Carla Hayden

Librarian of Congress

image of Carla Hayden


Hayden was nominated in recognition of her passionate dedication to equity of access and her historic appointment as the first woman and first African American to the post of Librarian of Congress.

Prior to this historic appointment, Hayden served as director of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore for 23 years. There she transformed the deteriorating library system into a vital community service agency. She ensured that the city’s libraries offered a broad array of services to assist residents from all walks of life, providing them with access to the internet and digital collections.

During her tenure as ALA president (2003-04) Hayden successfully challenged the government’s attempts, under the USA PATRIOT Act, to gain unwarranted access to library records. She sparred publicly with then Attorney General John Ashcroft over the language of the law and affirmed repeatedly that her concern stemmed from ensuring that a balance was maintained between security and the personal freedoms of all the country’s people.

Also as ALA president, Hayden became among the most prominent influences in the development of the Spectrum Scholarship Program, which actively recruits and provides scholarships to students of color to assist them with obtaining a graduate degree and leadership positions within the profession and ALA.

Hayden again gained national attention during the 2015 riots in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray after being injured while in in police custody. While most stores in the community closed their doors, Hayden kept the libraries open citywide to continue service and provide the people with safe havens.

Throughout her career, Hayden has garnered numerous awards and accolades, both within ALA and outside of the Association.

ALA awards include:

· 2013 Joseph W. Lippincott Award given for distinguished service to the profession.

· 2017 Melvil Dewey Medal, which recognizes creative leadership of high order, particularly in those fields in which Melvil Dewey was actively interested: library management, library training, cataloging and classification, and the tools and techniques of librarianship.

Other awards and recognitions include:

· Library Journal 1995 Librarian of the Year Award given in recognition of her outreach services at the Pratt library, which included an after-school center for Baltimore teens offering homework assistance and career counseling.

· One of Ms. Magazine’s 2003 Women of the Year for her stand opposing the USA PATRIOT Act.

· Named to Fortune Magazine’s list of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders in 2016.

· 2017 Centennial Award from the Women’s National Book Association which is given to a living woman who has gone above and beyond in her support of books

· 2017 North Star Award from the Hurston/Wright Foundation which pays homage to the beacon that guided enslaved Africans to freedom. The recipients of the award are individuals whose writing careers represent brilliant accomplishment and whose service to the writing community inspires others.

· 2017 Time Magazine Firsts Honoree as part of a multimedia project on 46 trailblazing women who are changing the world.

· 2017 Library Lion Honoree – New York Public Library to honor several distinguished individuals for outstanding achievements in their respective fields of arts, culture, letters and scholarship

· 2017 Defense Media Activity Award from the Department of Defense which honors excellence among military and civilian broadcasters, graphic artists, journalists, photographers, public affairs practitioners, mass communication specialists and videographers.

Awards Won

Title Year
ALA Honorary Membership 2018 - Winner(s)