Friday, November 27, 2015

Have Yourself a very Freegal Christmas

Thanksgiving is over. Nobody can give you a dirty look for playing Christmas music now.

So if you’re looking for something different to play this Christmas or just need a new copy of an old favorite, you should check out Freegal.

Freegal is one of the library’s digital services, which lets you download DRM-free mp3s of your favorite songs. Moreover, once you download a song, you can keep the mp3 forever. Put it on your phone, your computer, your iPod–wherever you want. It’s yours.

And if you prefer to stream music, you can do that too!

If you have a Mentor Public Library card, you can download five songs for free every week from Freegal, and there's no limit to how many songs you can stream.

So here are just a smattering of your seasonal choices.

1. Pentatonix, That's Christmas to Me

Last year's most popular Christmas album is likely to stay in heavy rotation this year. You can even check out the new tracks the group added to their Deluxe Edition.

2. Kelly Clarkson, Wrapped in Red
Clarkson’s Christmas album is already ubiquitous. You can start downloading songs from it now for free. (If you have the patience to spread it out over a couple of weeks, then you can get the entire album. And, yes, I still call them albums.)

Personal favorite: I’m always game for a new cover of "Run, Run Rudolph." I’m less enthusiastic about "Baby, It’s Cold Outside," which is pretty much the holiday version of "Blurred Lines."

3. Harry Belafonte, Christmas
Belafonte could sing about muddy slush and it would still sound great with his voice, so it’s a delight to hear him sing these carols.

4. Dolly Parton, Home for Christmas
As a general rule, I love Dolly. This is doubly true during the holidays.

5. Ukulele Christmas
This album’s for all the people who loved Israel Kamakawiwo`ole’s version of "Over the Rainbow." And, no, these standards aren’t performed by IZ, but they have that same combination of earnestness and sweetness.

Personal favorite: "Auld Lang Syne," but you might also like the "Over the Rainbow/We Wish You a Merry Christmas" medley.

6. Kirk Franklin, Christmas
If you need some gospel music this time of year, Kirk Franklin and the Family have you covered. Standards like "Go Tell It on the Mountain" and "O Come All Ye Faithful" sound sweeter than ever.

7. Harry Connick Jr., When my Heart Finds Christmas
Connick has a lot of Christmas albums in his discography. This one’s my favorite but they are all available on Freegal.

Personal favorite: "I Pray on Christmas."

8. Parranda All-Stars: Navidad
There’s a lot more to Latin Christmas music than Feliz Navidad. This album is a good place to start.

9. NSYNC, Home for Christmas
Any NSYNC fans out there? There must be some. These guys only sold 50 bajillion records.

If you bought the CD or even *gasp* the cassette when you were in middle school, here’s a chance to update your medium for free.

10. Glee Cast, Blue Christmas
If you don’t like Glee…

11. Elvis, The Classic Christmas Album
Freegal has the Elvis version of "Blue Christmas" too.

What are some of your favorite Christmas albums?

If you’re having trouble with Freegal, MPL Librarian Mary Pelton made a video explaining how to navigate its web site.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

It's a Thanksgiving celebration at MPL, Charlie Brown

The kids laugh along to a special screening of "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" at Mentor Public Library.
Like Charlie Brown missing the football, some traditions are built to last.

We may not have had any poultry at our annual Charlie Brown Thanksgiving party, but we had enough popcorn and ice cream to make Chef Snoopy proud.

We screened the classic A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving today at our Main Branch and even served the same lunch as Charlie Brown did for his friends—popcorn, pretzels, toast and ice cream sundaes.
Bryn pauses from her popcorn to pose for a photo.
Our branches close 5 p.m. Wednesday and our closed Thursday for the holiday, but all of our digital services are still available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

You can still download ebooks and audiobooks from OverDrive and 3M, download music on Freegal, stream music and movies on Hoopla, and check out digital editions of magazines on Zinio.

So have a happy Thanksgiving and we'll see you Friday!
Maddie decorates her name tag during our Peanuts Thanksgiving party.
For more photos from our Charlie Brown Thanksgiving party, visit Mentor Library's Facebook page.

What happens to your book after you donate it?

Your donations help fill our Pop-Up Library, which gives away books all around the community.
When you place a book or two in our donations box—thank you, by the way—do you ever wonder what happens to it?

Where does it go? Will anyone ever read your book again?

The answer is your book could go to a lot of different places; but, wherever it goes, that book is helping someone.

We give a lot of donated books away. We firmly believe everyone should have access to books. If that means giving away a book that we might have sold at a book sale, we’re fine with that.

We’ve given away hundreds of books during My Community Monday where we donate books to local nonprofits, including schools, churches, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Deepwood, Lake Metropolitan Housing Authority, Hannah’s Home, Boy and Girl Scouts, and more.

The books you donate help fill the Little Free Libraries in parks, restaurants and businesses all over the city. We also give them away at city pools and at Mentor Headlands Beach so people never lack for a good summer read.

Your donations also fill the Pop-Up Library that gives away books at CityFest, Beachfest, schools and more.

And many of the donations we receive are sold during the Friends of the Mentor Public Library book sales at our Read House. In turn, that money goes to support library events and programming. The money that pays for an author talk or buys supplies for children’s programs often begins with the book you donate.

Furthermore, thanks to donations from people like you, we’ve given away more than 10,000 books this year.

