The Librarian of Congress

This guest post was written by Jennifer Manning, a Senior Research Librarian at the Congressional Research Service who has been very active on the planning committee for the IFLAPRE conferences. Thanks for sharing your research into this topic, Jennifer!

You will be visiting the Library of Congress during a rare period of leadership transition. Since the establishment of the Library in 1800, there have only been THIRTEEN Librarians of Congress. The Librarian of Congress is nominated by the President, then confirmed by the Senate. Until this year, the position was a lifetime appointment. However, a new law makes the Librarian job a 10-year term (although renewable).

The 13th Librarian of Congress retired in September 2015 after 27 years of service. Since then, we have been led by Acting Librarian of Congress David S. Mao.

“About the Librarian,” Library of Congress website, at

David began his career at the Library in the Congressional Research Service, and also served as Law Librarian of Congress.

On July 13, the Senate confirmed President Obama’s nomination of Dr. Carla Hayden to serve as the 14th Librarian of Congress.

“Press Kit for Carla Hayden 14th Librarian of Congress,” Library of Congress website, at

Dr. Hayden heads the library system in nearby Baltimore, Maryland, and is a past president of the American Library Association. She will be the first woman and the first African-American to serve as Librarian of Congress. She is also the second professionally trained librarian to serve.

Dr. Hayden will be sworn into office at a date to be determined.

The 13th Librarian of Congress was sworn in in 1987 in the Great Hall of the Library, by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. President Reagan made a short speech and many Members of Congress were in attendance.

“Billington Swearing In Ceremony,” Library of Congress website, at

The 12th Librarian of Congress was sworn in in 1975, also in the Great Hall, by the Speaker of the House.

President Ford spoke, and again, many Members of Congress attended.

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