Ethan Hawke: Do People Really Still Use Libraries?

Posted by: yetheart, May 24, 2018 11:45 am
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Ethan Hawke

Thank you to Ethan Hawke for this message on behalf of our City's libraries!

Join Ethan in asking City leaders to invest in libraries and keep the doors open for all New Yorkers—visit speakup.queenslibrary.org.

Stories take many forms. We read and reread our favorite books, watch movies, go to the theater, scroll through our phones, and learn our favorite song lyrics or poems. No matter how we consume stories, we seek them out because of their power, their grip on us. We turn to stories to find out about others and ourselves and to make sense of our lives.

As a storyteller, I've acted in films and on the stage. I've directed feature films and a documentary. I've written novels, a children's book, and a graphic novel. Each form has its own challenges and rewards. But each one has allowed me to communicate a story I believe to be essential.

I'm proud to be a Board member of The New York Public Library and a co-founder of its Young Lions Fiction Award. I consider a library to be a sacred institution because it safeguards millions of stories—and gives all New Yorkers free access to this treasure trove.

Today I'm asking you to join me in calling on City leaders to protect a precious resource: New York City's libraries. Will you add your name now?

Just last night, my 16-year-old son asked me, "Do people really still use libraries?" I was happy to be able to tell him yes. It's a fact: More people than ever are visiting their neighborhood branches and using the myriad free resources the Library provides. They're downloading music, checking out books, and viewing the Criterion Collection's films—for free. They're also enrolling in ESOL classes, improving their digital literacy, and taking their toddlers to story time—also for free. And this list goes on and on. The public library is a more vital community center than ever before.

But to keep all of this going we need support from City leaders more urgently than ever. The cost of continuing to provide these vital free resources has increased, especially with the Library's dedication to expanding hours of operation and six-day service. Without City funding, we could lose our ability as New Yorkers to tell, read, and share stories—the very things that define us.

Strong support for the Library from City leaders has never been more important. Take 30 seconds now and send a message to Mayor de Blasio and the City Council. Tell them to keep investing in libraries—and in the stories of all New Yorkers.

We might not all be writers or directors or actors, but at heart we're all storytellers and seekers. Stories are how we see and make sense of the world. The New York Public Library allows everyone to participate in the best stories from every place and every era. What's more, the Library gives everyone the means to tell their own stories—whether that's by learning another language or a new job skill, or simply reading a great book that illuminates another aspect of the world.

I joined the NYPL Board and co-founded its Young Lions Fiction Award because of my lifelong belief in the power of reading and libraries and the means they give us to transform our lives. The New York Public Library is sacred, and it needs our support right now. Will you join me in supporting our great library?

Together we can keep library doors open for everyone. Thank you for joining me today.

Ethan Hawke
Actor, writer, director, and NYPL Board of Trustees member
For Queens Library

Photo of Ethan Hawke by Sam Jones