The New York Public Library (NYPL) organizes an annual gala to honor individuals who have distinguished themselves in their respective fields of arts, culture, letters and scholarship by naming them Library Lions.

This year, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was honored alongside Tina Brown, Jonathan Lethem, and Darren Walker. The library also celebrated it’s recent 125th Anniversary and the life and legacy of the late Vartan Gregorian.

May be an image of 1 person and text that says 'New York Public Library New York Public Library ork y New Yor Public Library New YA Public Library ork ry New York Public Library New Yor Public Library ork York New York Dublic'

Previous Library Lions include: Margaret Atwood, Nelson Mandela, Steve Martin, Martin Scorsese, Zadie Smith, Gloria Steinem and Oprah Winfrey.The New York Public Library was founded in 1895. It has nearly 53 million items and 92 locations. It is the second largest public library in the United States and the fourth largest in the world.

May be an image of 5 people and people standing

The origins of this remarkable institution date back to the time when New York was emerging as one of the world’s most important cities. By the second half of the 19th century, New York had already surpassed Paris in population and was quickly catching up with London, then the world’s most populous city. Fortunately, this burgeoning and somewhat brash metropolis counted among its citizens men who foresaw that if New York was indeed to become one of the world’s great centers of urban culture, it must also have a great library.