tv Conversation with Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden CSPAN November 25, 2016 2:15pm-2:58pm EST
uncomfortable or you feel uneasy and that may be reflected in your choice of who will be promoted. not consciously. so getting baz that remains a problem. there's no discrimination anymore, i can get any job i want in the world. fineprint what are what are you point to do when children come? how are you going to arrange her life so you have both a worklife and a home life? i had one thought that technology, it seems to be moving to be flexible. people, men and women who are in law firms were in house counsel
should get together with each other and say what do we want and then make it known and then illustrate by your example that you can have a home life and work life. one of my former had three young children, a day schedule. there happy with her work. she has a whole library of work at her fingertips at home. it should be much easier to have a balanced life that once was, but don't be shy about speaking up.
book tv is on twitter and facebook. we want to hear from you. treat us, twitter.com/book tv or post a comment on our facebook page, facebook.com/book tv. >> doctor carla, can you remember the first moment that you were asked about being a librarian of congress. >> i can remember that moment because i was surprised. i had been advising and consulting because this was an opportunity for the library community to weigh in, basically , on what would be for the library of congress going into the next few decades, and so my name was put forward as a person they should talk 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 then i had to think about what i was currently doing, public service, inner-city, the state library, baltimore and marilyn, this was a very good situation. i had become a baltimoreans. i thought how can i go from serving a community to serving the country. what contribution could i make? >> why did you say yes? >> because when i really thought about the treasures and what's
contained in the library of congress what i had been privy to as a librarian, what i knew knew was contained there, and how excited i always am, i love history and so, to be able to share that with more people was really the turning point for me, that it's not just administering and doing something for the world's largest library, but it's an opportunity to make that library everyone's library. that has the highest level. in fact, that's how the opportunity was presented to me, would you serve as the next librarian of congress. 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 here, i want to see that?
what was it? >> i wanted to see abraham lincoln's life mask. i had seen it years before and i was mistakingly telling people all those years that i had seen his death mask. then i realized no, it was actually a rendering that he had four months before he was assassinated. i wanted to see that item again with the understanding that when that was cast, he was alive. >> my family from illinois have a couple personal shelves. i grew up with lincoln laura, my family is buried in the same
cemetery that lincoln is buried and in springfield. that really resonated with me. >> what is the thing you like most about abraham lincoln? >> his integrity and his struggles. i loved reading more about it, the fact that he didn't come to some of these things that we admire so much about him now as easily as we thought, he had difficulties in his personal life. i mentioned springfield. we visited lincoln's home on a regular basis, so, so to think about what was going on in the home and what he was as a child, all of these things. there was a human behind this person that did so much. i think that's what draws a lot of people to lincoln him what he accomplished. >> there is a book called bright
april. what was the book in what year did you read it. >> you notice that when you even mention the title, i was, now this is where i talk about my age, but i was about seven or eight so around 1961 or so and i went to grammar school in jamaica, queens, and right across the street was a library and i can't remember if a librarian gave me the book or anything like that, but i just know somehow this book, bright april was put in my hand and it was a book that featured a little african-american girl who was a brownie and at that time, i was a brownie.
she had to pigtails and the beautiful watercolor pictures and illustrations showed a loving family, there was a piano in the living room, there was a thanksgiving dinner, all these things that just spoke to me as a child, to see myself reflected in the book, and i thought i looked like her. now that i look at the book, she she was a little prettier, but it just meant so much to see what i thought reflected. later when i started as a children's librarian, i thought about diversity and children's books. children read books to have windows on the world. we all talk about that, to let them see something else, but they also need to see them as a mirror. they need to see themselves.
