Up Next

Get Lifted

Daliyah Arana has read more books than a lot of people will read in a lifetime

The 4-year-old has read 1,000 books and got to be librarian for the day at the Library of Congress

Meet Daliyah Arana. On Jan. 11, she was your Librarian of Congress for the day. She’s 4.

“She just kept saying how the Library of Congress is her most favorite, favorite, favorite library in the whole wide world,” Haleema Arana, Daliyah’s mother, told The Washington Post.

Oh, and let us not forget, Dailyah has already read 1,000 books. Before kindergarten. The average adult reads 12 books a year, so she’s way ahead of most of us.

Haleema Arana was inspired to start counting the number of books her daughter read when she learned about the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program when Daliyah was almost 3 years old. It helped that the toddler was already a voracious reader.

Books have been a consummate part of Daliyah’s life, since she was in the womb — her mother would read constantly during her pregnancy. Two older siblings also helped advance Daliyah’s reading skills, so much so that by 18 months she recognized words.

Then at the tender age of 2 years and 11 months, Daliyah read her first book independently.

“She wanted to take over and do the reading on her own,” Haleema Arana told The Washington Post. “It kind of took off from there. The more words she learned, the more she wanted to read.”

Haleema Arana reached out to the Library of Congress to see if a visit could be set up. The library responded kindly, inviting the family to meet and spend the day with Carla Hayden, the first woman and African-American to run the Library of Congress.

During her daily duties, the 14th Librarian of Congress had help from the young honorary librarian for the day. Daliyah read to Hayden as the pair browsed the children’s section. She met the library’s staff members, who asked for her thoughts on how to improve the Library of Congress. Daliyah recommended that whiteboards be installed so little kids could practice their penmanship.


Daliyah owns her own library card and has shown the ability to read at the college level — she’s read The Pleasure of Books by William L. Phelps — and consistently at the rate of her 10- and 12-year-old siblings. She may also have an improved set of reading skills because she converses with her father in Spanish. Although she is not completely bilingual, Daliyah is working toward it with the hope of being able to read in Spanish moving forward.

Mo Willems — author of the Pigeon and Elephant and Piggie series — is Daliyah’s favorite author, and her mother said she is fascinated by dinosaurs and would like to be a paleontologist.

Rhiannon Walker is an associate editor at The Undefeated. She is a drinker of Sassy Cow Creamery chocolate milk, an owner of an extensive Disney VHS collection, and she might have a heart attack if Frank Ocean doesn't drop his second album.