Carla Hayden was approved 74-18 in a vote that unexpectedly came to the floor Wednesday afternoon. A hold had reportedly been placed on her nomination that prevented it from moving by unanimous consent. Hayden is a veteran of the American Library Association (ALA) and the current chief executive of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore.
Hayden was nominated to replace James Billington, whose final years were marked by criticism that the library’s IT infrastructure was not up to par. Billington served for 28 years, which was seen as one reason why Congress recently reduced the term of the librarian to 10 years, instead of maintaining the previous unlimited appointment.