Carla D. Hayden Sworn In as 14th Librarian of Congress

Carla D. Hayden, longtime chief executive of the Enoch Pratt Free Library system in Baltimore and a former president of the American Library Association, was sworn in as the 14th Librarian of Congress, for a renewable 10-year term, by Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts, Jr.

Hayden was nominated by President Barack Obama in February; she was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in July. She took the oath on a Bible, held by her mother, Colleen Hayden, which had been used by Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Obama to take their oaths of office.

"The Library is one of the greatest gifts and legacies the Congress has given to the American people," Hayden said.

"When I contemplate the potential of harnessing the power of technology with the unparalleled resources at the Library of Congress, I am overwhelmed with the possibilities," she said. "The Library of Congress, a historic reference source for Congress, an established place for scholars, can also be a place where we grow scholars, where we inspire young authors, where we connect with those individuals outside the limits of Washington and help them make history themselves."

Hayden is the first woman, and the first African American, to serve as chief executive of the Library of Congress, the largest library in the world, with more than 162 million items in its collections. It also oversees the U.S. Copyright Office and the Congressional Research Service. It serves Congress and makes its research collections accessible on-site and online.

She succeeds Acting Librarian David S. Mao, who has served since the Sept. 30, 2015 retirement of former Librarian James H. Billington.

Hayden has recently overseen the renovation of the central branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, a four-year, $112 million project, and has also led $40 million in renovations to other units within the 22-branch Pratt system. The system is named for the businessman and philanthropist who financed its founding in 1886.

She took the helm of the Baltimore system in 1993, winning strong praise for her work to ensure that the city’s library system offers a broad array of services to assist citizens from all walks of life, from access to books and other learning materials to computer access and job information. A program of outreach into neighborhoods served by the Pratt libraries included after-school centers for teens, offering homework assistance and college counseling; a program offering healthy-eating information for residents in areas with insufficient access to high-quality food; programming in Spanish; establishment of an electronic library and digitization of the Library’s special collections.

Hayden also won accolades, during recent civil unrest in some Baltimore neighborhoods, for keeping library branches open citywide to continue service and provide citizens with safe havens.

She served as 2003-2004 president of the American Library Association.

Hayden first served as a young readers’ librarian in the Chicago Public Library system, eventually rising to the post of deputy commissioner and chief librarian in that system. She also taught Library and Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh. She received Library Journal’s 1995 Librarian of the Year Award.

Hayden received a B.A. from Roosevelt University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the Graduate Library School of the University of Chicago.

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States—and extensive materials from around the world—both on site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov, and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.

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