Obama Names First African-American, Female Nominee For Librarian Of Congress

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On Wednesday, President Obama named his nomination for librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden, in an announcement.

Hayden, who is the first woman and the first African-American nominee, must be confirmed by the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration. If she is confirmed she will take charge of one of the largest library collections in the world, including such historic artifacts as a Gutenberg Bible and the Gettysburg Address. The library currently holds more than 162 million items and adds roughly 12,000 new ones every day.

Hayden has most recently served as the CEO of Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, where she has helped to modernize the 22-branch system: expanding Wi-Fi, building the library’s electronic collection for e-readers, and integrating more public computers. Obama’s announcement noted that Hayden has made Pratt library “the largest provider of public-access computers in Maryland.”

In recent years, the 216-year-old library has faced criticism for its refusal to modernize and embrace technology. According to the LA Times, Daniel Schuman, a former Library of Congress employee said of the institution, “It wasn’t just that they weren’t leaning forward; it was that they were all the way back on their heels.”

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Obama is confident that Hayden can bring the library up to date, saying in his announcement, “As Librarian of Congress, she’ll work in close partnership with Congress, support the copyright office that serves our nation’s creative communities, and explore new ways to share the information housed within our library through innovative technologies.”

He also commended Hayden’s actions during the unrest in Baltimore in response to the killing of Freddie Gray. “She’ll be a good steward for the important role that libraries play in our communities,” he said. “Last year, during the unrest in Baltimore, Dr. Hayden and the library’s staff kept the doors of the Pratt open as a beacon for the community.”

If confirmed, Hayden would succeed James H. Billington, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan and has served for 28 years. Hayden would be the 14th librarian of Congress.

Obama’s nomination of Hayden once again highlights the president’s desire to move in the direction of progression and equality.

Read President Obama’s entire announcement here.



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About the author: Gary Joshua Garrison


Gary Joshua Garrison is the Prose Editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review. His fiction has appeared in various locations around the World Wide Web, as well as in bound reams of paper. His nonfictional musing can be found at Luminary Daily and Way Too Indie. He writes, teaches, and goes to the movies in the desert of Arizona with his well-postured cat, Widget.

Website: http://garyjgarrison.com/


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