Bill Ptacek joined Calgary Public Library as CEO in 2014, bringing his 40 years of experience leading libraries in the United States.
At Calgary Public Library, Bill has helped grow the system’s membership members to over 650,000 and has championed bringing the Library into more people’s lives through free Library cards and new outreach activities. He’s also been passionate about early literacy initiatives, including converting a decommissioned fire truck into an Early Learning Centre, and building an awe-inspiring new Central Library — while simultaneously refreshing Calgary Public Library’s 20 other locations. Calgary’s new Central Library opens November 1, 2018.
Guided by the belief that libraries change lives, Bill has devoted his career to them. He sees libraries as vibrant community hubs, much more than just a place for books. Prior to joining Calgary Public Library, Bill was the Director of the King County Library System in western Washington state for 25 years. There, he led King County to become the Library Journal’s “Library of the Year” in 2011 and established King County in the forefront of public libraries nationally. Bill has also worked for Kentucky’s Louisville Free Public Library, Idaho Falls Public Library, and Chicago Public Library.
A librarian at heart, Bill is often seen in the stacks at community libraries, picking up a shelving shift and speaking with members and staff.
Bill received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Illinois and a Master of Library Science from the State University of New York. He also received an Advance Certificate of Administration from the University of Chicago.
As a leader in the community, Bill is a member of the Calgary Institute for the Humanities Advisory Council at the University of Calgary, sits on United Way’s Council of Champions, and is a member of the Canadian Urban Libraries Council (CULC). He’s a longtime Rotary Club member who previously volunteered with the Cascade Bicycle Club Board, the King County Board for Developmental Disabilities, and the Bellevue Arts Commission.