On September 14th, 2016 in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress in Washington, history was made. Carla Hayden is now the first woman, and African American, to serve in the role of the Librarian of Congress. Having been the CEO of Baltimore’s library system, she kept the library open even during last year’s civic upsets. She was then nominated by Barack Obama himself, and later confirmed by the Senate to head the Library of Congress.
Different from those who served in the role previously, she will commit to a ten-year term, and plans to digitize material in the library’s collection of 162 million items. She stated, “As a descendent of people who were denied the right to read, to now have the opportunity to serve and lead the institution that is the national symbol of knowledge, is a historic moment.”
Hayden will be the third professional librarian to lead the Library of Congress. After being inaugurated House Speaker Paul Ryan stated, “She’s a pro. She knows what she’s doing.”
I am hopeful that this sparks more attention and the world soon realizes that individuals of color, nor women, are of any less value to this society than the next person. Hayden is an inspiration to anyone, combining her advocacy with her librarian career, and can now influence the largest knowledge-representing system in the world.