Carla D. Hayden Confirmed as 14th Librarian of Congress by Wide Margin

In what is being widely celebrated as a historic decision, Carla D. Hayden was confirmed as the 14th Librarian of Congress July 13 by a Senate majority vote of 74–18. Hayden, currently CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library (EPFL) in Baltimore and LJ’s 1995 Librarian of the Year, will be the first woman and the first African American to lead the Library of Congress (LC). She will succeed former Librarian of Congress James Billington, who stepped down in September 2015 after 28 years. Hayden will serve at least one ten-year term, thanks to new term limit legislation passed last year.
Carla Hayden_LOCIn what is being widely celebrated as a historic decision, Carla D. Hayden was confirmed as the 14th Librarian of Congress July 13 by a Senate majority vote of 74–18. Hayden, currently CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library (EPFL) in Baltimore and LJ’s 1995 Librarian of the Year, will be the first woman and the first African American to lead the Library of Congress (LC). She will succeed former Librarian of Congress James Billington, who stepped down in September 2015 after 28 years. Hayden will serve at least one ten-year term, thanks to new term limit legislation passed last year. President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Hayden in February. At her testimony before the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration on April 20, Hayden received warm support from both sides of the aisle, as well as a letter of support signed by more than 140 library, publishing, educational, and academic organizations across the country, including every state library. At a brief hearing June 9, the Rules Committee voted unanimously that Hayden’s nomination be reported to the full Senate with the recommendation that it be approved. While Hayden’s confirmation hearing had been on the Senate Executive Calendar since then, there was some doubt as to whether the vote would take place before the Senate’s summer recess, which starts July 14 and extends through Labor Day.

RUMORS OF A HOLD

Although Hayden’s appointment seemed to have widespread approval, rumors of a possible derailment surfaced at the last minute. On July 12, Politico posted in its Morning Tech roundup that a Republican hold had been placed on Hayden’s nomination, according to an anonymous source in the Senate. A Washington Post article the day of the hearing, headlined “Nomination of Carla Hayden to Library of Congress is stuck in Senate,” had little more information, citing conservative criticism of her stance on the Patriot Act and library Internet filtering when she was president of the American Library Association (ALA) from 2003–04. In previous weeks some conservative and libertarian pundits had spoken out against the perceived “political correctness” of Hayden’s nomination, calling for the appointment of a scholar or “man of letters.” (Hayden holds a doctorate in library science from the University of Chicago and taught at the University of Pittsburgh.) However, hours after the Washington Post article appeared Hayden’s nomination was confirmed by a majority vote 18 minutes into the 30-minute session.  Yea votes were split between parties, with 29 Republican senators and 44 Democrats voting in the affirmative (as well as Maine independent Angus King). The 18 nay votes all came from the right, and eight senators, including independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont, did not vote. “The library community is elated that Dr. Hayden is our nation’s new Librarian of Congress,” said ALA President Julie Todaro in a statement. “She holds all of the professional competencies needed to successfully lead the nation’s library.”

ANTICIPATING HAYDEN AT THE HELM

Pratt’s statement upon her confirmation reflected her affection for the library where she has served for more than two decades. “This is truly a great honor to be nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to lead the nation’s library, the Library of Congress,” said Hayden. “It has been my privilege to serve the citizens of Baltimore for 23 years and help restore the Enoch Pratt Free Library as a world-renowned institution. I want to thank the Pratt Library’s Board of Directors and Trustees, donors, and most importantly, the patrons, for their trust and support. I look forward to working with the dedicated staff of the Library of Congress. I will be honored to build on the legacy and accomplishments of my predecessors in this position, to be part of a continuing movement to open the treasure chest that is the Library of Congress even further, and to make it a place that can be found and used by everyone.” “There is no doubt that Dr. Hayden will have a positive impact by leading efforts to establish a more modern approach to serving members of Congress, researchers and the public at large,” stated Todaro. “Hayden holds a profound understanding of the integral role libraries play in formal education, community-based learning, and the promotion of individual opportunity and community progress. I believe that through her visionary leadership the Library of Congress will soon mirror society’s rapidly changing information environment, while successfully preserving the cultural record of the United States.” “The Association of Research Libraries [ARL] is pleased that the Senate confirmed President Obama’s nomination of Carla Hayden to this vital post at a critical time,” said ARL president Larry Alford. “Now more than ever, the Librarian of Congress ensures the broad access to information that is essential to teaching, learning, and civic engagement.” Hayden has also served on the National Library and Museum Services Board, which advises the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), since 2010. "With the confirmation of Dr. Hayden, the Library of Congress has a proven leader who will build on the institution's rich heritage as a repository of national treasures," said IMLS director Kathryn K. Matthew. "During her 23 years as the head of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Dr. Hayden developed a reputation for finding new and innovative ways to engage communities and populations, including expanding electronic books before the technology grew to its mainstream status. She is a true visionary for the many ways that libraries can serve as catalysts for community engagement, and we have been honored to work with her as a member of the National Museum and Library Services Board. We look forward to continuing to work with her in her new role." Those who  supported Hayden through the process eagerly praised the Senate’s decision. Sen. Barbara Mikulski and Sen. Ben Cardin (both D-MD) wrote the White House in October 2015 to encourage President Obama to nominate Hayden, and the two issued statements of congratulations when the hearing was over. “For more than 20 years, Dr. Hayden has proven herself as the Director of the Enoch Pratt Libraries,” said Mikulski. “She is a skilled manager of large, complex projects, handling large budgets while avoiding techno-boondoggles and producing tangible results. From moving the Enoch Pratt into the digital age to managing rare collections, Dr. Hayden has shown she understands the transformative nature of what a library is. With Dr. Hayden at the helm, America’s library will have an extremely qualified leader." Senator Cardin added, "Dr. Hayden’s impressive career and diligent service to the people of Baltimore as CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library have prepared her well to serve as the guardian and curator of the world’s greatest library. Dr. Hayden has been a cultural treasure to our city and a long-time, passionate defender of America’s libraries, ensuring access for all through her work to protect the free flow of information, civil rights and privacy protections.”

