Alec Baldwin announced via a telephone conference call on Monday morning, November 11, that he has donated $1 million to the East Hampton Library for the New Children’s addition on behalf of his family. The $1 million donation will be used to underwrite the completion of the Baldwin Family Lecture Room in the new addition. The space will be used for children’s programs, film screenings, poetry readings, historical lectures, and author and book events.
“I am making this gift to help complete the project and to encourage other residents to help support this vital institution in the town,” he said. “I like to have a chance to help finish something.”
Mr. Baldwin’s pledge will provide much of the remaining funds to complete the $6.2 million project. Including this donation, the library has collected $5.7 million, funded from private donations and a $342,262 grant from New York State as part of its Public Library Grant Program.
“You want to put your money on winners and they’re doing a great job,” Mr. Baldwin said of supporting the library. “They’ve fought hard to make this happen and they prevailed. The only obstacle was money. I was happy to help provide what I could.”
The lifelong avid reader and his wife, Hilaria, welcomed baby girl Carmen to the family on August 23. 2012. They live in Amagansett part-time. His daughter, Ireland, whose mother is Kim Basinger, is 18 years old.
East Hampton Library Chair Tom Twomey lauded Mr. Baldwin, who, since 2010, has donated a total of $275,000 to the library. Additionally, the actor serves as an Honorary Co-Chair of the Library’s Children’s Addition Committee and is the Founding Honorary Co-Chair of the Library’s annual Authors Night fundraising event.
“Over the last several years, Alec has been a tremendous supporter of the library,” Mr. Twomey said. “We’re now in the home stretch and close to the finish line of this 10-year marathon.”
The new Children’s Addition, designed by architect Robert A.M. Stern, will add 6,800 square feet to the existing library, allowing for the addition of 10,000 more children’s books, new computers, seating and other age-appropriate improvements. The addition will also allow for the installation of a second elevator, making the entire library handicapped accessible, and will also provide 16 new parking spaces, bringing the total of parking spaces to 42.
“We want to create a space for children to come in and fall in love with the library,” said Library Director Dennis Fabiszak. “We want it to be a child’s favorite place in East Hampton.”
Some of the more fantastical aspects of the Children’s Addition will include a hollowed out windmill, two lighthouses and check-in desk shaped like a boat, according to Mr. Twomey. Also, the addition will have its own separate entrance.
The expected completion date of the Children’s Addition is spring 2014, according to library Vice President and Capital Campaign Chair Sheila Rogers. She added that the remaining half a million in funds to be raised now will go toward “soft structures,” such as furniture, as well as toward building out some of the old structure of the library.
Expressing gratitude to Mr. Baldwin, library President Donald Hunting ended the conference call.
“Mr. Baldwin has been very gracious with his time, talent and his treasure and we are most grateful,” he said.