For Release: Immediately
Department of External Affairs
Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710
FAX (215) 567-7850
Contact: Communications and Development
For Release: Immediately
Contact: Communications and Development

Free Library Board Appoints Interim President and Director

PHILADELPHIA, December 21, 2007 - Effective today, Associate Director of the Free Library of Philadelphia, Joseph McPeak, has been appointed interim President and Director by the Free Library’s Board of Trustees. “I look forward to this exciting opportunity to work with our excellent staff and the Philadelphia community,” said Dr. McPeak, “as we continue striving to find new and better ways to provide the quality library services that our citizens want and deserve.”

Just recently promoted from Director of Library Operations to Associate Director of the Free Library of Philadelphia in November, Dr. McPeak has worked with the Library for more than 30 years, beginning his career as a Library Page at the Central Library in the 1970s. Over the years he has held a number of positions at the Free Library, including Librarian; Head of the Central Library’s Education, Philosophy and Religion Department; Chief Administrator of the Central Library; and, most recently, Director of Library Operations, during which time he oversaw the restoration of six-day service in all neighborhood branches.

“I have been privileged to work in a variety of positions over the course of my 30 years at the Free Library,” said Dr. McPeak, “and I expect that those experiences will serve me well as I take on this new and important role as leader of our world-class library system.”

A native Philadelphian, Dr. McPeak holds a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from Drexel University, as well as a doctorate in Philosophy from Temple University.

After more than 20 years of service, in April of 2007, Elliot L. Shelkrot announced his decision to retire as President and Director of the Free Library at the end of the year. A national search is presently underway to find a permanent replacement. Dr. McPeak will serve as interim President and Director until a new appointment to this position is made by the Free Library’s Board of Trustees.

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The Free Library of Philadelphia system consists of 49 branches, three regional libraries, the Central Library on the Parkway, and the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. With more than six million visits annually, the Free Library is one of the most widely-used educational and cultural institutions in Philadelphia.


Department of External Affairs, Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710, FAX (215) 567-7850