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Librarian of Congress James Billington to Retire

James Billington, image by Library of Congress

On June 10, 2015, after 27 years as Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington announced that he will retire effective January 1, 2016. A Russia scholar, Billington was appointed by President Ronald Reagan and began his service at the Library of Congress in September 1987. Billington is credited with making available online, beginning in the 1990s, materials from the library’s extensive collection, including such projects as American Memory. In 1995, at the urging of then Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, the Library of Congress initiated THOMAS.gov, an online database of congressional legislation. Billington also established with Laura Bush in 2000 the National Book Festival, which has drawn more than one million people to the annual event in Washington, DC.

The Librarian of Congress is appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The White House has not announced a nomination for the next Librarian of Congress.

For more information about Billington’s career, see the June 10, 2015, Library of Congress news release, “James H. Billington to Retire as Librarian Effective Jan. 1, 2016.”

Update, September 25, 2015: James Billington announced today that he will retire as the Librarian of Congress on September 30. Deputy Librarian of Congress David Mao will serve as Acting Librarian of Congress until a presidential appointment is made and is confirmed by the Senate. For more details, see the September 25, 2015 Library of Congress news release, “Billington to Retire September 30.”