Accessing a Diverse Collection by a Diverse Library Audience with Dr. Carla Hayden (2018)

Accessing a Diverse Collection by a Diverse Library Audience with Dr. Carla Hayden (2018)


If you didn’t know it already, we have a celebrity in the house. (audience laughing) We have two celebrities actually, and it’s my esteemed pleasure
to introduce the first one, and that is our Secretary David Skorton. Secretary Skorton is the 13th secretary, and he came on board this month in 2015 July 1st, And as I recall, we
were all out on the Mall making that great big Smithsonian star if you remember that some
of you were around then, and he was able to join
us right in the front. So, we’re happy to have him here today. Many of you know his
background as a cardiologist, as an administrator, as a
president of universities. You know that he occasionally shows his musician background
by playing the jazz flute. He’s played for us a couple of times, and I tell you he’s really good. And he also way back long
and you may not know this was the cohost of a weekly program at the University of Iowa called, As Night Falls, Latin Jazz, on their public FM station. We’re so pleased to have him here, and I’m really pleased that
he’s going to introduce our guest speaker on this signature event of the Libraries’ 50th Anniversary. David?
(audience applauding) – Thanks, Nancy, and
good afternoon, everyone. You can just imagine what
a fabulous musician I am, if I’m here with you today, yep.
(audience laughing) Now, if I was any good. you’d be paying tickets to
see me, but that’s alright. Well, thanks, Nancy,
for that introduction, and, Nancy, thanks for all
you do for us every day, every day.
(all applauding) Nancy! Nancy is one of my heroes. In a few minutes, I’m gonna be introducing another one of my heroes. So, it’s my pleasure to welcome everyone to the renovated Freer Gallery of Art for the Information
Matters lecture given today by the inimitable Dr.
Carla Hayden, on the timely and ever more important
vital topic of diversity. I’ve always believed
diversity to be Central to this shared Endeavor we
called the United States. It is who we are embodied
in our national slogan, e pluribus unum. As it spelled out in the
American Library Association policy manual, and I quote, libraries can and should
play a crucial role in empowering diverse populations for full participation
in a democratic society. See, you ought read that
policy manual more often. (audience laughing)
It’s pretty cool. The Smithsonian strongly
supports diversity, not just in our 21 different libraries, but at our 19 museums,
nine research centers, numerous education programs, and everywhere throughout the institution. There are a couple of reasons why diversity is so important, both to me personally and
for us as an organization. First, a variety of
perspectives makes us a stronger and more intellectually
robust institution. Author Professor Scott Page identifies that kind of diversity as what he calls cognitive diversity, the difference in how people think. Its advantage over homogeneity, is that it creates what
Professor Page calls diversity bonuses,
improved problem-solving, better predictions, and more innovation, that kind of diversity
clearly benefits us all, but no less important is the more usual conception of diversity, different backgrounds, genders, ethnicities, and religions. This type of diversity is absolutely key to fulfilling our mission of the increase and
diffusion of knowledge. By representing the face of America, we can better captivate,
teach, and inspire everyone. Our new strategic plan aims to engage and inspire more people where they are, with greater impact by the year 2022. To do so we must invite
everyone to the table. We must more accurately
reflect the audiences with whom we want and need to engage. It’s why we actively seek out and recruit a diverse body of talent
all across the institution. It starts with museum leadership, Research Center leadership, and proliferates through all
levels of the organization. We have also created museums like the National Museum
of the American Indian, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The exhibitions and
programming at those museums, help to redefine and to
retell the American story in a more inclusive and
therefore more accurate way. When we haven’t had
adequate space or resources to create an entire museums we have created pan institutional centers, like the Asian Pacific American Center and the Smithsonian Latino Center. An important project taking shape now that you may have heard about is the Latino Center’s
forthcoming Latino Gallery in the National Museum
of American History. It will serve as our focal
point for Latino scholarship, connecting programs and exhibitions across the institutions
museums and research centers. An important aspect of American life where I believe we have not
adequately done our job, at least in a comprehensive way, is the extensive contributions women have made to the nation. Those stories have been peppered throughout our museums, told through some of
the 155 million things in our collections. Some are on display, like the spectrograph at
the Air and Space Museum, used by pioneering astronomer Vera Rubin to analyze galaxies. It would lead her to hypothesize the presence of a mysterious substance that fills the universe
known as dark matter. Other iconic objects are
not currently on display, like rosewood and ivory gavel in the American History Museum, used by Susan B Anthony, to cheer women’s suffrage
conventions a century ago. That’s why I’m so enthusiastic about one of our newest projects, The American Women’s History Initiative. This pan institutional effort will help expand our representation of women’s rich contributions to society, both at our museums with an initial exhibition
