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Retiring CEO calls lengthy career with Peace Library System “unexpected though enjoyable”

Peace Library System Director and CEO Linda Duplessis says though her position was an unexpected route for her career, it’s been one she has looked forward to operating for the past 19 years. After 27 years with the organization, she is set to retire at the end of August.

Duplessis initially joined the PLS in 1993 and advanced up within the system, first to Assistant Director, then to CEO in 2001. Sje says she initially began her professional life as a teacher educating young people in Ontario, B.C., and Alberta prior to training in library sciences.

“I decided to go back and get my Masters of Library Sciences degree and then I moved into the library world first as a teacher-librarian in Tumbler Ridge, and then back here to Alberta,” she explains, saying she then returned to work after spending time raising her then young children.

“When I was in high school I actually worked at the Grande Prairie Public Library as a page, and then into other duties. I’ve always enjoyed that environment, so when it was time to reconsider my career, that was a logical place to look.”

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Duplessis explains that library sciences entail a graduate degree that runs primarily into the management of libraries. However, those with a Master of Library & Information Science may also find themselves in public library work, in special libraries, or in library IT at a larger facility.

“I haven’t worked in a large library but I’ve been truly blessed to work with all sorts of sizes of libraries in this area,” Duplessis says. “I think libraries make a difference in every size community— there’s so much value to libraries, not just for the books, not just for the e-resources.”

Over the course of her career, Duplessis has seen the evolution of regular operations from card catalogue to CD-ROM to a fully automated environment. She jokes that every year seems like a year of change within the system and the PLS still keeps around some of their old floppy disks for displays.

“At the core of it, libraries are still serving people in their communities whether it’s through a book, whether it’s through a DVD or it’s an online resource. They’re still providing patrons with information or recreational reading materials. That’s kind of the foundation and that part won’t change.”

The new Chief Executive Officer to take Duplessis’ place is Louisa Robinson, who is scheduled to begin her duties on September 1st. Taking her retirement in stride, Duplessis says she’s trying to quickly pass on as much information as she can.

“I jokingly say to her, ‘I wish I could do a mind-meld.’ We’re just trying to review all aspects of the library system operations, whether its the finances or the personnel or the building itself.”

To begin her retirement, Duplessis doesn’t plan on taking it easy right away, keeping busy with projects for her church, as well as engage in some “real cooking”.

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