N.Y. Public Library Honors Literary Greats
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The New York Public Library held its 2008 Library Lions benefit at its landmark building on 5th Avenue and 42nd Street. Four literary greats were honored as “Library Lions.”
"These are four people each year who've done really remarkable things with their careers related to what we have in our collections and we have all of their works in our collections. And they represent a diversity of forms of communication, books, plays," said Paul LeClerc, the library’s president.
Among the honorees were Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Edward Albee , the author of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe?," and screenwriter and essayist Nora Ephron.
Booker Prize-winning author, Salman Rushdie, was also honored as one of the Library Lions.
"We have such, almost reverence for the New York Public Library. To receive recognition from an institution as wonderful as that, but it does mean something!" said Rushdie
Children's book author and illustrator Ashley Bryan was also an honoree.
"When one's work is recognized with other such wonderful artists, it is a great honor," said Bryan.
Many of the attendees at the black-tie gala shared their favorite books with us as children and adults.
"Oh, I've always loved "The Little Prince," said TV host Barbara Walters.
"The important book I've read is the 'Autobiography of Malcolm X.' I think to a young black kid it opened up a world of doors about self-pride, self-sufficiency," said TV host Bryant Gumbel.
"'Treasure Island', Robert Louis Stevenson," said TV host Regis Philbin.
"An early biography of Benjamin Franklin," said TV host Charlie Rose.
"I like to read biographies, for example, the ones like Vince Lombardi's and things that pump me up, not that I need a whole lot of it," said TV commentator John McEnroe.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s favorite book was a “revolutionary” choice.
"'Johnny Tremaine' was my favorite book. I must of read it 50 times,” said Bloomberg. “It was about a boy, it's a fiction work but it was about a boy who worked for Paul Revere in Boston where I grew up and I could go to every place that was mentioned in the book. And it's still being published - it's one of the great kid's books of all-time!"
By night's end, almost $3 million were raised to help keep the libraries free and open to all of us New Yorkers.