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Long-serving librarian of Congress dies at 89

James Billington, the 13th Librarian of Congress, died Tuesday at the age of 89.

Billington’s cause of death was from complication from pneumonia, his son told The Washington Post.

{mosads}Billington served in his role for nearly three decades and brought the library into the digital age.

Billington was appointed by former President Reagan in 1987 to lead the library, overseeing a $600 million annual budget and more than 3,000 employees.

His vision nearly doubled the library’s catalogue from 85 million items to nearly 160 million when he retired in 2015.

His successor, Carla Hayden, was appointed in 2016 by former President Obama and issued a statement offering her condolences Wednesday.

“Dr. Billington has left an indelible legacy on the institution he led passionately for 28 years. With his vigor for philanthropy and tireless efforts to expand the reach and impact of the Library, he achieved so much to advance the Library of Congress as an enduring place for scholars and learners. He will be remembered as a visionary leader, distinguished academic and, most of all, a great American,” Hayden wrote.

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