that will travel the country, and through many other programs. It will bring American
women’s history to life in three key ways. First it will amplify the voices of women across all the museums and
parts of the Smithsonian through our collections, exhibitions, and the good work of our curators. It will reach a diverse
and international audience with a digital first strategy, and it will empower and inspire people from all walks of life through public and educational programs, but before I finally introduced
and welcome Dr. Hayden, allow me to tell you one such story of an accomplished woman, who I don’t believe has gotten the recognition she deserves. We gather today here in
the Meyer Auditorium. As is often the case, we don’t necessarily know
much about the person behind the name on a
monument, building, or venue. In this instance, the
auditorium in which we sit was named for Agnes and Eugene Meyer. Together they owned the Washington Post, which they passed on to their
daughter Katherine Graham. Agnes’s story is particularly fascinating. She was a pioneering journalist, a prolific writer, and
a civil rights activist. She lobbied for integration, expanded Social Security benefits, and an end to racial
discrimination in employment. She promoted the creation of the Department of Health,
Education, and Welfare, and federal aid to education. In fact LBJ said that
Mayer was more influential than anyone on his educational policies. Museums, archives, and libraries keep these stories of diversity of hidden figures like Agnes Meyer. By expanding the breadth of stories and diversifying the
voices that tell them, we can breathe new life
into these stories. We can make them resonate
with new generations. And, thanks for the Smithsonian libraries, and all the work they
continue to do for us, and for the American people, as they celebrate their
50th Anniversary this year, to you I give thanks. I also thank the other co-hosts of the Information Matters lecture, the Smithsonian Archives, and the office of the
Chief Information Officer. And, thanks for this wonderful
group of professionals with us here today to hear
from our esteemed speaker, and as I mentioned, one of
my heroes, Dr. Carla Hayden. Dr. Hayden’s very distinguished career began as a library associate
and children’s librarian with the Chicago Public Library. She worked in various capacities at Chicago’s Museum of
Science and Industry, University of Pittsburgh, and of course Baltimore’s Enoch Pratt Free
Library, where as its CEO, she was named the Librarian of the Year by the Library Journal. Dr. Hayden was nominated
by President Obama to be a member of the
National Museum and Library Services Board, and in September of 2016, she was sworn in as the
14th Librarian of Congress, the first African-American, and the first woman to
serve in that capacity. It is my distinct personal honor to welcome the Librarian of
Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden. (audience applauding) – Thank you so much. Thank you. And, thank you and good afternoon, and thank you Secretary,
for that introduction. Special thank you to Nancy, for inviting me to this celebration. It’s truly a milestone. 50 years of service and support for the Smithsonian Institution. You deserve a hand for each other. – Whoo!
(audience clapping) – How many … How many of you are actually Smithsonian Library staff members? Alright. And we have guests and visitors, and just someone I have
to give a shout out to that’s known me for almost those 50 years
that you’ve celebrated, Miss Anne Weeks, my
colleague from Chicago. The being able to be here
with you is special for me, because I had the opportunity to have, and I’m gonna share with
you some memories of my own about the, with the Smithsonian Libraries. In the early ’80s, I was working at the Museum
of Science and Industry. It was noted. And I noticed that my dissertation topic, serving
young people in museums, I was, I needed to do some research, and I contacted Miss Katherine Kitty Scott at the Smithsonian Library to start out, and I came to DC. And, I don’t know if any
of you remember Miss Scott, but she was quite a character, and she however kind of warmed up to me, and took me in and directed me, and that’s where I first got introduced to the Smithsonian Libraries and I went on and traveled the country, going to various museums
and doing a survey of how museum libraries
serve young people. Do they let them in? What are the requirements? And then, to fast forward to right now, I have the pleasure and
honor to work with Nancy. And full Nancy, do they
know who your husband is? (audience laughing) In case you don’t know, well now everybody will know, Nancy’s husband is Mr. John Cole, who is this distinguished historian at the Library of Congress. John is one of the few people that if you ask a question
about the Library of Congress, he’ll say, oh, I think I can
find it in one of my books, meaning his eight books, about the Library of Congress. He started the National Book Festival. He was the head of the
Center for the Book, and really was instrumental in getting the Library
of Congress to reach out and be more accessible and to signify what the combination of
diverse collections could be when you think about a
diverse audience and users. Now, working with my
colleague, the secretary here, we, I’ve learned, I’ve been in DC, working for little over a year and a half, and I know that there are gangs, and that’s G-A-N-G-S, gangs in Washington. So, there’s a new gang in town. We call ourselves the Gang of Three, your Secretary, David Ferriero, the National Archivist,
