As the 14th U.S. Librarian of Congress — and first woman and first African-American to hold that role — Hayden is considered by many as something akin to the Mick Jagger of librarians, and that status showed during her visit to W&M. One audience member wore a Hayden T-shirt, and even W&M President Katherine A. Rowe expressed her fandom.
“I feel like I’m introducing a rock star,” Rowe said.
Referencing Hayden’s work with Baltimore and Chicago’s libraries and her time serving as the president of the American Libraries Association, Rowe said that Hayden has led the way in the nation’s understanding of how libraries are critical to diversity, inclusion and democracy.
At her public talk Friday night, Hayden discussed the role of libraries today and the changes she has seen throughout her career, including a greater understanding of different types of literacy and an openness to different types of literature.
“People read differently, and we need to make room for that,” she said.
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