Madison Community Foundation awarded two gifts to Madison Public Library Foundation in the last year to support collection items for elderly library patrons. 

The organization gave the foundation $5,000 from the Edna Walker Fund for the Elderly — a field of interest fund held at MCF — to purchase memory kits for people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and large-print materials, which serve both older adults and others with limited vision.

MCF also gave the foundation a $3,000 grant from the Charles Hathaway Trust, another field of interest fund held at MCF, to support the purchase of eBooks and audiobooks for seniors. The library will be purchasing those items this fall.

There are 18 memory kits total, with the following themes: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, Dogs, Cats, Farm, Great Outdoors, and Patriotic. Each kit contains a library-friendly hard-shell case containing:

  • one DVD with multiple slide shows to use on its own, or in coordination with the photo cards and activity cards
  • 32 double sided photo cards (64 photos total)
  • eight double-sided activity cards (16 activities total)

Mary Fahndrich, a Community Engagement Librarian in charge of Home Service and Social Services, said the memory kits are being circulated through the library’s Home Service program, which serves older adults as well as differently abled adults. 

Fahndrich said the library was able to purchase 150 large-print books with the Edna Walker Fund dollars. “I worked with our fiction selector to focus on authors of color and in-demand titles,” she said. “They are all in circulation to individual patrons and Home Service facilities — an obvious sign of money well spent!”

The library offers a variety of programs to serve seniors and others who are homebound. The Home Service program allows library staff to manage elderly patrons’ accounts, place holds, select materials and complete checkouts. In the Facility program, library staff distribute materials to various group housing facilities such as nursing homes, assisted living centers and retirement communities. And there are individualized Home Service programs that offer heavy library material users a personal bag of materials.

There is also a mail program for blind and visually impaired patrons that allows for free shipping of large-print books and audiobooks. 

Recent comments from Home Service patrons include:

“This is a lifeline to me.”

“Opening the door to see all those books gives me a joyful feeling!”