Mary Lee Kennedy Named ARL Executive Director


Washington, DC, January 9, 2018The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Board of Directors has appointed Mary Lee Kennedy executive director of the Association, effective April 1, 2018. 

Kennedy is currently principal of the Kennedy Group, where she partners with organizations to empower local and global communities to create and use knowledge that enhances lives.

“The search committee and the ARL Board are impressed by Mary Lee’s strategic thinking; global perspective and experience; demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion; domain expertise in scholarly communications, education, and IT; and consensus-building nature,” said Mary Ann Mavrinac, president of ARL and vice provost and Andrew H. and Janet Dayton Neilly dean of the University of Rochester Libraries. “Mary Lee has lived in Canada, the US, and Mexico; is bilingual in English and Spanish; and has a working knowledge of French. She is truly North American in her outlook, which will serve our Association well.”

Kennedy will come to ARL with a wealth of experience in academic research libraries and knowledge corporations, most recently New York Public Library (NYPL), where she held the position of chief library officer (2013–2016). Prior to NYPL, she served at Harvard University as senior associate provost for the Harvard Library (2011–2013) and executive director of Knowledge and Library Services, Harvard Business School (2004–2011). Before going to Harvard, she was director of the Knowledge Network Group at Microsoft (1998–2004). Kennedy earned her BA in social psychology and classics at University of Alberta and her master of library science at Louisiana State University.

“I am thrilled to have been selected to be the next ARL executive director, particularly given the significant moment in history in which we find ourselves, and the many opportunities for research libraries to make a difference,” said Kennedy. “I look forward to building on ARL’s strengths as a leader and partner in the research and learning ecosystem, as a catalyzer of global opportunity and value through its suite of programs and projects, and as a culture that embraces innovation, diversity, and inclusion.”

The ARL Board and staff look forward to working with Kennedy.

‍About ARL (

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 125 research libraries in the US and Canada. ARL’s mission is to influence the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they serve. ARL pursues this mission by advancing the goals of its member research libraries, providing leadership in public and information policy to the scholarly and higher education communities, fostering the exchange of ideas and expertise, facilitating the emergence of new roles for research libraries, and shaping a future environment that leverages its interests with those of allied organizations