Library unveils new website

Thu, 10/17/2019 - 5:45pm
Category: 

The Island Free Library has relaunched its website.

The website, which was commissioned a year ago by the library’s Board of Trustees, features a more user friendly platform than its previous incarnation. The staff said the response to the website has been good, so far.

The website was launched mid-summer, but the staff continues to refine the design to make it their own. Gone is the old design, where surfing the website was fraught with the challenges of searching on an outdated system. Visitors now can easily see what’s “new on the shelf,” how to make a donation, or find an event they might want to attend via an online calendar. There is a link to a blog page, history page, and technology plan at the bottom of the homepage.

Kristin Baumann, Director of the Island Free Library, told The Times that the primary reason for the new design is that the library “needed an online giving platform. So, the Board of Trustees decided to revamp the entire website in the process. That was the whole reason behind the upgrade.”

“The old website needed to be upgraded because it was so outdated,” said Jamie Newell, a circulation clerk, who has been working at the library for a year and a half and helped facilitate the design. Newell worked with remote website designer Brian Conn, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate on the day-to-day nuances of building the website, sometimes sending him as many as “30 questions” in one email regarding the design.

“It was tricky at first, but he was very patient with us,” said Baumann of Conn. “It was hard for him, working remotely, to understand what we were seeking with the design, such as our flavor, our style, our needs, and who we are, and what’s important to us.” She said when Conn first started working on the website he was “in Canada,” but moved around the country while they went back and forth on the design.

“We found him through our former Trustee, Beth Taylor,” said Baumann. “She recommended him because of his work on the Historical Society’s website.” She added: “He has been really good to work with.” 

Baumann said the library has been trying to rebrand itself and design a new logo. “It’s not an easy process,” she said. “It’s still a work in progress.”

“It’s going to continue to be a work in progress,” said Newell, who noted that Conn has done “a fantastic job” helping with the library’s rebranding efforts. “We were thankful to have someone work with us on this process.”

As for the status of the website, Newell said, “Technically, it’s complete. But I’m still working on it every day, testing things. The struggle is to tweak the concept to make it your own.” 

She also said, “It has been fun to follow the analytics from people using the website. There has been a lot of traffic. People seem happy with it. They seem to be navigating around the website without a problem.”

The library’s website can be found at IslandFreeLibrary.org.