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Congressman Major R. Owens, Ret.

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Library of Congress Kluge Scholar and the first professional librarian

Congressman Owens was the first professional librarian elected to Congress from New York’s 11th Congressional district.  He retired in 2007, after first serving 12 terms. Congressman Owens served on the Committee on Education and the Workforce, Committee on Government Reform, was the ranking Democrat on the Subcommittee for Workforce Protections, chairman of the Subcommittee on Select Education and Civil Rights, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus Task Force on Haiti. He was also one of the original sponsors and one of the strongest proponents of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

A long time champion of information literacy, Congressman Owens has said that “Information literacy is needed to guarantee the survival of democratic institutions. All men are created equal but voters with information resources are in a position to make more intelligent decisions than citizens who are information illiterates…Education is the “kingpin” issue and that we have to believe that all power and progress really begins with education.”

Congressman Owens passed away on October 21, 2013 at the age of 77.


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