Longtime Chicago Public Library Chief Resigns

Mary Dempsey resigned after 18 years

The head of Chicago's Public Library system has resigned after 18 years on the job.

Mary Dempsey resigned Tuesday amidst controversy over staff cuts and reduction in library branch hours. Dempsey told the Chicago Tribune, "it was the right time."

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is expected to name a new commissioner Wednesday morning. The Tribune reports Emanuel will replace Dempsey with Brian Bannon, chief information officer for San Francisco's public libraries.

In a statement issued Tuesday night, Emanuel praised Dempsey's many years of service.

“Commissioner Dempsey worked tirelessly despite budget cuts to strengthen the role of our libraries in our city," Emanuel said in a statement. "She had great respect for librarians and other staff and worked constructively with our union."

Since Dempsey took the position in 1994, 44 new libraries have been built and several others have been renovated.

"We hope her successor will be an advocate for fully restoring branch library hours, staff and programs, and that he will work with library employees and our union to keep improving library services and access for all city residents,” Emanuel said.

Contact Us