Cities all over the world fight tooth and nail with each other to host the Olympics or World Cup. A similar process is happening now for a – wait for it – library. With only a few years left in his presidency, President Obama faces the unenviable task of choosing a location for his presidential library from among 13 contenders, leaving 12 out in the cold. According to the Wall Street Journal, the 13 locations vying for the library are in Hawaii, Chicago, and New York City. The president has strong ties to each location.
The tradition of establishing a library to hold the documents and artifacts of one’s presidency started with Franklin D. Roosevelt. Now there are 13 presidential libraries located across the United States and each is run by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). These libraries differ from the local public library or Brown Library by serving as a combination of archive for researchers and museum for visitors.
We are certain that if the president chooses Hawaii, the competition for a librarian or archivist job at the new presidential library will be even more intense.