Caitlyn Boland credits the Carnegie system of libraries for exposing her to books at a young age.

Growing up in Connellsville, Boland said, she was in awe when her mother took her to get her first library card at the Carnegie library in her hometown.

“It was a privilege to go there, and I know how special that was,” Boland said.

Now, Boland hopes to help make Oakmont Carnegie Library a special and essential destination for today’s visitors. She recently became director of the 123-year-old library on Allegheny River Boulevard, replacing Elizabeth Mellor, who retired last month.

For libraries like Oakmont, books are just part of the draw these days.

Boland said she’s looking to expand makerspace opportunities at the Oakmont library, one of only a few to offer such collaborative working spaces.

Makerspace activities include use of a 3D printer, a Cricut vinyl cutting machine, a music station with MIDI keyboards, recording software and microphone, a Brother sewing and embroidery machine, a button maker, and arts and crafts supplies.

“Just from speaking with people, one of my early goals is to increase public usage (in the makerspace), and the community can expect to see more happening with it,” Boland said.

Boland, 36, of Cranberry served as director for six years at Mars Area Public Library and had previous stints working at Butler Area Public Library and Western Allegheny Community Library in North Fayette. She earned a master’s degree in library science from the University of Pittsburgh.

She also brings a familiarity with the Oakmont area, having previously taught at the borough’s St. Irenaeus Catholic School.

“It’s very fun that I’m coming back,” Boland said. “I’m excited to return here.”

Stephanie Zimble, head of technical services at the Oakmont library for 16 years, said she’s excited for Boland to bring “some fresh perspective, someone with fresh eyes.”

While Zimble said the library is dedicated to its rich history, she added, “We want to stay modern and relative to people, so we’re hopeful our new director will honor our past while bringing us into the future.”

Boland will lead a staff of nine people.

“They’re making everything happen,” she said of her new colleagues.

Joyce Hanz is a TribLive reporter covering the Alle-Kiski Valley. A native of Charleston, S.C., she graduated from the University of South Carolina. She can be reached at