MPL Talks: The Battle of Stalingrad

We host a lot of programs at Mentor Public Library and it’s hard to catch them all.

And sometimes you miss one you really wanted to see.

That’s why we’ve started MPL Talks, where we post full programs online for you to watch at your convenience. It’s not quite the same as being there. (For example, you don’t get to ask questions.) But it’s better than missing out.

Recently, our own Dr. John Foster—who, in addition to being a librarian, also has a doctorate degree in history—discussed the Battle of Stalingrad as part of our Major Battles of World War II series.

Foster examined:

  • the ideological differences between Hitler and Stalin’s brands of totalitarianism
  • Hitler’s intention with targeting Russia’s oil fields
  • Operation Barbarossa, which preceded the battle
  • readings from a German’s soldier diary during the battle
  • the battle’s effect on the Eastern European front and war
  • the startling loss of life that made Stalingrad the bloodiest battle in a bloody, bloody war.

Our World War II series continues in August with The Battle of the Bulge.

If you’re interested in seeing more of Dr. Foster’s programs, you can find them on our YouTube page, including his talks on Napoleonic France and the German Final Solution.

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Rare & Classic Disney Movies on Hoopla: Animated Films


There are more than 200 Disney films available right now on Hoopla, one of our digital services at Mentor Public Library. And you can watch as many as 12 a month for free anytime and anywhere, as long as you have a MPL card.

But with so many movies to pick from, it’s difficult to know where to get started. Allow this to serve as your primer for all the rare and classic animated Disney films you can find on Hoopla.

Disney’s been associated with several genres over they years—everything from westerns to nature documentaries to science fiction (and we’ll get to all of them in turn)—but it’s still best known for its animation.

Disney reserves its best known animated films for its infamous vault, but there are still plenty of classics to share with your family on Hoopla.

Oliver & Company retells Charles Dickens’ classic Oliver Twist from the vantage point of a stray cat in New York City. This might be the most musically talented cast that Disney has ever put together with Billy Joel, Bette Midler, Ruth Pointer, and Huey Lewis. (Classic songs alert: “Why Should I Worry;” “Streets of Gold;” and “Perfect Isn’t Easy.”)

did_3905_270Fun & Fancy Free is the only film to feature Jiminy Cricket alongside Mickey, Donald and Goofy. (It was also the last film to feature Walt Disney as the voice of Mickey.) It’s a “package film,” which means it packages shorter films—in this case, “Bongo” and “Mickey & the Beanstalk”—into a complete whole. (Classic song alert: “Fun & Fancy Free,” sung by Jiminy Cricket.)

Another celebrated package film that’s available on Hoopla: The Adventures of Ichabod & Mr. Toad. As you probably suspected, both The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Wind in the Willows get the classic Disney treatment here. This film has a particularly talented voice cast with Bing Crosby as Ichabod Crane and Basil Rathbone as the narrator.

Hoopla has a lot of animated features that’ll be dear to 90’s babies: Recess: School’s Out; Doug’s 1st MovieThe Ducktales Movie; and more! The best of the batch is A Goofy Movie. More than a Goof Troop spinoff, it tells the story of a, well, goofy father trying to connect with his adolescent son. (Classic songs alert: Tevin Campbell does his best Prince homage on “I 2 I” and “Stand Out.”)

did_4203_270Disney animation took a couple of stabs at medieval fantasy with The Sword in the Stone and The Black Cauldron. Both films have their imperfections: Sword’s narrative is a bit thin, Cauldron‘s a bit too ambitious. But both films have their fans, as well, and either is worth sharing with you family. (Fair warning: Cauldron can get pretty scary.)

The Small One is one of the more fascinating short films in Disney’s catalogue for two reasons. One, it’s directed by Don Bluth (whom you may know as the director of Anastasia, The Land Before Time, Balto and a gaggle of other classic and few less-than-classic films.) Before The Little Mermaid, it seemed entirely possible that Bluth might unseat Disney as the first name in children’s animation; so it’s occasionally forgotten that he made his bones as an animator for Disney. Second, The Small One addresses Christianity in a more head-on fashion than is typical for Disney. It tells the story of a boy who sells his donkey, the titular small one, to a kind man and his pregnant wife who are passing through his town. The couple are revealed to be the parents of Jesus.

Disney has taken two stabs at Mark Twain’s classicThe Prince and the Pauper—one live action, one animated. Both tell the story of a penniless young boy who is mistaken for his doppelgänger, a wealthy prince. I prefer the animated version because it stars Mickey Mouse as opposed to Sean Scully.

did_1114_270Finally, if you’re a big fan of animationnot only the films themselves, but how the films get made—then Hoopla has several Disney documentaries that demonstrate how they turn still images into moving stories. They include specials like The Story of the Animated Drawing, The Plausible Impossible, Tricks of our Tradeand An Adventure in Color.

