9 to 5: Libraries Aren’t Just For Books Anymore

Portsmouth Public Library

Portsmouth Public Library | Photo submitted by Michaela Pugh

When you think of a library, the first thing that comes to mind is probably shelves of books. But do you think about 3D printers? Or augmented reality sandboxes? Well, you get all of those cool things (and more!) when you visit the Portsmouth Public Library.

The Portsmouth Public Library works to serve the informational, educational, and entertainment needs of the community. And in Michaela Pugh’s opinion, it’s a pretty cool place to work.

Michaela, 27, is the Emerging Technologies Library Assistant at the Portsmouth Public Library, which is a fancy way of saying that she wrangles much of the library’s technology, from Kindles and iPads to 3D printers, Raspberry Pis, and the library’s augmented reality sandbox. She also helps library patrons find exactly what they need. And she loves every minute of it.

Michaela Pugh | Emerging Technologies Library Assistant at the Portsmouth Public Library

Michaela Pugh | Emerging Technologies Library Assistant at the Portsmouth Public Library

“This is truly one of the best places to work,” she gushed. “…After being here for just shy of three years, I am astounded daily by the creativity and passion that my co-workers throw into every day, the wonderful community we serve, and, of course, all the neat tech toys I get to work with.”

One of Michaela’s favorite parts of the job is helping patrons solve problems, whether that means helping someone download an app or teaching someone about 3D printers and printing.

“Watching the light bulb go off when someone understands a problem is one of the most satisfying feelings in the world,” she said.

Michaela has been on the path to work at a library for a long time. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of New Hampshire, and her master’s degree in Library and Informational Science from the University of Rhode Island. She feels lucky to have landed at the Portsmouth Public Library.

“I wanted a library job where I could expand my techy horizons and still have hands-on time with patrons, and so I was instantly drawn to this job,” she said. “…There were always whispers at different state and regional conferences about the wonderful things those Portsmouth librarians were doing.”

Plus, being able to work in the Seacoast area is another reason Michaela loves where she works.

“I love the community here,” she said, “from the support for the Library and all it does, to the high level of engagement from, seemingly, everyone on the Seacoast. It’s a vibrant and robust place to live and work, not to mention the easy access to both the ocean and the mountains.”

Landing a cool job like this one requires you to have much more than just an interest in books (or, in this case, technology). According to Michaela, being a librarian means being great at customer service. You work with people every day, and you’re expected to be helpful, pleasant, and knowledgeable.

“If you want to work in any public library, know and use as many of its services as possible,” she advised. “Ask questions, be curious, keep learning, love books and knowledge, but love people, too.”

If you’d like to learn more about the Portsmouth Public Library, please visit its website.

Do you, or does someone you know, work for an exciting NH company or organization and want to be featured in the SWP blog? Email 9to5@stayworkplay.org!

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