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Tuesday, August 21, 2018
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Louisiana Public Square
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Panelist Bio


Janet Pace
Executive Director, Volunteer Louisiana, Office of the Lieutenant Governor

Janet Pace is the Executive Director of the Louisiana Serve Commission, responsible for oversight of the various programs of the commission, including AmeriCorps*State, Learn and Serve America and Volunteer Louisiana.

Prior to this, Janet served as Director of Volunteer Outreach for the Louisiana Serve Commission, responsible for promoting an ethic of service throughout the state by creating and implementing strategic volunteer initiatives and supporting collaborative efforts among nonprofits, faith-based organizations and state agencies.

She has also served as President & CEO of Volunteer! Baton Rouge. During her tenure at VBR!, the agency was named the 2005 National Volunteer Center of the Year by the Points of Light Foundation and also received the National VOAD Long-Term Recovery Partnership Award for their work during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Janet has been an active volunteer in her community, serving on the boards of several nonprofits addressing public education and children’s issues. She has also served as an East Baton Rouge Parish School Board member. Janet received bachelor's degrees in Journalism and Political Science from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. She worked in Corporate Communications for Pennzoil, Hydril and Texas Instruments. She has served on the boards of Academic Distinction Fund, Boys and Girls Club of Greater Baton Rouge, Childrens Coalition, Volunteers in Public Schools, Playmakers and Young Leaders Academy. She is a 2002 graduate of Leadership/Greater Baton Rouge and is a sustainer in the Junior League of Baton Rouge. She is currently pursuing her Masters of Public Administration at LSU.

Current Topic


     08/18 - The Power of Reading

How can we make inroads to improve adult literacy in Louisiana and champion a joy of reading from pre-school into adulthood?
The ability to read sets the foundation of who we are and what we can be. Through reading we expand our world, learn new things and increase our base of knowledge. In fact, a parent’s reading level is the greatest factor in a child’s academic success. Children who can’t read proficiently by the third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.

In Louisiana, 20 percent of adults are illiterate – five points higher than the national rate. How is Louisiana combatting its illiteracy problem across generational lines? How can we make inroads to improve adult literacy in Louisiana and champion a joy of reading from pre-school into adulthood?

Louisiana Public Square: The Power of Reading looks for answers and explores the value of lifelong reading through the lens of the PBS series The Great American Read Wednesday, August 22 at 7pm on LPB and in New Orleans on WLAE. (Recorded Tuesday, August 14 in the Magnolia Performing Arts Pavilion at Baton Rouge Community College.)

Our panelists are:
- Linda-Marie Barrett, Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA)
- Rebecca Hamilton, MLIS; Louisiana State Librarian
- Danny Heitman; Journalist and Louisiana author
- Miranda Restovic, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH).
- Gary Robertson; Adult Literacy Advocates

The program features interviews with John Cavalier, owner of Cavalier House Books; Gary Robertson, Executive Director of Adult Literacy Advocates; representatives from the LEH PRIME TIME intergenerational reading program, and Superintendent John White with the Louisiana Department of Education.

LPB CEO Beth Courtney and Robyn Merrick, Southern University VP of External Affairs, host the show.

Louisiana Public Square can also be heard on public radio stations WRKF in Baton Rouge; Red River Radio in Shreveport and Monroe; and WWNO in New Orleans. Check their station websites for schedule.

This episode of Louisiana Public Square is underwritten by Community Coffee’s Cash for Schools Program, the Louisiana Forestry Association, LSU Press and the Southern Independent Booksellers’ Authors Round the South.

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Special Presentation


     05/16 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home

What challenges do our returning veterans face?

Coming Soon!


     09/18 - Revisiting Reform

Are the criminal justice reforms working as intended?

Recent Topics


     07/18 - Preventing Suicide

How is Louisiana addressing its suicide problem?

     06/18 - Louisiana: Sportsman’s Paradise or Problem?  (ENCORE)

Is Louisiana a Sportsman’s Paradise or Problem?

     05/18 - News About the News

How can viewers distinguish between fact and fake news and is social media blurring the difference?

     04/18 - Balancing Eldercare

How much does Louisiana spend on nursing homes versus home and community-based care?
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