By Julie Randles, February 3, 2022
Carla Hayden is an anomaly.
She’s not only the first woman and African-American to hold the Librarian of Congress position – she’s actually a librarian, too. That makes her the second in a string of 14 historians, lawyers, even a poet who have held this post by presidential appointment.
Hayden’s personal love of books goes back to the days when she had to sacrifice buying a hamburger to pay her late fines when she forgot to return Marguerite de Angeli’s Bright April to her local library branch in Queens, New York. These days, her focus isn’t on giving up as much as giving back as she oversees the Congressional Library, with its wealth of knowledge and treasures that include Wonder Woman comics, Lincoln’s Bible and the original lyrics to “Do-Re-Mi” from “The Sound of Music.”
Her role is to assist Congress in locating its research targets among the 164 million items and hundreds of miles of bookshelves, and overseeing the U.S. Copyright Office. The latter means that Hayden is the person who, through 2026, will determine whether particular works are subject to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act for technological access protection.