The New Yorker: Carla Hayden Takes Charge of the World’s Largest Library

From The New Yorker: Carla Hayden Takes Charge of the World’s Largest Library. “The Library of Congress, which was founded in 1800 to serve the research needs of lawmakers, is home to a hundred and sixty-two million items and hundreds of miles of bookshelves. In 1870, a new copyright law made it a national depository, and it soon became a key resource for scholars and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. But despite the name, few Librarians of Congress have been professional librarians—past Presidents tended to select lawyers, historians, and writers. Franklin D. Roosevelt was once counselled by Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter that ‘only a scholarly man of letters can make a national library a general place of habitation for scholars.’ (Roosevelt appointed a poet, Archibald MacLeish.) Hayden, who holds a doctorate in library science, wants the Library to do more than support legislators and scholars. “We want to grow more scholars,” she said.”

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