Melody Layton McMahon

Former Director of the Paul Bechtold Library

Professor Emerita of Theological Research and Bibliography



MS, School of Library Service, Columbia University

MA, St. Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theology, Cleveland


Melody was the Director of the Paul Bechtold Library from 2008-2017. Theological librarianship was a constant interest throughout her career. She has been an active participant in the Ohio Theological Library Association, the Association of Chicago Theological Schools’ Library Council, and the Chicago Area Theological Library Association. Melody is a long-time member of the American Theological Library Association. In 2012, she was elected to the Board of Directors of the American Theological Library Association and in 2013, to the position of Vice-President. She is currently serving on the ATLA Press Advisory Board.


Her own work as a librarian was strongly influenced by her belief that she has a vocation, is called by God to be a theological librarian. This call includes her love of Martha and the ideals of hospitality, some ideas from theosis, and the feeling that one way to mirror the image of God is to continue to grow in knowledge and to facilitate this in others.


Melody has been an evangelist for open access scholarship and was a regular presenter on the topic, as well as the Library as Publisher Movement. She was on the editorial boards of the journals New Theology Review and Theological Librarianship. She continues to do some editing and website work for non-profits.

Enthusiasm for the Word: The Life and Work of Fr. Simeon Daly, OSB. Chicago:

American Theological Library Association, 2016.


Never Enough Singing: Essays in Honor of Seth Kasten. (editor) Chicago: ATLA Publications, 2011.


A Broadening Conversation: Classic Readings in Theological Librarianship. (co-editor with David R. Stewart) Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2006.


“Vocation—Lay Spirituality and Secularist Values.” In Plural Spiritualities: North American Experiences, ed. Robert Schreiter. Washington, DC: Council for Research in Values and Philosophy, 2015.


“Introduction.” In Never Enough Singing: Essays in Honor of Seth Kasten. Chicago: ATLA Publications, 2011.


“Outpassing the Power of Human Telling.” In Never Enough Singing: Essays in Honor of Seth Kasten. Chicago: ATLA Publications, 2011.


Theology at the Cutting Edge: “The Democratization of Scholarship and Theosis: The Short Version.” New Theology Review 29, no. 2 (2017): 42-45.


Word and Worship: “Artists’ Archives: Saving the Heritage of Vatican II.” New Theology Review 27, no. 1 (2014): 79-81.


“The Library as Publisher? Is It Possible for a Small Library?” Theological Librarianship 8,

  1. 1 (2015): 4-6.


“The Theological Library in the Age of Technology.” In Trust (Summer 2013): 12-14.

(With John B. Weaver)


“Attending the Vatican Library Conference.” Catholic Library World 82 (2011): 112-118.


“Three London Catholic Libraries.” Theological Librarianship 4 (2011): 22-31.


“Theological Librarianship: An Unapologetic Apology.” Theological Librarianship 3

(2010): 7-14.


“More Than a Study Hall: Further Cuts May Damage the Mission of the Theological

Library.” In Trust (Spring 2010): 5-7.


“Librarians, Publishers, and Theological Reference Resources: A Way Forward.”

Theological Librarianship 2 (2009): 8-19.