Dr. Carla Hayden, 14th Librarian of Congress

On September 14, 2016, Dr. Carla Hayden was sworn in by Chief Justice John G. Roberts as the 14th Librarian of Congress. The third professional librarian, the first woman and the first person of African American descent to hold the position, Dr. Hayden had served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Enoch Pratt Free Library system in Baltimore. Her work there earned her the Library Journal Librarian of the Year award, the first African American to receive the award. She has also served as president of the American Library AssociationExternal.

Carla Diane Hayden is an American librarian and the 14th Librarian of Congress… Carol M. Highsmith, photographer, March 9, 2017. Highsmith (Carol M.) Archive. Prints & Photographs Division

Dr. Hayden was nominated to serve as Librarian of Congress by President Barack Obama on February 24, 2016. During her confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration Dr. Hayden was introduced by Senators Barbara Mikulski and Benjamin Cardin as well as former Senator Paul Sarbanes of Maryland. After her appearance at the confirmation hearing the committee voted to move her nomination to the full Senate where it was approved on July 13, 2016.

Dr. Hayden noted in an interview for the Library of Congress Magazine (LCM), that she remembers being surprised that there was a profession that was dedicated to books and reading and providing knowledge to people, and she thought it was an ideal career for her. When she started working at the Chicago Public Library she spoke about walking in to the store front library she was assigned to and seeing a young lady who she was to work with sitting on the floor having story time with children with autism. Hayden remembers thinking, “Wait a minute. This is a different type of profession. You’re bringing things right to people. I was hooked. Seeing what libraries could do in communities and how they could help people just opened my eyes.”

Pic of the Week: Oath of Librarianship. Photo by Shawn Miller. Library of Congress Blog. Post, September 16, 2016, by Erin Allen.

In her speech after she was sworn in, she discussed the importance of harnessing the power of technology to provide access to the unparalleled resources at the Library of Congress. She noted her excitement in seeing the papers of Rosa Parks and knowing that this collection of papers had been digitized and was available to everyone. She also noted the importance of using the staff to build on the legacy of the Library and to make it accessible to everyone. In her remarks she said:

“When I received the call from the White House about this opportunity, and was asked, ‘Will you serve?’ Without hesitation I said ‘yes’. But we cannot do it alone. I am calling on you, both who are here in person and those watching virtually, that to have a truly national library, an institution of opportunity for all: it is the responsibility of all.”

She noted that her vision is to make sure that the people of the United States know that they have a national treasure that is part of their heritage and that everyone can find something in or created by the Library of Congress that relates to their lives or where they want to go. She wants to make the collections accessible and wants the Library to be seen as the “go to” place for information.

Here Comes Hayden: New Librarian Gets Busy Start in First Week. Photo by Shawn Miller. Library of Congress Blog. Post, September 26, 2016 by Erin Allen.

Learn More

  • Learn more about the previous Librarians of Congress.
  • Read a brief biography of Dr. Hayden and view her comments about the process of becoming the Librarian of Congress and her vision for her term in this position.
  • Watch the webcast of her swearing in ceremony.
  • Read about her first day at the Library.
  • Watch Storytime in the Young Readers Center with Dr. Hayden.
  • Read the poem that former Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera wrote for Dr. Hayden after her swearing in.
  • Read the blog post by Library of Congress Teacher-in-Residence Teresa St. Angelo about her chat with Dr. Hayden.
  • Follow Dr. Hayden on Twitter.


On September 14, 1638, John Harvard, a 31-year-old clergyman from Charlestown, Massachusetts died, leaving his library and half of his estate to a local college. The young minister’s bequest allowed the college to firmly establish itself. In honor of its first benefactor, the school adopted the name Harvard College.

Harvard University #2, Cambridge, Mass. Haines Photo Co., c 1910. Panoramic Photographs. Prints & Photographs Division

Founded by the General Court of Massachusetts in 1636, HarvardExternal is America’s oldest institution of higher learning. From a college of nine students and one instructor, it has grown into a world-renowned university with over 18,000 degree candidates and 2,000 faculty members, including numerous Nobel laureates. Situated a few miles west of Boston on the Charles River in Cambridge, Harvard’s main campus is one of the country’s most scenic. With an endowment of almost $50 billion(2022), the university is the world’s wealthiest.

