The Civil War at Mentor Public Library

We'll be talking about General Sherman's March on Atlanta next Wednesday at Mentor Library.

We’ll be talking about General Sherman’s March to the Sea next Wednesday at Mentor Library.

While I hate to use the word “fun” to describe any war, there’s a lot that’s fascinating, interesting and, yes, even fun to learn about the American Civil War.

For the last two years, the  James A. Garfield National Historic Site has led a monthly lunch-time Civil War series at our Main Branch, and their war stories and facts have been captivating.

Rangers and park volunteers have talked about everything from the Battle of Gettysburg to Civil War Art to the role artillery played in the war.

At noon this Wednesday, Sept. 9, they will talk General William T. Sherman’s famous “March to the Sea” from Atlanta to the Georgia coast. All of the Civil War talks are free and open to the public. You can register for it on our website.

And that’s not all!

As part of our Monday University series, we’re having a special concert Monday evening, Sept. 8, at our Main Branch. The Celtic Union Band will share stories, poems and play music from the Civil War era. Once again, this program is free and open to all.

To get a taste of the Celtic Union Band, you can check out their YouTube page, but there’s no substitute for seeing them live.

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5 Reasons We Host Concerts At Mentor Public Library

The Travelin’ Man Band performed a free concert Wednesday at our Lake Branch. The good news: it was a great show and a lot of fun. The bad news: that performance closed out another concert season at Mentor Public Library.

Most people don’t associate libraries with live music, though we’ve been hosting concerts at Mentor Public Library for a few years now.

We do it for a lot of reasons. Here are the five biggest.

1. We love music

Sometimes, it’s really that simple. We love music—all kinds, from jazz to country to pop and back again—and this is one of the ways we share that love.

It’s also one of the reasons we offer Freegal and Hoopladigital services that let you download and stream music, respectively—and have stacks upon stacks of CDs for you to borrow.

2. Libraries aren’t just places to borrow books. They’re cultural centers

Don’t get me wrong. We love books. Most people who work in a library are there, in part, because they love to read.

But libraries aren’t just about books.

They’re a place to engage with the culture, and culture doesn’t end in the written word. It includes music, fashion, art — pretty much any way a person expresses themselves.

3. It lets us promote local talent

Last year, we launched our Rock Roots Summer Concert Series.

We featured four local bands over the span of three free shows. All four bands—Altered Generation, Brendan Burt Band, Cheap Clone and Hedgehog’s Dilemma—have roots in Mentor.

This not only gives these bands a chance to perform on their home turf, it also exposes them to a new audience who might not hear of them otherwise.

4. The concerts might introduce you to something new that you’ll love

Mentor Public Library is all about lifelong learning. That’s why we host computer classes and programs about the Mars Rover, Edgar Allan Poe and make rockets from Alka-Seltzer tablets and water. (And that was just this summer.)

That’s also why we bring in an eclectic range of performers. We’ve hosted jazz, country, alternative, indie pop, oldies and Beatles tribute bands.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our myriad shows, and we hope you enjoy our concerts next summer too.

5. The concerts are a lot of fun

It really is that simple sometimes.

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Free ACT Prep Sessions Available at Mentor Library

Mentor Library is offering free ACT prep courses to teens on Saturdays, Sept. 6 and 13.

Mentor Library is offering free ACT prep courses to teens on Saturdays, Sept. 6 and 13.

Stressed out about the ACTs?

Why wouldn’t you be?

It’s one of the cruel truths of young adulthood that you spend four years volunteering, participating in student groups and working hard in class, and then a single standardized test taken on a Saturday morning can completely undermine you.

So standardized test are, in a word, stressful.

But there’s no better remedy for that stress than being well prepared.

The Mentor Public Library is offering two free ACT prep sessions this September. The first session is from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Sept. 6. It will focus on general test preparation and the reading courses. The next session is Sept. 13. Its focus will be the science and math sections of the ACT. You can register for them on our website.

These sessions provide practical experience in terms of the types of questions you’ll see on the ACT, and they also offer strategies for test prep (that, by the way, work on tests besides the ACT.)