BITTERSWEET FOR BALTIMORE

The EPFL Board of Directors and Trustees will start a nationwide search for a permanent CEO, promising a seamless transition that will not affect library services, programs or projects. “We are grateful to Dr. Carla Hayden for the remarkable creativity, energy, and dedication she has brought to the Pratt Library over the past 23 years. With her amazing talent and the wonderful staff she assembled, Dr. Hayden revitalized the library’s programs, services, and resources,” said Patricia Lasher, chair of the EPFL Board of Directors and Trustees. “Respecting Enoch Pratt’s mission to provide equal access to traditional library resources to all citizens, she has successfully led efforts to modernize the Pratt Library so all city citizens have access to the advantages of the digital world. Baltimore, along with the State of Maryland, has benefited from Dr. Hayden’s extraordinary vision, and now the rest of the country will too. We are proud of her.” Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake added, "Dr. Carla Hayden is an American treasure; her foresight, institutional knowledge, and compassion for communities is what distinguishes the leadership that she will demonstrate as Librarian of Congress. The citizens of Baltimore couldn’t be more proud of her and the confirmation of her appointment." Senator Cardin took note of occasion’s bittersweet meaning for EPFL: “In the case of Dr. Hayden’s historic confirmation, Baltimore’s loss is America’s gain." The CSPAN video of the nomination hearing can be viewed below:
Comments

Ian Thornton

what democratic values have the Senators broken? Are you suggesting a Senator cannot vote for another person just because you deem that person worthy? isn't democracy about citizens expressing their views and voting how they see fit? Do not get me wrong I have never heard of the lady and from what I have read she seems very suitable for the job. But if you are going to orchestrate a campaign against a parliamentarian shouldn't it be on a more important issue like employment, state/national growth, education etc. We in Australia like the US have a bicameral legislator and we get some strange characters in the Senate due to the quota system of election but I could not image myself suggesting ditching Senators because the by did not support my choice for the parliamentary Librarian. To be fair the Parliament does choose the Librarian this would be a Committee appointment. is not this standard in the US for any appointment whether it be a Justice of the Supreme Court, Secretary of State, or UN diplomat. All of these appointments seem to always cause controversy with often strong debate and compromise. How is this different? To attack on such a small issue threatens the very democratic ideals which you hold so dear. Thanks for the discussion truly awesome. Ian Thornton Xavier College Library Kew Melbourne Australia Head of Library Services Acting

Posted : Aug 08, 2016 04:36


Charles Chamberlin

18 senators voted "no". Hard to believe, and sad for our country. I encourage librarians in the states who had senators who voted no to question these senators as to why they opposed Dr. Hayden. There were NO valid reasons, from my perspective, to oppose such a qualified and dedicated nominee. I'd like to hear those answers. But what I'd really like to hear is that these senators are voted out of office as soon as their terms are up for election. Cassidy (R-LA) Coats (R-IN) Cotton (R-AR) Crapo (R-ID) Cruz (R-TX) Daines (R-MT) Ernst (R-IA) Heller (R-NV) Isakson (R-GA) Kirk (R-IL) Lee (R-UT) McCain (R-AZ) Perdue (R-GA) Risch (R-ID) Rubio (R-FL) Sasse (R-NE) Scott (R-SC) Vitter (R-LA)

Posted : Jul 20, 2016 01:45

ian thorntron

Charles, Living in Australia it makes no difference to me who is Librarian of Congress and my guess probably not to many Americans I think it harsh for you to recommend voting out 18 Senators who objected, she won the nomination so why the animosity. Senators have a right to vote as they see fit, it is a small issue to vote a person out of office.

Posted : Jul 20, 2016 01:45

me

"Senators have a right to vote as they see fit, it is a small issue to vote a person out of office." We also have the right to vote how we see fit. That's how a representative democracy works. If the Congressperson doesn't vote based on our values we vote for someone else.

Posted : Jul 20, 2016 01:45


Suzanne Mundy

Congratulations to Dr. Carla Hayden!!! You make fellow librarians proud.

Posted : Jul 14, 2016 07:46


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