and Library of Congress. And we have started meeting together, and we engage in very friendly historical and cultural one-upmanship. (audience laughing) And it’s wonderful. The next meeting is
gonna be at The Archives. David, and then David has an extra, so there’s two Davids and
Carla right, first woman. So, that’s really, there
you go, so here we are, So, I invite … The main goal though,
before I tell you happened, more full disclosure, the main goal though is to recognize that Millions and millions and
millions literally of people from all walks of life,
from all backgrounds, all abilities, disabilities
are coming to our institutions, and when you combine those three, we hold collectively the
nation’s treasures and heritage, intellectual, popular culture, all of these things we hold together, and we should work together and not be totally in competition. The only competition we should have is how we can attract
and engage more people to use our collection, so that
leads to the first meeting. So, I said I would post it, the luncheon at the Library of Congress. The best thing, someone said, Carla, what’s the best thing about
being Librarian of Congress? And, I have to say it’s
working with the staff members, and I know you feel that too. The curators, the librarians, and all the people you work with. So, what happens is, we pull out the good silver,
and you know what that’s like. (audience laughing)
At the Smithsonian, you all have it literally. Good silver, you have it, right? So when a visitor comes,
so we’re thinking, so we do research on Secretary. We knew all about his
jazz background, right? I’m a librarian, because
my parents were musicians. And so, I know how that, how you end up in another profession (audience laughing)
when you have limited talent, right? So, he … We have Smithsonian, he’s jazz, and then David Ferriero is an opera buff. So, music department, we’re just out. Just bring out Bach’s
hair and Mozart’s hair, (audience laughing)
and then the, the, the, the scores, Leonard Bernstein,
we have his archives. We’ve bring out, just you
know, just everything. First opera ever written
in the world, any time, and we have this wonderful,
wonderful librarian, who’s a musicologist. And, the wonderful thing about him is he knows jazz and opera. I mean, he is truly that. So, he was able to put out
all of these treasures, so you have Ferriero looking
at all the opera stuff, even photos of these opera singers that David Ferriero knew of. And then he slides into jazz with something by … Who was it, Jelly Roll Morton, who did an opera kind of thing, and then the jazz for your David. By the time this young man finished, I looked over and saw your Secretary talking to him rather intently. Then I saw your Secretary
pull out his business card. (audience laughing) And, I thought well, okay, maybe he wants to do some more research. Ah, no.
(audience laughing) Luckily, the young man now has a raise. (audience laughing) And, I convinced him that he would be of more value
to the Library of Congress, but what was so wonderful was to have the Secretary of the Smithsonian interact with one of
our reference librarians and have that appreciation
for his knowledge and that. And so, we are doing things together to engage not only the
scholars and the researchers, but more with the younger
generations and diversity. You know that the
Archives has an overnight where Mr. Ferriero, after the young people
sleep by the Constitution, talk about one-upmanship. (audience laughing) What, I don’t know, you
let him get in the plane for the Wright brothers or
something, I don’t know. So, we think about it, we have the papers. (audience laughing)
David McCullough so, so he and then he makes
pancakes the next morning for the children. So, we said okay, what if they could have in the night before, maybe they sleep at the
Natural History Museum, or do something like that? They wake up, he can do the
pancakes in the morning, but the Library of Congress will then have them for
macaroni and cheese, (audience laughing)
because that’s Tom, we have Thomas Jefferson’s
original recipe for that in his own hand, when he went, but looking at ways that
we can work together, because the goal when you
think about diversity, and so many times we limit what we think about in terms of diversity. We think it’s more … It starts out with some of
the more obvious things, but when you think about the fact that we have the most diverse set of users I think you could imagine from your curators to your Scholars your award-winning Nobel Prize winners, all of these serious
researchers in your subjects, and 21 libraries when
you think about that. Advocacy groups, think tanks,
I was listing of the students, K through 12 teachers, very important, lobbyists and hobbyists, and enthusiasts, people who, there are poeple who are researchers and get in-depth about stamps, but then there’s stamp collectors. So, you have the ca-, and then you have the casual visitors that are just coming in, and you, we want to engage them, and as I think it was James Joyce, and I’m gonna as a
librarian check on this, somebody could Google it, who said, when you open the doors, and you think about it,
here comes everybody. And, they’re coming to us
physically and virtually, they’re coming with all types of needs, And when you look at diversity
in its broadest sense, we are challenged in many ways, prioritizing, we have a course of technology aspects. We have diversity right
here, generational. There was a staff meeting
recently at our library we’re digitizing and we’re doing, and metadata, and all of this, right? And then, someone mentioned that there are staff members
that are still very tied to, was it Word Perfect? No.
