Andrew AlbaneseThe year was 1987. The Iran-Iraq war raged on; the US and Soviet Union agreed to reduce their stockpiles of nuclear weapons; and the first Simpsons television cartoons aired.

Also in 1987, President Ronald Reagan swore into office James Billington as the Librarian of Congress. On Wednesday, at the age of 86, Billington retired after a 28 year term that witnessed the rise of the digital age and sweeping changes to every aspect of the publishing world. Ahead of a nomination for his successor from President Obama, one that must be confirmed in the U.S. Senate, Deputy Librarian David Mao will hold the office.

“Make no mistake, the appointment of Billington’s successor is a pretty big deal. Whoever assumes the role could have a major impact on the future of libraries in America, and on the nation’s information and intellectual property policies for a very, very long time,” Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior reporter tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally.

Every Friday, CCC’s “Beyond the Book” speaks with the editors and reporters of “Publishers Weekly” for an early look at the news that publishers, editors, authors, agents and librarians will be talking about when they return to work on Monday.

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