The 14th Librarian of Congress


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Carla Hayden discusses her decision to become a librarian and her plans as the new Librarian of Congress.

You are about to be sworn in as the 14th Librarian of Congress. How does that feel?

It’s such an honor to be nominated by the president and sworn in as the 14th Librarian of Congress. As a career librarian it’s really almost a dream come true. The confirmation process was really an eye-opener for me in so many ways, because I got to meet legislators that are committed to not only the nation’s history, but making information available. So many of the legislators were historians. There were a few that were actually musicians and that really had an interest in the Library of Congress. It was just a wonderful thing that made me very pleased that I was confirmed, and that I’ll have an opportunity to work with people who understand the importance of the Library of Congress.

When did you decide to become a librarian?

Librarianship really has been an adventure for me. To find out that there was a profession that was dedicated to making books, reading and knowledge available to people, that just seemed ideal. When I discovered that librarianship was a profession, I was coming out of undergraduate studies and thinking about what I was going to do next. I saw a colleague who had just graduated and they said, “They’re hiring people at the Chicago Public Library.” So I went and became a library associate. Within a week I was assigned to a small storefront library on the south side of Chicago, working with a young lady who was going to graduate school. She was on the floor, in jeans, having story time with children with autism. I thought, “Wait a minute. This is a different type of profession. You’re bringing things right to people.” I was hooked. Seeing what libraries could do in communities and how they could help people just opened my eyes.

(The following is a feature in the September/October 2016 issue of the Library of Congress Magazine, LCM.)Read more: