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posted by martyb on Friday February 26 2016, @01:42PM   Printer-friendly
from the how-many-LOC-does-the-LOC-manage-in-the-LOC? dept.

President Obama has nominated a new Librarian of Congress:

President Obama has nominated Carla D. Hayden as the next librarian of Congress. If confirmed, she would be the first woman and first African-American ever to lead the world's largest library. Hayden is currently CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore.

In a White House statement, Obama says he and the first lady have known Hayden since she was at the Chicago Public Library, where she was deputy commissioner and chief librarian from 1991-1993. "Dr. Hayden has devoted her career to modernizing libraries so that everyone can participate in today's digital culture," Obama says. "She has the proven experience, dedication, and deep knowledge of our nation's libraries to serve our country well and that's why I look forward to working with her in the months ahead. If confirmed, Dr. Hayden would be the first woman and the first African American to hold the position — both of which are long overdue."

In a video on the White House website, Hayden talks about keeping the Enoch Pratt Library open during the recent unrest in Baltimore. "It was very evident that people needed, not only information, but a safe place and a trusted place to go," Hayden says. "We became a site for people to actually get food, to get supplies. We opened up our meeting room. It became that community meeting place. People were so relieved to have a safe place to be."

Hayden would replace James H. Billington, who served as the nation's librarian for 28 years. During his tenure, the Government Accountability Office issued a report criticizing library leadership for numerous IT infrastructure problems.

Previously:
What Do We Want From the Next Librarian of Congress?
Why Silicon Valley Cares So Much About Who Will Lead the Library of Congress


Original Submission

Related Stories

What Do We Want From the Next Librarian of Congress? 25 comments

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is agitating for a new Librarian of Congress that will loosen restrictions on fair use and appreciate how content use has evolved in the digital age. The current Librarian, Dr. James Billington, has been criticized by EFF and others for failure to modernize the institution, being slow to grant exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), and reportedly communicating with staff by fax. Now that Billington is retiring, the EFF hopes that a fresh face will speed up digitization of LoC public domain works, do a better job of overseeing the Copyright Office, and improve access to the Congressional Research Service.

Jessamyn West, the librarian whose Librarian of PROgress campaign has become a focal point for this discussion, has been a leading voice on what we can hope for in, to use her term, the #nextLoC. In a post last week, she laid out a wishlist of what she and other members of the library community would like to see.

As she notes, these priorities could certainly match those of somebody who already works in a library—perhaps unsurprisingly, the American Library Association too has advocated that President Obama nominate a professional librarian for the position. But they could also come from somebody who is simply passionate about users rights. Free speech, privacy, and intellectual freedom are core values of both EFF and librarians everywhere, and we can always use another well-placed advocate. We urge the president to choose one.

The Atlantic also has a discussion about the next Librarian of Congress:

"A lot of people are very happy that Billington finally stepped down, so we can get some better technology infrastructure for both the Copyright Office and the Library," said Samuelson. The previous Librarian of Congress did not hire a permanent chief information officer—despite being exhorted to do so by the Government Accountability Office—and has instead churned through five IT chiefs in the last three years alone.

A new Librarian could also shape copyright policy, Band said, just by communicating to libraries that they should take advantage of recent changes to fair use. The 2012 HathiTrust decision, for instance, found that searching ebooks and making them accessible to the disabled is covered by fair use. The Copyright Office "is very troubled by the evolution of fair use," Band told me. "A different Librarian who is more involved with these issues should say, 'No, libraries can take more advantage of fair use than the Copyright Office feels.'"


Original Submission

Why Silicon Valley Cares So Much About Who Will Lead the Library of Congress 10 comments

Separately, a wide-ranging group of librarians, technology companies, and policymakers have also raised questions about the library's stewardship of the US Copyright Office – which currently stores most of its valuable records in rows of paper volumes.
...
The debate over the Library's relationship with technology has long been viewed as fraught. In the 1990s, the Library was seen as an early adopter of the Internet, bringing troves of Congressional records online in 1995 with the service Thomas.gov.

But since then, questions about the library's own technological struggles – including reports that it did not know how many computers it owned, lacked a dedicated person in charge of technology and did not have full control over the Copyright Office it was tasked with overseeing – have fueled questions about Billington's leadership. Unlike almost every high-level government position except the Supreme Court, the Librarian of Congress is a lifetime appointment, leading some critics to suggest that Billington, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, has possibly overstayed his welcome.

"It used to be the king of all libraries," Suzanne Thorin, dean emerita of Syracuse University and Billington's former chief of staff, told The Washington Post in March, following the release of two scathing reports by the Government Accountability Office pointing to the library's lack of management over its own IT infrastructure. "Maybe it's benign neglect, but I don't see it at the center anymore."

Previously: What Do We Want From the Next Librarian of Congress?


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26 2016, @01:52PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26 2016, @01:52PM (#310133)

    In a video on the White House website, Hayden talks about keeping the Enoch Pratt Library open during the recent unrest in Baltimore. "It was very evident that people needed, not only information, but a safe place and a trusted place to go," Hayden says. "We became a site for people to actually get food, to get supplies. We opened up our meeting room. It became that community meeting place. People were so relieved to have a safe place to be

    This reminds me of that scene from die hard 3? where they run out of police and firemen so the chief says to call in the librarians to search for the bomb. I didn't think that was realistic but haven't been to a public library in awhile. Are they secure compounds with armed librarians and siege preperations now?

    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Friday February 26 2016, @02:03PM

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 26 2016, @02:03PM (#310140) Journal

      Are they secure compounds with armed librarians and siege preperations now?

