First Black Woman Elected To Lead Library Of Congress

carla hayden

U.S. Senate made history with a 74-18 vote confirming Carla Hayden for the top post at the largest library in the world…

An administrator so dedicated to bringing the library to its community that Carla Hayden kept everything open during last year’s unrest in Baltimore will become the first Black American and first female librarian of Congress.

“I look forward to working with the dedicated staff of the Library of Congress,” Hayden said in a statement released the day she was confirmed. “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 anyone.”

Hayden is so well-liked and respected by her peers that after President Obama nominated her to the post back in February, members of the American Library Association pushed for her confirmation with a social media campaign that included the hashtag #Hayden4LOC.

As chief executive officer of the Enoch Pratt Free Library system in Baltimore, Hayden drew praise last year when she kept Baltimore’s libraries open during the unrest that followed the death of Freddie Gray, a Black man who died while in police custody. Colleagues credit her with keeping the city’s libraries up-to-date and connected to Baltimore’s neighborhoods and people who rely on the libraries to access the Internet, hunt for jobs and get career advice, something that is much needed in Black and Latino communities.

“In Baltimore, that particular library that was at the epicenter has been a community opportunity center,” Hayden explained of her decision in an exclusive interview with USA Today. “And we knew that people would look to the library that next day to be open. We wanted to also show that we weren’t closing our doors when people needed us the most. And sure enough, 10 o’clock the next morning, people were there to get on those computers and to file job applications. Children were out of school and needed a place to go and then we became actually a distribution center for food and supplies because there was nothing else open in that community.”

Congratulations to Carla Hayden, a shining example of how one person can truly make a difference and have a positive impact on so many other people.

Iva Anthony

Senior Writer

Iva Anthony has worked as a freelance journalist and blogger for seven years. Before working in the blogosphere, Ms. Anthony was on the opposite side of the spectrum working at one of the top independent public relations agencies in the country. In addition to being an assistant editor at 4UMF.com, she is also the co-owner of her own urban clothing brand Peter & Lois.