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.

10 17, 2019

Stream Sesame Street episodes, music & more for free

By |2019-10-17T06:00:17-04:00October 17, 2019|

Take Sesame Street episodes, albums, and ebooks anywhere for free with Hoopla and your library card.

Take Sesame Street episodes, albums, and ebooks anywhere for free with Hoopla and your library card.

Sesame Street celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, but we don’t need a reason to celebrate Elmo, Abby Cadabby, and the rest of the gang at 123 Sesame Street.

And your Mentor Public Library card gives you access to Sesame Street – videos, music, and ebooks – practically whenever you want. Whatever device you’re using to read this can also be used to bring Big Bird, Grover and more to your kids.

The best of Sesame Street is available to you right now using Hoopla, which is free with your library card. (Click here if you want an introduction on how to use Hoopla on your preferred digital device.)


Hoopla has more than 100 Sesame Street picture books that you can share with your kids. Share classics like “How to be a Grouch” and “The Monster at the End of this Book,” as well as newer books that help teach your children counting, rhyming, potty training, music, and more!

Each of these eBooks are available to you for three weeks once you borrow them. You can even download them to the mobile device of your choice, so you don’t waste data. The eBooks (like all other items on Hoopla) return automatically at the end of their lending period, so there’s no overdue fines.

Movies & TV Episodes

Hoopla has more than 50 Sesame Street videos that you can watch RIGHT NOW, including 24 full episodes: Help Telly teach Jack how to grow his beanstalk; see the entire street battle an epidemic of Mine-itis; attend Abby Cadabby’s first-ever sleepover; or enjoy Big Bird and Snuffy’s talent show.

You can also enjoy Alphabet SongsOnce Upon a Sesame Street Christmas, or travel back to the Mesozoic with Elmo, Abby, and Telly. You can even borrow Elmo’s Travel Songs and Games for those interminable family road trips.

You get to borrow each video for three days, which you can stream and/or download to a mobile device to watch at your convenience.

You can now also stream Sesame Street episodes on Kanopy. Two dozen episodes are available for viewing right now, and streaming on Kanopy Kids is unlimited with your library card. Your child can watch all 24 episodes, if you like. (To be clear, Kanopy Kids offers unlimited streaming. You can stream up to 10 films and documentaries each month from Kanopy’s adult collection.)


Finally, you can stream more than 100 Sesame Street albums with Hoopla. You’ll find most of what you’re looking for on the greatest hits album, but Hoopla also offers such weird and wonderful one-offs as Sesame Disco, Grover Sings the Blues and Elmo’s Lowdown HoedownIt also has Christmas Eve on Sesame Street for when you need to hear “True Blue Miracle.”

You get to stream each album for a week. Once again, you can download to your mobile device, so you’re not burning data while you’re in your car.

You can borrow up to 12 items a month from Hoopla, so start viewing, listening, and (of course) reading.

10 9, 2019

Stream movies, TV, concerts, lectures & more with RBDigital

By |2019-10-09T06:00:08-04:00October 9, 2019|

If you’re tired of paying for some combination of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Apple+, and everything else plus, then you should know that your most cost-effective streaming option is your library card.

You can stream movies and TV with Hoopla, film and documentaries from around the world with Kanopy, and now we’ve added RBDigital so your library card gives you more streaming options than ever.

And you can use all these services – Hoopla, Kanopy, and RBDigital – for free with your Mentor Public Library card.

Here are some of the new viewing options that you have with RBDigital:

  • Anglophiles rejoice! Acorn TV provides you with complete seasons of more than 80 world-class mysteries, dramas, and comedies from Britain, including Agatha Raisin, Doc Martin, and Foyle’s War. Start browsing now!
  • Never stop learning with The Great Courses Library Collection. Some of the top professors in the world share their expertise on topics ranging from Money Management Skills to the Fundamentals of Photography and Physics and our Universe. Science, art, literature, travel – whatever you love, there’s a course about it. So what do you want to learn next?
  • LY5878-Stingray-Qello-Square-Web-BannerStingray Qello takes you front row for some of the greatest concerts and music documentaries ever filmed. Watch The Beatles, Lady Gaga, Carrie Underwood, Aerosmith, U2, Billy Joel, Celine Dion, Alanis Morissette, Queen, Eric Clapton, James Taylor, Jewel, Ray Charles, Miles Davis, Willie Nelson, Nina Simone, Wu-Tang Clan, Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre, and Garth Brooks do what they do best. Ready to rock?
  • Watch favorite and award-winning films, shorts, and documentaries from film festivals all around the world with IndieFlix. Arrange your own personal film festival.
  • Finally, students can use Method Test Prep to prepare for their ACT and SAT.

