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tv   Conversation with Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden  CSPAN  September 17, 2016 8:00pm-8:46pm EDT

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crisis an issue that bernanke thinks is one of the most difficult is stigma, getting banks to borrow. this is based on. [inaudible] that would be one benefit of it and you get around that problem. that's why they had the procedure to begin with. that way it would be built-in right up front. >> just one thing about paul's, i think if the fed proposed that >> you want to give them advance protection? you want to give them a prize to bail them out. >> within the political system today, i think that would be a problem. >> i agree, i think you sell people on the fact that they are paying for the right to have protection. they are paying the taxpayers for this and it's not free any longer. i agree there are political
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issues, but i think we can get around them. >> i think we got the sense that there are serious and deep problems that need addressing. we thank you very much for coming to present your book and thank you to the panel. if you have questions we will be at the reception and just ask us in the informal setting. with that, our time is up. [applause] skraz
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>> oakland is 11th on the list. to find out the other cities making the top 20 list look for the article on booksquire.com. carla hayden was sworn in as the librarian of congress. she is the first woman and african-american to hold the position. >> thomas jefferson sold most of his library to congress. the british burned the original library of congress when they invaded washington the year before. a later fire destroyed most of jefferson's books we still have some of them. they make up the heart of the library we have here today.
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jefferson as you know was a very unique man. others arranged books alphabetically or by size. he divided his library into three sections that corresponded with the three manufacturmanufas of -- main faculities. a long way of saying she is a pro. she knows what she is doing. second, she understands the need bring the library into the digital age. we have millions of documents that almost nobody knows a thing about.
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it would be a shame if they were lost. it is that third quality, imagination that is important. we think of america as this great land of promise. a place where people from all walks of life with can get their start but the public library itself is an icon of opportunity. it a safe haven where people can go to learn and feed their ever hungry imagination. i think as a writer, baldwin, james baldwin as a young man would go to the library and read every book he could get his hands on and when done bring books home. there he would be holding a younger sibling in one arm and a book in the other. what would happen if baldwin didn't have the public library? a great mind would have been starved of material.
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widely praised for keeping up her library during baltimore's unrest last year but for her it was the only obvious choice. one day when her 83-year-old mom, when show told her mom she was going to the library in the middle of the chaos and trouble, her mother replied make sure you are some coffee. she is an accomplished woman and i have ever confidence she is going to make us all very, very proud. jefferson once said i cannot live without books. neither can we. the library of congress is our national treasure and with dr. hayden at the helm i know it is in excellent hands. congratulations. [applause]
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>> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the chief justice of the united states. the honorable john roberts to administer the oath of office. please also welcome dr. hayden's mother colleen hayden. [applause] >> please raise your right hand and repeat after me. i carla hayden do solemnly swear that i will support and defend the constitution of the united states. >> that i will support and defend the constitution of the united states. >> against all enemies foreign and domestic. sg against all enemies foreign and domestic. >> that i will bear true faith and allegiance to the same. >> that i will bear true faith
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and allegiance to the same. >> that i take this obligation freely. >> that i take this obligation freely. >> without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion. >> without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion. >> and that i will well and faithfully discharge. >> and that i will well and faithfully discharge. >> the duties of the office on which i am about to enter. >> the duties of the office which i am about to enter. >> so help me god. >> so help me god. [applause] [applause]
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>> recently booktv sat down with the new library of congress to talk her about life, career and vision were for the library. >> dr. carla hayden, do you remember the first moment that you were asked about being the librarian of congress? >> i can remember that moment because i was surprised. i had been advi vising and consulting because this was an opportunity for the library community to weigh in on what would be needed for the library of congress going into the next fee decades. my name was the person that she
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talked to. that went on for a little while and then i was asked would you consider being considered for the position yourself. it took me back a little bit. and i had to then think about what i was currently doing. really public service, the city had challenges and the state had public library be the state library in baltimore, maryland. this was a very tense situation. i had troubled baltimore in and i was really working on so many issues. i had to think how could i go from serving the community to serving the country and what
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contribution could i make. >> why did you say yes? >> because when i really thought about the treasures and what is contained in the library and what i had been privy to as a librarian, what i knew was conveyed here and how excited i always am. i love history so to be able to share that with more people was really the turning point for me that i could make it everyone's life. in fact, this is how the opportunity was presented to me; would you serve as the next librarian of congress?
