Library of Congress Finally Gets a Permanent CIO

Sean Pavone/

Bernard A. Barton Jr.’s first day as CIO was Tuesday.

After three years of short-term IT leadership, the Library of Congress has named a permanent chief information officer to manage IT operations at one of the world’s largest libraries.

Bernard A. Barton Jr.’s first day as CIO was Tuesday. In a statement announcing the new hire, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said Barton “brings to the Library of Congress the knowledge, expertise and leadership skills crucial to the institution’s mission of serving Congress and the American people in an age of rapidly evolving information technology.”

A special panel selected Barton, formerly the deputy administrator and CIO of the Defense Technical Information Center, from a pool of hundreds of applications, Deputy Librarian of Congress David Mao told Nextgov.

In his prior role, Barton managed daily operations for the DOD center, which is a key resource for information on Pentagon-funded research and development. He also planned long-range IT initiatives and established the center as a community “cloud” for the DOD science and technology community.

As library CIO, Barton will oversee IT operations and strategy and also serve on the library’s executive committee.

The new hire follows extensive criticism over the lack of consistent IT leadership at the agency.

In March, a Government Accountability Office report detailed a number of technology failings plaguing the library, honing in specifically on its lack of consistent IT leadership.

The library “lacks a clear direction for its use of IT," auditors wrote and had shuffled through five temporary CIOs since 2012. The watchdog instructed the library to “expeditiously” hire a permanent CIO.

Mao said the library had already begun moving toward hiring a permanent CIO at the end of December.

“We were working aggressively on a lot of the challenges that the library was facing, including preparing for the hiring of a permanent CIO,” he said.

The next big step is hiring a deputy CIO, Mao said.

(Image via Sean Pavone/