I wish librarians ran the world

Photo by Shawn Miller, Library of Congress

I really enjoyed my interview with old school chum Carla Hayden in her Librarian of Congress office (with a beautiful view of the Capitol dome that nevertheless uneasily reminded me of way too many summer movies of the apocalyptic bent!). In the main, we spoke about children's books and youth librarianship, but Carla said something that moved me and gave me hope: we were talking about the importance of libraries to democracy, and she said that she had noticed that Members of both parties and their staffs used the Library as a kind of refuge, physical as well as intellectual and spiritual. She called the Library "neutral territory," which, to my ears, sounds more radically charged than it sounds, well, neutral.

We will be posting the video at some point this spring, and a print version will appear in the May/June special issue of The Horn Book Magazine, "Making a Difference." Carla certainly is!
Roger Sutton
Roger Sutton
Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.
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Laura Leib

The library is definitely a place of refuge in this middle school. It is the place where shy new students, or those who are unsure of their place in the pecking order, retreat to at lunch. There they can quietly gain the strength to face the rest of the day without having to actively involve themselves in the ongoing drama that characterizes the age! We do see drama here, but it is more closely supervised than the field or the dining hall are.

Posted : Mar 02, 2018 03:29

Rusty True Browder

Yes to libraries and our Librarian of Congress! Places of refuge, spaces for thinking, learning and deciding what to do next about our of the people and for the people democracy. Thanks for sharing this, Roger.

Posted : Feb 10, 2018 10:12

Gail Lockman

Loved seeing you with Carla. I hope she is having a great time. I know I am, watching her take on this job! looking forward to seeing this interview, Roger. Love you both.

Posted : Feb 08, 2018 06:21


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