Is a New Librarian of Congress in the Works?

Historians in the News

Could veteran Librarian of Congress James Billington, a historian who has served nearly 22 years and recently turned 80, be headed toward retirement?

And could the administration of President Barack Obama make a significant change, appointing a public librarian like Carla Hayden, director of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, who also would become the first woman and African-American in the job?

Rumors denied
Right now the changes are the stuff of rumors. Library Journal heard about the possibility of a Hayden appointment from one national library leader and also was told Billington, an expert on Russia, might be offered a position as cultural envoy to Russia...

...However, Enoch Pratt spokesman Roswell Encina told LJ there was no truth to the rumor and said Hayden would not be available for comment. Encina said LJ should help squelch the rumor.

Checking with ALA
Emily Sheketoff, executive director of the American Library Association’s (ALA) Washington Office, said that she had not heard anything from LC about Billington retiring, but said it was a topic of periodic discussion in the library community, notably when there have been changes in presidential administrations.

Nor has Sheketoff heard anything about a potential Hayden appointment, though she observed that Hayden could be on an Obama short list, if there is one, given her ties to Chicago.

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