Carla Hayden is the first woman in history to lead the Library of Congress. We crunched the numbers to see how she stacks up.
When Hayden was appointed the fourteenth Librarian of Congress last year, she became the first female and the first African-American to assume the post in the institution’s 200-plus year history.
As the former CEO of Baltimore’s Enoch Pratt Free Library and chief librarian of the Chicago Public Library, Hayden is the first actual librarian to hold the office since Lawrence Quincy Mumford’s retirement in 1974. (Her two immediate predecessors were both historians.)
The number of weeks between Hayden’s committee hearing and her Senate confirmation (by a vote of 74-18) on July 13. That’s legislative bureaucracy for you.
The percentage of librarians that are women has hardly changed since the late 1800s.
The Library of Congress spent a pretty penny (or should we say, nickel) to purchase Thomas Jefferson’s personal library of 6,487 books in 1815. The acquisition restarted the library’s holdings after British troops burned the Capitol Building—and the library inside with its core collection of 3,000 volumes—just six months earlier.
The number of items (books, photos, maps, manuscripts, etc.) in the nation’s library. Hayden has the monumental task of seeing that each is digitized, bringing the oldest federal collection into the 21st century. “The opportunity to make those items available online for everyone is daunting, but also exciting,” she told Jeffrey Brown at PBS. “It’s a pivotal time to think about what could be done with technology.”