Librarian of Congress to step down after nearly 3 decades

WASHINGTON (AP) — James Billington, the librarian of Congress who has led the world’s largest library for three decades, is retiring.

The library announced Wednesday that Billington will retire Jan. 1. He has notified President Barack Obama of his plans. The post will be filled by a presidential nomination with Senate confirmation.

Billington was just the 13th librarian since the library was formed based on Thomas Jefferson’s collection of books. Since Billington’s start in 1987, the collection has nearly doubled in size to 160 million items and cultural treasures. The library also operates as a nonpartisan research organization for Congress.

Billington is credited with leading the library into the digital age, making resources and databases available online.

But he has also been criticized for not keeping up with technology advances.

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