I’ve been quiet the past few days here, but this time I do actually have a reason that doesn’t stem from my own laziness. (I’m just kidding, I promise.) I’ve accepted a new position in the system where I currently work so I will no longer be serving as a reference librarian. Instead my position will be as the web librarian, where my duties will be creating and maintaining the systems website. This is an exciting turn for me as it will allow me to put many of my ideas into action and help construct our site using many of the Web 2.0 tenants. My transfer should go into effect sometime in February.
I had been thinking about library websites as well, as I was brainstorming about many of the things I would like to be able to impliment. So many sites I see are (lets face it librarians) subpar, looking like they were made in Geocities or in *shudder* Frontpage. Even libraries that serve big cities are often overly simple or just not exciting. Now I know that I shouldn’t expect librarians to also know webdesign too and that learning code takes time and study to master. There is always the option to hire someone to create a site for you who only does webdesign but I think in this capacity while you may get a site that looks visually lovely it won’t nessicarily incorporate what a library really needs to properly serve its patrons in a virtual environment. This is because while webdesigners create usable pages they aren’t librarians and so don’t know what libraries need. Librarians know, but are held back in the design aspect. This seems a real pity.
There are sites such as the Lansing Public Library (Illinois). Visually pleasing it is not, however, they’re utilizing a blog like feature for news on their main page, RSS feeds, IM reference, del.icio.us, podcasts!, flickr, and they have several seperate blogs with their own Feedburner stats. I know technology isn’t everything, but despite the fact that it doesn’t look like this or this such things are a draw to the website and I think a pull for patrons to utilize what their library has to offer online. If these two ideas could be married on a library website, just think of what could go from there. (Just a note, off topic, I have a particular soft spot for Korean library websites. I can’t read a lick of Korean,and the English versions of the sites are usually not nearly as good, but they are very visually pleasing, at least to me. Sejong University‘s website is a far cry from my alma mater‘s own, and I think a lot more nice to look at.)
But, I’ve gone far off topic here so I’ll veer back into the right lane. I will admit, I am not a webdesigner. I follow a lot of blogs and hopefully now professional publications on the subject. I know the trends and I know HTML and CSS so I can author. And I know I’ll have the tools too. Therefore, outside of making flickr, del.icio.us, blogs, and the rest a noticiable part of our online services, I hope to make a library webpage that reflects what a library really needs in order to serve their patrons, of all age groups and classes. This is my goal and I will try my hardest to see it through.