Maisam Nouh | Movers & Shakers 2020–Digital Developers

Maisam Nouh has done a bit of everything for the Ferguson Library, in Stamford, CT. In high school, shortly after her family emigrated to Connecticut, she began volunteering for the library’s summer reading program. Later, she took a part-time job as a page. Then came a stint at the circulation desk, an internship, and ongoing side gigs. Now, as IT supervisor, Nouh oversees all aspects of Ferguson’s tech infrastructure, including its Sierra library services platform.

Sidsel Bech-Petersen

CURRENT POSITION

Information Technology Supervisor, Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT

DEGREE

MLS, Clarion University, 2013

FAST FACT

Nouh is originally from Alexandria, Egypt, home to one of the great libraries of the ancient world, “so even when I was young, libraries were something I was fascinated by.”

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Photo by Gene Smirnov

 

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Maisam Nouh has done a bit of everything for the Ferguson Library, located in Stamford, CT. In high school, shortly after her family emigrated to Connecticut, she began volunteering for the library’s summer reading program. Later, she took a part-time job as a page. Then came a stint at the circulation desk, an internship, and ongoing side gigs such as cataloging local history and world languages materials.

Now, as IT supervisor, Nouh oversees all aspects of Ferguson’s tech infrastructure, including its Sierra library services platform. In this role, too, she has sought a deeper level of engagement, becoming a member of the Innovative Users Group (IUG) steering committee and co-coordinator of IUG’s Idea Lab.

"We’re there to hold Innovative [Interfaces] accountable for using people’s ideas in their product maps" for library products such as Sierra, Nouh says. Through her efforts, Ferguson has also become a development partner with Innovative, testing and providing early feedback on Sierra Web and Inspire Discovery. Although development of Inspire is on hold, officials at Ex Libris, which acquired Innovative, have talked to Nouh about continuing Ferguson’s role, possibly exploring the use of the Summon discovery solution in public libraries.

Working closely with vendors not only improves products for libraries, says Nouh, but also builds relationships that help Ferguson better serve its patrons. "Vendors do listen to their customers, but you need to be involved…. Personal connections make a huge difference."

Separately, Nouh has spearheaded the back-end development of Linked Libraries, which enables students in Stamford’s public schools to check out books and other materials from Ferguson’s online catalog and have them delivered to their schools. What began as a pilot project with three schools in 2016 expanded in 2019 to all 22 Stamford public schools.

The dream goal is to create a unified catalog where students can discover and check out content from both their school and Ferguson using a single login. With the schools on Follett’s Destiny platform, this integration is both a funding and technical challenge, one Nouh is eager to address.

Nominator Alice Knapp, president and CEO of Ferguson (and a 2003 Mover & Shaker), says no summary of Nouh’s work can "adequately reflect [her] community spirit." Among other things, she points to Nouh’s role on the board of the Stamford History Center and other volunteerism, including meeting a family of Syrian refugees at the airport and helping them navigate their new community. "Maisam’s unique ability…is her curiosity and her can-do spirit," says Knapp. 

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