Due to a generous donation from the John S. Fretz Family Charitable Trust the library is now providing additional services and materials for those in the community who have visual impairments, additional technology access, and new children’s programming. Projects for 2014, chosen by the trustees of this charitable trust, included the purchase of laptops, visually impaired services/materials, Legos, and a storage cabinet for our craft stamp collection.

The largest portion of this gift was designated for materials/services to increase access to information for those in the community who have visual impairments.

The Library Board chose to upgrade technology access by adding ZoomText and JAWS software to all of our public access computers. ZoomText allows the user to greatly enlarge the text on the computer screen and JAWS is text to speech software which allows the user to have the text on the screen read aloud to them.

Eight iPads were also purchased for use in the library because they have the best visually impaired software available on tablets. Also, additional audio books and large print books are being added to our collection each month.

The laptops and iPads™ can be used by patrons while in the library and will allow the library staff to teach computer classes this fall and winter. The laptops have already been put to use for beginning computer classes at Parkwood Village this summer. Both the laptops and iPads™ will also be used with the Tween Tuesdays @ Your Library program for 5th-8th graders.

This donation allowed the library to begin our Lego Club for Kindergarten-Fourth Grades which meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 4 p.m.

Each month has a theme and the Lego creations are then displayed in the Children’s Room until the next month’s meeting. We now have a very large supply of Legos and mini-figs and have averaged 33 builders at each of the six sessions held this year.

All of our craft stamps/punches are now housed in a large cabinet for easy browsing. If you are looking for a particular stamp to finish a project check with us, we may have exactly what you need.

Over the past few year’s donations from the John S. Fretz Family Charitable Trust have provided funds for additional shelving and the doghouse book drop in the Children’s Room, family DVD collection, and audio books. The Library Board is grateful for donations that allow us to provide funding for special services and materials that go beyond the basics.

Rochelle Westerhaus is the director of the Pratt Public Library.