A new era has begun for the Library of Congress (LC), and if Carla Hayden’s first gestures in her role as Librarian of Congress signal sustained momentum to come, the LC of the future might just live up to the hopes of so many. Since her swearing in, on September 14, Hayden has set a compelling tone, one that is purposeful, inclusive, and infused with an important balance between the awesome responsibility of, and a sense of joy in, the work to come.
On September 14, Dr. Carla Hayden was sworn in as the new Librarian of Congress. The first African American and the first woman to hold the position in American history, she is also only the third to have worked in a library prior to her appointment. After a moving ceremony in the Library of Congress’s (LC) 1897 Jefferson Building and a reception to meet “as many staff members as they could stand,” Hayden sat down with LJ in her ceremonial office to outline her vision for the library.
At a historic ceremony on September 14 library leaders from around the country, Washington elected officials, Library of Congress (LC) staff, friends, family, and a cheering section of former employees crowded into the Great Hall of LC’s Thomas Jefferson Building to see Dr. Carla Hayden sworn in as the 14th Librarian of Congress. Hayden, former CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library (EPFL) in Baltimore, is the first woman and the first African American to serve in the role—and only the third practicing librarian.
In what is being widely celebrated as a historic decision, Carla D. Hayden was confirmed as the 14th Librarian of Congress July 13 by a Senate majority vote of 74–18. Hayden, currently CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library (EPFL) in Baltimore and LJ’s 1995 Librarian of the Year, will be the first woman and the first African American to lead the Library of Congress (LC). She will succeed former Librarian of Congress James Billington, who stepped down in September 2015 after 28 years. Hayden will serve at least one ten-year term, thanks to new term limit legislation passed last year.
At a four-minute hearing on June 9, the United States Senate Committee on Rules and Administration voted unanimously to approve the nomination of Carla D. Hayden to serve as the 14th Librarian of Congress. The committee’s voice vote was unanimous that Hayden’s nomination be reported to the full Senate for consideration with the recommendation that it be approved. Hayden, who was nominated in February by President Barack Obama to succeed former Librarian James Billington, testified before the committee at a strongly positive hearing on April 20.
Copyright is the only right defined in the main text of the U.S. Constitution. It is specified in Article 1, Section 8, so it didn’t have to be added in the amendments known as the Bill of Rights, which tells us how important the concept of copyright was to the founders. They enumerated its dimensions in a sparse sentence: “To promote the Progress of science and useful Arts by securing for limited times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”
In an amicable session on April 20, Librarian of Congress nominee Carla D. Hayden testified at a Senate Committee on Rules and Administration hearing in Washington, DC. Hayden, who was nominated by President Barack Obama in February to succeed former Librarian James Billington, offered her personal testimony and answered questions on a range of issues concerning the Library of Congress (LC). The room was packed with enthusiastic supporters, including members of the American Library Association (ALA), of which Hayden was president from 2003–04; elected officials; a large contingent from Maryland, where Hayden currently serves as a CEO of Baltimore’s Enoch Pratt Free Library (EPFL), and Hayden’s mother.
Macmillan debuts a new YA imprint. Win free copies of Reproductive Rights—a teen nonfiction title. Apply for Library of Congress literacy grants. An eighth Harry Potter book was just announced. These tidbits and more in SLJTeen’s news roundup.
It has been a busy time for those of us who watch the doings of the Copyright Office. In addition to releasing a massive report on Orphan Works and Mass Digitization, about which I have written here, the Copyright Office (CO) is the subject of a piece of legislation introduced as a discussion draft on June 3. The bill, if it were officially introduced and ultimately enacted, would remove the CO from the Library of Congress (LC) and establish it as an independent agency of the federal government, under the Executive Branch. Then, while we were still considering the ramifications of this idea, came the announcement on June 10 of the pending retirement of Dr. James Billington, who has been the Librarian of Congress for the past 29 years.