5 Factors for Library Web Site Redesign

5 Factors for Library Web Site Redesign

This week, as part of Chicago Public Library’s Scholars in Residence Program, Stephen, Jenny and I spent time discussing strategies and planning for a public library Web site redeign.

I pointed the group we were with to this press release: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2005/9/prweb285788.htm that I linked to a few weeks ago concerning what factors large public libraries face in a redesign.

I also presented this brief list:

#1 Your web Site is a Cyber-Branch: Your Web site should be viewed as your location in cyberspace, the ___nth branch if you will. It should be staffed accordingly and not forgotten when major marketing or PR initiatives occur.

Stephen Abram made a point as well: staff it with some techie folk but have a seasoned librarian in charge to insure the site isn’t controlled exclusively by the tech folk.

I also pointed out that your PL Web site cannot be an afterthought. It should convey your mission, goals and objectives for services. It should be localized and useful.

#2 Have a Voice & a Face The library web site cannot be flat and lifeless. Find your voice and use it! It may be via blogs or other tools that make communicating a message oh so easy, but whatever you do, make your Web presence HUMAN.

Podcasts…image feeds…wiki pages can help.

Share stories. Highhlight your staff and their knowledge. Use your librarians as guides, and see # 8 in this recent post: http://www.tametheweb.com/ttwblog/archives/001862.html

#3 Don’t ignore the value of conversations: Cluetrain time! Markets…conversations…internally and externally. Participate! Offer a place for these conversations to take place or they will take place without you. In other locations on other servers. They will take place, I promise!

#4 Be Transparent: Whoever had the foresight and wherewithall to develop a site devoted to planning, with a domain I heart, at AADL, rocks! http://planning.aadl.org Put your planning out there for your users and your staff. Involve both in the decision making process.

#5 Prioritize your Resources: Mine your Web stats for trends and focus development on pages that get the hits. David King writes about this here. Balance requests for new pages with how useful they may be for your users. It’s ok to say NO to a request for a page that may never be visited.