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Developing Your Library Website

Guest Author - Paula S.W. Laurita

In this digital age it is necessary to reach out to patrons via the World Wide Web.

One of the key vehicles for publicizing library programs and providing patrons with key services is an attractive and up to date website. Designing and organizing your library's webpage requires thought, planning, a commitment to keep it current. Let's look at various aspects of building a website.

Planning
Before designing your website reflect on the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of the website?
  • Who is the audience of your webpage?

  • Purpose-- What is the purpose of the website? This sounds obvious, but you need to know why you're building the page.

    • Is is simply to allow patrons to renew books online?
    • Is it to announce programs?
    • Is it to provide registration forms for storytime?
    • Is it to recruit for the Friends of the Library?
    • What will the site communicate to the public about your library, programs, yourself, your collection, and your community/school.
    • What does the information does the website provide that is not available elsewhere?

  • Audience-- What do you know about the audience of your website? If the website doesn't provide your patrons with beneficial information you probably don't want to even bother building the site.

    • Are you communicating your curriculum to parents and students?
    • Are you providing information to teachers to assist them in planning assignments?
    • Are there events upcoming that support the library financially?
    • Are you communicating library hours?

    Commitment-- How much time can you devote to the website? There are few things less irritating than coming across a website that has not been updated in years.

    • Who will be updating the site? Will you be doing the updates yourself, or will you need to submit the information to someone else? This will effect your planning time in finalizing plans and information.
    • A website will lead to increased communication. Are you going to have 24/7 communication options (i.e., email to a live person or direct telephone numbers to offices, etc.)?
    • How much are you willing to spend on the website? Do you need to purchase design software? Do you need to purchase more server space from your webpage host?

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Content copyright © 2014 by Paula S.W. Laurita. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Paula S.W. Laurita. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Christine Sharbrough for details.

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