Carla Hayden Sworn In as Librarian of Congress, the First African American Woman to Serve in the Role | NBC4 Washington

Carla Hayden Sworn In as Librarian of Congress, the First African American Woman to Serve in the Role

Hayden earned widespread praise for her time as CEO of Baltimore's public library system

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    Carla Hayden, the longtime CEO of Baltimore's Enoch Pratt Free Library system, is only the third professional librarian to lead the Library of Congress. (File photo)

    What to Know

    • Hayden, the longtime CEO of Baltimore's Enoch Pratt Free Library system, is only the third professional librarian to get the LoC job.

    • Hayden was sworn in Wednesday as the 14th librarian of Congress, in a ceremony that was broadcast live on YouTube.

    The nation now has a new chief librarian, one who earned praise for her time at the helm of Baltimore's library system.

    Carla Hayden is the first woman and the first African American to lead the Library of Congress since its inception in 1800. 

    Hayden, the longtime CEO of Baltimore's public Enoch Pratt Free Library system and a former president of the American Library Association, is only the third professional librarian to get the job.

    During her time in Baltimore, the Library of Congress says Hayden was celebrated for her outreach to help people from all walks of life get access to library materials and technology. That included homework help and college counseling for teens, healthy-eating information for residents of areas lacking access to high-quality food, Spanish-language programming and more, according to the Library of Congress' blog.

    Hayden was also widely praised for her decision to keep a library branch open during the unrest in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray, the Baltimore Sun reported. The branch is across the street from the CVS store that was looted and burned, according to the Sun.

    Hayden was sworn in Wednesday at noon as the 14th librarian of Congress, in a ceremony that was broadcast live on YouTube. She planned to take the oath of office with the Lincoln Bible, drawn from Library collections, the Library of Congress said.

    President Barack Obama signed a law last year establishing a 10-year term for the librarian of Congress. It was previously considered a lifetime appointment.

    Hayden's predecessor, James Billington, held the job for 28 years and was criticized for not keeping up with changes in technology.