Library officials, students and residents welcomed two bronze lions to the Belleville Public Library on Nov. 29.
After being postpooned by both Hurricane Sandy and a nor'easter earlier, the library helped commemorate its 100th anniversary with two bronze lions parading up Washington Avenue to take their place in front of the library, according to Joan Taub, library director.
They are there for children to play on, and people to take photos with, Taub said.
The two lions cost almost $10,000, and were paid for by fundraisers from the Friend of the Belleville Library, she said.
The lions rode in on a flatbed truck from Belleville Middle School to the library, and were greeted by elementary school children and members of the Friends of the Library, after being led by the Belleville High School Marching Band.
Richard Yanuzzi, director of the library board, awarded $100 Barnes & Noble gift certificates to School No. 3 fifth grader Ashley Calhoun for winning the contest to name the lions, with the names Belle and Blossom, and another $100 certificate to Fernando Aguirre for first place in the poster contest about the lions.
"We are very proud to welcome these lions, which come as a result of the efforts of the Friends of our library," Yanuzzi said.
Mayor Ray Kimble was also on hand to give out the certificates, which also include five $5 Barnes & Noble gift certificates to runners-up in the poster contest.
Traditionally, lions are placed in front of libraries as symbolic protection of the information and knowledge these institutions store, Taub said.
Patience and Fortitude are the names of the lions at the front steps of the New York Public Library’s Fifth Avenue branch, and have been in place since the library’s dedication on May 23, 1911, Taub said.
Once the lions reached the library, the ceremony was held to give the lions their official names, Taub said, and everyone was then invited to a dessert reception and exhibit of lion posters.