I start by saying, "The Mentor Public Library is like Oscar the Grouch's eyes. Neither ever close."
But you say, "What do you mean the library never closes? Aren't you closed this Sunday and Monday for Memorial Day?"
Then, I say, "Sure, the buildings may be closed. But there's still a ton you can do with your library card -- download music and eBooks, watch indie films and take a class online -- even if all the branches are locked."
And you say, "Tell me more."
"It's all on our web site," I say. "You can still check out eBooks onto your tablets, smartphones, eReaders and laptops using Overdrive. They include books by best-selling authors like Janet Evanovich, James Patterson and Nicholas Sparks. You can even check out that new Dan Brown book everyone's talking about. By the way, this also includes audiobooks that you can load onto your mp3 players."
- Here's a link with step-by-step instructions on how to download eBooks and mp3 files of audiobooks onto your tablets, smartphones, Apple gizmos, laptops et. al.
Next you ask, "Didn't you say something about music?"
And I reply, "Yes, I did. Free music. All you need is a Mentor Public Library card and you can use Freegal to download music from hundreds of artists including Pink, Beyonce and Kenny Chesney. You can download up to three mp3s per week. And they're yours to keep -- load them on your iPod, burn them on CD, play them on loop ad infinitum -- forever. For free."
So you narrow your eyes and say, "But what if I want to watch a movie? I can't check out a movie if the branches are closed."
"What if I want a magazine?" you ask. "How do I check out a magazine if you're closed?"
"It's called Zinio. It lets you check out digital versions dozens of magazines from Smithsonian to Cosmopolitan to Newsweek to Marie Claire to ESPN..."
"Let me guess," you interrupt. "All I need is a library card."
"That's it," I say, nodding. "It's a free service to anyone with a Mentor Public Library card."
You seem less skeptical now. So you raise your eyebrow and ask, "You talked about taking classes online through the library. How do I do that?"
"I love this service," I say. "It's called Ed2Go. Having a Mentor Public Library card gives you access to hundreds of online courses -- from Accounting & Finance to Writing & Publishing -- for free. Each course runs for six weeks and they're run by expert instructors."
"And I can take the course from home?" you ask.
"From home, from the coffee shoppe, from your kids' soccer practice, wherever."
"Even when the library's closed," you say.
And I smile because you've finally gotten it.
Then I say, "What about Breakfast at Tiffany's."
And you say, "I think I remember that film."
Then I say, "I think we both kind of liked it..."
And you say, "Never end on a non sequitur."
Here's a pretty concise breakdown of all the online services and digital materials we offer -- even when the buildings are closed.