Reflective of their summer theme for kids, “Mission Read: To the Library and Beyond,” the Forest Park Public Library took another step toward boosting literacy rates with the recent acquisition of two computers in its youth services department.

The computers, which were purchased courtesy of a $10,000 grant awarded to the library from the Community Bank of Oak Park and River Forest, are designed to help children between the ages of 2 and 8 years old foster a love of reading, math, science and other educational areas.

“I inquired about the grant, and (Youth Services Manager) Lindsey Kraft made it very clear that she would like to replace the early literacy stations we had with something more up to date,” Forest Park Public Library Director Rodger Brayden said. “We feel very fortunate to receive the grant. The new computers introduce youngsters to building block literacy in an interesting, exciting fashion.”

The computers, equipped with kid-friendly color keyboards, smaller sized mouse, and headphones, feature age appropriate programs in math, science, social studies, reading, computer skills, music, arts, and reference. Once kids are engaged in a program, colorful graphics, catchy music and educational guides like Toony the Loon enhance their learning adventure. Of course, parents will be glad to know their children can also enjoy classic reading favorites like Dr. Seuss’ “The Cat in the Hat” and “Green Eggs and Ham.”

The Forest Park library is the fourth of 10 non-profit recipients that will receive a $10,000 grant via the bank’s Visionary Grant program commemorating its 10-year anniversary.

“The computers are fun,” D’Marco Cobbs, a 7-year old Forest Park resident said. “I like the Jimmy Neutron and Sponge Bob (programs).”

Six-year-old Danai Parker, who recently visited the youth services department for the first time, also enjoyed her experience, citing the aforementioned “Green Eggs and Ham” as her favorite book on the computers.

While it’s clear the computers are a smashing success with kids, Kraft shares comparable enthusiasm about these new educational resources.

“It’s been huge,” Kraft said. “The programs simultaneously teach kids literacy skills with reading programs, but also basic computer skills. The kids come here and can’t wait to use the computers. I think families who haven’t seen the computers should bring their kids in to use them. These truly are computers for kids.”