Enoch Pratt’s Carla Hayden is Officially the Librarian of Congress

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Carla Hayden
Carla Hayden

There were a few Senators against her, but it’s now official: Carla Hayden is leaving the top job at Enoch Pratt Free Library to head up the Library of Congress.

With a 74-18 vote, the U.S. Senate officially confirmed Hayden to a 10-year term on the job. She becomes the first African American and the first woman to head up the national library.

There was much celebrating:

“The citizens of Baltimore couldn’t be more proud of her and the confirmation of her appointment. Though we will certainly miss her presence, we know that in her new capacity, she will continue to support our city and drive the type of impact that transformed our Enoch Pratt Library System into a world-class center of innovation,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

President Barack Obama nominated Hayden in February, pointing to her leadership of Enoch Pratt Free Library since 1993, and her efforts to keep the Baltimore libraries up and running during last year’s unrest. With her role in ushering in a major renovation of the Central Library here, Obama pointed to Hayden’s embrace of technology. Hayden is the 14th Librarian of Congress in 214 years.

“I will be honored 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,” Pratt said in a statement.

Her confirmation hearings appeared to go smoothly, but as recently as yesterday The Washington Post reported that the confirmation was stuck in the Senate. It appears conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation were behind the hold-up. They questioned her qualifications as a scholar, and said she opposed mandatory pornography filters in libraries that receive federal funding.

“Senate Republicans have no excuse for giving President Obama, during the last 6 months of his lame duck year, the ability to insert his liberal agenda into the storehouse of our nation’s knowledge for the next 10 years,” an alert from Heritage Action for America said.

But not all of the GOP fell in line. Hayden’s nomination went to a vote thanks to Sen. Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican.



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