One More Senate Battle Ahead?

Andrew AlbaneseThis week, President Obama nominated Carla Hayden to become the 14th Librarian of Congress. The selection follows the January retirement of James Billington, a Reagan appointee who came to office in 1987. Hayden will replace David Mao, who currently serves as the library’s interim director.

The Senate, however, must approve the choice, as Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior write, reports. For much of the library’s history, he notes, the librarian position did not require Senate confirmation, so there is no history of any nominee ever sparking a battle. In 2016, nevertheless, anything could happen.

“Is this going to be a fight like the fight we expect over filling Antonin Scalia’s seat? Certainly not. And, in fact, the Senate has already vetted Hayden when she joined the National Museum and Library Services Board in 2010.

“Hayden is the first librarian of Congress to be nominated in almost 30 years—and in that time, the information and entertainment world has changed dramatically. Simply put, Hayden is the first librarian of Congress to be nominated in the Internet age,” Albanese tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally. “So make no mistake, this is the most consequential nomination in the history of the library of Congress, and for sure there is some political hay to be made by someone.”

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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