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Library Anytime: Highlighting 24/7 Library Services

   May 23rd, 2012

Chelmsford Library Anytime logoHere's an idea that my coworkers and I had talked about for a little while, but really saw take shape at PLA12.

We wanted to create a webpage that really focused attention on all of our library services that patrons can use without having to come into the library. Good idea, right? We went round and round coming up with a name, but eventually settled on Library Anytime.

The PLA session that gelled everything was Designing and Building a Social Library Website, with Rebecca Ranallo (Cuyahoga County [OH] Public Library) and Nate Hill (San Jose Public Library). Their talk was inspiring, and we tried to blend* all their ideas into a single website:

  • Cuyahoga PL has a "library after dark" website, that pops up on their homepage when the library is closed over night - it focuses on resources and services people can use from home or elsewhere
  • San Jose Public Library's website looks great - very distinctive and eye-catching. However, Nate said that after using it for a couple years, they're going to be making some changes (which made me feel less bad about completely lifting their design)

We didn't create any new content for this website - it's just a (hopefully) easy-to-use portal to get to tools that already existed on our main website. But: having a second website to supplement the main website probably means the first website needs work, so our plan is to use this as a basis for a complete redesign of our main website.

Anyway, we launched Library Anytime during National Library Week (which, for those who are counting, gave us a three week development window following PLA), and so far patrons seem to like it. And I can't tell you the number of "I didn't know you guys had..." kind of comments I've heard since.



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6 Responses to “Library Anytime: Highlighting 24/7 Library Services”

  1. Cari Says:

    This is pretty neat! So this site pops up when you are closed?

  2. Amy Says:

    I love this idea. I may borrow* it for the redesign of my school library site, which I am also trying to make mobile. (Big dreams for a single librarian.)


  3. Brian Herzog Says:

    Man, no matter how much time I spend writing posts, I always leave things out:

    @Cari: no, we didn’t do that. We have a link on our homepage to it, but otherwise it’s just always available at chelmsfordlibrary.org/anytime

    @Amy: You’re welcome. Due to the time crunch, instead of building Library Anytime with responsive style sheets, instead we used OnePager for our mobile version. I think the amount of info we put into it pushes the design a bit, but it still works – and appropriately, OnePager is also some of Nate’s work.

  4. Deb Says:

    I love the SJPL web site too – it’s droolworthy. Did they say what exactly they were going to change? What wasn’t working for them with that design?

  5. Brian Herzog Says:

    @Deb: I’m with you, so I was surprised in the session how Nate seemed very done with that design. A few specific things he mentioned was the difficulty of fitting everything into just six boxes – they were thinking about expanding to eight, especially to split up “news” and “events” – but also that the color borders on the boxes were too big and dominating. It might be that, while the design is so new to non-SJ’ers, they’ve probably been looking at it for two or three years by now, and they’re ready for something new. I’m sure they had more reasons than this, but I still like it a lot.

  6. Swiss Army Librarian » Single Serving Site: Is The Library Open? :: Brian Herzog Says:

    […] is definitely going on my library's website (when I get a chance) – but of course, with 24/7 Library Anytime, the answer is always YES! Tags: hours, libraries, Library, open, public, single-serving, […]