President Obama nominates Dr. Carla Hayden, director of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore since 1993, as the new Librarian of Congress, as announced in a White House press release today.
News stories report that if she is confirmed by Congress, she will be the first African-American and the first woman in that position. None so far note that she will be only the second professional librarian appointed to that post (after Lawrence Quincy Mumford, who served from 1954–1974, once the director of the Cleveland Public Library as well as President of the ALA, a position Hayden also held). CORRECTION: Two librarians have held the post. Herbert Putnam, who held the post the longest, 1899 to 1930, was head of the Minneapolis Public Library as well as Librarian of the Boston Public Library. He did not, however, have a library degree.
In a statement on Facebook, President Obama attests to the role Pratt plays in the community,”Last year, during the unrest in Baltimore, Dr. Hayden kept the doors of the Pratt open as a beacon for the community,”
He adds that she will bring an important skill to LC, “Her understanding of the pivotal role that emerging technologies play in libraries will be essential in leading the Library of Congress as it continues to modernize its infrastructure and promote open access and full participation in today’s digital world.”
The White House announcement also includes a video introduction to the nominee.