All you need to use any of these services is a Mentor Public Library card and an email address. You can stream to your computer, Smart TV, or preferred device using the RBDigital app, which is available in the Google Play and Apple stores.

12 12, 2018

Discover the online resources from your library

By |2018-12-12T06:00:51-05:00December 12, 2018|

Learn how to enjoy eBooks, eAudiobooks, stream music and video, and more with your favorite device and library card.

Learn how to enjoy eBooks, eAudiobooks, stream music and video, and more with your favorite device and library card.

You’re a savvy person. You already know you can use your library card to borrow everything from books to hotspots, traffic cones and ukuleles.

But did you know you can use it to stream music and video? Borrow eBooks and audiobooks? Take online classes? Did you know that your library card can serve as a free substitute for Spotify, Netflix, Hulu or Audible?

It also gives you access to a state-of-the-art MakerSpace with a green-screen studio, laser engraver and T-shirt press.

In short, your library card does a lot — more than we can list here. However, you can learn all your card provides and the ways it can save you money during a special program at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 26, at The HUB in Mentor High School.

Discover how you can always have eBooks, music, movies and more on-hand with your library card and preferred device (smartphone, tablet or computer.)

The program is free and open to all. You can register to attend online or call The HUB at 440-205-6011.

By the way, yes, Mentor Public Library has a new location inside of Mentor High School.

Its renovated library — now called The Hub — is open to everyone for study, quiet tutoring and more from 3 to 8 p.m. every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. It also hosts a wide variety of programs like any other branch of Mentor Public Library.

Furthermore, The HUB features the aforementioned makerspace that’s available to use — say it with us now — with your library card.

02 19, 2018

25 Masterpiece Classical Albums on Freegal

By |2018-02-19T06:00:13-05:00February 19, 2018|

violin-3131551_1920Want to listen to some of the best country music ever recorded without having to spend money on iTunes, Spotify or Tidal?

Some of the greatest classical music ever recorded is available on Freegal, which is free to use if you have a Mentor Public Library card.

Freegal is one of the library’s digital services, which lets you 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. You can download up to five songs a week.

You also get unlimited streaming, if you prefer that.

Here are 25 of our favorite classical albums you can start downloading right now from Freegal:

1. Glenn Gould — The Goldberg Variations

It’s difficult to exaggerate the importance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations or Gould’s 1955 recording. Goldberg is one of the single most important pieces of music composed for keyboard. (It’s primary competition: Ludvig van Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations, which, simply put, would not exist without Bach’s precedent.)

And Gould’s enthusiastic and masterful recording modernized The Goldberg Variations without blaspheming his source material.

For the completist, Freegal also has Gould’s 1981 recording of The Goldberg Variations, which provides a fitting bookend to the pianist’s career and life.

2. Jascha Heifetz — Sibelius, Prokofiev & Glazunov

The violin wunderkind tackles a trio of concertos: Jean Sibelius’ Violin Concerto in D Minor, Op. 47; Sergei Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 63 and Alexander Glazunov’s Violin Concerto in A Minor, Op. 82.

The man and the material bring out the best in one another.

3. Philip Glass — Songs from The Trilogy

Compiled from the highlights of Glass’s three portrait operas, Einstein on the Beach, Satyagraha, and Akhnaten. This album converts Glass into digestible bites for the as-yet unconverted.

If you’re not prepared for the 18 minutes of minimalism that is “Trial-Prison” from Einstein, it’s pared to three minutes here.

For those who wish to dig deep into the Glass experience, Freegal can accommodate you, as well.

4. Enrico Caruso — The Complete Victor Recordings

The most venerated opera singer ever and one of the first international recording stars. Enjoy the voice that moved millions.

5. Cameron Carpenter — All You Need Is Bach

Organist provocateur Carpenter’s newest album is both a love note to Bach and his instrument of choice. He does right by both of them.

6. Lavinia Meijer — Voyage

Harpist Meijer performs standards like “Clair de Lune” alongside selections from the Amélie soundtrack. She has the chops and taste to satisfy classicists and the merely curious.

7. Natalie Dessay & Michel Legrand — Between Yesterday and Tomorrow (The Extraordinary Story of an Ordinary Woman)

It takes moxie to tackle an idea once marked for Streisand. Between Yesterday And Tomorrow tells the story of a woman’s life from birth to death, passing by all of its highlights: childhood, adolescence, first love, and motherhood.

While Streisand ultimately passed on Legrand’s oratorio, Dessay is completely up to the task.

8. Olga Peretyatko — Arabesque

Soprano Peretyatko has skill to spare. She juggles Mozart, Rossini, Verdi, Bizet, and more with a powerful voice and easy charisma.