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and that is when it all came together for me. >> so when you first came to the library as the nominee did you say to somebody i want to be that? what was it that you did? >> i wanted to see lincoln's life mask. i had seen it years before and mistaking telling people i saw his death mask but it was actually a rendering he had four months before he was assassin e assassinated. i wanted to see that item again with the understanding that when that mask was cast he was alive. that was a moment. my family is from illinois.
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i have a couple personal bookshelves on lincoln and grew up with lincoln lure. my family is buried in the same cemetery that lincoln is buried in in springfield. so that really resonated with me. c-span: what is the thing you like most about lincoln? >> his integrity and struggles. the fact he didn't come to some of these things that we admire so much about him now as easily as we thought. that he had difficulties in his personal life. i mentioned springfield. we visited lincoln's home on a regular basis and thinking about what was going on in that home and he lost a child. all of these things and there
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was a human behind this person that did so much and i think that is what draws a lot of people to lincoln and what he accomplished. c-span: there is a book in your past called "bright april" what was the book and what year did you read it? >> guest: you notice when i mention the title i said ah! this is where i talk about my age. i was about 7-8 until -- so that was 1961. i went to a grammar school in jamaica queens and across the street was a storefront library. i can't remember if a librarian gave me the book or anything like that. but i just know that somehow
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this book, "bright april" was put in my hands. it was a book that featured a little african-american girl who was a brownie. at that time i was brownie. she had two pigtails and the beautiful watercolor pictures and illustrations showed a loving family. there was a piano in the living room. a thanksgiving dinner. all of these things that spoke to me as a child. to see myself reflected in a book and i thought i looked like her. now i look at the book she was a little prettier but it meant so much to see what i thought reflected and later when i started as a children's librarian i thought about children need a book to have
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windows on the world. they also need to see themselves. it needs to be a mirror. if we want them to think books are important and books hold knowledge -- if you don't see yourself in this important thing what is that telling you? c-span: were you born in tallahassee? grew up in the chicago area? how did all that happen? >> guest: i think we talked about my parents being a musician. so my father was the starter of the string department at florida university in tallahassee florida. i was born there. when i was about five or so he always liked -- he played classical music but he liked
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jazz, too. classical by day and jazz my night. he connected with another musician in the musical family. some people know him as cannonball. he was down in tallahassee, too. off they go to new york with my mom who is a classically trained pianist and me. the next thing you know i am at bird land sitting on the stool in the front having shirley temples. that was quite an experience. my parents divorced when i was ten and we moved back to illinois. c-span: your mom is very much with us. i want to know what she said to you when you called and said i
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am going to be the librarian of congress. >> guest: the first thing she said was your grandmother is right. my grandmother always said as i progressed in the career of librarianship i never thought being a librarian would lead to this. my nickname was squirrel. they thought good she is going to be a librarian. she has no musical talent. that is good. but she was still amazed and to think that my love of books and all of this turned into something that required her to hold the lincoln bible and have me sworn in was something. in fact, my mother was very nervous about holding the
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lincoln bible. it symbolizes so much to not only our family but just what it meant and she was very nervous about that because you are touching history. and this is something that touched a person that you respect so much. that connection and i have to say that is something that i hope that in my tenure i will be able at a -- to do more of. to connect people with history. to touch history digitally and understand these were real people. >> how much do you read? >> probably a little too much because i have matured d and my eyesight matured so i require a stronger lens. i am a reader tal read just
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about anything that has text. the cereal box. a sign. i connected. it took me years to realize that i connected with text the same way my parents connected with notes, notation. and one day i said wow, taxpayer look at notes and hear music. and i can look at text and hear words. and it is almost the same thing. c-span: where do you read? >> guest: i just now have a balcony i can sit out. i have a chair and i read there. i read in bed. i can read at a table. but usually -- i can tell when i am very tired if i can't read in bed. that is the signal. >> c-span: folks found out i
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was going to be talking to you and i think three different people for whatever reason wanted to know are you going to continue the too live in baltimore and commute to washington? >> guest: yes. >> c-span: how big of a commute is that? >> it is a 35 miles. i think because i am from the midwest mileage is viewed in a different way. you have to go 35 miles to go from one end to chicago to the other end. in the southern parts of illinois going from danville to campagna to do something is not unusual. so i will say baltimore -- i have been there 23 years and my mother moved from illinois to baltimore.
