11 23, 2019

Major Battles of the Civil War: The Battle of Franklin

By |2019-11-23T06:00:00-05:00November 23, 2019|

The Battle of Franklin pitted two flawed generals against each other: Union General John Schofield was too pompous; Confederate General John B. Hood, too stubborn.

But when they met on the battlefield, it was Hood’s flaws that came to the fore. Scott Longert, a former park ranger from James A. Garfield National Historic Site, explains how  and why Hood and his “head of wood” ordered a charge more fatal than Pickett’s. He also tells how the Battle of Franklin spelled the end of the Army of Tennessee.

Our Civil War series continues at noon on Wednesday, Dec. 11 at our Main Branch. We’ll discuss what Christmas was like in a Civil War camp. As always, the talk is free and open to all.

By the way, if you’re interested in Civil War history, several talks in our Civil War series can be viewed online in their entirety, including:

11 22, 2019

Stream classic and quirky Christmas specials with Hoopla & Kanopy

By |2019-11-22T06:00:53-05:00November 22, 2019|

Irving-Berlin-s-Holiday-Inn-Starring-Bing-Crosby-and-Fred-Astaire-Poster-693x1024Want to watch something seasonal? Don’t feel like leaving the house?

We’ve got you covered — whether you’re in the mood for something naughty or nice.

With Hoopla and Kanopy, you can stream tens of thousands of movies, documentaries and episodes of television to your phone, tablet or computer anywhere at anytime. And it’s free with your Mentor Public Library card.

And they’ve got a robust collection of holiday-themed specials. Let’s unwrap some of our favorites:

 

1. Happy Christmas

Anna Kendrick and Lena Dunham play hard-partying friends whose carefree perspectives throw one family’s holiday into disarray.

2. Once Upon a Sesame Street Christmas

Elmo’s father tells a bedtime story about why everyone leaves cookies out for Santa. In doing so, we meet Elmo’s great-great-great-grandmonster and travel back to when Sesame Street was a very different place. In fact, everyone was so grouchy that Santa didn’t even bother to visit. What can be done to bring kindness, cheer, and the spirit of Christmas to Sesame Street.

3. Jeff Dunham: Very Special Christmas Special

Jeff Dunham invites his puppets (Walter, Peanut, Bubba J, José Jalapeño and Achmed the Dead Terrorist) to join him on his first holiday special.

4. Madeline’s Christmas

There’s not a whole lot of plot to Madeline’s Christmas (but since when has Madeline been about things happening.) Basically, Madeline must take care of her classmates who have fallen ill around holiday time.

5. Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t

The gang gets in the holiday spirit with the tale of a plucky lawyer who sets out to save Santa Claus from the clutches of a spoilsport zillionaire.

6. The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Christmas!

The Cat in the Hat — along with his friends Sally, Nick, and the Fish — must help a baby reindeer get back to his family in far-off Freeze-Your-Knees. They’ll probably learn a thing or two along the way.

7. Unlikely Angel

Dolly Parton plays an angel (naturally) who must help a lonely widowed father if she wants to get her wings.

8. Gumby’s Christmas Capers

A compilation of Gumby skits centered around Christmas.

9. One Christmas

Starring Katherine Hepburn. A young man is sent to visit his estranged father for Christmas in 1930 in New Orleans.  Based on an autobiographical short story by Truman Capote.

10. God Came Near

An Advent Series for families explores the stories of Joseph and Mary, the true history of Saint Nicholas, the hectic holiday season, Christmas traditions, and more

11. Wild Kratts’ Creature Christmas

It’s Christmas time and the Wild Kratts are taking a break from creature adventuring to celebrate. But when the Wild Kratts receive an alert that their favorite creatures are disappearing around the globe, their holiday party transforms into a rescue mission.

12. Saving Christmas

Kirk Cameron rescues his brother-in-law, Christian, from the humbugs and gives him a fresh perspective on Christmas.

And now for an intermission called ___ Saves Christmas in which your favorite cartoon or canine protagonist rescues the holiday from nefarious villains:

13. Abbott & Costello: The Christmas Show

This delightful Christmas special stars the hilarious Abbott and Costello and features Margaret Whiting, The Nicholas Brothers, Buster Shaver and Olive, and Tom and Jerry.

14. The Nutcracker Ballet

The classic ballet performed by the Ballet of the Slovak National Theatre. You may also enjoy Getting to the Nutcracker, a documentary that depicts all the hard work it takes to perform the holiday classic, from audition to curtain call. (For a different take, check out Maurice Sendak’s version of The Nutcracker.)

