Why Banned Books Week Matters

Banned Books Week Mentor Public Library

From Sept. 27 to Oct. 3, libraries and schools across the country will recognize Banned Books Week.

It’s a chance for us to remind you about all the society-changing books that have been banned or challenged. And there’s a good chance that list includes your personal favorite.

Imagine your bookshelf without To Kill a Mockingbird, Color Purple, Animal Farm, Lord of the Rings orHarry Potter.

And you might say: But that was a long time ago. We don’t still do stuff like that today?

Yes, we do.

Authors from Sherman Alexie to Marjane Satrapi to Toni Morrison were repeatedly challenged in the last year. Their books were accused of being sexually explicit, unsuited for their age group or promoting a specific political viewpoint.

Kids books have been challenged too. In fact, on Sept. 23, we’re throwing a Captain Underpants party to celebrate what is still one of the most frequently challenged books in the United States.

Now Banned Books Week isn’t about forcing yourself to read authors you don’t enjoy or whose views you disagree with. And it isn’t just about championing books that other people might have concerns about. After all, everyone’s entitled to their own taste in literature.

Banned Books Week is about having the freedom to read.

There’s a reason we chose “Bradbury” as the password in our Banned Books video.

Ray Bradbury said, “You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”

So it doesn’t matter if no books are ever banned or challenged again. That is, it doesn’t matter if nobody reads them anyhow.

So commemorate Banned Books Week in the best possible way: Read.

Read a book that’s been banned or challenged. Read whatever you like.

But read. And decide for yourself what belongs on your bookshelf.

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Learn about your family’s history at Mentor Library

This probably isn't your family. But you CAN find out more about your family with the databases at Mentor Library.

This probably isn’t your family. But you CAN find out more about your family with the databases at Mentor Library.

How far back do you know your family’s history? Do you know your great-grandparents? Do you know their great-grandparents?

Do you want to?

Mentor Public Library is having a special, free genealogy class at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15, at its Main Branch.

A librarian will explain all of the online tools that people can use to explore their family tree. That includes the ancestry.com database, which compiles centuries worth of official documents.

You can use the Ancestry database for free when you visit any of the Mentor Library branches. You can access it on the Databases page in the Research & Tools section of our website. (Unlike most of our digital services and databases, you do need to use a Mentor Library computer to access the Ancestry database.)

If you know the name of the person you’re researching and somewhere they lived, then you have all you need to begin.

If you know the name of the person you’re researching and somewhere they lived, then you have all you need to begin.

You don’t need to know much to get started on the Ancestry database either—a name, somewhere that person lived and it helps to know his or her approximate birth year. (And, frankly, if you don’t know your great-grandfather or great-great-mother’s birth year, it usually only takes a single search to find out.)

Ancestry then searches through millions of public records for information about him or her: census and immigration information, birth/marriage/death certificates, and more. Not only can you view these documents, but you can email them to yourself and your family members.

So let our librarians help you get started, and soon you’ll be combing through family history you never knew you had.

Give it a shot. After all, you don’t know what you’ll find until you look.

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MPL Is Pitching a Pirate Party

Pirate PartyThis Saturday is that most respected of all holidays, Talk Like a Pirate Day.

So Mentor Library is celebrating by throwing not one but two Pirate Parties on Sept. 19.

We’ll have a story time followed by a treasure hunt at 1 p.m. at our Main Branch.

Then, we’ll get crafty, making pirate ships and parrots at 2:30 p.m. at our Headlands Branch. Afterward, the Headlands Pirates will have a treasure hunt of their own.

You can register your kids for one or both pirate parties on MPL’s event calendar.

So avast whatever ye be doing and come to the Pirate Parties this Saturday at Mentor Library!


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Author takes people on tour of Cleveland memories

Gail Ghetia Bellamy—the author of the Cleveland Nostalgia series—will talk about the city's past this Monday at Mentor Library's Main Branch.

Gail Ghetia Bellamy—the author of the Cleveland Memories series—will talk about the city’s past this Monday at Mentor Library’s Main Branch.

Gail Ghetia Bellamy has written three books about Cleveland Memories—Cleveland Christmas Memories, Cleveland Summertime Memories and Cleveland Food Memories—but there’s more to her memories than just recalling the past.

“While nostalgia books have an element of history, they also encompass popular culture and even a bit of memoir,” she told the Heights Libraries when they interviewed her. “Also, as an author, writing nostalgia books is a wonderful experience because people are so warm and enthusiastic when they’re sharing their own memories.”

Bellamy will bring her memories, warmth and enthusiasm with her during her free author talk Monday evening at Mentor Library’s Main Branch.

She’ll share photos and stories from Cleveland’s past and take us on a tour of the city’s yesteryear.

Bellamy is a renaissance woman—a poet, scholar, author and magazine editor who is a certified culinary professional with her doctorate degree in creative writing. Her writing, which includes everything from poetry to journalism, has been published in books, anthologies and magazines.

In addition to sharing her stories and memories, Bellamy will also be signing books after her talk Monday.

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Our children’s media has a new home


We’ve moved the children’s movie, CDs and audiobooks to the second floor at our Main Branch near our kids books.

This way, we have more space for children’s media, which helps us give you more options for family movie night.

If you can’t find an old favorite on our shelves and aren’t sure if we’ve moved it, you can always ask one of us for help or check our online catalogue.

Main Family DVDIf it says the item is in our Main Family location, then that means it has a new home on our second floor.



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