Jim Rettig, 2008-2009 ALA President, Has Died

For Immediate Release
Thu, 08/25/2022


Raymond Garcia

Communications Specialist

Communications and Marketing Office


CHICAGO - Jim Rettig, president of the American Library Association (ALA) from 2008 to 2009, died August 17.

A dedicated library leader, Rettig was awarded a bachelor’s and master’s degree in English from Marquette University. In 1975, he earned a Master of Library Science from University of Wisconsin-Madison. Rettig’s career as a reference librarian took him to six different states—Wisconsin, Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, Virginia, and Maryland. In 1988, Rettig and his family settled in Williamsburg, Virginia, when he became assistant dean of university libraries at Earl Gregg Swem Library at College of William and Mary. Until his retirement in 2017, he served as dean of libraries at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

In addition to his tenure as ALA president, Rettig served on the ALA Executive Board, on ALA Council as chair of the Committee on Organization, and as president of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA).

“Jim Rettig’s passing has touched the entire Association,” said ALA Executive Director Tracie D. Hall. “In addition to being an accomplished library leader and ALA Past President, Executive Board, and Council member, Jim was a mentor and advocate. He took time to support others on their leadership journey. One of the last emails I found from Jim was his advocating for ALA’s Spectrum Program to promote diversity in the LIS profession. That’s who he was – generous, caring, and always willing to use his voice and resources on behalf of others. He was one of the true stalwarts of the library profession and will be dearly missed.”


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, 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. Visit ala.org for more information.