The new Librarian-in-Chief picks her favorite children’s book
Carla Hayden, the new Librarian of Congress, tells Jeffrey Brown about her favorite children’s book. “Bright April” is a story about a young African-American girl named April who experiences racial prejudice. It is also the story of her bright personality and her 10th birthday and the surprise it brought.
Carla Hayden was sworn in as the 14th Librarian of Congress last week. She is the first woman and the first African-American to lead the national library, having been nominated by President Obama earlier this year.
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Hayden has spent her career in the stacks and in leadership roles, most recently as CEO of the nationally regarded Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland, and before that, as deputy commissioner and chief librarian of the expansive Chicago Public Library.
As Jeffrey Brown reported in a story that aired Monday, her new role as head of the world’s largest library puts Hayden at the center of many challenges, from copyright issues to potential public-private partnerships with search entities, to privacy concerns.
What about the personal side of Hayden now that she is the Librarian-in-Chief. She comes from a family of musicians, she is very close to her mother who lives near her, and was sworn in with Lincoln’s bible, the same one used by President Obama. The Lincoln connection is very strong for Hayden, given that her grandparents and father are buried in the same cemetery as Lincoln.
Since the stock in trade of libraries is facts, here are some more fun facts about Hayden, a former president of the American Library Association:
Favorite book: Mysteries
Favorite historical figure: Eleanor Roosevelt
Favorite U.S. city: New Orleans
Favorite national park: Frederick Douglass House
Favorite music: Jazz fusion
Favorite childhood memory: Summers in Illinois
Fun fact: She’s a speed reader
One of her passions is children’s literature. She was the first African-American to receive the Library Journal’s Librarian of the Year Award in recognition of her outreach, which included an after-school center for Baltimore teens. So we asked Hayden where her own passion for reading came from, and her favorite childhood book. It’s called “Bright April,” a 1946 children’s story book written and illustrated by Marguerite de Angeli, who later won the Newbery Medal for excellence in American children’s literature.
Watch their full interview.