Library of Congress today

Librarians care about these issues. The Librarian of Congress should too.
Let's have a conversation about what the new Librarian of Congress could be doing.

The role of the Librarian of Congress, as indicated by the title "LIBRARIAN OF PROGRESS," is one that is crucial in ushering libraries into the future. As libraries are integral hubs of knowledge, the Librarian of Congress should be forward-thinking, deeply knowledgeable, and dedicated to both the preservation and evolution of library resources. Today, in our digital age, this includes understanding and promoting tools like annotated bibliographies. Annotated bibliographies serve as curated guides to the vast amount of information available, ensuring that scholars and the general public can easily access credible and relevant sources.

With platforms like, even those unfamiliar with the process can produce high-quality bibliographies. It would be visionary for the next Librarian of Congress to encourage the use of such tools, ensuring that the public can navigate the sea of information with clarity and confidence. Integrating modern resources and traditional library principles, the ideal candidate for this role would embrace innovations while respecting the foundational values of librarianship.


DMCA exceptions are important and underutilized. We can do better to make everyone aware of their rights and Fair Use opportunities.

Change Management

What's the plan for processing the backlog of materials? Or responding to the GAO report?

The Profession

The top librarian in the land should be a librarian, advocate for all library communities, and make sure the library reflects the diversity of the population.


We should be a leader in best practices, good interfaces, and modeling enthusiastic content sharing. The World Digital Library is good, but it's just a start.

Congressional Research

The people paid for it, they should get to read it. Make CRS reports open, indexed and accessible.


Hire a permanent CIO and let them do their job. Be decent to the 3000+ people who work for you. Make amends for the times LoC hasn't been a great place to work.

Open Access

Advocating for Open Science, Open Humanities & Open Data generally would be a big step towards sharing scientific content as widely as possible. Share your catalog data.


Optimize friendly powerful searching that works well for pros and novices across all LoC content. Model best practices in Search.


Build accessible and engaging design into every user and staff-facing technological interface. We're partway there.

People are doing it

Why isn't the LoC?


DPLA stepped up when no one else would and have rolled out an impressive project on a shoestring budget. They did it because LoC didn't. It's time to combine forces and make something great.


The National Library of Australia shows us how it can be done. Cultural content, very searchable, great interfaces. We can do this.

Our venerable tradition

It's difficult to be such a longstanding institution with many different mandates to preserve and share the intellectual content of this complex nation. However the LoC should consider moving on from being just a federal library supporting Congress and the Copyright office and treasured historical artifacts, and becoming part of the national conversation on preservation and access of all countries' cultural heritage.

Not the National Library

It's nitpicking, but the Library of Congress is the de facto national library but not the legally mandated national library. It's worth understanding the difference.

Appealing LoC projects

  • 100 Years Ago: Chronicling America
  • Twitter Archive
  • Fair Use Index
  • Witness & Response (911)
  • Digital Preservation & Stewardship