On Love and Aspiration

Dear Friends,

At their absolute best, libraries are aspirational. They confront us with so much potential power in the form of information, if only we reach for it. When we do grasp that book or technology our universe expands, and we become better people capable of building better communities.

And so it was this morning that I joined constituents and colleagues in the Hunters Point section of Long Island City to finally and officially announce that construction will commence on our stunning Steven Holl designed $30 million community library. This day was a long time coming.

For over 15 years I have fought for this library, first as an organizer for the Queens Library who helped form the Friends of the Hunters Point Library chapter and for the last five years as Council Member and Chair of the Cultural Affairs and Libraries Committee.

I've allocated millions towards construction of this building. And while I'm proud of that, the truth is this project is a labor of love for me. A love for libraries, a love for the people of Long Island City and a love for several folks who inspired me, really compelled me through their passion to see this project through.

Several years ago my phone rang at the Queens Library. A woman who I did not know told me she had two little kids and they needed a library. She was aware that we had a plan for a library at Hunters Point but she wanted to push it forward faster and she offered to volunteer in any way to get it done. She offered to collect signatures from local mom's, at least 1,000 we agreed, and then we'd talk again. She did more than that and never stopped advocating for this library before falling tragically ill with cancer at a very young age. We lost Fausta Ippolito a few years ago but this morning her daughter Daria stood by my side as we made this announcement, one that would not have been possible without her love for her children and every other child in our neighborhood.

So I thank Fausta, and so many other early champions of this project including Don Dodelson, Ed Sadowsky, Nina Stromberg and Mark Christie among many others, who dreamed big, never gave up, and continue to believe in the aspirational power of libraries.

It really does take a village, and today ours is a better one. The future never looked so good.

Sincerely,

Jimmy Van Bramer

New York City Council Majority Leader