Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Librarians finally learn web design

I know that it has been forever and a day since I last posted. This semester I made a decision to really focus on school, and it's paid off in spades. I feel like I've done the best academic work that I've ever done. I know, you must be thinking, shouldn't every semester be like that? Yes, it should, and it usually is. But I think this term I realized that my MLIS program is about to come to an end, and I really want to make the most of the time I have left.

But of course, focusing more on school has had it's downsides, too. Mostly, I neglected my blog, and probably lost most of the amazing readership I had built up over the summer.

But now that the semester is winding down, and my big projects are behind me, I'm ready to start back up again. So, for you dear readers, a short post, as I dust off my blogging skills:

San Jose Public Library just launched their new sight, and it is glorious:


It's simple. It's clean. It's colorful. It gives me hope.

It's sad to say, but there are more bad websites out there than good ones. Especially for libraries. More often than not, it's because a library is part of a larger organization or institution (such as a university or city/county government) and has to abide by their bureaucratic rules for web design.

But San Jose has really hit the mark here. A good website should be simple, and easy to navigate. It should have clearly marked paths and landmarks. it should not overwhelm the user, but inspire them to explore and return.

You can read a bit about the web site's redesign, and some of the new features, on The Librarian in Black's blog. Some of the new highlights that I really like are the fact that the words database or OPAC or other library jargon aren't on the site, and that users can comment on almost any aspect of the site (which aren't moderated) and that all staff members can blog (and again, their posts aren't moderated either).

Why does all of this give me hope? Because smart, well designed websites are our future. More and more information searches are going to be conducted not in the library, but on the library's website. In this new model of librarianship, we need to provide excellent user experience, and web design is the way to start.

Bravo and Congratulations to the staff at San Jose public Library!!

20 comments:

  1. I realize that the title of my post can be misleading. There are other examples of excellent web design out there (such as the Sno-Isle Library's Teen Page: http://www.sno-isle.org/?ID=2596). The title is meant to highlight that we need to see more effective web design!

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  2. I recall how a lot of university libraries have drab backgrounds and very tiny text in crowded pages. Puts you in the mood for studying, doesn't it?

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  3. Yay! Thanks for sharing this good news!!

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  4. Good thing that libraries are providing training for their librarians to learn web design. Having a website can really help them promote their message to the whole world.

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  7. It is important as a librarian to know web design,part of the job. One way to educate yourself since your in the library,books were registered through computers,an easy way to find it.

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