The powers of the Librarian of Congress

I’m still fascinated by the open position(as of January) for the Librarian of Congress. According to an online technology article from June 18th issue of the the Atlantic, this will be the first librarian appointed since the invention of the web. The position is thought of as “one of the best titles in government”, and the Librarian has considerable power. He or she will be in charge of the largest library in the world, and ultimately oversees thousands of staff. The position also carries with it the responsibility of supervising the Copyright Office. The Librarian possesses ultimate power over copyright violations, which was not an issue in 1987 when Billington was elected, but is much more important in today’s world. The new Librarian will also face a backlog of materials to be digitized, an issue of which Billington has been criticized, for not keeping up with the demand to have materials readily available to the online community. And the suspense continues…

Librarian of Congress

James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress, has chosen to retire as of January 1st of 2016, and President Obama must choose Billlington’s replacement. Only by retirement or death does the Librarian leave his post once elected. President Obama joins a list of only 10 presidents who have had the honor of choosing a new Librarian of Congress. According to the NY Times, many names are being tossed around, including college presidents: Harvard’s Drew Gilpin Faust, and Wesleyan’s Michael S. Roth. Were the president to pick a librarian to head the Library of Congress, he may possibly consider the president of NYPL, Anthony W. Marx, or the Archivist of the United States, David S. Ferriero. But he also has the choice of choosing a management professional, another historian, or a former politician. Read the June 12, 2015 issue in the section of politics to find out more information. It will be interesting to see who is chosen to succeed Mr. Billington.

Finding Jake by Bryan Reardon


A very compelling novel, the plot in Finding Jake centers around a 17 year- old high school boy, Jake Connolly, who is missing after a horrific shooting at the high school that he attends. He is believed to be an accomplice to the shooter, Doug Martin-Klein, a friend of Jake’s, who commits suicide after the shootings. Told in first person through the eyes of Jake’s dad, Simon, the novel alternates between the present and the past. It is fast-paced, and will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end. Along the way, the story explores the joys and regrets of being a parent, and I would recommend for adult readers who like the realistic fiction and suspense genres.

“Grow: A Novel in Verse”

Growby Juanita Havill is a quick read about a community garden in an urban setting suitable for upper elementary/lower middle school-age students. 12 year-old Kate, who has a low self-image, teams up with adult Berneetha, a large, loud woman who decides to start a garden in an ugly vacant lot. People in the neighborhood seem suspicious of their good intentions and frown upon the ‘do-gooders’ as they start to clean up the land to prepare it.  Harlan, a “gangster-like” young teen pitches in and reveals more to his personality than meets the eye. Slowly, other residents of the neighborhood notice the positive changes and begin to offer help and contributions. A good book to be paired with Paul Fleischman’s ‘Seedfolk.” With only 159 pages, Havill manages to create an incongruous collection of characters who join together and plant hope in an unlikely plot.

“The Daylight Marriage”

The Daylight Marriage by Heidi Pitlor. The marriage  describes Hannah and Lovell who have grown distant after a marriage of almost 20 years. After one of their worst fights, Hannah disappears the next day. Lovell expects she’ll be back in a day or so, but time stretches into weeks and then months. The 2 children, Janine (15) and Ethan (8) miss their mom. Janine finds comfort in the gay couple from next door. She is angry at her father and feels he is responsible for her mom’s disappearance. The police are investigating and do not suspect Lovell.  Lovell is a distant, solitary figure/scientist. Hannah is a beautiful and from a wealthy Martha’s Vineyard family.  Interspersed between Lovell’s chapters are Hannah’s thoughts. We learn she decided not to go to work that day in the flower shop and what happened. Not a very urgent, engaging novel. Expecting more to happen and nothing much did, but had to read to the end to find out Hannah’s fate. I consider this an extra read- B list.