(audience laughing) Yes, and Roswell is like,
a different generation. He’s, what? And, we recently published
a book on the card catalog. It’s become a kind of
cult thing, a bestseller. It sold and it … We had a young man that came in to do a media thing on it. And he’s about 26, and he’s taking the photos,
and he’s doing this, and we still have the card
catalogs in the lower levels, and they stretch from, you know, miles. And he’s doing this, and then
afterwards he turns it off, and says so, what do you do with it? (audience laughing) And so, you pull the drawer out. (audience laughing)
And then he looked at it, and he did, and he said now what? (audience laughing)
And it was such a moment to realize that he was
serious, he wasn’t joking. And so, you’re in staff meetings, and you’re thinking of
seniors who are enthusiasts, genealogists, family histories, but they need to use our resources. And so, we’re doing all
this about digitizing, but what about the people
who are not as tech-savvy? How do we do that? People who have different languages, different ways of processing information, some people are more visual, others ones are text heavy. All of these things, just
thinking of the diversity in this broader sense can be exciting, and it is something that
the Library of Congress is looking to museums as institutions that have really been able to address
diversity in so many ways. So, the Library of Congress is planning traveling exhibitions. It did it before with an 18-wheeler. And so, the plan is to
have these mobile units going into communities and helping them access the collections and actually having things that they could use in their communities. We are looking at expanding
the visitor experience in the Thomas Jefferson building. The Library of Congress doesn’t
have a treasures gallery, or anything that brings
out our greatest hits, also expanding our
offerings for young people. One of my favorite letters,
and I’ve been talking, we’re going out and
doing a lot of outreach. We’re doing more outreach. I’m out here talking about what the Library of Congress has, I just last week, I was in Arkansas. I’ve been going all over the
country, into communities, and there is a hunger for
people to connect with … This one lady said, you
have the real things. Like yes, we have the real things. That there are, we can vouch for. When I talk about the contents
of Abraham Lincoln’s pockets the night he was assassinated, handwritten letters by Rosa Parks, how she feels about her arrest. The last picture taken of Harriet Tubman, when we have all these things, and we take it out to people, they are very interested. And so, we’ve started doing things like live streaming programming, from the Library of Congress. Live from the Library. We are doing things that the
Smithsonian does so well, connecting with popular culture. We started with pop-up exhibits, bringing out some of the things that relate to what’s
going on in the world, and even right here in DC. So, when Awesome Con was here, the Library of Congress has the world’s largest
collection of comic books, so we brought out the
first edition of Superman with the Capitol Police
standing right there. (audience laughing)
Right? And, all of this pride. We have the Alvin Ailey archives, and Jonathan Larson, and when, and I’m tweeting
just like the secretary, and taking people on an adventure every time we find something
or something interesting. So when the young Parkland
children young people, sang Seasons of Love on the Tony Awards, we put up right away Jonathan Larson’s handwritten calculation of those days and those minutes that we have. So, trying to relate
what our collections are to what people are doing. Working with our partners, and so one of the first
times that the Library went in with another institution, it was with the Smithsonian. I mentioned the Library of Congress has the last photo of Harriet Tubman. Well, together we went halfsies with the new African American Museum to purchase the first
photograph of Harriet Tubman that had been … People, when you see that photo, you see what she was like coming right off of the
Underground Railroad. You see that strength, you … We’re so used to seeing her like this. Well, when you see
that, so we went halves. and the Library of Congress is
using their preservation lab to make sure that the
photograph is taken care of and all of that, and it will
be displayed at the Museum. And we digitized it and made copies, those types of partnerships. One in the gang of three
that we’ve talked about, I mentioned the, or it’s so much fun, the historical one-upmanship. (audience laughing) So, but what we’re looking at,
what are their connections? Women’s suffrage was coming up, the Library of Congress has the papers of Susan B Anthony,
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Mary Church Terrell, and the association. So, when we are looking at what the other institution is planning, what can we do to
supplement, coordinate with? Are there some things that we can loan? For the first time,
the Library of Congress has partnered with another
cultural institution to put on an exhibit where
the exhibit contains items, a significant amount of items
from another institution, and that institution is, the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. And, baseball Americana opened. The Library of Congress has
the world’s largest collection of baseball cards and
baseball memorabilia, Jackie Robinson’s collection,
the Branch Rickey Papers, the scout that really
supported Jackie Robinson, and Don Drysdale, I’m a baseball fan, Don Drysdale, Sandy Kovacs, Ernie Banks, his scouting report on Hank Aaron says something like, he has promise. (audience laughing)
Right? And then there’s one he had, and we blanked out the name, but all he put was can’t run, can’t hit, don’t go, don’t hire. So, the Baseball Hall of Fame has, they’ve lent, Babe Ruth’s cleats, and all types of things, and then we partner with ESPN, and they took some of the historic data and made a kind of statistical
thing, then and now. And then Major League
Baseball gave historic footage so we could have one per,
I always get this mixed up, Ted Williams pitching to … Somebody pitching to Ted Williams. I’m not much that of a fan. (audience laughing) It’s limited, so you have
all of this partnership, and it makes it a more meaningful exhibit, and display of the
collections for the public. What we didn’t figure on
was the nostalgia factor. So, these visitors are coming
in for the All-Star Game, and they’re from all over, and you see grandparents
with their younger grandchild talking about Harry Caray the announcer, and hearing his voice and
how it got more fluid, as the games went on, for some reason. (audience laughing) And just all of these connections that people are making, and that’s what the accessibility,