15. Noel

Five strangers come together on Christmas Even in New York City. Features an all-star cast with Paul Walker, Susan Sarandon, Penelope Cruz, Alan Arkin, and Robin Williams.

16. Saint Nicholas: The Real Story

Learn about the historical saint from Turkey who partly inspired the Santa Claus myth. (If you’re six years old and reading this, please don’t tell your parents that we called Santa Claus mythical. Also, good job on your reading.)

17. The Gift of the Magi

Based upon O Henry’s short story. A young husband and wife barter their most cherished possessions to buy Christmas gifts for one another.

18. The Christmas Orange

A young boy is outraged when he receives a single orange for his Christmas largess and decides to sue Santa Claus.

19. No Snow for Christmas

A short co-produced by animation legend Bill Plympton  showing the effects of climate change on Christmas

20. Christmas Masterclass

Part of The Great British Baking Show. In the countdown to Christmas, Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood feel festive in the kitchen. They share six recipes to bake for your family this holiday, inspired by traditions from all over Europe.

 

11 20, 2019

Mummy Madness in Mentor

By |2019-11-20T06:00:57-05:00November 20, 2019|

Children experience the thrill of archaeology during our Mummy Madness program. They excavated potsherds, pieced the ceramics together, and translated their heiroglyphics.

Children experience the thrill of archaeology during our Mummy Madness program. They excavated potsherds, pieced the ceramics together, and translated their hieroglyphics.

Kids made mosaics, took VR tours of King Tutankhamun’s tomb, excavated pottery, translated hieroglyphics, erected pyramids, competed in mummy races, and decorated sarcophagi during our Mummy Madness program.

We celebrated the anniversary of the re-discovery of King Tut’s tomb with a special program earlier this month. The children could take tours of Tut’s tomb and other ancient Egyptian tombs and temples using our VR readers – the same ones that took kids to the moon.

They also became amateur archaeologists: excavating potsherds from our sand pit, piecing them together, and translating their hieroglyphics.

The kids also stretched their creativity by designing pyramids with LEGO blocks and drawing their own sarcophagus. They got silly too, wrapping each other in toilet paper during our mummy races.

If you want to learn more about King Tut and ancient Egypt, we have dozens of books and documentaries that you can borrow from us.

If you want to start learning now, you can use your library card to stream videos from Kanopy and Hoopla. Kanopy has several Great Courses lectures on King Tut that you can view immediately, including:

If you haven’t heard of The Great Courses, they’re a collection of phenomenal lectures series created by esteemed college professors and experts.  Typically, you can stream 10 movies and documentaries from Kanopy each month. But, right now, you can stream unlimited Great Courses videos from Kanopy with your Mentor Public Library card. Learn as much as you want to about historyskillshobbieshumanities and science.

You can also stream the National Geographic documentary King Tut’s Final Secrets for free with your library card on Hoopla.

 

11 18, 2019

A practically perfect Princess Party

By |2019-11-18T06:00:26-05:00November 18, 2019|

Our princess party at the Lake Branch was packed with little Annas and Elsas.

Our princess party at the Lake Branch was packed with little Annas and Elsas.

The Princess Party this Saturday at our Lake Branch was so cool that you could even say it was… Frozen.

Thanks to all the families who attended and we hope you had as much fun as we did!

 

By the way, if your kid loves Disney princesses, then our shelves are filled with books, music, and (of course) movies that you can borrow.

11 16, 2019

Freegal Christmas

By |2019-11-16T06:00:55-05:00November 16, 2019|

Download Christmas music (from Dolly Parton to Run DMC) for free with Freegal and your Mentor Public Library card.

Download Christmas music (from Dolly Parton to Run DMC) for free with Freegal and your Mentor Public Library card.

Halloween is over. Break out the Christmas music (unless you’re one of those purists who prefers to wait until after Thanksgiving. In that case, bookmark this page and we’ll see you again in four weeks.)

If you haven’t heard of Freegal, it’s one of our digital services. It lets you stream or even download DRM-free mp3s of your favorite songs. Moreover, once you download a song, you can keep the mp3 forever. Put it on your phone, your computer, your iPod–wherever you want. It’s yours.

If you have a Mentor Public Library card, you can download five songs for free every week, and there’s no limit to how many songs you can stream.

Here are 30 of our favorite Christmas and holiday albums that you can start streaming now:

1. John Legend, A Legendary Christmas

Enjoy a Christmas house party with Legend as your amiable host. Stevie Wonder and Esperanza Spalding make for excellent guests.

