Sunday, November 7, 2010

Children's Department Web Pages

I was at PaLA in Lancaster last week, and as part of a presentation I did, I talked a bit about library websites.  Sadly, I think they still fall to the bottom of the to-do list for many of us.  But 60% of people decide if an organization or business is worth their time and attention based on the design and functionality of their website.  So it's actually pretty important. 

I've talked a lot about Darien Library in CT and frankly, they're definitely a library to watch. They're really knocking my socks off with what they're doing. Even at LITAcamp John Blyberg talked about helping them develop the SOPAC (you have to check that out!) They're everywhere! They even created a slideshow on all the cool things they were planning as they were building a new facility. But back to their children's site...I'm pretty fond of how they've set it up. Some notable goodies:
  • At the top is a great little cartoon girl holding the Darien logo. And words like 'explore, learn and discover' are inspiring.
  • I already know that Darien uses Drupal for their website (a someday dream of mine to learn!) so their site works like a blog with constantly new posts. One day when I was looking at the site, there was a mother's day post. So there was a great picture of a mother and 2 girls, very lively and inviting (pictures of people = good!) with some really great links for parents.
  • A great sidebar of their events sits on the right, listing both what's happening today and what's happening all week.
  • They break down their site into categories (much easier on parents!) like babies, toddlers, preschoolers, raising a reader and rhymes and songs (as you know, if you're a regular reader of this blog, they also break down their collection in a similar fashion) So parents know right where to go to find what they need.
  • On each of the categories' pages lives information specific to that age-group, recommended websites, book suggestions, advice to parents and so on. They even have a Feist video from YouTube! Way to show the public that the library is hip!
  • Finally, you're encouraged to post comments! Interaction is good! People like a way (virtual and physical) to connect with their library and community.
Some of you may not think a blog could work as a website, but it really does!  Some of our libraries in Allegheny County even use them.  Braddock and Brentwood for example. 

I'm teaching a class on blogging on 11/19 (you can register here!) and it's going to talk about how to use a blog as your website (or even the children's or teen portion of your website) and how to make it look fabulous and promote it!