Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Dr. Carla Hayden Becomes America’s 1st African American and Female Librarian of Congress

Dr. Carla Hayden
Dr. Carla Hayden

*Dr. Carla Hayden made history on multiple fronts today with her Senate confirmation as the nation’s 14th Librarian of Congress.

The longtime leader of Baltimore’s library system has the distinction of being the first female and the first African American to lead the country’s de facto national library. She’s also the first professional librarian to be confirmed in more than 60 years.

Hayden, the CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library since 1993, was nominated by President Obama in February, and was approved by the Senate on a 74 to 18 vote.

“She moved the Enoch Pratt into the digital age,” Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski told The Baltimore Sun. “She not only brought the library into the modern age, she avoided technical boondoggles. She’s a transformational leader.”

Watch a White House video on Dr. Hayden below:

Per The Baltimore Sun:

Hayden’s nomination initially was uncontroversial. Both Republicans and Democrats applauded her appointment, she sailed through her confirmation hearing in April and was unanimously approved in committee last month.

But the Heritage Foundation and other conservative groups voiced late concern about Hayden’s opposition to the Children’s Internet Protection Act, a 2000 law that requires libraries to use filters to block access to pornography. Hayden opposed the law, arguing that filtering technology available at the time could inadvertently block access to legitimate material.

The issue came up briefly at her confirmation hearing. Hayden told lawmakers that she believed online pornography had no place at a library.

Others criticized the White House for naming a librarian to the post rather than a scholar and suggested the Obama administration overemphasized Hayden’s race.

“The post of librarian of Congress is of vital importance to the nation’s cultural and intellectual life. Whether someone is black, white, or any color in-between, or whether they are a woman or a man should not be a consideration at all in determining who is the best scholar to fill this post,” Hans von Spakovsky of Heritage wrote earlier this year.

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