A Very DC Question

From regular commenter Joseph Finn comes this question:

“Does the Librarian of Congress have to resign with each administration?”

Many political appointees to non-political posts do have to resign with each administration, only to be re-appointed by fiat of the new administration, but, as Librarian Billington has served as the Librarian of Congress since the Reagan Administration, I wasn’t sure if his post was “at the pleasure of the President” or some other term.

We’ve sent email to the Librarian’s office hoping to find out, but maybe you know? Answer in the comments!

Main Reading Room Ceiling — Originally uploaded by tbridge

5 Comments so far

  1. Don (dc_don) on May 22nd, 2008 @ 4:40 pm

    According to this website the rules for Librarian of Congress are unofficial but the standard seems to be that the term is a lifetime appointment.

    Although the Library of Congress was established in 1800, the office of Librarian was not created until 1802. This 1802 law stipulated that the Librarian of Congress was to be appointed by the president—not by the Congress. In fact, Congress had no formal role in the appointment process until 1897, when the Senate gained the privilege of confirming the president’s selection. No special qualifications are prescribed by law for the job of Librarian of Congress. Nor is a term of office specified, even though in the twentieth century the precedent seems to have been established that a Librarian of Congress is appointed for life.

  2. Don (dc_don) on May 22nd, 2008 @ 4:41 pm

    Whups, I mean according to this webpage.

  3. josephfinn on May 22nd, 2008 @ 4:55 pm

    Thank you kindly, Don! I didn’t run across that, but it does seem to tie in with the odd duck aspect of the position since Jefferson appeared to have appointed his campaign manager as the first Librarian.

  4. Tiffany Bridge (tiffany) on May 22nd, 2008 @ 5:47 pm

    More importantly, how do *I* get to be Librarian of Congress? Just for the cocktail party small talk value- "What do you do?" "Oh, I’m the Librarian of Congress…"

  5. dcmetrocentric on May 23rd, 2008 @ 11:02 am

    You must have to go to school for it! Oh and have friends in low places!


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