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Thursday, April 3, 2008

DPPL People - Meet Gary Valente

It's a new month and that means it's time for "DPPL People," the column we devote to one staff member of the Des Plaines Public Library.

This month, you will get to know Gary Valente, Head of Building and Security Services at DPPL. In many respects,
Gary is the "guts" of the library. We might have great resources and programs to offer, but without heat, air conditioning, lights, electricity, plumbing, etc. etc., the library wouldn't be a very attractive or useful place! Gary is the one who makes sure all systems are operational. He says his job never gets boring because he has to juggle many important responsibilities. In addition to maintaining the mechanical workings of the library, Gary oversees all the housekeeping of the physical space and supervises the security staff to keep our library a safe and welcoming environment. Gary is also an active member of the library's Green Team and an integral part of the library's long-range planning and goal setting, as one of the Department Heads. I wanted to feature Gary this month because people tend to make the assumption that libraries are run by librarians - but we have so many valuable employees here who fulfill other roles. I gave Gary the same questions our earlier DPPL People, Roberta Johnson and Phyllis Johnson, answered, and you can read his responses below. Take a closer look at someone who really works hard to make the Des Plaines Public Library a comfortable, secure and efficient place.

Three words that describe your current state of mind are…

Optimistic, focused and diligent.

What is your most treasured possession?

A sewing thimble that belonged to my father. My father was a tailor and custom suit maker . The thimble represents the symbol of his life’s hard work and how he supported a family of five.

What is your greatest extravagance?


Who are your favorite writers?

Michio Kaku, Isaac Asimov, and Tom Clancy.

Who are your favorite heroes of fiction (in writing, film, drama)?

Odysseus, with Superman to save the planet and Gary Cooper who played the role of Will Cain, as the sheriff in “High Noon.”

Name three persons/characters from history with whom you would like to have dinner.

Jesus Christ, Albert Einstein, and Socrates.

Who are your heroes in real life?

The men and women who have sacrificed in serving our military and who continue to protect the freedoms of this country.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My wife.

Who is your favorite artist?

Jillian Renee, my youngest daughter, who draws and colors pictures for me regularly. My second favorite would be Norman Rockwell.

Who is your favorite musician?

Jamie Nicole, my oldest daughter who just the other day played the entire song, 100 Years, on the violin for me, without the use of any sheet music.

Next would be Keith Emerson.

The quality you admire most in a man is….


The quality you admire most in a woman is…


Biggest pet peeve?


Favorite food?

Baked and breaded clams.

What three words would your closest friends use to describe you?

A morning person, cautious, and dedicated.

Why did you choose to work in a library?

I am not formally schooled in library science, so it was circumstances, opportunity and my knowledge and understanding of how commercial buildings operate that led me here.

What is your favorite thing about the Des Plaines Public Library?

The diversity of the people I encounter.

Name one, and only one, "desert island" book, CD or movie. Only one.

The big book of “How to Survive on a Desert Island,” of course.

The movie of your life – who plays the role of you and what song plays over the closing credits?

Al Pacino with Frank Sinatra’s singing “That’s Life.”


  1. As a former employee of the linrary, I enjoy this part of the blog to keep "in touch". Thanks for featuring the great people of DPPL.

  2. As a former employee, I really appreciate this opportunity to keep "in touch" with DPPL folks.


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