Obama's PC Librarian of Congress Pick Much Less Accomplished Than Predecessors
In this, the final year of his tenure, President Obama seems as determined as ever to divide America by race and gender, and to push the nation backwards to a past where race and gender were dominating considerations in employment, academia, politics, and culture. Unfortunately, President Obama sees life through the same divisive lens, emphasizing differences of race and gender at virtually every opportunity.
The most recent manifestation of this crimped vision is his nomination of Dr. Carla D. Hayden as the 14th librarian of Congress.
Obama took the occasion to proudly announce:
If confirmed, Dr. Hayden would be the first woman and the first African American to hold the position -- both of which are long overdue.
It’s as though his administration has an unofficial quota system.
As its website proclaims, the Library of Congress “occupies a unique place in American civilization.” It was established on April 24, 1800, when President John Adams approved legislation to purchase “such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress.” In 1802, President Thomas Jefferson signed a law establishing the post of “Librarian of Congress.” When the British burned the capitol in 1814, they destroyed the 3,000 volumes that had already been acquired by the Library. The then-retired President Jefferson sold his personal library to Congress to “recommence” the library.
At the time, his 6,487 volumes were “the largest and finest” book collection in the country -- and those books can still be seen at the Library of Congress today in a special exhibit.
It was the acquisition of Jefferson’s collection that started the expansion of the library from simply being a library for Congress. It is America’s national library -- and more. It holds more than 15 million books, 39 million manuscripts, 13 million photographs, four million maps, three-and-a-half million pieces of music, and a half-million motion pictures. More than 450 languages are represented in its collections and research materials. In sum, it is the depository of the history, literature, and culture of our nation, and of much of the world, as well.
Yet according to the president, among the chief qualifications for the office of Librarian of Congress -- the chief administrator of the world’s largest library -- are color and gender.
Dr. Hayden is certainly a knowledgeable and experienced librarian. Her Ph.D. is in library science. She has served as CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland, since 1993 and was president of the American Library Association from 2003-2004.
But the library’s enormous staff (3,244) already numbers countless credentialed librarians -- the institution is hardly in need of another. That’s why the post of librarian of Congress has long been filled not by librarians, but by first-rank scholars and historians of national reputation. The librarian of Congress is in effect the nation’s “scholar-in-chief.”