Memorial fund provides new technology and help at Cranston Public Library

Memorial fund provides new technology for ESL students, children at Cranston Public Library’s Auburn Branch

The Cranston Public Library is pleased to announce that, beginning July 2015, the Auburn Branch will open the Maddalena Lab. Purchased through the Betty Maddalena Fund, the lab is a collection of six laptop computers that will be available to children as well as ESL and citizenship students beginning July 20.

The Betty Maddalena Fund was established in October 2014 by Joseph Maddalena in memory of his mother, dedicated library patron, Elizabeth “Betty” Maddalena. Managed by Cranston Public Library’s nonprofit fundraising arm, the Cranston Public Library Association, the fund serves to financially support Books @ Home (Cranston Public Library’s homebound delivery service), in addition to ESL and citizenship services.

While the computers will be available to school-aged children during designated hours, they will also be made available to the library’s ESL and citizenship students and their families.

“We see at least 20 families pass through the library during each class session,” says Cranston Public Library Director, Edward Garcia. “These computers will guarantee digital access for those families.”

ESL and citizenship classes are available at the library thanks to a 15-year partnership between Cranston Public Library and the Rhode Island Family Literacy Initiative (RIFLI). RIFLI classes are already offered at the Auburn Branch and the William Hall Library, but, as Branch Librarian Karen McGrath explains, the Maddalena Lab at the Auburn Branch will encourage a new learning option: self-driven digital literacy learning.

“Many of the families who attend these classes cannot easily access technology,” says McGrath. “If they want to learn, they encounter far more barriers than English-speaking citizens. Having resources such as these laptops available to our RIFLI students and their children will allow them the freedom to explore and acquire digital literacy in a safe and familiar environment.”

“This is a great resource for us and our patrons,” adds Garcia, “and the Betty Maddalena Fund has made it possible.”

The Maddalena Lab’s summer hours (July 20-August 31) are as follows: Mondays (4:00-5:45 pm), Tuesdays (3:00-5:45 pm), and Wednesdays (3:00-5:45 pm). It will also be available to literacy students during classes on Monday and Tuesday evenings during the RIFLI summer session.

The Cranston Public Library's Auburn Branch is located at 396 Pontiac Ave, Cranston RI. For more information about Cranston Public Library visit 

(release from Cranston Public Library)