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  • Lecture

Access Matters: A Conversation with Tracie Hall on the Public Health Impacts of Book Censorship

As part of the Penn Center for Public Health Seminar Series, the Penn Center for Public Health and Penn Libraries host an enlightening discussion with Tracie Hall.

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October 31, 2023, 12:00pm - 1:00pm
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Hybrid event: Class of 1978 Orrery Pavilion, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library, sixth floor; and on Zoom
Tracie Hall

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Tracie Hall is a national leader in the discussion about book censorship and the former director of the American Library Association. In this event, Hall will explore the detrimental effects of book censorship on public health. Don't miss this opportunity to gain insights and engage in a thought-provoking conversation during Health Literacy Month.

About the Speaker

Tracie D. Hall was the tenth and former Executive Director of the American Library Association (ALA), the oldest and largest library association in the world with over 50,000 members serving library and educational institutions throughout and beyond the US. The first Black woman to helm ALA in its nearly 150-year history, Hall has served in numerous library and arts leadership positions nationwide. Her former posts include Culture Program Director at The Joyce Foundation where she was recognized for creating numerous programs to advance racial inclusion in arts administration and equitable funding for arts institutions including the Chicago Black Dance Legacy Project; Deputy Commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events where she oversaw the visual and performing arts, film, and community market programs and received citations for her work to expand arts access and neighborhood outreach; Vice President of Strategy and Organizational Development at Queens Library where during her tenure she founded the NYC Early Learning Network; Community Investment Strategist and Chicago Community Investor for the Boeing Company’s Global Corporate Citizenship division; Assistant Dean of Dominican University’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science; Community Librarian at Hartford Public Library where she curated the NEH-funded Festival of Caribbean Literature with the Connecticut Center for the Book and where then mayor, Eddie Perez, designated February 13 as "Tracie Hall Day" to acknowledge her service to the city of Hartford; Youth Services Coordinator at Seattle Public Library where she developed the long-running SCRIBES youth creative writing program for the Richard Hugo House; and other library, non-profit, and public sector roles across the country.

Holding dual bachelor’s degrees from University of California Santa Barbara, and master’s degrees from the Yale University School of International and Area Studies and the University of Washington School of Information, Hall’s work in library and arts administration has focused on advancing early and adult literacy, expanding broadband access, advocating for arts and educational programs and services for people who are incarcerated, and increasing socio-economic mobility in communities that have had limited educational or employment opportunities. In 2022, Hall became only the second librarian to be honored with a National Book Foundation Award for Lifetime Achievement. Most recently, she was named the 2023 recipient of the Literacy Leader Award by scaleLIT and in April of this year, TIME named Hall to the TIME100, its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. A native of south central Los Angeles, Hall lives in Chicago where she makes time to serve on the boards of various arts, educational, and community-based organizations.