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and sometimes it is a place where everybody knows your name. the city grabs you. the city has so many characters. ann tyler is there when you read her books you get a sense of -- don waters. so many characters are there because it nurtures creativity. >> c-span: if you had to make a choice would you read fiction or non-fiction? >> guest: that is a hard choice however i would be for non-fiction. i love history. i can read warhohl but i like to read things like the queens bed which is about queen elizabeth
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the first and all the intrigue around that. history can sometimes be more exciting than fiction. >> c-span: over time what is a couple books in the non-fiction category you liked? >> guest: "no ordinary time". i really connect with eleanor roosevelt. i went to her school in chicago. and to read doris kern it is the best type of history. i heard her speak at the library, got the book, read it that night and i could hear her speaking. >> c-span: how about fdr in the
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white house? >> guest: yes. you would want to know which room was where. >> c-span: when did you first meet michelle obama and barack obama? >> guest: in chicago. i had arrived back in chicago from pittsburgh to be the deputy commissioner, chief librarian of the chicago public library i started. the first lady was michele robinson and working with the city administration that was -- that is when we met her and later her fiance. that was something years later to meet in a professional
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setting and different roles. >> c-span: how important do you think that connection way back then in chicago led to your choice as librarian? >> guest: i am not sure if it led to the choice. i think it was probably one of the most ironic things to have a name put forward from a search that you say carla hayden? she is still a librarian, yes. but i had been part of a board, the institute of library and museum services, so my name has been part of the professional library setting for a whiled. >> c-span: you got an ma and ph.d at the university of chicago. what was your dissertation about? >> guest: it was about serving
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young people in museums. where was working at the museum of science and industry in chicago -- i -- and i was working to open the first public service library in a science museum in the country. that was really interesting because most museum libraries are not open to the public. they are for the curators and educagucato educators. he you are opening a library and having these visitors. that got me interested libraries and museums so i took courses and things and started visiting museums. basically what i was saying at that time in the '80s is that public libraries in particular needed to use some of the methods that you use to engage
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young people. the boston children's museum. now you can go into the public libraries all over the country and see play areas and see not just books but things as well. >> c-span: a baltimore resident said to me this day when i said i was coming over to interview you "she was terrific in baltimore with doing the things you are talking about there" the community stuff. movie night. there is a fundraiser you had black and white every year. >> young people dancing and being related in the library and connecting books and all of that, yes. it is quite something. >> when you went to baltimore 23 years ago, prat library, what is it? how many different branches? what did you do there that you
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were the most proud of? >> guest: in library school we studied this library. it was an innovative library for years starting with mr. pratt when he established it. he was a business person in baltimore at a time when the city was growing. he picked the free library to fund. he said my library should be for all, rich or poor, without distinction of race or color. that was in 1886 in a city that had racial challenges. when i had the opportunity to go to the pratt library i didn't know much about baltimore but i knew the pratt library and learned baltimore then. there are now 21 branches. every wherein i would go in
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baltimore people had a pratt library story. people from all walks of life. what i am most pleased about is that over the time i have been there we revitalized those libraries and they actually kwukt constructed the first new library in 35 years. we had the senior staff members bring in a photograph of themselves at 5-10 years old and made a poster so when we meet we say what would a child say 35 years from now about -- what pratt stories are we making? that is why i am staying in baltimore. >> c-span: how did you get adults in there that don't normally go to the library?
