Public Library Mobile Web Design- Tips, Tricks & Resources

A really great presentation if you plan on going mobile with your library website. This presentation will walk you through some things to consider when thinking about the functionality and content of your library’s mobile presence, and point to useful tools for building your mobile website. Rachel has done a really great job detailing all the specifics of mobile development.

Public Library Website Guidelines

Websites are the electronic front door to your library; as such they deserve the same planning and care that your library receives. Websites are a form of marketing and a way of reaching otherwise unserved customers. A library website can be a vital information resource for your community; capitalize on the opportunity. Bear in mind that a web page is not a website. Displaying the depth of information and resources available at the library requires more than a single page.

The Office of Library and Information Services Local Library Development Team and Web Publishing Team have developed the following basic guidelines for the content and design of public library websites. These guidelines are designed to support libraries in designing are great website. These refer directly to information and resources that should be available through a library’s website.

Library Home Page

Essential Information

  • Library name, location and phone
  • Library hours
  • Link to branch information
  • Link to catalog
  • Links to services, programs, calendar, and about the library
  • Link to site map

Additional Information

  • News and events
  • Link to “support the library”, Friends group, or a way to get involved as a library supporter

About the Library

Essential Information

  • Contact information: name, address, phone number, fax number of the library
  • Branch locations (if any) and contact information for the branches
  • Library hours
  • Key personnel and contact numbers and/or e-mail addresses
  • Directions to the library
  • Board of Trustees members
  • Board of Trustees meeting dates/agenda
  • Friends group officers, activities, and membership application
  • Library mission statement
  • Library policies (especially for library cards, loan periods, use of the meeting room, computer use, unattended children)
  • Contact Us link and/or virtual suggestion box

Additional Information

  • Annual report
  • Long-range plan
  • History of the library
  • Library newsletter (if any)
  • Trustee by-laws
  • Trustee meeting minutes
  • Volunteer information
  • Images of the library


Programs and Services

Essential Information

  • Children’s services
  • YA/Teen services
  • Literacy services and programs
  • Disability services
  • Classes/workshops (if offered)
  • Museum and park passes
  • Calendar of events

Additional Information

  • New books listing
  • Staff recommendations listing
  • Parents section
  • Teachers section
  • Seniors section

Reference and Research Information

Essential Information

  • Link to library catalog
  • Link to OSL home page
  • Electronic resources
  • Reference links
  • Virtual reference services (email/IM)
  • Special collections

Additional Information

  • Search engines and directories
  • Local history page
  • Genealogy page
  • Connections to other libraries
  • Statewide Reference Resource Center
  • Instant Answers
  • Ask a Librarian


Design Guidelines

  • Design by the 10 second rule: a visitor should be able to find a link to your catalog, your locations, your programs, your resources, or your key personnel in less than 10 seconds from any page on your site
  • Include the library name on every page (the name should be prominently displayed as a header and included in the <title> tag on the page)
  • Include library address, phone, and “contact us” link on every page (possibly as footer if not in header)
  • Provide clear and consistent navigation throughout the site; include a link to the library homepage on every page
  • Include a site map, and provide a link to it on every page
  • Avoid library jargon, e.g., provide a link to the library catalog
  • Make sure pages load quickly — limit the use of images and text graphics; compress file sizes for all images
  • Avoid flashing objects and multi-colored text that distract a visitor’s attention
  • Avoid pages longer than 2 screens; users will not scroll down to find information
  • Make sure the page is accessible to users with disabilities
  • Libraries meet ADA requirements; websites should have a comparable level of accessibility as specified in the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and Federal Section 508 Standards for Electronic and Information Technology
  • Check your pages in multiple browsers to be sure they render correctly, e.g., Internet Explorer, Netscape (Mozilla), Firefox, Opera, even on a Mac (Safari)
  • Librarians are experts at organizing information; library websites should reflect this!

What are the goals for your library website?

This presentation is about promoting your library site, how to allocate content, navigation tips and many other useful information. We have created many library websites and found this presentation very helpful so we decided to share on our blog.

Website Design Resources For Public Libraries

Web Design Guidelines & Ideas

Creating a Web Page

Example Webites

Serving Library Patrons in the Mobile Space

This presentation, given by Steve covers trends in mobile website design and the endless possibilities for public libraries. Library apps are critically reviewed while simpler, less expensive mobile website techniques are favored.

Website Design Criteria for Public Libraries

A great presentation on library website design and requirements.

Best Practices for Public Library Website Design

You are a librarian, not a web developer, but you can have a library website that fulfills the needs of patrons and library staff. If you keep it things simple and don’t take on more than you can administer, and concentrate on what you know and do well it will be a piece of cake.

Building a great and user friendly website for a public library, you need to look at it from two perspectives. First, you will need to look at it from a librarian’s point of view.

What will your patrons need, and how can you best service their needs? This is the easy part as it comes with the profession. So coming up with that info should be a fairly easy task.

