Last week was one of the busiest (if not the busiest) week I’ve seen since coming to the Library. There was the Library’s presentation of the $1 million Kluge Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Study of Humanity. There were a lot of great, new interactive features that came online in the Library of Congress Experience (online and in the Jefferson Building.) There was a meeting of the Library’s private-sector advisory group, the James Madison Council. All of this came in the wake of the opening of the Capitol Visitor Center, which has led to several visitors now entering the Library via the passageway beneath First Street S.E. — a sight that warms my heart every time I see it!
And if that all weren’t enough, our boss, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington, got some wonderful recognition in the middle of all of it. Dr. Billington was one of 23 people (and one award made posthumously) to receive the Presidential Citizens Medal, which is the second-highest civilian distinction bestowed by the President behind the Medal of Freedom. (Only about 100 people have received the award since it was established in 1969.)
In comments to staff last week, Dr. Billington was especially gracious in pointing out that the people of the Library of Congress are the ones who help him achieve what he has, in order to make such recognition possible in the first place.
Congrats, Dr. B.!