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>> guest: my making it relevant. a lot of people need to get to computer do is file for jobs. so many jobs require you to file online and they don't have the access to do that. flu shots. all types of things that brick bring people in and to make the library less intimidating especially for people who have challenges with literacy. it is the last place you want to go if you can't read well is a library. bringing in authors, poplar programs was a way to start getting adults in and letting them know it is a safe place fru whatever level you come in at all. >> as you came into the library of congress 600-something million budget. 620 employees. what was the first thing you said you want to change?
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>> it wasn't so much changing but keep it moving forward. there is a wonderful book, a management book i think about often about change. when you are changing or helping something move with momentum it is called "teaching the elephant to dance" you have to be careful but the sinking of a ship and how do you get it to move or be n nimble and things like that. ...
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>> there have been other lay br'erans that have serve even longer. 48. >> i think, was one, and so different times in the library's history, the ten years have longer or shorter, lawyers, politicians, scholars, historians, authors, along the way, and i think at this point, when there's so many opportunities, but at challenges with technology and things are moving so rapidly, to give an opportunity to step back and say, where are we in ten years in i've been asked, what do you
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hope to have accomplished in ten years? if you can digitize the 162 million items that would be something. so i think it's healthy to look at an institution in different period odd time. >> how much is digitized today? >> i'm not sure. and that is what -- even though i have just been sworn in and things and i'm stick investigating, i want to really get, as they say, in the weeds and look and also i know that the are a number of collections, for instance, there's rosa parks' collection was just digitized and i got to see the actual artifacts. to work with the staff and say how many things are available online. how many things are in the queue, and i'm pretty sure their a number of things and whole collections that are ready, and
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to see if we can match some of those collections and those needs with the potential donors. who would help with the process. >> this is a question for one who has never been to library of congress and doesn't have a clue what they can see or do. >> one -- got my first library of congress card -- >> people don't know that. c-span: what would you suggest to somebody who is intimidated be the big buildings -- >> guest: when you think about the temple of knowledge and information, it looks like a massive tower of information and to encourage people to come inch that's actually something i'm going to be working on quite soon, is to make sure that the public knows that not only can they come in and see one of the only three copies of the gutenberg byele.
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they can see thomas jefferson's original library that helped start the library of congress at a crucial time. to really reach out to the public to let them know. it's difficult to put it in one type of thing. so, we'll be really working to say, when you walks' the library, what can too? there's a young reader center. you can go into that and good into the music attend and see sheet music from decades and hundreds of years ago. so, that's a challenge. i think we need to -- librarians talk about read more about it. want the american public in particular to know more about it. it's congress' library but also america's library. c-span: somebody is watching and i want them to walk interest the
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library system and say, dr. karla hayden told me to come here and ask you how to see what want to see. where would you send them? >> guest: the first thing the person should do is to go up to a wonderful information desk and talk to the person that is there. there will be a person there. c-span: the jefferson building. >> guest: the jefferson building and al go into the madison building and there's an adams building right behind. so there's a theme with the presidents. and they can say, i'm interested in jerry lewis films. i'm interested in bob hope. i'm interested in this information you have about rosa parks. i'm interested in finding out something about my family's history. i'm visiting from iowa. and i understand that you have newspapers that go back. i'm trying to find my great-grandfather. when they go to that information
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and it has a big sign "information" that where you go. that your first point of contact. and then that person will tieles -- tease out of you what wow need and then make that connection to this vast resource that is here and even in other places. c-span: okay. let's say they can't travel hereafter but you have all of this digitized already online. how do you figure out what is there? >> guest: that is where the power of technology really helps, because the library's web site should be able to direct you almost in the same way. so you're going to search, going to type in what you're looking for. and you will get a response right on the screen. so i'll be very -- here's another getting in the weeds aspect that i'm excited about. making sure that the web site is just as responsive almost as you
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talking to a person. and getting that. that people won't be in the technology wilderness. c-span: at your confirmation hearing the subject of the congressional research service came up, and there seems to be a quiet movement afoot that the public ought to see the product that -- what it is -- 700 people in congressional research members produce for members of congress. what do you think? have you studied that anymore since your confirmation? >> guest: as libraryian we the library of congress is to serve congress -- is like the special forces of the library. there are analysts, librarians, specialists in different areas, that prepare research, nonpartisan research, and analysis, for the members of congress, to inform their work.
