January 23, 2022

Profile: Chicago Native Bill Ptacek Helped Expand Calgary’s Libraries

From The Globe and Mail: 

In June, Bill Ptacek, CEO of the Calgary Public Library, received one of the city of Calgary’s highest honours: Citizen of the Year. At the ceremony, Mayor Naheed Nenshi declared, “I have a giant crush on Bill Ptacek. I love him so much!”

But Mr. Ptacek was not there. He was recovering from brain surgery a few kilometres away at the home where he, his wife, Margaret, and their eldest daughter Sara, 39, have lived since moving to Calgary in 2014.

The Chicago native has dedicated his 40-year career to public libraries in both U.S. and Canadian cities, modernizing, expanding and reshaping them into places where people can gather. In his five years here, Mr. Ptacek oversaw the opening of the New Central Library. He spearheaded a massive shift in the role of libraries in the city, eliminating fees and creating play areas for children. He turned libraries from quiet places for reading into buzzing community hubs.

What he’s never said publicly is that for much of his time here, Mr. Ptacek has lived with terminal cancer.

Read the Complete Article (1325 words)

See Also: Bill Ptacek, Calgary Public Library’s New Director, Profiled in Newspaper Article (February 14, 2014)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.