Thursday, February 25, 2016

First Librarian, First Woman, First African-American Nominated to Post of Librarian of Congress

For my entire career it has been a sore point that the post of Librarian of Congress has been occupied by poets, scholars, historians... but never filled by a professional librarian. Until now the position has been a lifetime appointment. The previous  Librarian of Congress was James Billlington who resigned in September  of 2015. Mr. Billington was appointed by Ronald Reagan  in 1987.... before email was invented.... so his 39 year tenure was the equivalent of 3 geologic eras in technology time. The position has been changed to a ten year appointment, which I assume is to assure that the leader will be equipped to deal with the emerging technological challenges of future decades.

Finally the role of the Librarian of Congress is being recognized  as a  position requiring  both  management expertise and  a vision which embraces both technology and culture.

The Library of Congress was established in 1800 and was the first national cultural institution. It is not only the worlds largest library, but it is a leader in digitization initiatives from preserving fragile archives to providing online access to laws and regulations of the world.

Yesterday President Obama nominated Dr. Carla Hayden as the 14th Librarian of Congress. Dr. Hayden has a long history leading public library systems in the US. She has been the CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore since 1993. Under Dr. Hayen's leadership,  Pratt Library has been a powerful cultural force offering programs "to provide equal access to information and services that empower, enrich, and enhance the quality of life" of the residents of Baltimore.

The American Association of Law Libraries issued a press release in support of Dr. Hayden's nomination:

"AALL congratulates Dr. Carla D. Hayden on her nomination to be the next Librarian of Congress. We are confident that her background as a librarian and demonstrated commitment to preserving the public trust will be a great asset to the institution. We look forward to working closely with Dr. Hayden as the next leader of the ‘nation’s library,’ and urge the Senate to act quickly to approve her nomination,” said AALL President Keith Ann Stiverson. “We also extend our gratitude to Acting Librarian of Congress David S. Mao, dedicated AALL member, for his commitment and service to the Library during this time of transition.”
Congratulations to Dr. Hayden.


  1. Congrats, Dr. Hayden! She and her team should also be recognized for keeping the Pratt Library open in the days after the unrest in Baltimore last spring, while all schools and most businesses closed their doors.

  2. I took a course called "Public Library Seminar" that she taught while I was in library school (U of Maryland) and she was brilliant and inspiring. A great choice.