Discover More About Where You Live: Mentor Marsh

The Newhous Pond in Mentor Marsh after the foliage has started to turn for the season.

The Newhous Pond in Mentor Marsh after the foliage has started to turn for the season

We are fortunate to live in this beautiful community.

We are surrounded by scenic city, county, state and even national parks. But how often do we think about or visit them?

Take, for example, the Mentor Marsh. It’s nearly 700 acres are unlike any other habitat in the world. It provides a home to more than 200 kinds of bird, including the blue-winged teal, yellow warbler, American wigeon, gadwall, heron, American black duck, red-winged blackbirds, Northern shoveler and hooded merganser.

It combines a mixed oak swamp forest—an increasingly rare kind of habitat—with the largest phragmite marsh in the state. There are also picturesque walking trails that pass through thickets of staghorn sumac, rose hips, wild raspberry and more.

Kids can learn more about the Mentor Marsh when Naturalist Becky Donaldson visits Mentor Library’s Mentor-on-the-Lake Branch on 2 p.m. this Saturday, Oct. 11. (You can register for the program on our website.) Donaldson will have hands-on items for kids to touch and explore as well as audio sounds of the marsh wildlife.

She’ll also be talking about how the Marsh prepares for the winter.

Donaldson works for the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, who manages the park along with the state of Ohio. Her talk is free and open to everybody.

For more online information about Mentor Marsh, you can visit:

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James A. Garfield National Historic Site & Mentor Library team for new book club

The first read for the new book club is "James A. Garfield" by Ira Rutkow.

The first read for the new book club is “James A. Garfield” by Ira Rutkow.

James A. Garfield National Historic Site is one of Mentor Library’s favorite partners. We already team with them on our Major Battles of the Civil War series. (The next talk, by the way, is on the Battle of Cedar Creek this Wednesday at noon.)

Now we’re joining forces to start a book club called “Mentor Reads James A. Garfield.”

The group will meet at 6:30 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month from now until April 2015 at our Main Branch. Volunteers from James A. Garfield National Historic Site will lead the discussions on a different book related to the president each month.

The first meeting will be this Thursday, Oct. 9, and the book discussed that evening will be James A. Garfield by Ira Rutkow.

Everyone is invited to join us. People can call or visit the library to borrow a copy of each month’s book. Those with their own copies of the books are invited to read their personal copies and attend the discussions, as well.

For more information, you can call the James A. Garfield National Historic Site at (440) 255-8722 or visit the national park’s website.

See you soon!

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Stop by our NyanCon booth at Lakeland on Saturday!

Saturday, October 4, will henceforth be called Caturday, in honor of NyanCon, the Anime and Pop Culture Convention taking place at Lakeland Community College from noon to 9 p.m.

NyanCon  is a nod to Nyan Cat, the YouTube sensation that made everyone want to get up and dance, and then quickly stop dancing and get annoyed, and then want to eat Pop-Tarts.  I can’t really explain it any better than that, so maybe you should just watch it:


I guess I could have mentioned streaming rainbows.

Here’s a description of NyanCon from the convention’s website ( NyanCon is Lakeland Community College’s premier anime event. This is a full one-day event, free and open to students and the public. NyanCon is an all-fandoms convention where anyone with an interest in anime, gaming, comic books, science fiction, fantasy or any other geeky fandom can convene in a fun, welcoming atmosphere. NyanCon is appropriate for all ages with programming ratings and a section just for kids. We’re proud to offer panels on a variety of subjects, a cosplay contest, full gaming area complete with dance, band, video, board, tabletop and card games with tournaments, video rooms, a vendors and artists section, NyanCon theater and so much more!

Here’s the gist:

  • It’s Free.
  • It’s for anyone interested in anime, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, gaming.
  • The library will be there with cool things to do, a raffle, and great books and movies to check out (so bring your Mentor Library card!)

What else do you have to do this Caturday?  Stop by NyanCon and don’t forget to say hi to your local public librarians Meredith and Marilyn!

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Learning through playing at Mentor Library

Kevin builds with Duplo blocks during a Kids @ Work session at Mentor Library.

Kevin builds with Duplo blocks during a Kids @ Work session at Mentor Library.

Once a month, we break out the Lego blocks and invite everyone to play. We call it Kids @ Work.