      Now, now... you wouldn’t shoot a book, would you?

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0 https://soylentnews.org/~MichaelDavidCrawford
      • (Score: 2) by Gravis on Friday February 26 2016, @02:57PM

        by Gravis (4596) on Friday February 26 2016, @02:57PM (#310167)

        Now, now... you wouldn’t shoot a book, would you?

        i would if it were written by some tiny-handed nut job running for president.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by Thexalon on Friday February 26 2016, @02:31PM

      by Thexalon (636) on Friday February 26 2016, @02:31PM (#310157)

      Are they secure compounds with armed librarians and siege preperations now?

      Well, there's always the one managed by Conan the Librarian [youtube.com]!

      --
      The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
      • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26 2016, @03:18PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26 2016, @03:18PM (#310176)

        That is a perfect example of government mission creep. If it weren't for the turf wars with other agencies, public libraries would already be collecting taxes and running prisons.

    • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Friday February 26 2016, @03:25PM

      by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 26 2016, @03:25PM (#310180) Homepage Journal

      This reminds me of the anime Library Wars, where a fully-armed library is holding off the censors.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26 2016, @03:29PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26 2016, @03:29PM (#310185)

        That reminds me of Ben-To.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26 2016, @07:03PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26 2016, @07:03PM (#310293)

          Now I'm hungry.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by darkfeline on Friday February 26 2016, @03:59PM

      by darkfeline (1030) on Friday February 26 2016, @03:59PM (#310204) Homepage

      Anyone who has been to a library knows that you don't mess with a librarian. At best you get off with an extended tongue-lashing.

      --
      Join the SDF Public Access UNIX System today!
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 27 2016, @05:30AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 27 2016, @05:30AM (#310525)

        That would be the best! The closest I've come to having sex in the library was when I was in the stacks, and a man walked up to the other side of the bookshelves with his penis hanging out of his shorts. I just assumed it was a wardrobe malfunction.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26 2016, @02:27PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26 2016, @02:27PM (#310153)

    Anyone have more information on problems with LOC?

    A book I was involved with was cataloged incorrectly by LOC. I heard that most (all?) large booksellers base their catalog on LOC, which meant the error propagated to Amazon and others. An email to a Library of Congress librarian resulted in a database repair within about two weeks. I thought that was pretty good for government work.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26 2016, @05:02PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26 2016, @05:02PM (#310230)

      Thanks mods for the +2! But I guess no one is interested in this topic, just some jokes and snide remarks.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26 2016, @05:47PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26 2016, @05:47PM (#310260)

      I doubt many people here know anything about the actual library functions of the LoC versus policy stuff like DMCA exceptions and the joke about units of measure. For example when you say that booksellers use LOC, it is more than that, *everybody* uses LoC to catalogue books, dewey decimal is literally just for kids. I'm not surprised they fixed that error quickly, LoC classification is just too important to too many people to half-ass and there is basically no political component to it either.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by frojack on Friday February 26 2016, @07:38PM

      by frojack (1554) on Friday February 26 2016, @07:38PM (#310309) Journal

      The concern I have is the Librarian of Congress has been given real power to allow or prevent common sense removal of DRM from ebooks, movies, books, etc copy your media for backup, time-shift, platform-shift, etc.

      I have real issues with putting this authority into the hands of the Librarian, but given that it IS there, the Librarian suddenly becomes a political office.
      And I also have problems with letting the Executive Branch mominate a librarian of the Legislative branch's library, but that's just me.

      http://www.copyright.gov/1201/2010/Librarian-of-Congress-1201-Statement.html [copyright.gov]
      https://www.loc.gov/about/ [loc.gov]

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26 2016, @08:24PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26 2016, @08:24PM (#310330)

        I also have problems with letting the Executive Branch mominate a librarian of the Legislative branch's library

        Impregnate?

      • (Score: 2) by Joe Desertrat on Saturday February 27 2016, @01:47AM

        by Joe Desertrat (2454) on Saturday February 27 2016, @01:47AM (#310450)

        I was going to make a joke about conservatives immediately vowing to oppose the appointment, but they beat me to it.

  • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26 2016, @06:05PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26 2016, @06:05PM (#310267)

    Obama should leave this appointment to the next President. He should leave every appointment to the next President. In fact, he should stop doing anything at all. Now's not the time for deciding or doing things. Ditto for the next guy/gal.

    • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Friday February 26 2016, @06:58PM

      by DeathMonkey (1380) on Friday February 26 2016, @06:58PM (#310289) Journal

      Yes, but that would require completely ignoring the constitution and the will of the electorate. Something our elected representative would never do, surely!

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by takyon on Friday February 26 2016, @08:10PM

      by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Friday February 26 2016, @08:10PM (#310326) Journal

      If a Democratic President wins and the Democrats gain seats in the Senate, Republicans will wish that they had allowed a moderate Obama Supreme Court nominee a fair hearing.

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26 2016, @09:51PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26 2016, @09:51PM (#310348)

        I can see a scenario where (lame duck with nothing to lose) Obama gets totally fed up with the obstructionists and fills every judicial vacancy with a recess appointment before January 20 as provided by the Constitution.
        ...with all of them being more anti-Authoritarian than what the Republican-majority Senate would approve.

        -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 27 2016, @12:56AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 27 2016, @12:56AM (#310423)

      "I think it's up to Mitch McConnell and everybody else to stop it. It's called delay, delay, delay." --Donald J. Trump [youtube.com]

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 27 2016, @12:46PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 27 2016, @12:46PM (#310604)

        Typical government incompetence. Let's call it 50-50. Everyone's to blame, socialized losses.