if we want to see that books are important and books hold knowledge, if we don't see those as important things, what are we telling them. >> you grew up in the chicago area, without without it all that happened? >> it's interesting, we talked about my parents being musicians my father started the string department at florida and am. i was born there. i found out that he liked classical music and jazz. he was classical by day and jazz at night. he connected with another musician. some people know him as
cannonball but he was downing cannonball too. off they go to new york with my mom who is a classically trained pianist and me and next thing i met bird land sitting on a stool in the front having shirley temples, and that was quite an experience. my parents divorced when i was ten. i think that was just a little too much for my mom. then we moved back to illinois. >> by the way, your mom's with us and i want to know what you said to her when you called to say i'm going to be the librarian of congress. >> the first thing she said was your grandmother was right. my grandmother always said, as i progressed in the career of
librarian, i never thought being a librarian would lead to this. my nickname was world good. she's going to be a librarian. she has no musical talent so that's good. she was still amazed to think that my love of books, and all of this turned into something that required her to hold the lincoln bible and had me sworn in. >> now that you brought it up, sitting right there on the table, the lincoln bible. >> my mother was very nervous about holding the 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
talking history, and this is something that a person used that you respect so much, and that connection, i have to say, that was something that i hope in my tenure i will be able to do more of, to connect connect people with rich history, to touch history digitally and to make sure they understand these were real people. >> how much do you read? >> probably a little too much because i have matured in my eyesight has matured so i require stronger lenses. i'm a reader that will read just about anything that has text. a cereal box, assign, something like, something like that. it took me years to really realize that i connected with
text the same way my parents connected with notes and one day i said they can look at notes and hear music and i can look at text and hear words. it's almost the same thing. >> what do you read? >> i have a balcony where it could sit out and i found a reading chair and i can read in bed and i can read at the table, but usually, i can tell when i'm very tired if i can't reinvent. that's the signal. >> when folks found out i was going to be talking with you, think three different people, for whatever reason want to know, our are you going to continue living in baltimore and
with so many characters and you get a sense when you read herb book of so many characters because it nurtures creativity and caring, i think? host: if you have to make a choice would you rather read fiction or non- fiction? guest: that's a hard choice. however, i would go for nonfiction. i love history. now, i can read all of those things, but i really like to read things like the queen's bed, which is about queen elizabeth the first nl of the intrigue around that, so history can sometimes be more exciting, i think, then fiction. host: over time, what has been a
couple of books in the history, nonfiction, that you liked? guest: no ordinary time. i really connect with orland-- eleanor roosevelt. i went to the only school founded by eleanor roosevelt. host: in chicago? guest: in chicago and is so to read doris kearns with history it's like reading fiction and that's an the best type of history writing, sometimes. i heard her speak at the library. i got the book, read it that night and i could hear her speaking. host: all about fdr and the white house. guest: fdr and the white house and it was just wow. host: when did you first meet michelle and barack obama?
guest: in chicago i was working and i had left the university of pittsburgh and was teaching and there had been certain times in my life where that do i continue an academic or go back to public service and this is one of those times and i had arrived back into chicago from pittsburgh to be the deputy commissioner, chief librarian of the chicago public library and the first lady was michelle robinson and working with the city administration and so that's when i met her and then later her fiancé and so that was something years later, to me in a professional setting in different roles. host: how important do you think
that connection way back then in chicago led to your choice as a librarian? guest: i'm not sure if it led to the choice. i think it was probably one of the more ironic things to have a name put forward from a search. and yeah she's still a librarian, so but i had been part of the board, the institute of the museum library. then part of the professional library setting. host: you say you want to roosevelt university in chicago and got 8:00 a.m. a.m. phd at the university of chicago. guest: yes, library school. host: what was your dissertation about? guest: about serving young people. i was working at the museum of finance and industry in chicago, and i was working to open the first public service library in a science
museum in the country and that was really interesting because most museum libraries are not open to the public. they are for the curators and educators and here we are going to open up a library, not a lending library, but let these visitors coming in and what were they going to do and that got me interested in not only special libraries, but also museums and is so i took some courses and things and started visiting museums and basically what i was saying at that time in the 80s is that libraries, public libraries in particular needed to use some of the methods that museums used to engage young people, the boston children's museum, all these museums and now you can go into public libraries all over the country and to see play areas and see, not to just a book's, but things as well.
host: baltimore resident said to me when i was coming over to interview, she was terrific in baltimore with doing the kind of things you are just talking about their, the community stuff movie night, a fundraiser i guess you have black and white every year. guest: young people, dancing and being related in the library and connecting books and beer and all that coming yes, it's quite something. host: when you went to baltimore 23 years ago, enoch pratt library, what is it, how a different branches? what did you do there that you were the most proud of? guest: in a library school we studied the enoch pratt library. arisen innovative library for years starting with mr. pratt
when he established its. he was a business person in baltimore at a time when the city was growing and he picked the free library to fund and he said my library shall be for all, rich or poor without distinction of that race or color and that was in 1886, in a city that had racial challenges. so, when i had the opportunity to go to the pratt library i did not know as much about to baltimore, but i knew the pratt library in the night learned baltimore and they are down 21 branches and everywhere i was-- i would go in baltimore people would have a pratt library story, people from all walks of life. so, what i most pleased about is that over the time i have been there we have revitalized those a branch libraries
and we actually constructed the first of new library in that city in 35 years. that's a lifetime and we even had all of the senior staff members bring in a photograph of themselves at either five to 10 years old and we made a poster, so that when we meet we said-- we would say what would a child now, say 35 years and now what pratt stories are we making. that's why i stay in baltimore. host: how did you get adults in there that would normally not go to a library? guest: by making it relevant to their lives. there are a lot of people in the city that have basic life challenges. they need help information. they need to get to computers to file for jobs. some need to file online and they.com.