The theme for this month’s Kids @ Work session was Dinosaurs. Kids could use Mentor Library’s Lego and Duplo blocks to build their own terrible lizards. Of course, children’s imaginations are not beholden to any theme.

So Lynn and Landon used Lego blocks to make hybrid plane-cars, Brooke and Addy built dream homes, and Tyler seemed interested in collecting all the green blocks.

Admittedly, it was a bit of a free-for-all, but there’s nothing wrong with that.

Lynn and Landon pick their Lego blocks from the pile.

Lynn and Landon pick their Lego blocks from the pile.

There are plenty of studies that talk about the benefits of playing with Lego blocks. It’s supposed to improve everything from your mathematical reasoning to problem solving to social development.

It also happens to be a lot of fun.

Our next Kids @ Work session is from 2 to 3:15 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4, at our Main Branch. (We schedule it for the first Saturday of the month.) And you’re welcome to join us!

There aren’t a lot of rules for Kids @ Work.

Parents can help build with their kids, if they'd like.

Parents can help build with their kids, if they’d like.

There’s no need to register beforehand and children can build whatever they want with our Lego and Duplo blocks. (However, we do ask that kids younger than 8 have an adult with them; and, as with any library program, we ask that you be kind to the other patrons.)

But, in general, it’s just kids playing with Lego. So if your kid likes building, feel free to bring him or her to Kids @ Work. They will fit right in.

Tyler picks the blocks he needs from the pile. (And, yes, he's wearing a Superman shirt and cape. No, that's not pertinent, but it IS awesome..)

Tyler picks the blocks he needs from the pile. (And, yes, he’s wearing a Superman shirt and cape. No, that’s not pertinent, but it IS awesome.)

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Author James Renner offers tour of Ohio’s weird and wonderful at Mentor Library

9781598510638Have you ever heard of the Melon Heads, the hydrocephalic test experiments that supposedly still lurk in Kirtland woods? Or the Loveland Frog, the 4-foot-tall amphibian that’s haunted the banks of the Miami River since the time of the Twightwee Indians?

Author and journalist James Renner spent years collecting stories about the weird and wonderful denizens of this state for his book, It Came from Ohio: True Tales of the Weird, Wild and Unexplained.

Renner will share stories from his book at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 13 at Mentor Public Library’s Main Branch. His talk is free and everyone is welcome.

In anticipation of his talk, Renner was kind enough to answer a few questions about his book, his interest in the unusual, and things that go bump in the night.

Q: What about the abnormal and macabre interests you?

A: There are a handful of moments in every person’s life that cannot be explained. I am fascinated by these stories and how they alter the course of someone’s life. How do we explain the unexplainable when we tell the story to someone, later? What is the little pearl of truth hiding inside?

Q: You’ve written both fiction and nonfiction. Where does It Came from Ohio fall in that dichotomy?

A: It Came from Ohio is 100% nonfiction, in that these are stories collected from people across Ohio who firmly believe they have encountered frogmen and Bigfoot and UFOs. I research each case from the point of view of a journalist but it’s up to the reader to ultimately decide whether Mothman really exists or whether it could just be a giant, angry owl.

Q: When did you start compiling the stories from It Came from Ohio?

A: I wrote crime stories for about 10 years and really wanted to do something a little more fun. I noticed that the people I interviewed about crime always had some other story they wanted to tell, now that someone was listening. And usually that story was about the strangest thing that had ever happened to them. I started jotting those stories down in my notepad. Eventually I had enough to put this little book together.

Q: Do you have a favorite story in It Came from Ohio?

A: Definitely the story about the Loveland Frog. Back in the 70′s, a couple cops outside Cincinnati saw a half-man/half-frog creature on the banks of the Miami River. When I researched the local history, I found a story passed down from the Twightwee Indians who once lived in the area, about a monster called the Shawnahook. 400 years ago, the Indians also saw a frogman in the river. That gives me goosebumps. What in the world was it?

Q: I suspect people have been sharing their own unusual tales with you since you published It Came from Ohio. Is there a possibility of a sequel?

A: I love a good scary story and am compelled to go looking for monsters if you tell me where to go.

Come to the Mentor Library on Oct. 13 to hear more stories about the unusual creatures that reside in Renner’s Ohio. People can register for his talk on Mentor Library’s website or by calling 440-255-8811 ext. 216.

Renner will also have copies of It Came from Ohio available for sale on Oct. 13 at Mentor Library, and he will sign them after his program.

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