2. Pentatonix, Christmas Is Here!

By now, you know the routine. If you loved A Pentatonix Christmas and That’s Christmas to Methen you’ll love the newest holiday offering from everyone’s favorite a capella quintet.

3. William Shatner, Shatner Claus

Merry Kirk-mas! Our third favorite Star Trek captain* guides your through standards like “Winter Wonderland” and “Run Rudolph Run.”

4. Mariah Carey, Merry Christmas

Mandatory holiday listening, if only for “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”

5. Jessie James Decker, On This Holiday

The country chanteuse gives a little twang to “Santa Baby,” “Christmas in Cabo,” and “The Christmas Song.”

6. The Piano Guys, A Family Christmas

The Piano Guys have a knack for creating music that’s catchy and innovative while still recognizable as classical.

7. Wham!, Last Christmas

Andrew Ridgely. You were just trying to remember the other guy’s name. It’s Andrew Ridgely.

8. Sarah McLachlan, The Classic Christmas Album

McLachlan already has the voice of an angel, so it feels natural to hear her sing “Silent Night,” “What Child Is This?” and other seasonal standards.

9. Superstar Christmas

The rare compilation that’s not exaggerating when it claims to contain superstars. Mariah Carey, Frank Sinatra, Cyndi Lauper, Placido Domingo, Michael Bolton, Gloria Estefan and Barbra Streisand are all on this eclectic guest list.

10. Polka Christmas

What’s a Cleveland Christmas party without a little polka?

11. Christmas Rap

With all due respect to Kurtis Blow, Run-DMC’s “Christmas in Hollis” is the most important hip-hop holiday song ever.

12. She & Him, Christmas Party

Because it’s not Christmas until Zooey Deschanel sings “A Marshmallow World.”

13. Earth, Wind & Fire, The Classic Christmas Album

Yes, they remake “September” into “December.”

14. John Denver, The Classic Christmas Album

Yes, it’s John Denver, so there’s some schmaltz, but he also sings, “Please Daddy (Don’t Get Drunk this Christmas.”)

15. Kelly Clarkson, Wrapped in Red

With all due respect to Shatner, Clarkson has the voice to make a new cover of Run, Run Rudolph worthwhile.

16Harry Belafonte, Christmas

Belafonte could sing about muddy slush and it would still sound great with his voice.

17. Dolly Parton, Home for Christmas

As a general rule, we love Dolly. This is doubly true during the holidays.

18. Pete Kennedy, Top Christmas Favorites

This album’s for all the people who loved Israel Kamakawiwo`ole’s version of Over the Rainbow. And, no, these standards aren’t performed by IZ, but they have that same combination of earnestness and sweetness.

19. Kirk Franklin, Christmas

If you need some gospel music this time of year, Kirk Franklin and the Family have you covered. Standards like Go Tell It on the Mountainand O Come All Ye Faithful sound sweeter than ever.

20. Harry Connick Jr., When my Heart Finds Christmas

Connick has a lot of Christmas albums in his discography. This one’s our favorite but they are all available on Freegal. Personal favorite: I Pray on Christmas.

21. NSYNC, Home for Christmas

If you bought the CD or even *gasp* the cassette when you were in middle school, here’s a chance to update your medium for free.

22. New Kids on the Block, Merry Merry Christmas

In case your taste in boy bands is a little older…

23. Glee Cast, Blue Christmas

If you don’t like Glee…

24. Elvis, The Classic Christmas Album

Freegal has the Elvis version of Blue Christmastoo.

25. Loretta Lynn, White Christmas Blue

Only Lynn could pull off a tune called “To Heck with Ole Santa Claus.”

26. The Manhattan Transfer, The Christmas Album

Any of the kids who enjoyed the Pentatonix album atop this list owe it to themselves to check out The Manhattan Transfer, who were (in many ways) the progenitor of Pentatonix’s style.

27. Johnny Cash, Classic Christmas

We love Johnny Cash, because he still scowls on the cover of his Christmas album.

28. Miranda Cosgrove, Christmas Wrapping

Not to be confused with Christmas Rap.

29. I’ll Be Home for Christmas

A short fun compilation with Meghan Trainor, Sara Bareilles, Fiona Apple, Fifth Harmony and A Great Big World giving their spin to holiday classics.

30. Wilson Phillips, Christmas in Harmony

We were going to put Wilson Phillips on this list no matter what. They just happened to also have a Christmas album.

Other Freegal playlists:

*after Picard and Sisko.

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