when you think about it, accessibility, diversity audiences. Of course we’re gonna have ramps. Of course, we’re gonna have technology that allow people with reading challenges, and we have a touch area for
people who are totally blind and you can take all of these
things yes were gonna do, but what about diversity of experiences, personal preferences, and how we can make our collections more, that someone can see
themselves in our collections, wherever they are. We’re showing them, I’d like to say books can be windows to the world, but they should also be mirrors. And, there should be
something in diversity for everybody to connect
to, whenever we can, and that’s our biggest challenge. I remember that book,
when I first saw myself. I talk about it all
the time, Bright April, the first time, as a seven-year-old, I saw myself in something,
and what it meant to me. And going into, we had people already
in the baseball exhibit. We had an older gentleman that talked about seeing
Jackie Robinson play and how it much meant to the
African-American community and he remembers as a child
being taken to a game, because of that, and his
father taking him to say, and how is everybody dressed up, because it was so momentous. How can we humanize people in history. Rosa Parks, the Library just acquired the Rosa Park Collection, and to show young people in her own hand, her doubts about sharing her story, because she thought people
would feel different about her if they knew her father left when he, when she was two. How can we let people connect? And so, when you think
about the collections that we all handle and
have and how we do that. I just encourage you to
think about diversity in this broader sense. What can we do, even in
things like copyright rights. What about letting young people? And somebody said to me one
time when I mentioned this, so it’s okay if you think it. Just like we teach young
people internet safety, what about when they’re
looking at information online, and they’re doing it,
this generational … It’s not a gap, but it’s a difference. They see things and they
don’t think about rights and who owns it sometimes. What if we had something that’s, C, and that means caution holder. Let’s see if that’s,
there’s some rights to that, or how you download,
what’s copyright free. And that was, we were able to see that. Another institution of
partnership happened recently where they did that wonderfully in the Annenberg Space Photography in LA. They had a curator, Miss Ann Tucker, a wonderful photography curator. She spent two years
combing the photograph, prints and photographs
division of the Library to put up this wonderful exhibit. And all through the
exhibit they teach people about these things you can download, these things you can’t, and
why, and they use the C. There’s so many ways that we can help people use our resources, and also think about creating themselves. We deal with wonderful,
wonderful examples of creativity, and intellect, all the time. The Wright brothers, as David Ferriero said, well, we have the patent
for the first plane, and Library of Congress has their papers. Your secretary said, we have the plane. (audience laughing) What if we do a joint exhibit, but to inspire people, to
give them a sense of the past, and connect, and also let them know that they can be the next ones. They can be the ones making history. I was in, and you’ll appreciate this It was a discussion with some people who have something to do with our Library, and they said why are
you all still collecting all of this stuff? Isn’t it all gonna be digitized? Why do you need a new storage unit? Why do you need to preserve this stuff? And, we just said history never stops, and it’s, people will keep collecting, and that led to a discussion of shouldn’t we have an
exhibit about collecting? And say, what do you collect? And, have people think about that. So, I just want to congratulate you, because 50 years though
I’ve passed it personally is a long time.
(audience laughing) And, to be able to grow and have the Smithsonian Libraries grow, and serve not only the
staff, and the curators, but also the general public, is a great, great accomplishment. So, Nancy, you should feel so proud, and everyone that works at
the Smithsonian Libraries should feel so proud, and we want to be your
partners going forward, and we won’t make you cook anything. (audience laughing)
Though, the library does have the
largest collection of cookbooks. (audience laughing) And so, your Julia Child exhibit,
and all of that I visited, but their, we wanna all work together. And so, know that the Library of Congress is your partner, and together think about the resources we can have for everybody. So, I know we have some
time for some Q and A, or just comments, because
I’d be really interested in how you think about letting the public the general public use your libraries. And, I’m gonna open it with the, I’ve been talking about all the treasures, large comic books, all of this stuff. And so, I get a letter from a young man, Adam Coffee, eight years old from San Clemente, California. And he says, dear, Dr. Hayden, I heard you talk about the Library and all the things you have, however … And, I was like whoa,
this is on note paper. (audience laughing)
Printing. You require, interesting spelling, you require a person to be 16 before they can get a reader’s card. I am eight.
(audience laughing) I do not want to wait,
and I can barely see, I do not want to wait another eight years before I can use your library. Is it because you think
children won’t be careful? You could make rules.
(audience laughing) We hunted Adam down, and he said, we need to talk about this. (audience laughing)
I put it up, we put it up on our website. We need to talk about this, and he gave me his information. And so, we found his phone number. We talked to his mom. We had a conference call with Adam. We were so nervous, because
we’re like this kid … You know, so we head of communications, Education Department there, our new exhibit director,
Dave, another David, David Mandel, we were all there, the head of Library Services, and, Adam we talked to him. And he was, he wanted to
know who was in the room. (audience laughing)
And all of this, and we told him that we had plans for it, and it was very helpful that
we were thinking the age. I mean, we’re really
outlining what our plans were. Luckily, we had some.
(audience laughing) And, we were thinking that, at least seven years old might be it, and what would they be able to do, the Young Reader Center and all that. And he was, you know, you
could hear him processing it. So, he wanted to know
when that would be ready. (audience laughing) And we said we have a pilot
coming and all of this, and then we said, well, Adam, you would be the first card holder. Well within a few months, his parents find a way to
bring him out here, and he was librarian for the day.
