The 14th Librarian of Congress Is a Woman

Carla Hayden is also the first African-American in the post
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 14, 2016 6:55 AM CDT
The 14th Librarian of Congress Is a Woman
In this April 16, 2015, photo, Carla Hayden, CEO of the Pratt Library, gives a tour of the library's central branch in Baltimore.   (Barbara Haddock Taylor/The Baltimore Sun via AP)

The nation's new librarian of Congress makes history on two fronts: Carla Hayden is not only the first woman to hold the post, she's the first African-American to do so, reports Time. The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Hayden for the job, making her the 14th person to run the institution. There have been so few because the position had been a lifelong one until President Obama shortened it to a 10-year term last year. In fact, her predecessor, Reagan appointee James Billington, left in 2015 after serving 28 years—and taking criticism for not keeping up with technology, notes the AP. That shouldn't be a problem for Hayden, who at 63 has gained attention for running and modernizing Baltimore's large public library system.

Obama appointed Hayden in February, but her confirmation got held up in DC politics. Conservatives objected to her opposition to a 2000 law called the Children's Internet Protection Act, which makes libraries install filters to block porn, reports the Baltimore Sun. Hayden argued the filters could block too much information. As president of the American Library Association in 2003 and 2004, she also criticized the scope of the Patriot Act, which allowed the feds to search libraries' borrowing records, notes the Atlantic. Another milestone: Hayden, who has a doctorate in library sciences, is the first actual librarian to run the Library of Congress. The others have generally been historians or scholars. (More Library of Congress stories.)

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