Second, you need to look at it like web designer as someone who has an eyed for design and knows what the users looks for in a website. Since most librarians are not trained as a web designer, that could be a daunting task and be a complete waste of time.

Gallery of great public library websites:

Best thing is to focus on what you know and what you do best, and spend as little time on what you don’t know as possible. Since you are trained and experienced in managing a library, that’s where you should be focusing your professional energy.

Think of your website as an extension of your technology or media center — you weren’t the one who build that yourself, right? Of course not, because you’re not a constriction worker! The same goes for a website.

What few librarians understand is that building a great, usable, easy to use, accessible, attractive public library website that meets the needs of patrons and staff is every bit as difficult and as complicated as designing a good building that meets the needs of everyone. If people built buildings the way they build websites, there would be too many rooms with no doors, rooms that no one would use, and hallways that didn’t lead anywhere; you wouldn’t be able to tell what a room was for or even whether the door opened to the inside or the outside of the building until you opened it; and the roof would leak every time it rained!

The good news is, you can hire a web design professional to build and maintain your website and do it right the first time.

They key is that you don’t need a complicated website because public libraries are mostly informational so something very simple will probably meet your needs. Most libraries use Dreamweaver to edit their websites but the use of content management systems has made it so easy that you don’t have to do the technical work yourself, but rather mange all content online and is as easy as using Microsoft word.

If you have any questions about designing a library website feel free to contact us.

Employing ecommerce strategy

Employing a online strategy to sell directly to consumers and to compete directly with traditional wholesalers and retailers.

Software developers have used the internet as a highly effective distribution channel to complement sales through wholesalers and retailers. Selling online directly to end users has the advantage of cutting out the costs and margins of software wholesalers and retailers as much as 30-50% of the retail price. In addition, allowing customers to download their software purchases immediately via the internet eliminates the costs of producing and packaging CDs. However, software developers are still strongly motivated to continue to distribute their products through wholesalers and retailers to maintain broad access to existing and potential users who, for whatever reason, may be reluctant to buy online. Despite the channel conflict, there are two major reasons why manufactures might want to aggressively pursue online sales and establish the internet as an important distribution channel alongside traditional channels:

1.they make a far bigger profit margin from online sales helps educate buyers to the ease and convenience of purchasing online, thus encouraging more and more buyers to migrate to buying online where company profit marking are greater

This sell direct positioning strategy is well suited for companies in industries where there are good long-term prospects for the internet to evolve into a company’s primary distribution channel. In such instances, incurring the channel conflict in the short term and competing against traditional distribution allies makes good strategic sense.

e-commerce Order Fulfillment

A big strategic issue for online retailers is whether to perform order fulfillment activities internally or to outsource them. Building central warehouses, stocking them with adequate inventories, and developing systems to pick , pack and ship individual orders requires substantial start-up capital but may result in lower overall unit costs than would paying the fees of order fulfillment specialists who make a business of providing warehouse space, stocking inventories, and shipping orders for online retailers.

Outsourcing is likely to be economical unless an ecommerce business has the high unit volume and the capital to invest in its own order fulfillment capabilities., an online superstore consisting of thousands items has partnerships with many leading brand-name companies and uses outsiders to stock and ship those products.

Strategies for Competing in Emerging Online Industry

Dealing with all the risks and opportunities of an emerging and ever changing online industry is one of the most challenging business strategy problems. To be successful in an emerging online industry companies usually have to pursue one or more of the following tactical avenues.

  1. Try to win the early race for industry leadership with risk-taking entrepreneurship and bold, creative strategy. A few good examples are Google, Apple regardless how many other companies have tried to compete with them they have not succeeded. Broad or focused differentiation strategies keyed to technological or product superiority typically offer the best chance for early competitive advantage.
  2. Push to perfect the technology aspects, to improve products or service quality, and to develop additional attractive performance features.  For instance adding new functionality features to your website such as live chat, 24-hours support phone etc., can tremendously help your chances in staying competitive.
  3. As Web 2.0 technological uncertainty clears and a dominant technology emerges, adopt bearer on expertise and to pioneer the dominant product design, businesses have to beware of betting too heavily on their own preferred technological approach or product design — especially when there are many competing technologies, research and development is costly, and technological developments can quickly move in a surprising new directions.
  4. Form strategic alliances with key influencers in your industry to gain access to specialized skills, technological capabilities, and critical materials or components.
  5. Acquire or form alliances with businesses that have related or complementary technological expertise so as to outcompete rivals on the basis of technological superiority. If you are a PR marking company try reaching out to high-tech web development agencies and collaborate or share resources with current clients.

Try to capture any first-mover advantages associated with early commitments to promising technologies, allying with most capable influencers, expanding product/service selection, improving styling, capturing experience curve effects, and getting well positioned in new distribution channels. Facebook , Twitter are the perfect examples of first mover advantage. Facebook not only swept MySpace out of its own business model but it created something what we now call “social media”. Facebook may have been the second or third after MySpace or Zynga but they made it into a first mover advantage.