– Aw! – And he even inspected
us and met David Mandel, and he actually looked at
proofs and drafts of the card. He had on a little bow tie.
– Aw … – And a fedora, he was cute as a button, but he made some suggestions
to our graphic designer about the card and everything, and they are corresponding now, but that really taught us
and we started thinking. So, what could an eight year old do? You know, why is 16, and how
can we look at connecting with the DC public schools
and their One Card program? And, is there some way that
you could get readers card with the Library of Congress when you are a junior
or something like that? Or, is it grade based, or what is it? So, that’s why it would be
really interesting to hear some thoughts on how
we could really engage some of the younger people. Now I think there is a mic. – [Woman] I have one of the microphones. I just wanna remind folks that we are webcasting and recording, so if you have a question, Alex and I will come to
you with the microphone. – We’re webcasting.
(audience laughing) – Thank you, Carla.
– Oh well, well no, she had a question.
(audience applauding) David, no. David, don’t worry,
librarians have questions. (audience laughing)
He’s worried. He’s like, thank you, Carla. No, no we got one.
(audience laughing) Secretary, don’t worry. – Oh thanks, it is my turn. Well, first of all thank you
so much for coming out today. It’s so exciting to have
you here in the Smithsonian, and I really admire all the
work that you do with diversity, and your commitment to
making diversity happen, but I was curious if you
ever encounter any resistance to your plans and to making
collections more open, and how do you deal with that? – Well, one way is to create demand. So, by sharing and talking
about the collections, I mean Adam, this little kid
from California is writing in, you’re talking about all
this stuff, you know … So, that creates an actual
need to at least respond. You have something that sometimes we would like
to generate interest. People want to use or want to do that, so you’re letting people know. A lot of times, and that’s
part of the diversity thing is letting people know what you have. They don’t, most people
don’t know what we have, and that’s what we’re finding out. When they say that, when we
tell them all this stuff, they wanna use it. So you have the demand, you have letters. You have people writing in. How can we use it, what are your hours? Seem not to be conducive
to the general public. I went to one of our sister institutions, the British Library. We’re planning an exhibit,
one with Rosa Parks, Beyond the Bus, so we’ll
be talking about that one, suffrage, but also the two Georges, our George and George III. So I was at the British Library and I was talking to a
researcher over there. She’s a full professor, tenured at like Oxford or something, and she’s doing it, 16th, 15th Century Ethiopian manuscripts, and she’s looking. So, I just asked her
about how as a researcher, sharing space with the
general public felt for her in the reading room, and she talked about how wonderful it was, and she kinda caught that I
might not be from England, (audience laughing)
and she said, and I’ve been to that Library of Congress, and they’re not so, you know. Because what she liked
at the British Library, so she said, researchers have to eat, they want coffee, so some of the, the cafe and having things
there for researchers and things like that and the accessibility in terms of that, the same thing that a visitor would want, a researcher that’s gonna be there. So looking and when creating demand, looking at peer institutions and seeing what they’re
doing is very helpful. That friendly competition,
I have used the Smithsonian like you wouldn’t believe, in so many ways, in terms of well, look
at what they’re doing. Look at what The British Library is doing, Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris. Haven’t been to visit yet, but I think I need to do a field trip. But they are doing things
in terms of the public and preserving it and
making sure that you have the spaces for the scholars and the researchers and the staff, and also be able to
accommodate the general public. I have a pretty extensive background in the general public, and I know that that can be challenging, and that that’s, and sharing of spaces, but think about how you
would have different spaces, and the British Library
is really working on that, and doing, if you get a chance, that’s one that’s doing it really well. And then having common spaces, that for the amenities. And then sometimes you just say well, as one staff member asked me one time as I was talking about accessibility and opening and diversity, she looked at me and she said, you like the public, don’t you? (audience laughing) Yes, they’re okay. But it was interesting
to talk about, though, when I go to all the different states, those are citizens, constituents, people who will tell their congressperson, hey the Library of Congress, so it relates to, by reaching
out to the public and that, they see a value beyond
what you might think, and they will say it
and talk about it, too, and that’s another thing. You’re building a groundswell of support by opening up and finding
ways to invite people to use your resources. So it could be helpful. It really can. See? (audience laughing) – I feel so excited to actually meet you. – Aw.
– And as I– – You need to get out more.
