Some are saying that President Obama’s choice to fill Dr. James H. Billington’s position at the Library of Congress could very well define his legacy as President. If you’ve paid any attention to this discussion, the common theme is that, while Dr. Billington was a good leader, he lagged behind in positioning the Library of Congress for the 21st Century and the digital age. Now is the time to change the direction of the Library, and the American Association of Law Libraries is adding its voice to what Law Librarians would want in the 14th Librarian of Congress.
The letter below was sent to the President today recommending that he nominate a candidate who will provide strong leadership on issues affecting libraries in the digital age.
Contact: Cara Schillinger
Director of Membership, Marketing, and Communications
CHICAGO, August 3, 2015 — The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) today submitted a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama recommending he nominate a visionary leader with a deep commitment to preserving cultural memory as the new Librarian of Congress to replace Dr. James H. Billington, who is retiring from the position effective January 1, 2016.
The Librarian of Congress heads the Library of Congress, recognized as the United States’ de facto national library and the largest library in the world. The librarian also oversees the U.S. Copyright Office, Law Library of Congress, and several other service and support units. Dr. Billington, the 13th Librarian of Congress, has served in the role for 28 years, after being appointed to the position by former President Ronald Reagan in 1987.
AALL’s letter asks President Obama, during his search for the next Librarian of Congress, to consider qualified candidates, including law librarians, who will provide strong leadership on issues affecting libraries in the digital age — such as preservation of and permanent public access to born-digital and digitized materials.
AALL believes the next Librarian of Congress should have a transformative vision of a strong, responsive, and modern Library of Congress for the 21st century and beyond; possess a sophisticated understanding of how technology can improve library operations and promote access and reservation;
and display a commitment to transparency, public participation, and collaboration.
The full text of AALL’s letter to the president is available at bit.ly/AALLlocrec. For more information about AALL and its other advocacy efforts, please visit www.aallnet.org.
The American Association of Law Libraries was founded in 1906 to promote law libraries’ value to the legal and public communities, foster the law librarianship profession, and provide leadership in the legal information field. With nearly 5,000 members, AALL represents law librarians and related professionals who are affiliated with law firms; law schools; corporate legal departments; courts; and local, state, and federal government agencies. For more information, visit www.aallnet.org.