When someone walks into their local library, they are acquainted with the atmosphere of opportunity. Flyers and notices announce upcoming programs that speak to an array of interests. Books and resources are abundant. Research tools and access to technology cement the library as a pivotal resource in the community. An effective library website works as an extension of the physical library, reinforcing and adding to the library’s image. Content curation within the website is an effective element in cultivating an online presence that rings true to your library’s unique values and goals.
Cohesion ensures a unified look and feel so a patron browsing the site becomes familiar with the same graphic marketing elements that are integral to the library’s brand story. With Library Market products, you are given flexibility in how you represent your library with impactful tools that are built to allow your library’s image to shine online. Here are some tips on how to approach content curation while being mindful of maintaining a cohesive image.
First, be sure to explore and make use of the tools that our product offers. For example, the default images component of LibraryCalendar allows you to build a set of pre-selected images for event detail pages without having to upload one on a per-event basis, harnessing control over the marketing aspect of recurring events. A client may create a series of graphics designed with similar elements such as colors, fonts, and styles. This is an easy way to pull together all of the events in the system through a visual story, so that a “Baby & Me Storytime” default image may mirror visual elements of a “DIY Craft Workshop” default image.
Homepage slideshows are a patron’s first impression of the website. Slides are an excellent way to advertise upcoming events, feature a new online resource, and encourage involvement with reading programs and challenges. The slides you curate are crucial in conveying the library’s image; at a glance, they show what new programs and resources the library offers, in turn shedding light on the values the library strives for. Keeping with the same overall design and feel of other graphics on the site will further strengthen the visual story. Regularly switching out slides will encourage visitors to return to the site later to glance the goings-on at the library.
Beyond default images and slides, linked images and quick links offer another opportunity to feature anything from interior pages, recommended reads, databases, services, and departments on the homepage. These facets of the homepage are often more static, but the staff still has the flexibility in switching them out whenever they need to improve the relevancy of the content or to accommodate any gradual shifts within the library’s image.
Blog posts, which are sometimes used for library news and updates, give you a creative outlet to expand on topics you wish to share with your community. Writing on relevant topics and updating the blog regularly will encourage patrons and search engines to access the site more frequently. As staff members curate more posts, the patron becomes familiar with them on a more personal level, reinforcing the community’s bond with the library and its staff members. This gives a unique opportunity to let the joint personality of the library shine through. Site images, particularly images of patrons participating in events, engaging with librarians, and using resources, provides another aspect of integrating the community within the fabric of the website and the story of the library in general.
Getting creative with blogs and graphic elements across the site are ways to maintain your library’s digital presence in a way that accurately reflects the library as a whole. By using the same font family, colors, and graphic elements throughout, you have effectively tied together all aspects of the website, adding in a dash of character with blogs and curated book rivers chosen by staff members.
As a content manager who works daily with client-submitted content, it is always exciting to discover new ways each library conveys their personalities through content curation. Des Moines Public Library does an excellent job in creating graphics that seamlessly blend their marketing with a visual theme that endures throughout the site.
Morton Grove Public Library maintains an active blog that includes book lists, articles, stories of library volunteers, and previews of upcoming events, all while allowing a sprinkle of personality to shine through. The staff headshots that accompany each post again pull in that personal aspect that offers a sense of familiarity to patrons.
An effective website coupled with an active online presence will translate the spirit of the library into a digital catalog of everything the library has to offer, reaching potential new patrons while integrating a fresh, accessible component into the library system as a whole.
While we give you the framework and design structure, the content you provide is what ultimately shapes your library’s website and overall image. Every library has their unique story; we can’t wait to see how you choose to tell yours.