access to computers to do that. flu shots, all types of things that bring people in and to make the library less intimidating a specially for people have challenges with literacy it's the last place you want to go if you can't read well picked as the public's perception, so bringing in authors, popular programs was a way to get adults in and letting them know it's a safer place for you, whatever level you are coming and not. host: as you came into the library of congress, 3200 employees? guest: yes. host: 607 million-dollar budget? guest: yes. host: what is the first thing you said you wanted to change? guest: it wasn't to so much changing, but keep it moving forward, and it is a wonderful book, a management book that i think about often about change
and when you are changing or helping something move, it's called teaching the elephant to dance. now, i know you have to be careful, but thinking of a ship and how do you get it to move or be nimble and that things like that, so i really am excited about working with the staff members at the library of congress. they are really crackerjack, dedicated and so helping to be part of that because of this library has changed in so many ways the times. host: you come here under the new law that says a librarian can only serve for 10 years. the last librarian
served almost for 30 years. good idea that they shortened it? guest: there have been other librarians that have served even longer, 48 years, i think, was one, so different times in the library's history. 10 years have been longer or shorter. yet had lawyers, politicians, scholars, historians, authors along the way and, i think, at this point when there's someone he opportunities, but also challenges with technology and things are moving so rapidly to give an opportunity to step back and say where are we in 10 years. i've been asked, what do you hope to have accomplished in 10 years. digitize 162 million items, that would be something, so i think it's healthy to look at an institution a
different periods of time as. host: how much is digitized today? guest: i'm not sure, and that's -- even though i have just been sworn in and things and i'm still investigating, i went to get into the weeds with that and look and also i know that there are a number of collections, for instance, the rosa parks collection and to see the actual artifacts to work with the staff to say, how many things are available online and how many things are in the queue and i'm pretty sure there is a number of things, a number of whole collections that are ready and to see if we can match some of those collections with potential donors who would help with the process. host: this is a question for someone as never been for the library-- to the library of congress and doesn't have a clue
to what they can see were due. i know one fun thing when i got my first library of congress card -- guest: people don't know that. host: what would use suggest to someone that's intimidated by the three big buildings? guest: and when you think about this temple of knowledge and information, i mean, it looks like a massive palace of information and to encourage people to come in is actually something i will be working on quite soon as to make sure the public knows that not only can they come in and see one of the only three copies of the gutenberg bible. vacancy thomas jefferson's original library that helped start the library of congress at a crucial time and to really reach out to the public to let
them know it's difficult to put it into one type of thing, so we will be really working to say when you walk into the library what can you do. there is a young readers center and you can go into that. you can go into the music department and see sheet music from decades and hundreds of years ago, so that's a challenge because i think we need-- librarians talk about read more about it, i want the american public in particular to know more about it, no more. its congresses library, but it's also america's library. host: say someone watching this and i want them to be able to walk in somewhere in this library system and say doctor carla hayden told me to come here and ask you how to see what i want to see, where would you send them? guest: the first thing a person should do is to go up to a
wonderful information desk and talk to the person that is there and there will be a person there host: in the jefferson building? guest: in the jefferson building and they can also going to the madison building and there is an atom's the. a theme with the presidents. 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 about something about my family's history. on the visiting from iowa and i understand that you have newspapers that go back and i'm trying to find my great-grandfather. when they go to that information and it has a big sign, information, that's for you: that's your first point of contact and then that person will tease out of you, what you need and then make that
connection to this fast resource that is here and even in other places host: lets say they can't to travel here, but you have all of this digitized and ready online, how do you figure out was their? guest: that's where the power of technology really helps because the library's website should be able to direct you almost in the same way, so you'll search and type in what you are looking for and you will get a response right on the screen. so, here's another getting in the weeds aspects that i'm excited about, making sure that that website is just as responsive, almost, as you talking to a person and getting that, that people won't be in the technology wilderness. host: agger confirmation hearing , the subject of the congressional research came up
and there seems to be a quiet movement afoot that the public ought to see the product that what is it, 700 people in the congressional research people produce-- what do you think and have you studied that anymore center confirmation? guest: as a library and we all know that the congressional research service and is the library of congress and that's how it started, to serve congress took its like the special forces of the library. there are endless, librarians, specialists in different areas that prepare research, nonpartisan research and analysis for the members of congress to inform their work and the reports are available by request from your particular member, so if you know someone is working on something and, i think, i have
