surface tension of water by seeing how many droplets they could fit on a coin, checked to see which fabric absorbed the most water and recorded everything in their science logs.

They also tested the density of different items by seeing if they'd float in a pool.
Do dinosaurs float? This one does.
Do dinosaurs float? This one does.
But it wasn't all log books and logarithms. After all, water can also be used for art, so some of the kids tried their hands at watercolor painting.
Water's good for science AND art. Sarah paints with watercolors.
Water's good for science AND art. Sarah paints with watercolors.
And, then, somebody broke out the water balloons and the freeze pops!
Somebody's about to get a science lesson in velocity.
Somebody's about to get a science lesson in velocity.
Our Summer Reading Program runs until Aug. 2. That means there is still time for your child to become a Library Champion.

Everyone who participates in our summer reading programs—either by reading and/or attending library programs—has a chance to win prizes. Grand prizes include a $100 gift card from Toys ‘R’ Us for kids and Nook eReaders for teens and adults. The more someone reads, the better chance they have of winning something.

You can sign up for summer reading at any of Mentor Public Library’s branches.

Visit Mentor Library’s Facebook page for more photos from Splish Splash Water Science and our summer reading events.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Get to Know Poe during Mentor Reads

Dee Tarentino laughs during a Know Poe book talk at Mentor Senior Center.
Dee Tarentino laughs during a Know Poe book talk at Mentor Senior Center.
There's still time to join one of our Know Poe book talks.

As part of our Know Poe month in July, we’re holding a city-wide book club called Mentor Reads.

We’ve compiled some of Edgar Allan Poe’s most famous poems and short stories, including “The Raven,” “The Tell-Tale Heart” and more, into books that are available throughout Mentor and Mentor-on-the-Lake.

You can pick up copies at any Mentor Public Library branch.

Take a book. It’s free! You can then join us for a discussion on Poe and his work. We've already had talks at city parks, Melt and Yours Truly, but there are still a couple of meetings left.

If you’ve always been interested in joining a book club or just love reading, this is a great place to begin.

Discussions will be at:
Friday, July 25, 12 p.m. at the News Herald
Tuesday, July 29, 6:30p.m. at Mentor Public Library Main Branch
Wednesday, July 30, 6:30 p.m. at Mentor Public Library Main Branch
Thursday, July 31, 7 p.m. at Wildwood Cultural Center

You can come to one or all of them. We can’t wait to hear what you think.

See you soon!

Click here for a full list of all our Know Poe programs.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Egg-celent Experiment during Mad Science Monday

We've experimented with squirt guns, bubbles and the five senses during Mad Science Monday this summer.

And, this week, things got a little messy.

Kids tested the strength of eggs by walking across them. Then they compared different packing materials—from Styrofoam to paper towel tubes—to see which best protected the egg when it was dropped.

We still have two more Mad Science Mondays before the end of summer reading. Every week we have different experiments from 1 to 2 p.m. outside of our Read House. We hold it rain or shine, and no registration is necessary.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Having Fun at the Lake and Headlands Branches


Some fun from the chalk art program at Mentor Library's Headland Branch.
Some fun from the chalk art program at Mentor Library's Headland Branch.
We have a lot of fun over at our Main Branch on Mentor Avenue with our dragon training and Mad Science Mondays, but you'll miss a whole lot if you never venture to our Headlands and Mentor-on-the-Lake Branches.

Just last week, we dyed T-shirts with Kool-Aid over at Lake Branch, and kids broke out the chalk and practiced their sketch art at Headlands.

We've also been having Lakeside Labs over at our Headlands Branch where we've learned about UV rays and built small hovercrafts.
It's about to get colorful at our Tye-Dye program.
It's about to get colorful at our Tye-Dye program.
The fun continues this week. Travelin' Man Band is playing a free concert this Wednesday evening at our Headlands Branch. (Bring a lawn chair or a blanket, if you like.)

And Know Poe—our month-long celebration of Edgar Allan Poe—continues at the Lake Branch tonight with Mystery on the Lake. Kids can use their sleuthing skills to solve a whodunnit. (After all, Poe did invent the detective genre, as well as horror.)

We're even making lava lamps on June 30 at our Headlands Branch. (You can use them while wearing your new tye-dye shirt.)
Getting creative with the chalk on the Headlands Branch sidewalk.
Getting creative with the chalk on the Headlands Branch sidewalk.
You can see what other programs and events we have coming up this summer at Mentor Public Library's website. So check it out and join us for some fun at any of our branches this summer.