One of President Obama’s final appointments was the new Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden. The first person of color and the first woman to lead the Library of Congress, she is also the first actual librarian to lead it since 1974. Dr. James Billington was her predecessor, and though he was beloved for his intellect, he was a distinguished Russia scholar appointed by Ronald Reagan that was not so loved for his mismanagement. This very interesting information came to us from The New Yorker in their article, “The Librarian of Congress and The Greatness of Humility.”

The Library of Congress has three massive main buildings, a staff of some thirty-two hundred, and a collection of more than a hundred and sixty million items. It runs the Congressional Research Service and the U.S. Copyright Office, and special archives like the American Folklife Center.

The library was started in Congress itself in 1800, restarted with Thomas Jefferson’s own books after the British burned the Capitol in 1812, and has expanded ever since.

Melody K. Smith

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