Carla Hayden, newly appointed Librarian of Congress, is my kind of person. She has a long career in library science with a doctorate from the University of Chicago. She has been a children’s librarian (dear to my heart), was honored as the national Librarian of the Year, and was also head of the American Library Association during the years when libraries came under attack by the US Justice Department and the FBI. She is very familiar with the front lines.
Which is possibly why her recent nomination to the post of Librarian of Congress languished in the Senate until recently. I won’t get into the politics behind the delay in approving her appointment – You can read about it on the Internet – but it saddens me that even libraries and librarians are subject to the polarization that occurs regularly on Capital Hill. Nominated by President Obama as the first female to hold the office, she was eventually confirmed with a vote of 74 to 18.
The Library of Congress itself has a lot of problems. With a $620 million budget and over three thousand employees, it “provides research and legal advice to Congress and operates the Copyright Office,” according to The Washington Post. A recent investigation found widespread mismanagement. If this is the case, Hayden is the person for the job.
I am about to send a copy of my current children’s picture book, Philip & Phoebe, to the Library of Congress. Most likely, Ms. Hayden won’t open the package herself; still I’m glad she’s there.