Tracy O'Brien

Tracy O’Brien is Facing History’s Director of Library Services. A long-time librarian, Tracy has seen much technical evolution in how library materials and service are delivered. What never changes for her, though, is the excitement and power of a good story, whether it is experienced as a print book or electronically. When she's not working you can find her in her garden, or cycling in various neighborhoods of Boston.

Recent Posts

Centering Black Lives: A Reading List for All Ages

Posted by Tracy O'Brien on August 10, 2020

The Black Lives Matter movement is working to create a more just and equitable society by pushing for systemic reforms and raising awareness of violence and racism against African Americans and other Black people worldwide. The name of the movement, Black Lives Matter, is simple and direct, yet radical in asserting that Black people, and their history and lived experiences past and present, be seen, heard and known. One way to learn more is to read broadly about Black lives. This list brings together a varied group of memoirs by African American and Black authors, each of which shares their unique journey and perspectives, and illustrates some of the diversity of the Black experience. Although many of the authors describe experiences with personal or systemic racism, it is important to note that all of the authors also touch upon their full range of human experiences, including joy, humor and fun. 

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Topics: Books, Reading List, black history

4 Excellent Winter Reads

Posted by Tracy O'Brien on January 14, 2020

Studies have shown that reading, particularly memoir and fiction, can increase a person’s ability to empathize with the experiences of others. Reading diverse books matters, and can educate and transform us in important and lasting ways. This group of books highlights several different voices and lived experiences. We hope that you are able to find yourself and others in these books.

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Topics: Reading List

Engage! (ing) Summer Reads

Posted by Tracy O'Brien on June 13, 2019



Summer is a time for relaxation. However, many of us also seek books and stories that will immerse us in the experiences of others, or will help us stay engaged in making a better world. Here are six picks that will teach, challenge, and inspire us.

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Topics: Democracy, Immigration, Race and Membership, Holocaust Education, LGBTQ, Reading List

Winter reading recommendations

Posted by Tracy O'Brien on December 11, 2018

Daylight hours are dwindling, and temperatures are cooler. What better time to hunker down inside and take a book break? Engage your heart and imagination with these book selections by Tracy O’Brien, Facing History’s Director of Library Services. They touch on important Facing History themes such as history, democracy, identity, inclusion, and education.

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Engaging Reads For Those Long Summer Days

Posted by Tracy O'Brien on June 13, 2018

Often, summer is a time for relaxation. However, many of us also seek stories that will immerse us in the experiences of others or will help us stay engaged in making a better world. Here are a few picks that will teach, challenge, and inspire us this summer.

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7 Books to Warm Up to This Winter

Posted by Tracy O'Brien on December 21, 2017

Engage your heart and mind this winter with these books selected by Tracy O’Brien, Facing History’s Director of Library Services. They touch on important Facing History themes such as history, democracy, identity, inclusion, and education.

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Topics: Facing History Library

Engaging Summer Reads: Recommendations from Facing History's Library

Posted by Tracy O'Brien on June 22, 2017

Often, summer is a time for relaxation. However, many of us also seek stories that will engage us in the experiences of others, or will help us stay engaged in making a better world. Here are a few picks of recently published books, as well as a couple of classics, that hold enduring insights.

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Topics: Facing History Library

5 Reads to Inspire and Challenge You This Winter

Posted by Tracy O'Brien on December 26, 2016

Daylight hours are dwindling, and temperatures are cooler. What better time to hunker down inside and take a book break? Books can fulfill many human needs: increasing our knowledge, broadening our empathy, making us laugh, inspiring us, or entertaining us. The best books achieve several at once. Here are a few titles that we hope you find engaging and take you deeper into the themes, histories, and questions at the heart of Facing History and Ourselves.

Teachers, find suggested Facing History resources and tools that tie into each book recommendation to build upon and expand your lessons.

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Topics: Books, Reading, Literature, Reading List

5 Summer Reads to Open Your Mind and Heart

Posted by Tracy O'Brien on June 9, 2016

Nothing says summer like sitting in the sun with a good book. Check out five summer reads, recommended by Tracy O'Brien, Facing History's Director of Library Services. 

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Topics: Books, Reading, Literature, Summer, Reading List

Best Winter Reads: Recommendations from the Facing History Library

Posted by Tracy O'Brien on December 30, 2015

Winter is a great time to slow down, indulge in eating hearty food and curl up with a book that can transport you to another world, all from the comfort of your couch. So go on an adventure this winter. Hit the library, stop by the independent bookstore on the corner, toss a few items in your AmazonSmile shopping cart (when you do, a portion of your purchase can go directly to Facing History), or start downloading to your e-reader. Hand-picked by Tracy O'Brien, Director of Facing History and Ourselves’ library, these titles are guaranteed to transport, challenge, and inspire readers of all ages.

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Topics: To Kill a Mockingbird, Books, Facing History Resources, Memoir, Facing History and Ourselves, Survivor Testimony, Reading, Reading List

At Facing History and Ourselves, we value conversation—in classrooms, in our professional development for educators, and online. When you comment on Facing Today, you're engaging with our worldwide community of learners, so please take care that your contributions are constructive, civil, and advance the conversation.

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Welcome to Facing Today, a Facing History blog. Facing History and Ourselves combats racism and antisemitism by using history to teach tolerance in classrooms around the globe.

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