Dr. Carla Hayden Receives the Ken Haycock Award for Promoting Librarianship

For Immediate Release
Thu, 05/04/2023


Cheryl Malden

Program Officer


American Library Association



Dr. Carla Hayden, the 14th person, first woman, and the first Black to hold the position of Librarian of Congress, is the 2023 recipient of the American Library Association (ALA) Ken Haycock Award for Promoting Librarianship.

The award is given to someone for “contributing significantly to the public recognition and appreciation of librarianship.”  Throughout the varied stages of her career, Dr. Hayden has exemplified those criteria. Prior to being named Librarian of Congress in 2016 by President Obama, she served since 1993 as CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland, where she received Library Journal’s “Librarian of the Year” award in recognition of her outreach services. Prior to that, she was deputy commissioner and chief librarian of the Chicago Public Library from 1991 to 1993, where she began her career as young adult services coordinator and a library associate and children’s librarian from 1973 to 1979. She was an assistant professor for Library and Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh from 1987 to 1991.

Dr. Hayden served a term as president of the American Library Association from 2003 to 2004. Another former ALA President cited Hayden’s work dealing with issues surrounding the USA Patriot Act, calling her a “textbook case of powerful leadership, the voice of ALA, as librarians listened as did the general public and policymakers.” In that same year, MS Magazine named her their “2003 Woman of the Year.”

In addition to her duties as Librarian of Congress, Hayden provides administrative oversight for the U.S. Copyright Office, supporting and implementing national intellectual property policy, “with vision, expertise and a strong commitment to education and scholarship,” according to a colleague.

Among her many other responsibilities, she is co-chair of the annual National Book Festival and makes annual selections for inclusion in the National Film Registry, after consultation with a panel of experts. About that project, Hayden has said “Films have become absolutely central to American culture by helping tell our national story for more than 125 years.” The Librarian of Congress also selects the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature to a two-year term, based on recommendations by professionals in children’s publishing. “I look forward to the ways the Ambassador will invite young people—especially Spanish and bilingual speakers—to share their favorite books and stories,” Hayden said when inaugurating the most recent ambassador.

Dr. Hayden advocates for the Library of Congress in Congress, testifying for the budget and stressing to members of Congress the value and importance of the library.

In a more public way, she maintains a Twitter account which highlights collections, documents, exhibits and other activities and encourages their use by the public, in person and virtually. To that same end, she is frequently interviewed in various media.

The Ken Haycock Award for Promoting Librarianship jury members are Chair Susan S. DiMattia, consultant, Stamford, CT; J. Drusilla Carter, director, Pearle L. Crawford Memorial Library, Dudley, MA; Janice L. Flug, retired librarian, Silver Spring, MD; Anna Mary Williford, reference and instruction librarian, University of Montevallo, AL; and Dr. Shali Zhang, dean of libraries, Auburn University, AL.

The award will be presented at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Chicago, June 2023.

The deadline for submission of applications for the 2024 Ken Haycock Award for Promoting Librarianship is February 24, 2024.  Guidelines and applications are available on the ALA website.