A Welcome Symbol for the New Librarian of Congress

Along with my picture-loving colleagues, I’d like to nominate one of our favorite depictions of Minerva, Roman goddess of wisdom, as an appropriate symbol with which to mark the arrival of the new Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden.

Mosaic of Minerva by Elihu Vedder within central arched panel leading to the Visitor's Gallery. Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, 2007. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.02125

Mosaic of Minerva by Elihu Vedder within central arched panel leading to the Visitor’s Gallery. Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, 2007. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.02125

This mosaic of a studious Minerva greets visitors, researchers and staff in an area overlooking the Great Hall of the Thomas Jefferson Building, where Dr. Hayden was sworn in yesterday. Appropriately for a library that encompasses information in a wide variety of subjects and formats, Minerva not only represents universal knowledge, but has music, poetry, medicine, commerce and crafts within her purview.

In the mosaic, bright sunlight shines down on Minerva, aiding her perusal of a scroll, which lists the various fields of knowledge. That, too, offers an appropriate symbol–a bright future ahead for the Library of Congress as it continues to preserve and share information in all its forms.

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