The United States Senate has confirmed that Dr. Carla D. Hayden as the 14th Librarian of Congress for a renewable ten-year term.
Hayden, formerly chief executive of the Enoch Pratt Free Library system in Baltimore and a former president of the American Library Association, was confirmed by an overwhelming 74-18 vote. She was nominated by President Barack Obama in February.
"This is truly a great honour to be nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to lead the nation’s library, the Library of Congress," Hayden said. "I will be honoured 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 everyone.”
Hayden becomes the first woman, and the first African American, to serve as chief executive of the Library of Congress, the largest library in the world, which also oversees the US Copyright Office and the Congressional Research Service. She takes over the job rom Acting Librarian David S. Mao, who has served since the retirement of Dr. James H. Billington on September 30, 2015. She will be sworn in at a date to be determined and is expected to assume her duties soon, according to a statement by the Library of Congress.
Among her priorities will be the modernisation of the US Copyright Office IT system and trying to define the role of the USCO with the Library. There have been calls from stakeholders, including from the current Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante, to move the Office outside of the realm of the Library and establish it as an stand-alone government agency.
Keith Kupferschmid, CEO of cross-industry lobbying group the Copyright Alliance, said that because the US Copyright Office resides within the Library of Congress, Hayden's role "is of paramount importance to our organisation, and to many other users of the Copyright Office services.
"We have a deep respect for Dr. Hayden’s long and distinguished record as a librarian and a leader in the library community. Before her lies a tremendous opportunity and challenge to redefine what our national library can and should be for the 21st century. We in the copyright community look forward to working with Dr. Hayden and hope that she continues the deference that the Librarian of Congress has historically demonstrated to the Register of Copyrights; and demonstrates a continued and deep respect for the value of copyright and creativity that was evidenced during her confirmation hearing.”