Dr. Carla Hayden
Librarian of Congress
Library of Congress
Dr. Carla Hayden is making it possible for more people to experience the Library of Congress, sharing the library’s treasures and resources with the American people both online and in Washington, D.C.
In 2016, Hayden made history when she was appointed as the first woman, and the first African American, to lead the largest library in the world.
“It is especially moving because African Americans were once punished with lashes and worse for learning to read,” Hayden said. “As a descendant of people who were denied the right to read, to now have the opportunity to serve and lead the institution that is our national symbol of knowledge, is a historic moment.”
In the two years since assuming her post, Hayden has led the institution implement a new strategic plan and digital strategy aimed at connecting more people with the collection. For instance, in a recent tweet Hayden shared a handwritten note by Rosa Parks describing how she felt at the moment of her protest.
Hayden served as CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore before becoming Librarian of Congress. In particular, Hayden increased outreach serves at the Pratt Library, including an after-school center for Baltimore teens offering homework assistance and college and career counseling.
She is a former deputy commissioner and chief librarian of the Chicago Public Library, where she also began her career as a children’s librarian. She was also an assistant professor for library information science at the University of Pittsburgh.
Hayden earned her bachelor’s from Roosevelt University and a master’s and Ph.D. from the Graduate Library School of the University of Chicago. She still lives in Baltimore, as does her mother.
“I encourage everyone to visit the Library of Congress, whether in person or online, and be truly inspired by the collection and to make their own history,” she said. “Baltimore is still my home, and I know the power and impact of libraries to this great city.”
On being the first woman and African American to lead the Library of Congress:
“It is especially moving because African Americans were once punished with lashes and worse for learning to read. As a descendent of people who were denied the right to read, to now have the opportunity to serve and lead the institution that is our national symbol of knowledge, is a historic moment.”