Friday, February 25, 2011

What is the role of libraries in the digital age? Chicago Public Library Commissioner speaks at SXU

Mary A. Dempsey’s lecture is Tues., March 15

Chicago (Feb. 25, 2011) Chicago Public Library Commissioner Mary A. Dempsey will discuss the changing role of public libraries in the modern era on Tues., March 15 as part of Saint Xavier University’s Squeaky Weal lecture series.

Dempsey’s lecture, titled “The Role of Public Libraries in the Digital Age,” is free and open to the public. It begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Butler Reception Room, located in the Warde Academic Center at SXU’s Chicago Campus, 3700 W. 103rd St.

Dempsey will explore questions such as how is the role of libraries changing, how should they change as more information is available online, and what is the ethical responsibility of a library system to the public that funds it and to the people it seeks to serve?

Since taking charge of the Chicago Public Library system in 1994, Dempsey has overseen its growth in terms of branch locations, book collections, services for children, internet access and online resources. She is responsible for more than 1,200 employees at 79 locations that serve more than 1 million people each month. Under her leadership, the Chicago Public Library has constructed or renovated 43 full-service branch libraries, expanded book collections and library services for children and adults, and installed free public Internet, online reference and WiFi access in all libraries.

Dempsey was elected Chair of the Board of Trustees of DePaul University in May 2008 where she became the first woman to hold this position. She served as Chair of the Board of the Urban Libraries Council from June 2006 through June 2007. Dempsey is the recipient of five honorary degrees and has received numerous awards for her work. She received the Shield of Saint Xavier in 2000.

“The Role of Public Libraries in the Digital Age” is part of the annual Squeaky Weal Lecture Series, which aims to provide thoughtful discussion of public issues with a focus on their ethical dimensions and their impact on the common good. It is sponsored by SXU’s Center for Religion and Public Discourse. For more information, contact



Jay Foot, Executive Director of Media Relations
O: (773) 298-3937
C: (773) 617-3632

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