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Sunday, August 19, 2018
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Louisiana Public Square
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Panelist Bio


Ann Silverberg Williamson
President and CEO, Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations (LANO)

Ann Silverberg Williamson is a native of Thibodaux, Louisiana, and a career-long public servant. Before leading LANO, Williamson served the Louisiana Department of Social Services (DSS) from 2001-2008, holding consecutive posts as Assistant Secretary, Deputy Secretary, and beginning in 2004, department Secretary. While at DSS, Williamson championed the development of the integrated human service delivery program known as "No Wrong Door" and led the department's emergency response to catastrophic hurricanes impacting the state. During her tenure, the U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded DSS the Pinnacle Award, a national citation of excellence, for the department's efforts following the storms. Williamson graduated from Wofford College, in Spartanburg, South Carolina with a degree in theology; she then returned to Louisiana to earn a master's in Social Work from LSU. After graduation, Williamson served as Assistant Director of the newly formed LANO, managing the America’s Promise program. She has been recognized as one of the Baton Rouge Business Report’s Influential Women and received awards from both Wofford College and LSU as a Distinguished Alumna. Williamson and her husband Tyler live in Baton Rouge with their three children.

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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