For immediate release | September 1, 2023

ALA Announces Staff Transitions in the Associate Executive Director Role

CHICAGO — The American Library Association (ALA) announced today key changes to its leadership team as the new fiscal year begins.

Interim Senior Associate Executive Director Mary Mackay will retire from ALA on Friday, September 1, after nearly 18 years of service in various ALA leadership capacities. In her most recent post, she oversaw the ALA Publishing Department, Conference Services, Continuing Education, and the implementation of ALA’s enterprise wide cross-functional teams. Since joining ALA in 2005 as marketing director for the publishing unit, Mackay has held several management roles across the Association. Her 35 years working in publishing and other areas of nonprofit organizations, including ProLiteracy, have centered on developing collaborations to help extend the reach of quality content to wider audiences and generating revenue to fund mission-based work.

“It has been inspiring to work with so many talented and dedicated colleagues at ALA and in the field so deeply committed to our shared goals around access,” said Mackay. “The current and emerging staff leadership is outstanding, and it’s been energizing to be part of ALA at this moment of urgent change under Tracie Hall’s leadership. I look forward to staying engaged as a member and public supporter as the association continues to increase its vital impact.”

“Mary is to be commended for the positive and tangible ways that her leadership has shaped so many critical aspects of ALA’s work,” said ALA Executive Director Tracie D. Hall. She will be greatly missed, even as we wish her an absolutely fulfilling next chapter.”

Upon Mackay’s retirement, Melissa Walling will step into the role of Interim Senior Associate Executive Director. Walling joined ALA in June 2019 as Director of Member Relations & Services and was promoted to Associate Executive Director of ALA Offices and Member Relations in 2022. Since joining the ALA team, Walling has worked to improve the ALA membership experience and support AOMR directors in rebuilding staff capacity and succession planning. In this interim role, she will prioritize strategies to improve staff resources and continue to work as a member of the AED team to meet our goals of structuring for efficiency and building mechanisms and messaging to increase member and public engagement. Walling looks forward to onboarding a new Director of Membership this new fiscal year. Until then, she will work to ensure that ALA’s new membership model and public engagement strategies remain on track.

“I am looking forward to the ways that Melissa’s vision for staff and member engagement will inform her work in this role and support ALA’s strategic pivot plan,” said Hall. “She is tremendously talented and we stand to benefit from her broader association management experience.”

Walling brings 20 years of association management experience working in membership, customer service, chapter relations and education into her new role. She earned her MBA from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in 2020 and is a Certified Association Executive and a graduate from the Institute for Organization Management. She currently serves on ASAE’s CAE Commission. Prior to her work at associations, she was a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Ghana, West Africa.

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


Raymond Garcia

Communications Specialist

Communications and Marketing Office