The next Librarian of Congress: a Librarian of Progress?

For the first time in 28 years, the Library of Congress is about to get a new Librarian, a person with enormous influence over the Internet and American life.

The Library of Congress hosts the triennial DMCA 1201 exemption hearings, where, every three years, we are granted the right to jailbreak our technology, opening the way for vital security research, archiving of evaporating digital culture, and giving people with sensory and physical disabilities access to digital culture and opportunity.'s excellent Librarian of Progress site sets out the power and opportunity that the next Librarian will have, and takes a critical look at the LoC's performance to date.

My vote is for radical rogue archivist Carl Malamud!


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 and 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.

Librarian of Progress

(Image: LOC Main Reading Room Highsmith, Carol M. Highsmith, Public Domain)