However, the best two of the bunch are Frank & Ollie and Waking Sleeping Beauty. The first film tells the story of Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, two of Disney’s celebrated Nine Old Men who worked on too many classic Disney films to list. In telling their own story, they explain how they brought their classic characters like Captain Hook and the Queen of Hearts to life.

Waking Sleeping Beauty tells the story of how Disney’s animated division resuscitated itself from financial and creative doldrums to create The Little MermaidBeauty & the Beast, and The Lion King during its second renaissance. The story is told from the perspective of the animators, directors, and executives who were there.

This introduction to Disney animation on Hoopla is merely the tip of the iceberg. Hoopla also has dozens of Disney adventures, comedies, nature films, and more available to watch whenever and wherever. And it’s all free with your Mentor Public Library card!

Peruse Hoopla’s collection and find your family’s newest favorite Disney film.

By the way, if you’re not sure how to use Hoopla, we made a how-to video.

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Fly drones, program droids at Mentor Public Library

drone-1006886Teens, do you want to fly a mini-drone? Program a droid? Better yet, do you want to race one?

You can do all that and more at 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 11, at our Main Branch.

Play with the newest tech out there! Learn how to maneuver drones and run them through obstacle courses. Discover how to code mini-robots to make them do what you want.

The program is free, fun and open to all teens. You can sign up for it right now on our website or by calling the library at 440-255-8811 ext. 216.

sport-1087028_1920Also, Summer Reading has officially begun! This year, we’re celebrating reading and staying active.

So, throughout the summer, we’re hosting fun programs that encourage mental and physical fitness.

Teens can try yogalearn fun and effective exercises from a certified personal trainer, and check out the best fitness apps all for fun and free. You can also check out free introductory classes to boxing and Tai Chi.

Everyone who participates in our summer reading program—either by reading books or attending library programs—has a chance to win prizes. The more someone reads, the better chance they have of winning.

For more information on our summer reading programs, call 440-255-8811 or peruse our website.

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Dollar Lane: The Business of the Beatles

Learn about the business of The Beatles this Monday at Mentor Public Library.

Learn about the business of The Beatles this Monday at Mentor Public Library.

We all know what The Beatles have meant to music, but do you know how they changed the music business?

They innovated the concept album with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and the music video with “Paperback Writer.”

They played the first stadium rock concert at Shea Stadium in 1965 and launched their own record label in 1968. (Neither the show nor the label went all that well, but they created models other musicians could learn from.)

You can learn more about how the Fab Four changed the music business from Beatles expert Rick Iacoboni on Monday, June 6, at our Main Branch.

The talk begins at 6:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public. However, we do ask that you register for it beforehand. You can sign up on our event calendar or by calling (440) 255-8811 ext. 216.

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Get crafty by making your own bubble wand

Turn household items into bubble wands.

Turn household items into bubble wands.

Looking for a fun craft on a slow summer day? You can create homemade bubble wands like we did on Friday at our Lake Branch.

We used dowel rods, pipe cleaners and beads (to make them pretty,) but your house is filled with things that you can use: wire hangers; slotted spoons; fly swatters; cookie cutters; cocktail strainers; or (for super-huge bubbles) straws and string!

By the way, if you want to make enormous bubbles, put a bit of guar gum in your bubble solution.

By the way, summer reading has begun! You can sign up now at any of our branches.

Summer reading isn’t just for kids either! We have programs for teens and adults too.

This year, we’re celebrating reading and staying active.

Throughout the summer, Mentor Public Library will host fun programs that encourage mental and physical fitness for kids, teens and adults.


On Move It Mondays, kids can enjoy activities related to keeping fit and having fun on our Read House lawn. Meanwhile, on Thursday mornings, families can walk with children’s librarians to a special story time in the park.

We also have a neat way to encourage children to exercise. When kids sign up for summer reading, they’ll get a list of activities, including playing a game of catch, flying a kite, and taking a hike. If a child accomplishes 10 or more of these activities by July 31, they’ll get a free book.

Likewise, our teen programs encourage staying active this summer. You can try yogalearn fun and effective exercises from a certified personal trainer, and check out the best fitness apps all for fun and free as part of Get in the Game, Read!

Get a free introduction to boxing at Title Boxing Club this June.

Get a free introduction to boxing at Title Boxing Club this June.

Finally, adults can get in on the fun too. The library is hosting free introductory classes to boxing on Tuesday, June 28, at Title Boxing Club in Mentor, and Tai Chi on Tuesday, July 26, at MPL’s Main Branch.

Everyone who participates in the summer reading programs—either by reading books or attending library programs—has a chance to win prizes. The more someone reads, the better chance they have of winning.

Kids who read or are read to up to 15 hours will also receive a Library Champion lawn sign and window cling.

For more information on our summer reading programs, call 440-255-8811 or peruse our website.

Sabrina Scipione

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