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Former Calgary Public Library CEO Bill Ptacek dies age 69

Leaving behind him a library legacy that culminated with the opening of Calgary’s new Central Library, the former CEO of the Calgary Public Library, Bill Ptacek, has died.

A release from the Calgary Public Library says Ptacek passed away peacefully on Tuesday, October, 15. He was 69.

Mark Asberg was appointed the new CEO of the Calgary Public Library back in September. 

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Ptacek joined the organization as its CEO back in 2014. Previously, he was the Director of the King Country Library System in western Washington State. While there, he led King County to become the Library Journal’s “Library of the Year” in 2011. 

The Calgary Public Library said Ptacek worked on developing relationships for the CPL. Whether that was with government, community groups or school boards. He also led a full re-branding of the CPL, including a new catalogue and website. 

A focus on safety, free library cards and a refresh in library design and collections were some of his main priorities. 

Ptacek was also passionate about early literacy initiatives and grew the reach of the Library through two new locations and the opening of the Central Library last November.

Many Calgarians took to twitter to express their condolences.

Calgary Public Library to celebrate Ptacek’s life

“Bill was a visionary who came to Calgary to bring the new Central Library to life but left his mark in ways we are still counting. He played a pivotal role in re-imagining how Calgarians connect and use libraries and he will be deeply missed,” the news release read.

“We will remember Bill for the incredible energy and vigor he brought into libraries by creating spaces that are lively, spark discussion and are welcoming community hubs. But mostly, we will miss his infectious personality and his ability to inspire greatness in all of us.”

Recently, the City of Calgary named Ptacek as its 2018 Citizen of the Year. The Urban Libraries Council also presented him with the 2019 ULC Executive Board Award. 

Over the next few weeks, the Calgary Public Library will determine how Bill’s legacy will be remembered.