For immediate release | May 16, 2022

Melanie Welch named director of ALA’s Public Programs Office

CHICAGO – Melanie Napoleon Welch has been named director of the American Library Association’s (ALA) Public Programs Office (PPO).

Welch joined ALA as a Project Director in the Public Programs Office in 2015. She was promoted to Deputy Director, and later took over as interim Director of PPO upon the retirement of Deb Robertson in October 2021. Since her start at ALA, Welch has led nationwide library programs such as Thinking Money for Kids, Community Connect: Digital Access at Home, Americans and the Holocaust and The Vietnam War. She co-edited the book “Rainy Day Ready: Financial Literacy Programs and Tools” and led ALA’s 2018 initiative, the New Americans Library Project.

“We are delighted to have Melanie as director of the Public Programs Office,” said Tracie D. Hall, ALA Executive Director. “Her dedication and lifelong love of libraries will take PPO to great new heights.”

Prior to ALA, Welch founded the Great Lakes conservation department at the John G. Shedd Aquarium, is a member of the 2010 class of Catto Fellows at The Aspen Institute in Washington, DC and served on several nonprofit boards. Welch has nearly 25 years of nonprofit management experience and started her career in informal education and community engagement in museums after receiving a master's degree in biology.

About the ALA Public Programs Office

The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office empowers libraries to create vibrant hubs of learning, conversation and connection in communities of all types. For more information, visit

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit


Hannah Arata

Communications Specialist

American Library Association

Public Programs Office