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. host: lets say a member of congress calls that the congressional research services and they say i need a report on the b-52 bomber. guest: yes? host: what is your personal instinct once-- was that report is supplied, should that be in the public domain? guest: i'm not sure. i'm going to really be in the weeds with the some of 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 a because it will be a progression all decision to find out how the members are really looking at what the congressional research service provides to them and i have already been in contact with some members about how do we look at this issue and really look at its in a way that will benefits congress and the people they serve. host: what's your sense of having talked to two members of congress about the future of the budget for a place like this? guest: i must tell you that the one of the most pleasant parts of the entire confirmation and nomination process has been meeting with members and really getting a sense of their sincere appreciation for the library of congress. the lot of them are
interested in history. they read. they borrow books and they do. they are interested in the workings of the library and i think there is a lot of support for the library. host: but, is it enough support and given this fiscal time that we are in-- guest: i'm hoping it will translate and that's why i'm really excited about working with the members and already i have indications that they see the value of the library and appreciate it, so that's a very good position to be in as you are in an environment where there are fiscal checks and balances and needs and things like that. guest: that doesn't seem to be much of a dispute about the value of the library. host: you were approved
overwhelmingly. however, my memory is there are 14 republicans that voted against your confirmation. guest: i think that might be the tally. host: what was their reason? guest: from what i understand, there might have been concerned about some of my professional affiliations, not even affiliation, but the standard that librarians as a group has taken. host: when you are ahead of the norman library? guest: specifically in that segment because i was heading up a professional organization, representing 65000 members and when you agree to be the representative, you are the spokesperson. then, i'm a card-carrying member of the library association, so that was an honor for me.
it also puts you in a different arena in terms of being 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 that i express about certain things. host: i assume you're talking about the patriot act. guest: the patriot act and making sure people who get information freely without interference and things like that. host: are you comfortable the way the law is now in the patriot act? guest: yes and the profession is comfortable that basically there concerns were heard and that there is a consciousness that in the balance of security you have
to have them balance with personal liberty and it was a pretty difficult time when the act was enacted. host: i went to give your time back in a second, but before we close it went to ask you to define what a library and is beyond the obvious and why do people that are librarians feel so strongly about their profession? guest: we'd like to say that librarians are that original search engines, that librarians are people who help other people get the information, the resources even the entertainment with fiction that they need for their lives or that they may want and that they can help them distinguish, for instance, health information, but also tell them what the latest novel
is by their favorite author or if that particular thing is not there they can open it up. librarians are people who help people in an information rich world. host: there's a question-- by the way, is your dad still alive at? guest: no so mom is still with us. do you have brothers and sisters? guest: no. host: only child. guest: only child and it's interesting when you say is your dad still with us because some of his music as i mentioned he liked jazz and he was also a studio musician, so he still taught music and everything, but he was also a studio musician, so sometimes i'm in a mall and i can hear my dad playing background on a song and that's quite a feeling. host: 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 always felt that there was something about him and as a eight or 9-year old to have a person-- i did not know how cool he was then, but he was nice to me. host: so, you are probably not old enough to have been to mr. kelly's or the london house and chicago? guest: i knew about the london house. my dad played at the london house with soulful strings, that was a group and you can still hear their music. i knew about the london house on the corner. host: i hate to set-- tell you that i saw karlheinz. guest: my. chicago was quite something for music and still is a little bit.
host: doctor carla hayden, the new librarian of congress. thank you so much for your time. guest: thank you. >> here's a look at books being published this week. george mitchell, former senate majority leader and us envoy for middle east peace during the obama administration outlines his recommendations for the region in: a path to peace. is a guest on our afterwards program december 3 and 4th. in the pursuit of power. richard evans looks at the history of europe from the defeat of napoleon in 1815 mac the beginning of world war i john pomfret provides a history of the relationship between the united states and china in the beautiful country and middle kingdom. also, released this week is over marriage, in which mark shriver, president of save the children action network reports on the life and career of pope francis.
in how to survive a plague, david france reports on the recent advances in hiv research look for these titles and bookstores this coming week and watch for the authors in the near future on book tv. >> i decided that i missed the 60s. i was born in 1963 and i grew up in new york city on central park west and my playground was essentially the staging ground for the antiwar movement's and i knew a lot was going on as a young child, but i was not completely aware of the significance of its. my early hometown heroes were shirley and i had photos of them on my wall and i was a young feminist at age seven, but all of this really was peter to me and when