And that doesn’t happen without your donations, so thank you! Thank you for your support, your donations, and for making us your community library.
Diane Frangos picks donations from the shelves of our Read House for the Girl Scouts.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Can Your Fines food drive returns to Mentor Library

Help those in need and have your library fines forgiven.
The Can Your Fines food drive is returning to Mentor Public Library and, once again, library patrons can donate food in exchange for forgiveness of their fines.

The food drive will run from Dec. 1 to Dec. 31 and people can donate at any of Mentor Public Library’s branches.

The donated food will go to local food pantries at St. Gabriel and St. John Vianney. The pantries will, in turn, give it to families in need.

Each nonperishable food item that somebody donates will be worth up to a dollar off of the fines they owe. People can get up to five dollars in fines waived this way.

Patrons can only trade food for fines once during the Can Your Fines food drive. Those whose fines have gone to collections are not eligible to participate.

Last year, patrons donated hundreds of pounds of food to their neighbors in need. We hope to collect even more this year.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Teens can hone their writing at our Write On Club

Teens write their own stories using different prompts and brainteasers when MPL's Write On Club meets.
On the third Monday of every month, teen writers gather in the Frances Cleveland room of our Main Branch.

They use different writing prompts and brainteasers to hone their skills. For example, this month, they took random books, opened to page 46 and used the first full sentences they read as the first sentence of their stories.

They are our Write On Club and they are awesome.

Any teen who wants to join their ranks is welcome. The Write On Club is a fun, supportive place to practice and improve your writing with other teens who are doing the same thing.

Our next meeting is 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 21, at our Main Branch. You can register for it on Mentor Library's website.

By the way, Mentor Library also has a book club just for teens. Their next meeting is 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5, at our Lake Branch. We'll be discussing Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park. You can pick up a copy of it at our Lake Branch if you'd like to join us.
All teen writers are welcome at our Write On Club.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

It's 'happily ever after' at our Tangled party

We had a lot of Rapunzels at our Tangled party, but only Sadie brought her own frying pan.
Kids made their own lanterns, sang along to their favorite Tangled songs and tried to pin the nose onto Flynn's wanted poster—“They just can’t get my nose right”—during our Tangled party on Thursday.

The young princesses even got special Rapunzel-inspired nail art if they wanted.
Claire decorates her lantern during our Tangled party.
It was quite the princess party, and the fun's not over.

Check out our event calendar for more programs and story times at Mentor Library.

You can also visit our Facebook page for a lot more photos from our Tangled party!
Alexis shows off her Rapunzel-inspired nail art.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

7 lessons Katie Spotz learned while rowing the Atlantic Ocean

Katie Spotz learned a lot while rowing across the Atlantic Ocean. She shares that knowledge in her new book, "Just Keep Rowing."
Katie Spotz is an endurance athlete, philanthropist, Mentor native and, now, author.

She learned a lot while rowing solo across the Atlantic Ocean and she shared some of those lessons when she visited Mentor Public Library earlier this week.

A Long Journey Begins with a Single Step

How did Spotz row 3,000 miles from Senegal to Guyana? As she explained it, she rowed one mile 3,000 times.

Spotz has swam the length of the Allegheny River, ran across deserts and biked across the country with a broken pelvis. All of those overwhelming tasks were made possible by breaking them into less intimidating chunks.

Wake up to Water

Every morning during Spotz's record-breaking row, she woke up surrounded by water that she couldn't drink.

That seems like a bizarre circumstance when you grow up near the planet's largest freshwater source, but it's reality for a lot of people. One in eight people don't have access to clean water that's safe to drink.

That's why a portion of the proceeds from Just Keep Rowing go to H2O for Life, a nonprofit that develops service-learning programs to provide clean-water projects to schools around the world.

Spotz's cross-Atlantic row also helped raise money and awareness for the global problem.

Experience Solitude, not Loneliness

Spotz spent 70 days by herself in a rowboat. She saw sharks, birds, dolphins and tankers but no people for more than two months.

She used meditation to prepare herself for that type of solitude but admits you can only prepare so much.

"It's still a jump to go from not speaking to someone for a few hours to one or two days to 70 days," she said.

Life Is a Team Sport

Spotz may have rowed alone but that doesn't mean she did it by herself.

She had the help of trainers, experts—for example, a weatherman helped her plot a course that took advantage of prevailing currents—sponsors who provided tens of thousands of dollars because they believed in her mission, and, of course, her family.

Whenever you're doing something difficult, assemble a good team and then trust them to support you.

See the Bioluminescence in Everyone

Spotz saw a lot of beautiful things while out on the water—the unhindered night sky, both the peace and tempest of the ocean—but nothing was more memorable than the plankton.

The tiny organisms were bioluminescent, meaning they glowed at night. Spotz compared passing through the plankton to rowing through millions of tiny, twinkling stars.

You don't really think of plankton as pretty. Spotz said the ocean taught her that there's beauty in everything and joy in finding that beauty.

What Does Not Kill You Makes You Stronger

Everything won't always go right. Spotz had two fires on her boat during her row. She broke her pelvis while preparing for a cross-country bike ride.

Those setbacks didn't force her to quit. Instead, she adapted her plans and overcame those hardships.

Scale the Mental Wall

Spotz doesn't undersell the difficulty of running across a desert, swimming a river or rowing 3,000 miles; but she says the most difficult part of these challenges is mental, not physical.

Sometimes you have to convince yourself something is possible before you can do it.

These are just seven of the 70 lessons Spotz discusses in Just Keep Rowing. You can buy the book online or check it out from Mentor Library.