Shamichael Hallman serves as Director of Civic Health and Economic Opportunity with Urban Libraries Council. In this role he is working to create ULC’s upcoming focus on libraries as essential city and county infrastructure including their value as physical spaces, a connector of diverse lived experiences and role in public safety and public health.

He is a ’23 Loeb Fellow at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. As a Loeb Fellow he gave a number of guest lectures across to universities throughout New England about the importance of libraries.

From 2017 – 2022 he served as the Senior Library Manager of the historic Cossitt Library (Memphis Public Libraries), tasked with overseeing the multi-million-dollar renovation of this space which reimagined the roles that public libraries could play in their communities. During his tenure with Memphis Public Libraries, the library system was awarded the 2021 National Medal for Museum and Library Science by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and was recognized as the Nation’s Most Innovative Public Library by Smithsonian Magazine in November of 2021 – in which Shamichael’s team was prominently featured. His 2020 TEDx talk “Reimagining the Public Library to Reconnect the Community” garnered international attention among librarians and social innovators.

Shamichael is a founding member of Libraries as Bridges; a grassroots collective of libraries seeking to understand the role that public libraries serve in cultivating and enhancing the civic and social life of their communities. He’s given library-related talks to universities such as Harvard University and Rutgers University, presented to leading library associations such as Urban Libraries Council, Partners for Rural Impact, America Library Association, and Library Aid Africa. He has shared his thoughts about libraries to media outlets such PressReader and Television Ontario’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin. He has worked with a variety of organizations at the local and state level to demonstrate how public libraries can play critical roles in accelerating economic growth. He is currently writing a book about libraries for Island Press, which explores libraries as “sites of encounter,” and seeks to demonstrate the public library’s unique role in generating opportunities for shared experience among people of all incomes and backgrounds.

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