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14th Librarian of Congress Makes History

On September 14th, the 14th Librarian of Congress was sworn in. Congress established the Library in 1800 with a bill passed by John Adams. Until recently, there was no time limit on the term for Librarian. The U.S. had had only 13, because most served until death or retirement.

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The Librarian of Congress now serves a term of ten years. Some of the duties entitled to the Librarian are appointing the U.S. Poet Laureate and awarding the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. According to Mental Floss, “The Librarian is in charge of overseeing the Library of Congress, managing congressional relations, appointing staff…supervising administrative work related to budgetary concerns, legal services, communications, and events…[and] The Librarian also oversees the Copyright Office.

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Carla Hayden was just appointed the 14th Librarian of Congress. She is both the first woman and first African-American Librarian of Congress. Hayden was the CEO of Baltimore’s library system.

In an interview with the New York Times, Hayden said

“To be the head of an institution that’s associated with knowledge and reading and scholarship when slaves were forbidden to learn how to read on punishment of losing limbs, that’s kind of something.’’ 

And she’s right. To be a black woman, in this country, in charge of the largest library in the world is an amazing achievment and a great historical turning point. With her hand on Abraham Lincoln’s Bible, Hayden was sworn in. 

Hayden’s family and friends – Courtesy of The New York Times

 

You can watch the full swearing in ceremony below.

 

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