Beth Mellor closing in on 10th anniversary as Oakmont Carnegie Library director
Editor’s note: This is part of an occasional series that features Alle-Kiski Valley residents and the notable things that they do.
Beth Mellor plans to enter her 10th year as Oakmont Carnegie Library director with the same enthusiasm as her first day.
“Today’s public libraries are very focused on community, creating community space, building a collection around community needs and offering programs for all ages,” she said. “To me a public library has something for everyone, and we’ve used new technologies to reach out and support even more people.”
She still has a few months to reach the milestone. Mellor was hired as the library’s top administrator in March 2010.
“No two days are ever the same,” Mellor said. “I do a lot of the behind the scenes work, like making sure we are meeting our state-set standards and goals. Libraries in Pennsylvania are part of the Department of Education. There are continuing education standards for myself and all of the library team.”
Mellor reports on how the library’s collection of materials are being used, helps manage inventory, the library’s social media presence and marketing. She also runs Baby Lap Sit, a story time for babies.
The library offers between 50 and 60 programs a month, and hosts about a dozen other activities that aren’t library based, such as club meetings and study groups.
Between 12,000 and 18,000 people visit the educational and recreational facility at 700 Allegheny River Blvd. per year.
“Our library programmers do an amazing job of creating interesting and fun programs, and my job is just to support them and help them do their jobs,” Mellor said. “I can’t take credit for the programs, but I’m really proud and happy with what they’ve created.”
The Whitehall resident grew up in Turtle Creek across the street from St. Colman Catholic Church’s convent.
She graduated from Turtle Creek High School, now Woodland Hills Academy.
“The community was filled with hard working people taking care of their families, and there was lots of love and activities for children,” Mellor said of the borough. “The Mercy nuns had a huge influence on me. They helped me discover my love of reading and the importance of helping others. My parents were like that also, always willing to help people out.”
She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in writing and history and a master’s in library and information science from the University of Pittsburgh. Library leadership seemed to be Mellor’s destiny.
“In college I worked at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh as a page in the closed stacks,” Mellor recalled. “We went into the closed area of the library and brought materials out to people. I felt like I had found ‘my people.’
“After college, I ended up working in the research library of an ad agency and really learned to love research and using databases to get information for client projects.
”I ended up working in marketing for about 15 years after that doing market research and eventually became a marketing director, but went back into working at libraries after my children were born.”
She has two children, Miranda and Eric, both in their 20s. She’s been married to Terry Mellor for 35 years.
Mellor worked at libraries in Mt. Lebanon and Whitehall, did programming and reference work at other libraries and grant writing, marketing and training as part of the Allegheny County Library Association prior to coming to Oakmont.
Future library plans include working on its upper level and updating its children’s area, one of Mellor’s favorite sections.
“I love the artwork we had created by Cy Assad, a local artist, for our children’s department,” Mellor said. “It makes me smile every time I see it. And I love when a child points to the Cheshire Cat from ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and knows that’s the entrance to the children’s area. I’m also proud of the fundraising and awareness the Library Board has created for the library and the expansion and development of some of our programs for the community.”
The children’s section also features murals with characters from “Moby Dick” and “Little Red Riding Hood,” to name a few.
When outside the library, Mellor takes pride in her baking skills. She relaxes by watching black-and-white movies and reading Swedish murder mysteries. Her favorite spot outside the United States is Iceland.
Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, [email protected] or via Twitter .