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Home > What's on > Dangerous Ideas: The Right to Read Freely

Dangerous Ideas: The Right to Read Freely

07 December 2023, 7:30pm9:15pm
Cost$45 (general admission), $36 (paid members admission), $25 (concession admission), $20 (First Nations admission)
Bookings Bookings required
Location Conversation Quarter
State Library Victoria

"Free people read freely!" – Tracie D. Hall

America has seen an alarming rise in censorship, impacting the way people can access information through school and public libraries. Book bans that remove marginalised voices from the shelves are a particular flash point.

Join us to explore the role of libraries in responding to censorship and the power of books in challenging ideas, combatting mistrust and developing literacy.

Tracie D. Hall is the former executive director of the American Library Association and a fierce advocate for the right to read freely. Tracie has been at the forefront of challenging the rampant censorship and book bans in the US, seeing firsthand the larger societal impacts it has.

In our inaugural For Future Reference lecture, hosted by Beverley Wang, Tracie will address why books, libraries and the very act of reading have come under scrutiny in this current socio-political moment and how what is happening now connects to other attempts to limit reading and information access across history.

The beginning of the evening will also include an opportunity to view rare books acquired through the Library’s Women Writers Fund initiative. 

Book your spot now.

This event will be Auslan interpreted. A cash bar will be available throughout the evening.


About Tracie D. Hall

Writer, librarian, and public scholar, Tracie D. Hall is the former executive director of the American Library Association, (ALA), the first Black woman to hold that title in the organisation’s 150-year history.

Focused on early and adult literacy, broadband access, and library and educational services for the incarcerated, Hall’s work in library and arts administration has been recognised with the National Book Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award and by Time Magazine which named her to its 100 Most Influential People of 2023 list. In September, Hall was honoured with the medal for Freedom of Speech and Free Expression by the Franklin D. Roosevelt Institute.

About the For Future Reference lecture series

Endowed by the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust, For Future Reference is an annual lecture series that shines a light on women’s influence on society via the mediums of literature, storytelling and authorship, both historically and into the future, with a focus on the future archives to be held in the State Collection.

This series is supported by the Library’s Women Writers Fund initiative, which seeks to redress the historical gender imbalance in our collection by acquiring works and presenting public programs that highlight work by under-represented women and non-binary writers, artists and thinkers.


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