All sessions will be led by Dr. John Foster, one of our reference librarians at Mentor Public Library. Foster has a doctorate in history from the University of Washington and has taught at both the high school and college level.

And, yes, all of our sessions are free and open to anyone preparing for the ACT.

If you have any questions on our ACT prep sessions, you can call the library at (440) 255-8811 ext. 215.

Students prepare for their upcoming ACT at Mentor Public Library

Students prepare for their upcoming ACT at Mentor Public Library

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Talk ‘The Fault in our Stars’ with our new Teen Book Club

Mentor Library's Teen Book Club will meet Saturday, Sept. 6, to talk about The Fault in our Stars.

Mentor Library’s Teen Book Club will meet Saturday, Sept. 6, to talk about The Fault in our Stars.

Remember reading for fun?

Not reading something because it might be on the test or because someone told you to—but reading for the thrill of it, the joy, to find out what happens on the next page.

We started a book club just for teens at our Mentor-on-the-Lake Branch because we want to get back to that fun.

Our next meeting is at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 6. We’ll be talking about John Green’s The Fault in our StarsAnyone who’s in ninth through 12th grade is welcome to join us.

If you want, you can borrow one of our copies of The Fault in our Stars. Just come by the Lake Branch and check one out.

If you know a teen who likes reading, loves reading or is just looking for some new people to talk about The Fault in our Stars with, tell them about our Teen Book Club.

We meet the first Saturday afternoon of each month at our Mentor-on-the-Lake Branch to talk about books from YA authors like Rainbow Rowell, Ransom Riggs and Terry Pratchett.

When our club meets in October, we’ll be talking about Pratchett’s Nation. (And, as always, you can check the book out from us beforehand.)

If you have any questions regarding the Teen Book Club, call Mentor Library’s Mentor-on-the-Lake Branch at 440-257-2512.

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Volunteers Give Children’s Area a Makeover

Alyssa Weese and the other volunteers from Selman gave our Children's Department a fun and brightly colored makeover Friday morning.

Alyssa Weese and the other volunteers from Selman gave our Children’s Department a fun and brightly colored makeover Friday morning.

Sue Manning smiled as she looked at the fresh layer of robin’s-egg blue paint in the Children’s Section of the Mentor Public Library.

“I love it,” she said. “My granddaughter is four. I can’t wait to bring her up here and say, ‘This is what grandma did.’”

Manning is just one of more than a dozen volunteers from Selman & Company, a third-party insurance administrator and marketer, that gave MPL’s children’s section a makeover Friday morning.

They painted the second floor of our library’s main branch in vibrant blues, yellows and greens. And they did it all from the goodness of their hearts.

Gary Sheplavy helps brighten the children's department.

Gary Sheplavy helps brighten the children’s department.

Selman volunteers repainted our Children’s Department as part of their Annual Volunteer Day, and they helped more than Mentor Public Library. They volunteered at other nonprofits in Northeast Ohio, including Cuyahoga Valley National ParkGreater Cleveland Food BankLake County Board of Developmental Disabilities’ Deepwood FacilityLake MetroParks and PAWSibilities.

“David Selman (the president of Selman & Co.,) he wants his company to give back,” Manning said. “That’s how our company is.”

Erin Sheplavy stretches to reach the framing around our carousel.

Erin Sheplavy stretches to reach the framing around our carousel.

Manning said she would be back at the library soon—and not just to show off her painting to her granddaughter.

“The library means a lot me,” she said. “I’m an avid reader.”

Everyone at Mentor Library can’t thank the Selman volunteers enough for their kindness, help and consideration. We love the new look in our Children’s Area, and we hope the kids and parents love it too!

We also have one more thank you to bestow. Thanks to all of our patrons who were so understanding that our Children’s Area was closed Friday morning. Kids and books are a great combination. Kids, books and paint—well, that can get messy.

Blue Mordini smiles as she paints Friday morning.

Blue Mordini smiles as she paints Friday morning.

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