Molly Dickerson

Livin' It categories:

Molly Dickerson

Mentor at The Labs at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP)


What has surprised you about your career? Is it like you imagined it would be? Since I tend to be a little bit of a control freak and I entered into librarianship because I appreciate its structure, it was a surprise to recognize how relaxed teen workshops can be at the library, especially as part of The Labs. I pictured myself filling more of a teacher role than a mentor role, but as a mentor, I’m better at my job if I’m willing to encourage hanging out and a little goofing off instead of being a taskmaster and adhering to a strict lesson plan.

What qualities or skills are important for this career? Mentors at The Labs have to have a balance of detail-orientedness and flexibility. One must be focused and organized when it comes to office tasks like managing a budget, ordering equipment, and writing lesson plans for workshops. However, the actual time in The Labs is more fun than structured, and mentors have to be able to hang.

Coffee Shop Drink of Choice: I’m not a big coffee drinker (I drink tea every day), but when I do drink coffee I really need it, so I’m all about straight-up espresso (from Tazza d’Oro in Highland Park).

Who are YOUR role models? Many people in my personal life are role models—individuals who have overcome great adversity and still manage to have a positive attitude, a willingness to help others, and a calmness about them.

As someone who grew up watching Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, I’ve been glued to Mariska Hargitay’s compassionate and justice-seeking character on the show and became even more interested in her as a person when she founded the Joyful Heart Foundation, putting her character’s work into real-life action.

Read more about her career! Library Scientist

Bio: Molly Dickerson as a young girl thought she would be a “pant suit-wearing photographer” Although she may not be a photographer, she still works around art at The Labs at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP)  CLP has offices all over Pittsburgh, but she spends most of her time at the main office in Oakland and the Labs locations. Molly said that, “A typical day with The Labs starts in the office. If I’m leading a workshop in the evening, I don’t have to arrive at the office until about 11a.m.; on days when I don’t have a Labs workshop, I come in around 9 a.m. Although it may sound boring, office time provides a great opportunity to plan workshops, get in touch with similar organizations, and organize programs with coworkers, among many other behind-the-scenes tasks. Since Labs workshops take place after school during the week, I often have to switch gears from quiet computer work in the morning to dynamic, creative Labs work in the evening.” She likes working with teens because they are the most energizing and inspiring part of her job. She enjoys that even though she has more formal education than them, she can still learn from them.

Leading up to this career, Molly attended the College of Wooster where she earned a BA in Film Studies and a minor in Studio Art. After college, she decided to commit to a year of service with AmeriCorps, which placed her with the nonprofit organization, College Now Greater Cleveland. Eventually, she was in the process of earning her Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) at the University of Pittsburgh when she came across her current job at The Labs at CLP.

Outside of work, Molly likes writing letters to her long distance friends, trying new restaurants, and seeing good bands whenever she can. She also used to Irish dance, so she breaks out a few steps that she still remembers from time to time.