The Quotable Librarian of Congress

For another post in the “Quotable Librarian” series — and to help celebrate our Independence Day today — I thought it would be appropriate to highlight inspirational quotes from our very own Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden.

Carla Hayden is our current and 14th Librarian of Congress, becoming the first woman and the first African American to lead our national library. She received her master’s and doctorate degrees in Library Science from the University of Chicago Graduate Library School, and she worked as a children’s and public librarian.

Introduction to Carla Hayden:

Here’s a short (2 minute) video introduction of Carla Hayden, in which she describes her journey from nomination, confirmation and inauguration as 14th Librarian of Congress. (Click on the screenshot below to watch the video in a new window.)

Screenshot of "Introducing Carla Hayden (Video)," Library of Congress, 2016

Click screenshot to watch “Introducing Carla Hayden (Video),” Library of Congress, 2016

Quotes from Carla Hayden:


Librarians were called during that time [during the Patriot Act] feisty fighters for freedom, and we were very proud of that label.

interview with Jeffrey Brown, PBS, 2016


Public service has been such a motivating factor for me, in my life and my career. When I received the call from the White House about this opportunity, and was asked, “Will you serve?” Without hesitation I said “yes.”

~ remarks from her swearing-in ceremony as Librarian of Congress, Sept. 2016


As the first woman, and the first African-American, in this post, I am truly grateful and humbled. It is especially moving because AfricanAmericans were once punished with lashes and worse for learning to read. As a descendent of people who were denied the right to read, to now have the opportunity to serve and lead the institution that is our national symbol of knowledge, is a historic moment. As Fredrick Douglass” said, “Once you learn to read you will be forever free.” And now everyone has the opportunity to be empowered by literacy.

~ remarks from her commencement address at Rutgers University-Camden, May 2017


Librarians have been pounding on this issue [fake news and information literacy] in a different way for a while — that just having computer literacy is great, but as information professionals, we’re always looking at what’s the most authoritative source for the information and teaching information literacy. It’s great to have all this stuff, but you need to teach how to use the library in schools. They need to be teaching information literacy as soon as the kid can push a button.

~ interview with the New York Times Magazine, Jan. 2017


You can also follow Carla Hayden on Twitter, and click here for more statements and multimedia from our 14th Librarian of Congress.

And if you are in the mood for even more, please revisit my previous “Librarians of Congress” post! I do a deep dive into the history of the Library of Congress, how the Librarian of Congress position came about, as well as the major accomplishments of each Librarian of Congress.

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