Well, the third component in creating the Third Place in your library is creating your virtual space. Your virtual space is your world wide web presence – your identity on the internet. It is how you are perceived and recognized, how others are able to access your information, and how your website presents your corporate image, if you will.
My biggest fault with Library websites is how busy the “front page” is. Libraries tend to cram way too much information on the front page. You should think of your front page as a stepping stone to the other aspects of your library.
While in the past, it’s true, you had really one shot to capture the attention of surfers, web designers put everything on the front page, this is no longer the case. Your front page should be comprised of links to other parts of the website, with a few informative areas, but not too much.
Navigation links should be very easy to understand and to navigate. I recommend large navigation buttons for your older patrons, as well as a smaller navigation bar across the top.
Ok, now for your Young Adults. I suggest including them in the design and implementation of their own page. Include them and let them make their own choices, their own words, their ow look. You should retain editorial rights – and nothing should make it to the website without prior approval of the librarian in charge.
What you’re doing is giving them ownership – again. You are showing your trust and faith that they are responsible. While this may not seem the case because you are retaining editorial rights – these should be enforced with statements like – “that’s a great idea – I wonder if there’s another way to present the information, though?” Use their ideas, let them develop their page – the more ownership they have, the more likely they are to respect the power they are given.
Next Time: STORYTIME! I switch from Young Adults to Children’s Needs.