[Card Catalog in Widener Library at Harvard, Cambridge, Massachusetts]. c1915. Prints & Photographs Division

Eight U.S. presidents — John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Rutherford B. Hayes, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama — were educated at Harvard, as were leaders in many fields. The school’s notable alumni include First Lady Michelle Obama, Helen Keller, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, W.E.B. Du Bois, Hanna H. Gray, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., T.S. Eliot, Ralph Bunche, David Rockefeller, I.M. Pei, Robert Coles, Patricia Schroeder, Al Gore, Jr., and Yo-Yo Ma.

Astronomy 170, Harvard University: course materials. Sagan, Carl, 1965.Finding Our Place in the Cosmos: From Galileo to Sagan and Beyond. Manuscript Division

Harvard based its original curriculum on the classics taught in European universities and on the Puritanism preached in the American colonies. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the college diversified, turning away from Puritanism towards intellectual independence. Under the leadership of president Charles W. Eliot, from 1869-1909, Harvard revitalized its law and medical schools, established schools of business, dental medicine, and arts and sciences, and transformed itself into a major modern university.

Harvard 0 – Yale 0, November 25, 1911. Notman Photo Co., November 25,1911. Panoramic Photographs. Prints & Photographs Division

Also significant in Harvard’s transformation was the 1879 opening of its “sister” school, Radcliffe College, which made Harvard’s resources available to women. Today, Harvard continues its tradition of academic excellence as a coeducational university with an undergraduate college, nine graduate schools, and some 200 allied institutions including laboratories, libraries, and museums.

Learn More

  • Search the Library’s Digital Collections using the keywords Harvard and Yale to find photographs of sporting events between Harvard and its longtime rival, Yale University.
  • Explore the Leonard Bernstein Collection, which features over 80 photographs of this 1939 Harvard graduate both before and after he achieved fame as a composer and conductor.

The Russian Molokan Church

On Sunday, September 14, 1938, members of the Russian Molokan Church held religious services in their new church building on Potrero Hill in San Francisco, California. Folklorist Sidney Robertson Cowell recorded the distinctive preaching and singing that characterized the service. Molokan singing is derived from patterns of Gregorian chants that were sung in the Russian Orthodox Church during the sixteenth century when the Molokans emerged as an ethnically and religiously distinct group. The Russian Molokans, also called “milk drinkers,” were Russian peasants who dissented from the Russian Orthodox Church beginning in the seventeenth century.

Russian Molokan Sunday School, Potrero Hill, San Francisco, California. September 14, 1938. California Gold: Northern California Folk Music from the Thirties Collected by Sidney Robertson Cowell. American Folklife Center

In the eighteenth century, the Molokans were identified with a larger peasant movement that protested the practices of Russia’s tsarist government and the role that the Russian Orthodox Church played in that government. The Molokans and other members of the Christian Spiritualist movement questioned whether it was Christian to own property, exploit the labor of others, or treat women as inferior to men. After a series of pitched battles with the government, the Molokans were exiled to the frontier regions of the empire, first to the Ukraine, and later to the Russian Caucasus. Despite the difficulties that they encountered at what was then the far reaches of the Russian Empire, the Molokans prospered. By 1900, they were the largest sect of dissenters from the Russian Orthodox Church.

Russian Molokan Congregation, Potrero Hill, San Francisco, California. September 14, 1938. California Gold: Northern California Folk Music from the Thirties Collected by Sidney Robertson Cowell. American Folklife Cener

Committed to the importance of exhibiting inner change of heart in daily life and suspicious of the priesthood’s authority, the Molokans are similar in these regards to early Protestants. Their high regard for music is linked to its power to transform and bring about change. In the United States, their distinctive singing, performed in Russian, became an important way for Molokan immigrants to preserve their Russian ethnic identity.

Between 1901 and 1911, some 3,500 Molokans emigrated from the Russian Caucasus to California in search of both greater religious and economic opportunity. The majority of these immigrants settled in and around Los Angeles. The founders of the San Francisco Molokan community arrived there in October 1906, just six months after the great earthquake had demolished much of the city. They were encouraged, along with many of those displaced by the earthquake, to settle on Potrero Hill.

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