Alec Baldwin awarded a key to the city of Central Falls
CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. — Actor Alec Baldwin received a key to the city of Central Falls as part of a fundraiser Saturday, in recognition of his donations to the city's cash-strapped public library. Mayor James Diossa said the key to the city wasn't worth nearly as much as Baldwin's donations. "I've got to give it to you, Alec. You believed in us," Diossa said. Baldwin said he realized libraries were critical to communities after seeing a hurricane hit his own Long Island community several years ago. "These [libraries] were community centers for people during this time of catastrophe," Baldwin said. When Baldwin saw a New York Times article in 2011 about Adams Memorial Library in Central Falls shutting its doors due to financial struggles, he wanted to help. "I decided to try to reach beyond, you know, New York City and Easthampton where I live," Baldwin said. For the community members gathered Saturday, Baldwin's financial gifts made a difference. "Thank you for believing in this library when we were all going through a critical time," Diossa said. Governor Lincoln Chafee joked about where Baldwin might have gotten the money. ""I think CapitalOne helped pay for this, right?" Chafee said, as Baldwin mouthed, "Oh yeah." Baldwin said he didn't want his donations to be a one-time gift. "Rather than just have it be a gift, we can do some ongoing program of raising money for the library," Baldwin said. The money raised from Saturday's Baldwin for Books fundraiser will go toward expanding computer access and creating a digital media center on the library's property in Central Falls. Tucking financial troubles into the pages of history books, people in Central Falls are now beginning a new chapter.