Carla Diane Hayden is an American librarian. She is the current CEO of Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland, and was the fourth black president of the American Library Association (ALA) from 2003-2004. During her presidency, she was the leading voice of the ALA in speaking out against the newly passed United States Patriot Act.
Hayden received her master's and doctorate degrees in library science from the University of Chicago. She taught as an assistant professor of library science at the University of Pittsburgh before returning to Chicago to begin her professional career as a children's librarian at Chicago Public Library. She was appointed second-in-command at Chicago Public Library in 1991. In 1993 she was appointed to the position of Director at Enoch Pratt Free Library. In 1995, she was awarded the National Librarian of the Year Award by Library Journal, becoming the first black person to receive the prestigious award.
As ALA President in 2003-4, Hayden was vocal in her public opposition to the Patriot Act, leading a battle for the protections of library users' privacy. She especially objected to the special permissions contained in Section 215 of that law, which gave the Justice Department and the FBI the power to access library user records. Hayden often sparred publicly with then-U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft over the language of the law. Ashcroft often ridiculed the library community, and stated that the ALA had been "misled into opposing provisions of the act that make it easier for FBI agents to fish through library records". Hayden's response was immediate, stating that the ALA was "deeply concerned that the Attorney General would be so openly contemptuous" (to the library community), while also pointing out that librarians had been monitored and been under FBI surveillance as far back as the McCarthy Era. Hayden asserted that Ashcroft should release information as to the number of libraries that had been visited under the provisions of Section 215.
In January 2010 President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Dr. Hayden as a member of the National Museum and Library Services Board and National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities.
- ALA website
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