“Libraries are That Safe Place for Discussion of Ideas”: An Interview with Dr. Carla Hayden Librarian of Congress
The interview with Dr. Hayden appears in the Winter 2024 (Vol. XL, No. 2 ) issue of Issues in Science and Technology.
From the Description:
Carla Hayden is the first woman and the first African American to lead the Library of Congress. In addition to preserving millions of books, newspapers, films, photographs, audio recordings, maps, and manuscripts in its collections, the library—the world’s largest—also serves as the main research arm of the US Congress and houses the US Copyright Office. Before being sworn in as the fourteenth librarian of Congress in 2016, Hayden held leadership roles in libraries for decades, including at the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, and the Chicago public library system. In an interview with Issues contributing editor Molly Galvin, Hayden discusses the library’s role in informing public policy, how artificial intelligence is challenging notions of copyright, and how libraries can help fight misinformation and disinformation, strengthen communities, and maintain democracy.
Here’s One Exchange From the Interview
Molly Galvin: What are some of the biggest trends you see for libraries on the horizon?
Hayden: Libraries are getting back into being a place in communities and in people’s lives. It’s “library as place.” Libraries are being built to be gathering places, places for community.
I was just out in Dayton, Ohio, and their new central library has a theater. Local theater groups can book the theater and have their performances or dance groups. There’s an art studio, a recording studio for people to come in.
Library as place is definitely a trend, and you’ll see that in new buildings and branches in communities that are incorporating all kinds of other things. Some have community kitchens. Philadelphia had one of the first libraries where you’re teaching science and chemistry by having cooking classes. You have to measure, you have to monitor temperature, and all this stuff. You’re seeing a lot of that going on.
Libraries are also being seen as a convening place for civic engagement. Community meetings are being held there, with many sides of an issue being discussed. Libraries are that safe place for discussion of ideas.
Direct to Full Text (about 2050 words)
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.