May 23, 2022

President Obama Will Nominate Dr. Carla Hayden as Next Librarian of Congress

An excellent selection. If approved, Hayden will be the:

  • First Female Librarian of Congress
  • First Minority Librarian of Congress
  • Only the Third Librarian of Congress Who is a Librarian

Given the political mood here in DC, it will be interesting to watch and see if this nomination is held up and/or becomes a political football. Let’s hope not.

UPDATE Feb 25, 2016: From an Article About Nomination in the Baltimore Sun:

Republican reaction to Hayden was muted Wednesday. The chairman of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, which will consider the nomination, mentioned the importance of integrating new technology at the library. But he offered no indication about whether he believes Hayden is the right candidate for the job.

“I congratulate Dr. Hayden on her nomination and look forward to getting to know her and gaining a clear understanding of her vision for moving the library forward into the next decade,” Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri said in a statement.

UPDATE Baltimore Sun Editorial: “A Perfect Nominee for Library of Congress”

From Editorial:

If confirmed by the Senate, Ms. Hayden would take on the formidable task of modernizing a Library of Congress that remains sadly behind the times in terms of technology and to extend the reach of its services to new readers. Its collections have not been digitized for the most part, and critics say it hasn’t kept pace with basic improvements such as high-speed Internet service and Wi-Fi connections. In Baltimore, Ms. Hayden increased patrons’ access to computers and e-readers and expanded the library’s electronic collection. She’s also leading a $114 million renovation of the central library that began last year and another $40 million in renovations to neighborhood branches.

Here’s the Full Text of The White House Announcement:


Dr. Carla Hayden (Source: City of Baltimore)

Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Carla D. Hayden as Librarian of Congress.

President Obama said, “Michelle and I have known Dr. Carla Hayden for a long time, since her days working at the Chicago Public Library, and I am proud to nominate her to lead our nation’s oldest federal institution as our 14th Librarian of Congress. Dr. Hayden has devoted her career to modernizing libraries so that everyone can participate in today’s digital culture. She has the proven experience, dedication, and deep knowledge of our nation’s libraries to serve our country well and that’s why I look forward to working with her in the months ahead. If confirmed, Dr. Hayden would be the first woman and the first African American to hold the position – both of which are long overdue.”

Carla D. Hayden, Nominee for Librarian of Congress, Library of Congress:

Dr. Carla D. Hayden is CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland, a position she has held since 1993. Dr. Hayden was nominated by President Obama to be a member of the National Museum and Library Services Board in January 2010 and was confirmed by the Senate in June 2010. Prior to joining the Pratt Library, Dr. Hayden was Deputy Commissioner and Chief Librarian of the Chicago Public Library from 1991 to 1993. She was an Assistant Professor for Library and Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh from 1987 to 1991. Dr. Hayden was Library Services Coordinator for the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago from 1982 to 1987. She began her career with the Chicago Public Library as the Young Adult Services Coordinator from 1979 to 1982 and as a Library Associate and Children’s Librarian from 1973 to 1979. Dr. Hayden was President of the American Library Association from 2003 to 2004. In 1995, she was the first African American to receive Library Journal’s Librarian of the Year Award in recognition of her outreach services at the Pratt Library, which included an afterschool center for Baltimore teens offering homework assistance and college and career counseling. Dr. 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.

From Reuters:

As president of the American Library Association in 2003 to 2004, Hayden publicly opposed part of the Patriot Act, controversial legislation aimed at fighting extremism after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

She objected in particular to a section of the act that gave the U.S. Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation the power to access library user records.

When then-Attorney General John Ashcroft said that the library association had been misled into opposing that part of the law, Hayden said the group was “deeply concerned that the attorney general should be so openly contemptuous” of librarians, the Library Journal reported.

After the criticism from Hayden, Ashcroft dropped his refusal to make public any information about the use of that section and said it had not been employed to get access to library records, the journal said.

From The Hill

Hayden has faced a confirmation hearing before. In 2010, she was confirmed by the Senate to serve on the National Museum and Library Services Board.

White House Video

A Selection of Videos Featuring Dr. Hayden

See Also: Statement by Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Ben Cardin (D-MD)

Letter in Support of Dr. Carla Hayden’s Nomination by Sen. Barbara Mikulski and Sen. Ben Cardin

See Also: Statement from IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew on the Nomination of Dr. Carla Hayden To Be the Librarian of Congress

See Also: Reaction From American Library Association

See Also: Bios of Past Librarians of Congress (via LC)

UPDATE: Coverage of Nomination From Library Journal


About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.