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and the reports are available by request from your particular member. so, if you know someone is working on something, and i think that i've heard different aspects of how much of the information and when the information should be ready or available to the public so that's an area that i think is still being looked at, because there's quite a bit of research that goes into forming a report. c-span: let's say a member of congress calls up the congressional research services and they say i need a report on the b-52 bomber. what is your permanent instinct? once that report was supplied the member, should that be in the public domain. >> guest: i'm not sure. and that is -- i'm going to
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really be in weeds with some of these aspects, because that is a complex issue in terms of what was it prepared for, what is it informing, and i think working with congress on it, because it's going to be a congressional decision to find out how the members are really looking at what the congressional research service provides to them and i've already been in contact with some members about how do we look at this issue, and really look at it in a way that will benefit congress and the people they serve. c-span: what's your sense of having talked to members of congress about the future of the budget for the place like this? >> guest: i must tell you that the most -- one of the most pleasant parts of the entire
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confirmation and nomination process has been meeting with members and really getting a sense of their sincere appreciation for the library of congress. they -- a lot of them are interested in history. they read -- they can borrow books and they do. they're interested in the workings of the library, and i think there's a lot of support for the library. c-span: is it enough support and given this fiscal time that we're in -- >> guest: i'm hoping it will translate. nate why i've been really excited about working with the members and already i've gotten indications they're -- they see the value of the library and appreciate it and so that's a very good position to be in as you are in an environment where there are fiscal checks and
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balances and needs and things like that. but didn't seem to me much of a dispute about the value of the library. c-span: i had a political question. you were approved overwhelmingly. however, my memorials that you got -- i think 14 republicans voted against your confirmation. >> guest: i think that smooth be. c-span: what was their reason? >> guest: from what i understand there might have been concern about some of my professional affiliations, and -- i don't mean affiliations but the stands that librarians as a grew have taken specifically in that segment because i was head us up the professional organization. was representing 65,000 members, and when you agree to be the
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representative, you are the spokesperson for the group, and i'm a card-carrying member of the american library association. we join in libraries so that was a -- an honor for me. it was -- it also puts you in a different arena in terms of'ing the spokesperson for particular views, and i think there was some concern that in a role that is not representing a profession, that i might be -- still have strong views i express about certain things. c-span: assume you're talking about the patriot act. >> guest: the patriot act and making sure people can get information freely without interference, and then things like that. c-span: are you comfortable the way the law is now and the patriot act and --
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>> guest: yes, and the profession is comfortable. basically their concerns were heard and that there's the consciousness that in the balance of security, you have to have that balance with personal liberty, and wait a pretty difficult time when the act was enenacted. c-span: i want to give your time back in just a second. i want to ask you, to define what a librarian is, beyond the obvious, and why do people that are librarians feel so strongry about their profession. >> guest: we'd like to say that librarians are the original search enins. that librarians are people who help other people get the information, the resources, even the entertainment -- you mentioned fiction -- that they
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need for their lives. or they may want. and that they can help them distinguish, for instance, health information and also tell them what the latest november -- novel is by a favorite author or if that -- thing isn't there, they can on up thing. so librarians are people who help people in information ritual. span -- c-span: is your dad still alive. >> guest: no. c-span: so mon -- have brotherss and sisters. >> guest: no. c-span: only child? >> guest: only chide, and it's interesting when you say, is your dad still with us? some of his music -- i mentioned he liked jazz and he was also a studio musician. so still taught music and everything but he also was a studio musician so sometimes i'm
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in a mall and i can hear my dad playing background on a song, and that's quite a feeling. c-span: who is your favorite jazz musician? >> guest: miles davis. and i think it's because i actually met him, and he was pretty cool back then, and i've always felt that there was something about him, and as an eight or nine-year-old, to have a person -- i didn't know how cool he was then but he was nice to me. c-span: you are probably not old enough to have been to mr. kelly's or the london house in chicago. >> guest: i knew about the london house, my dad played at the london house with the soulful strings. a group that they took things and this was a quarter tet --

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