The United States has taken a closer step to racial and gender equity after appointing Carla Hayden the first African-American and woman as Librarian of Congress.
It took generations before the Library of Congress saw its first female African-American chief librarian. This, amid the century-old battle on issues of racial and gender discrimination in society and government.
According to the official Facebook page of the Library of Congress, Hayden will be the 14th Librarian of Congress and the first African-American to hold the post since the library’s history.
The announcement was released late Wednesday. She will replace outgoing Congress Librarian James Billington, who has held the position for the past 28 years.
U.S. President Barack Obama nominated Hayden five months ago, and her appointment to the position was later confirmed by the Senate in a 74-18 vote. Before her appointment, she held a top position as CEO at the Baltimore’s Enoch Pratt Free Library,Politico reported.
Although the works of the Congress Librarian is unknown to many, the chief librarian holds a crucial role behind the scene. Some of the responsibilities and power of the Congress librarian affects ordinary Americans, especially with the limits of the copyright-protected devices that people use today.
“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,” Obama said when he nominated Hayden to the post last April, as quoted by the Politico.
A major contribution of Hayden is her opposition, along with the country’s librarians, to the USA PATRIOT Act in 2003, where it gives law-enforcing authorities “unprecedented powers of surveillance — including easy access to library records with minimal judicial oversight,” the report added.