(audience laughing) – But I have an idea
for the Gang of Three. – [Carla] Okay? – As a former news
librarian, fact checker, and a retired librarian from
the Department of State, I think it’s about time that we, the original fact-checkers, put together an exhibit, of course, with your leadership, on how to determine what is fake news and what are facts. – As you know, Librarians–
– We’re bad asses, I know. – We have, and David you should know, that we have buttons and T-shirts that say librarians, the original search engines. Right, so that’s our thing. And we’ve been talking
about information literacy, just like internet
safety, in terms of that, but also the term information
literacy for quite a while, bibliographic services,
reference, all of these things, but this is a time when I
think we can help the public by saying that this is a different, this is an extension of literacy. You can learn to read,
you’re a visual learner, visual literacy, all of these things, and another part is information literacy, and to talk about that’s what it is. That’s what we do when we do reference. What’s the most authoritative source? The basic thing, how do you determine? Which source do you look at
for what you’re interested in? And so, it’s bringing on, librarians are gonna
have their day, David. I mean we’re, you know, this
is what when people say, what are you, you go to library school? What do you learn in library school? And then some guy asked me one time, I was in a panel and I
was the only librarian, and they do the introductions. And then, he looked at
me and gave me his card, ’cause he said you have a PhD in it? (audience laughing) Aren’t libraries going out of business? He said, but you seem bright, you know how so–
(audience laughing) You know you might inch
up the management thing. You know, here’s my card, so it’s a time for librarians
and the library profession to just say hey, you know,
here we are, we do this. – Hello, my name is Erica,
born and raised in DC. And the first time–
– Hoo! – Yes, we’re here with these guys. The first time I went to
Library of Congress I was 28, and it was for work,
and I was really nervous that they weren’t gonna let me in, because in DC, you don’t know the Library of Congress
is open to the public. So, to hear you’re doing
these mobile pop-ups, and trust me I’m doing my part for you to get it out there that people should go, but to hear your doing these mobile buses and pop ups to engage the
community across the country does my heart so much,
because you do so much, and there’s so much for
people to learn, to know, and just to realize they
have a passion for it, so I wanna thank you from the
bottom of my heart for that. And I make field trips for my family now, so we’re going for Baseball Americana, and we’ve done other
exhibits, but thank you. – Well, thank you, because one of the first
things we could do is and we’ve already looked into it, with the architect of the Capitol
and all that, the signage. When you go to the front of the Jefferson Building, for instance, over here, we’re working on a master plan to enhance the visitor experience, we’re thinking right there. You don’t see one of those kiosks or things like the Smithsonian has, that’s interactive, that says the hours, that one invites you to do that. You just see in tiny
print Library of Congress. So you already, of course
that’s our first mission. We’ve got our special forces the Congressional Research Service, yes. And, we wanna serve Congress and the communities they serve, so that’s something that
we need to do right away. It doesn’t even look like
something that you could go into, and you need to know that
right on that curb, right? The banner, you know,
what about the banners? Come in, the folder does a great job. In fact, I think I can show this. Russell is looking at me. So, one day I’m driving in the back, right where the Adams
building and everything, and I see these gentlemen putting up, I know they were gonna be banners, and I said, aw, this great! I didn’t even, I knew that
we needed the banners, but somebody has already done it. And so, stop at the light, and it goes up, come to the Folger!
(audience laughing) Shakespeare with The Wonders of Will. I’m thinking, ugh, right in our backyard. (audience laughing)
So, yes we have to do more, and that’s why we met with Mayor Bowser, and her staff, and her
Community Outreach and things, how can we make, I went to their opening of their public library
branch when I go here too. People who live in this city
should really, I know they do, but appreciate what they have, and there should be some
advantage to being a city kid, like when you live in New
York, you live in other cities, they make you know what you have, because you are right here. So, that’s why we’re looking
at that readers card at 16. We just met with Howard University to extend part of their
freshman orientation, bring the students to Library of Congress, and other ways and other colleges to help them say that you have, this is part of your academic thing. So yeah we’re, and then tonight … Is it tonight that we have
the free movies on the Lawn. Free movies from our register, free popcorn, big screen, and then in this time we’re combining. Last year we did it, just the movies. It was fun, but you know, you have to wait until the sun goes down, so that’s about 8:00 or 9:00 in summer. Now, we have a concert
before the film showing, and it’s just open to any anybody, and that’s been to see families,
and they’re picnicking, and they’re doing it right there on the side of the Library of Congress. So, you’ll be seeing more and more of us. Just, I wanna see things
on those buses, right? You guys do that well. And also, Folgers really doing it. They are doing it, but
I know Michael is, okay. But, just city life, that’s
what makes it really cool. – Okay, have, have you
reinstituted Sunday Hours? – Not yet.
(audience laughing) Not yet, but I’m glad you brought it up. I don’t know this lady. (audience laughing) Okay? – I’m another Carla.
(audience laughing) – Okay well. Looks, so that’s something,
I mentioned the hours. We just, we’re embarking on our new strategic plan,
we’re rolling it out. It’s more user-centered
and looking at who uses us, who doesn’t use us, who
could use us, the hours, they are very few places
that are open before 10:00. (audience laughing)
Just saying. So we don’t even let people know that they can get into
the library at 8:30. And Sundays, what about Sunday? So working with the staff and thinking of reinstituting that, and some of the ways,
that’s accessibility, being open when people can come. Everybody can’t come during the week and limited hours. So thank you for bringing that up. Oh, that’s Anne.
