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Dolly Parton and Carla Hayden during the event.
Carla Hayden, left, and Dolly Parton talk during a celebration of the Imagination Library at the Library of Congress in February.

The UT Board of Trustees on Friday approved a proposal to award an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters to Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, the first woman and first African American to hold the post.

Carla HaydenHayden was appointed the 14th librarian of Congress in 2016 by President Barack Obama and is responsible for the world’s largest library, housing our nation’s collection of more than 160 million items. She is the first professional librarian to be named librarian of Congress since 1974.

A native of Tallahassee, Florida, who grew up in New York City and Chicago, Hayden fell in love with reading at a young age and began her library career at the Chicago Public Library. After more than a decade, she left Chicago for a four-year stint as a professor at the University of Pittsburgh before returning to serve as chief librarian of the Chicago Public Library.

She then went to Baltimore, where she spent more than 20 years as head of its public library system. She served as president of the American Library Association from 2003 to 2004 and served as a member of the National Museum and Library Services Board.