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Contact: Larra Clark
ALA Press Officer



For Immediate Release
December 8, 2003

ALA President Carla Hayden named one of 10 Ms. Women of the Year honorees

     (WASHINGTON, D.C.) American Library Association (ALA) President Carla Hayden, Ph.D., was honored today as one of the 2003 Ms. Women of the Year at the National Press Club.

     "I am very pleased to be in the company of such accomplished women," Hayden said. "What each has done is empower change - something librarians do in communities nationwide every day.  Libraries are part of the American Dream - leveling the playing field in the information age. I am proud to accept this honor on behalf of all the library workers who defend Americans' freedom to read freely without government interference."

     Hayden drew nationwide attention by voicing the ALA's opposition to sections of the USA PATRIOT Act.  In September, Hayden responded forcefully to remarks by Attorney General John Ashcroft calling librarians and other PATRIOT Act opponents "hysteric." As a result, Ashcroft telephoned Hayden and committed to declassify the Justice Department report on Section 215.  The ALA and others had requested the release of this information for more than two years. 

     The ALA supports legislation that would amend the USA PATRIOT Act to protect civil liberties and the privacy of reading records while ensuring law enforcement has the appropriate tools necessary to safeguard the security of our country. The association also has called for meaningful Congressional oversight and accountability to the public for the implementation of these expanded authorities.

     "Legislators and the general public can be assured that traditional legal protections extended to library records are not an obstacle to ensuring national security," Hayden said. "We hope Congress will reject any additional measures - such as H.R. 3037 - that might abridge the rights and protections afforded by our Constitution."

     Hayden also has been an outspoken advocate for sustained library funding and equity of access for all library users.  This year, she celebrates 10 years leading the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore. 

     The Ms. Women of the Year Award began in 1982 as a response to Time magazine's Man of the Year, which was changed to "Person of the Year" in 1999.  Honorees are proposed by Ms. magazine readers and editorial staff.  Other women honored this year are: Dr. Sima Samar, Martha Burk, Salma Hayek, Joan Blades, Loune Viaud, Pamela Thomas Graham, Niki Caro, Eileen Fisher and Jessica Neuwirth.

     For more information about the ALA, please visit  The ALA is the oldest, largest and most influential library association in the world with 65,000 members, who include primarily librarians and library workers, but also trustees, publishers and other library supporters.