Monday, September 19, 2016

Melvil Dewey, Librarian of Congress, Search Engines, and Michelle Obama

Dr. Carla Hayden, our new Librarian of Congress, has much to say in a recent interview published in The Guardian online Sept. 15. "The librarian of Congress oversees the world’s largest library system. As the name indicates, one of the main roles of the library is to assist Congress in the research it needs in order to pass bills. It also oversees the US copyright system, names the poet laureate, and preserves historical documents and books.

“Dr. [Carla] Hayden has devoted her career to modernizing libraries so that everyone can participate in today’s digital culture,” Barack Obama said when he nominated her.

Hayden says she would like to digitize as many items as possible, especially the rare collections, so people would not have to come to Washington DC to experience them. But she says the internet is not enough.

“People still need assistance when they get information on the internet,” she said. “We’re the original search engines and we held people find things to make their lives better,” she said of librarians. 

According to Hayden, the profession was “feminized” when Melvil Dewey, who created the Dewey decimal system, said “it was time to let women in because there was a lot of monotonous work to do. And he also said women in public libraries could be hostesses because they were part of the home”.

“Oh he was quite the fellow,” Hayden said, laughing. “So for a woman to be actual manager, CEO, is poetic justice.” Read complete article here.