Dr. Carla Hayden, the new Librarian of Congress! Image from Wikimedia Commons. Originally from this blog. As a US Government image, it is in the public domain. (A little copyright info seems appropriate on a blog about a librarian, yo.)
This week, in the midst of seas of bad news, my profession got good news: Carla Hayden, long the director of the Enoch Pratt Library in Baltimore, alumna of my alma mater as well as of the University of Chicago,1 was finally approved as the new Librarian of Congress. In one fell swoop she’s broken two glass ceilings: Dr. Hayden will be the first woman and the first person of African-American descent to become the Librarian of Congress. She’s also an actual, real librarian with (two!) real degrees in library and information science. She is going to rock this position, guys.
Dr. Hayden’s appointment is actually good news for everyone, not just for those in the Profession. She’s well-known for her commitment to, in the Washington Post’s words, “equal access to library resources,” and has spearheaded numerous (and successful!) digital initiatives while the CEO of Enoch Pratt. She is widely supported in the profession: District Dispatch points out that “Every state and major national library association in America strongly back her confirmation,” which is a pretty big deal. Further, Dr. Hayden was one of Fortune‘s World’s 50 Greatest Leaders. Among other accomplisments, the magazine hailed her for keeping libraries open during protests in Baltimore following Freddie Gray’s death in custody in 2015. Other institutions closed; the library, helmed by Dr. Hayden, kept its doors open for its community.
As a librarian, I am wildly proud and happy that Dr. Hayden will be leading the Library of Congress for the next ten years. I believe that she will bring it, forcefully if necessary, into the twenty-first century, and will help it become the leader we need and deserve in the tech and digital sectors, places where it has been rather lagging. She is in every way a trailblazer: Dr. Hayden is the first Librarian of Congress in many years to actually be a librarian (which is, yes, hugely important); she’s also the first woman, the first African-American, and indeed the first person of color. And, of course, she’s one hell of a librarian, someone to lead our national library into the future with grace and with vision.
Gif originally from link.
1 Confession: I’m also stoked that Dr. Hayden got her degrees in Chicago, at universities to which I have personal connections.