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Karen Schneider posted a message to the Calix listserv (the California Library Association’s e-mail listserv) about the importance of having a dynamic web presence for libraries.  I posted a response, which I deemed worthy of duplicating here:

I would also add, to take your "where is your
library?" idea a bit further, that libraries need to think about their
presence _and_ visibility on the web. Not just whether or not the library has a visually appealing,
well-functioning, feature-full site, but is the site findable?

  • If you search the major search engines for your
    libraries’ names (and variations on those names–such as Smalltown Public
    Library vs. Smalltown Library"–is your site at the top of the results
    list? If not, why not?
  • Is your library listed on the Wikipedia page for your
    town, county, or college? If not, do it
    yourself! That’s the beauty of the
    Wikipedia.
  • Is your library listed in the many
    "library-finding" sites that exist? For example: http://www.libraries411.com/,
    http://www.publiclibraries.com/, http://lists.webjunction.org/libweb/Public_main.html,
    and http://www.libdex.com/.
  • Does your library have a presence on local government and
    community websites? Are your events
    listed on community calendars?
  • Does your library have a presence in web-spaces where
    your patrons are (as Karen noted), like blogging, instant messaging, MySpace,
    Flickr, etc.? Should you?

I’m sure there are other examples of ways to be visible,
but having a great library website is only the first step. If you’re not findable, your patrons aren’t
going to know about all those great things you have.

“Making your Library Site Findable on the Web”

  1. Free Range Librarian Says:

    The Pew Report: Because That’s Where The Money Is

    Sarah “Librarian in Black” Houghton blogged a response to a message I posted to the California Library Association list as my contribution to a discussion about the Pew Internet and American Life report announcing that the Web for many people…

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Chris Rippel has compiled a list on PUBLIB of things that make your library look stupid. A useful read for all public services staff, but particularly for those in administration or management. Perhaps a good way to address these questions would be to go over them, en masse, at the next all-staff meeting at your library. There were a few questions that I didn’t pass–such as being able to produce an up to date copy of the library’s budget (which I should probably be able to do). Thanks Chris!

“Making Your Library Look Inept”

  1. Cathy Says:

    I just look over the list. Opps I guess my library is in trouble. I had chuckle with knowing the programs. I never know what is going, they never tell us!!!

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