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.
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