– Hello. I’ve always been interested
in the Young Readers Center, since its beginnings, and it’s always seemed to me that it’s had enormous potential
that hasn’t been realized. So what are your plans for
the Young Readers Center? – Now, I do know Anne.
(audience laughing) However, you should know that I know Anne because she was head of the all of the school
libraries in Chicago, and that’s a lot and big,
and I am, and all of that. So her whole focus has
been on accessibility and connecting and everything. And so, the Young Readers Center, a part of this plan to enhance the visitor experience in the Jefferson building, a Treasures Gallery, new acquisitions, maybe a photograph, a prints
and photographs gallery ’cause of this collection, opening up more visible sightlines to the reading room, and then an actual Youth Center, so taking it, that Young
Readers Center that was added, because members of
Congress had young people and said, yes you serve Congress, but we have families. And that’s how it really grew, but not as intentional
as a real youth center. And so, part of the plan is to put the, expand the Young Readers Center to have the hands-on history, more learning labs and to put it in a more
accessible location on that, hopefully the carriage entrance, and close to the shop, expanding the shop, we’ve
been looking at shops. (audience laughing) And a little cafe and all of that, and that’s where also, we have just received a wonderful gift from Mr. Geppi, who has the, one of the largest private
collections of comic books, and he is giving that as
a gift to the Library, and we will have that area there too, because you wanna have that whole thing of graphic novels and illustrated art, so that’s gonna be the plan to have a young people’s week, so thank you. And Nancy’s giving us a hook, so see David, we can keep going. (audience laughing)
Mr. Secretary, so don’t … When you get librarians
together, we get a little geeky. – Hi, I literally just
graduated college in May, but I’m planning to go to Library School. – Yay!
(laughing and applauding) – And I’m really glad I’m here, ’cause you’re actually visiting William and Mary in September, but I’ll be in England by then. – Two Georges.
– Yeah, two Georges. What is your advice for someone who’s going to Library School? – Ah. First piece of advice is something that one of my advisers told me, is if you possibly can, if you’re working or interning in a actual situation to look
at some of your assignments in terms of what you’re doing, because you’re getting
experience on the job, and you are using that in your education, and that’s a good synergy. That dissertation, that I mentioned, was gonna be about serving
young people in museums? I was working at Museum
of Science and Industry, and I was gonna do a dissertation on young people and stereotypes
and literature and all this, and my advisor said, you
know, you wanna graduate. (audience laughing)
Right? So you can do that later. Why don’t you, since you’re working, look at what you’re doing? So try to combine your, what
you’re interested in and that, and also be open, taking
some of the classes, cataloging … – [Woman] Ugh. – Did I hear a groan–
(audience laughing) For cataloging? No, no no no, no. But look at, try out some things, and get, volunteer, go
and just get a sense of where you might wanna
start after you graduate, and then keep an open mind, ’cause you never know. You might say, oh I’m gonna start here and you’ll do that and then … So just be open to
possibilities and network. ALA, best place you can go to just get a sense of everything, and the people you meet
at those conferences, and your ALA buddies are
gonna be your buddies all through your career. Sometimes you’ll just see them at ALA, and that’s, Mr. Secretary, we just had 25,000
libraries in New Orleans. I know, picture it.
(audience laughing) It was something, but that,
so you know, your network, and then as a person of
a different generation, don’t be discouraged. A lot of the people who will
be possibly managing you and things like that, their computer, when they went to library school, they were taking punch cards to the Central Computing Facility, coming back four hours
later for alphabetized list, and here you come, a digital native, talking about terabytes and bits and Instagram, and ugh …
(audience laughing) Oh, and this and all this, okay, right? So, a lot of it is not that you don’t, think about your grandparents. When you come to visit and
they give you their phone, that commercial, right? So, see how you can help
translate it for them, or you don’t realize
that that’s what you’re, you’re coming into an
environment that’s very careful, that authoritative, remember,
we’re authoritative, we check, we check. That doesn’t go well with
the agile development, and let’s try and see if it will work. No, we don’t do that.
(audience laughing) So, there’s a reason
why we have something, the secretary called the authority file. So, just know that you’re, it’s a culture, but you also should know
that we’re very glad that you are coming into the profession, because of about 15 years
ago we were really worried that we wouldn’t attract the Millennials. Not even the Millennials,
what’s the one after that? That you guys wouldn’t see that this is a profession
that you can bring inform-, it’s an empowerment profession. You can empower people with information, and that’s how we got you. – So, before we draw this to a close, I just wanted to say
that when I was watching the inauguration of President Obama on TV and I saw him come down
the steps of the Capitol and I saw a Carla sitting on the aisle in the very top seat behind the stage where the president would be going, and he reached over and gave
her a peck on the cheek, and I thought wow.
(audience laughing) – Whoo!
– We have a powerful lady, and I’m so glad she came
to talk to us today. Let’s give her a hand.
– Thank you so much. (audience applauding)
Thank you. It was nice.
(laughing) – [Woman] Thanks. – [Woman] Oh, none at all, none at all.

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