President Obama has nominated the first woman and African American as Librarian of Congress.

It’s Carla D. Hayden, who currently serves as the CEO of Baltimore’s public library. 

Hayden’s nomination is significant on multiple levels. As president of the American Library Association, she fought against provisions in the Patriot Act that allowed the government to access library patron records. She has also embraced the role technology can play in improving library systems, a quality that was severely lacking in the previous librarian, James H. Billington. He was criticized by multiple federal reports for failing to get the library’s computer systems in order, and for dragging his feet about hiring a chief information officer. (David S. Mao, the interim librarian, finally did.) 

All past librarians have been men. This is at odds with the gender breakdown of librarians in the nation at large, who are overwhelmingly women. An ALA report from 2015 stated that “over eight out of every ten librarians are women,” even if only about 60 percent of library directors are women. Hayden’s appointment is a big step towards shattering that glass ceiling.