9. Tan Dun & Yo-Yo Ma — Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon soundtrack

Tan Dun accomplishes something special with his score, mixing Eastern and Western instrumentation, as well as classic and modern composition.

Yo-Yo Ma is the most famous performer on the bill, but all of the musicians earn their keep and our admiration.

10. Ennio Morricone — Spaghetti Western: The Bulletproof Collection

Speaking of indelible soundtracks…

Morricone created the sound for a genre. His best-known songs from Once Upon a Time in the WestFor a Few Dollars MoreMy Name Is Nobody, The Hellbenders, The Big Gundown, and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly are here.

11. Isaac Stern — Humoresque: Favorite Violin Encores

Stern is a brilliant violinist, one of the best instrumentalists of the previous century. However, his biggest contribution to music may have been saving Carnegie Hall from the wrecking ball.

Regardless, Stern plays his favorites here, and his talent and enthusiasm are evident.

12. Pablo Casals — Song of the Birds

The cello was not a solo instrument before Casals. To restate the point, Casals’ skill was so transcendent it elevated his instrument.

Song of the Birds recordings range from 1925 to 1953, giving you a taste of Casals’ evolving technique and the concurrent improvement in recording technology.

13. Joshua Bell & Philharmonia Orchestra — The Red Violin soundtrack

John Corigliano’s score makes the most of Bell’s abilities as a soloist. Lyrical, haunting and memorable — even if you’ve never seen the film.

14. Khatia Buniatishivili — Chopin

You probably think there’s nothing new to say (or play) about Chopin’s “Funeral March.” Buniatishivili is happy to prove you wrong. The Georgian pianist is a compliment to whatever classical composer she performs, be it Chopin, Liszt or Rachmaninoff.

15. Lang Lang & Sir Simon Rattle — Prokofiev 3; Bartók 2

Lang is a puncher’s pianist with a muscular, flamboyant style. With Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Lang finds a worthy sparring partner. The concertos are imbued with strength and bravura.

16. Daniele Gatti — Le Sacre du printemps; Pétrouchka

Gatti and the French National Orchestra celebrates the centennial of Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring by recording the masterpiece, along with Stravinsky’s 1911 ballet Pétrouchka.

Gatti grounds the frenzy, conducting with a clarity that emphasizes details.

17. Sol Gabetta — Prayer

Gabetta thematically links Ernest Bloch, Dmitry Shostakovich and Pablo Casals in this powerful set. Bloch’s “Prayer” has long been one of Gabetta’s favorite encores. She has built a lovely album around this centerpiece.

18. Pierre Boulez — Varese

Edgard Varèse is a musical revolutionary and one of the founders of electronic music. However, for awhile, his compositions were not quite as celebrated as their composer. Top-tier conductors rarely performed them, until Boulez recorded his masterful versions.

19. Plácido Domingo — Encanto del Mar: Mediterranean Songs

No, this isn’t Domingo tackling Verdi, Wagner or Mozart, but it’s also not Rod Stewart sleep-walking through a set of standards. Domingo sings 15 songs culled from around the Mediterranean. (Truly, Domingo takes on a tour all around the sea, performing in a half-dozen languages.) He elevates the traditional and contemporary with his impeccable clarity.

20. Simone Dinnerstein & Tift Merritt — Night

Classical pianist Dinnerstein and folk singer and songwriter Merritt collaborate for a cycle of songs dedicated to the nocturnal. It’s a miracle that it’s not a dreary, pretentious mess. But Night is more than “not bad.” It’s remarkable, hopeful, and its atypical roster and modus operandi create a singular experience.

21. Eugene Ormandy — Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky Ballet Suites

Ormandy has always had a talent and affinity for Tchaikosky’s compositions. Here, he conducts three of his most famous ballet suites: Sleeping BeautySwan Lake and, of course, The Nutcracker.

22. Arturo Toscanini — Puccini: La Bohème

Toscanini was so prolific and La Bohème so often performed that it’s impossible to single out a definitive recording for either. However, the two are well-matched. Toscanini conducts Puccini’s opera with all of the sensitivity that it deserves.

23. John Williams & Steven Spielberg — The Ultimate Collection

We deliberately avoided Greatest Hits albums in this list, but you deserve to know there’s an album with the themes to Jurassic Park, Jaws and Raiders of the Lost Ark on it.

24. Pretty Yende — Dreams

Yende has a remarkable story. She sang her way from a small town in South Africa near the Swazi border to Europe’s main stages. But you don’t need to know her journey to appreciate her voice — charismatic with remarkable control.

25. The Piano Guys — Uncharted

More than just YouTube stars or indiscriminate musical syncretists. It takes a certain genius to pair Adele’s “Hello” and “Lacrimosa” or “Fight Song” and “Amazing Grace.”

Other Freegal playlists:

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