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Carla Hayden (Lexey Swall/The New York Times)

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House votes to limit power of 1st female African-American Librarian of Congress

By WITW Staff on May 18, 2017

On April 26, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to approve the Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act (H.R. 1695). While the bill deals in large part with the nuances of copyright law, it also carries a provision that curtails the power of the Librarian of Congress. If passed by the Senate, Dr. Carla Hayden, the Librarian of Congress and the first African-American woman to hold the position, will be unable to appoint the next Register of Copyrights. Instead, that duty would pass to the executive branch — more specifically, to President Donald Trump after taking into account the advice and consent of the Senate.

As the former President of the American Library Association (ALA), Hayden has always been a staunch advocate of the public library system. “Libraries are a cornerstone of democracy — where information is free and equally available to everyone,” she explained during her acceptance speech in 2003 when she was awarded Ms. Magazine’s Woman of the Year award. “People tend to take that for granted, and they don’t realize what is at stake when that is put at risk.”

The bill was introduced to the Senate on May 2 but a decision has not yet been reached.

Read the full story at Book Riot.


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