Now, we are ready to launch our new website, troylibrary.info. The launch date is tentatively set for June 22. [Update: After a slight delay, we will be launching the new site on October 1.]
Last year, we evaluated our existing website. It served us well, but as a child of the 1990s, it was more static than interactive, and not compatible with recent changes to the Internet.
We decided to recreate completely the Library’s online presence: We would create a content-managed website, using the opensource software Drupal. This allows us to include more staff in writing for our website, and to deliver regularly updated content to our users. As a result, we would focus as much on moving our patrons through our site to the information you need, as on making our site a destination.
For several months, the Library’s website team – Lauren Henderson, John Robertson, Chris Hunsanger, and I – have been learning Drupal, studying other sites, investigating social networking trends and tools, and teaching Library staff to create content, to produce what we think is an exciting new service for Library users – troylibrary.info.
Here’s a sneak peek:
The centerpiece of our new site is, quite literally, the center of the site. Here, Library staff will post regularly updated content about new services, products, and events. Department-specific information will be on our new, department pages. You can find these links across the top. The most important Library-wide information will be “promoted” to the home page.
You will be able to comment on the content, or subscribe to it via RSS. If you subscribe, you can pick from Library-wide information, department information, new programs, or new book reviews.
In addition, the site is fully searchable. You won’t have to remember when and where we wrote that information you need now. Just search for it and you will find it, along with other useful ideas.
On the left side, you will notice that we kept something from our existing site: our most popular links, under Library Links. If you want to search our catalog, electronic resources, or downloadable audiobooks; view our programs calendar or book reviews; or find Library information (under our new FAQ page), you can look where you have always looked. Department pages will have their own department-specific links in addition to the Library Links.
While keeping something familiar, we have added many tools that will let you interact with staff in new ways.
I am especially excited about our new Virtual Reference service. Now, you’ll be able to chat via instant message with a Library staff member during our open hours from the "Have A Question?" box on the right side of the page. You will be able to use your favorite messenger service – Yahoo Messenger, Gmail, MSN Messenger or AOL – or chat directly from our home page. If you need help while online, you can receive an immediate answer.
Just above our Virtual Reference box, you will find our locations on social networks; and just below, you will find images from around the Library.
These are just a few of the changes on our new sites. In the coming months, we plan on rolling out new pages for young adults, more content for senior citizens, video and audiocasting, and many more ways for you to use troylibrary.info for all your needs.
If you would like more information, watch for our upcoming classes on using our new website and accessing all of our resources whenever you need them, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Let us know what you think.