This blog represents most of the newspaper columns (appearing in various Colorado Community Newspapers and Yourhub.com) written by me, James LaRue, during the time in which I was the director of the Douglas County Libraries in Douglas County, Colorado. (Some columns are missing, due to my own filing errors.) This blog covers the time period from April 11, 1990 to January 12, 2012.

Unless I say so, the views expressed here are mine and mine alone. They may be quoted elsewhere, so long as you give attribution. The dates are (at least according my records) the dates of publication in one of the above print newspapers.

The blog archive (web view) is in chronological order. The display of entries, below, seems to be in reverse order, new to old.

All of the mistakes are of course my own responsibility.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

June 19, 2008 - library launches new website (DouglasCountyLibraries.org)

I've learned a few things over the years.

1. Almost everything important requires teamwork.

2. Significant achievement should be celebrated.

3. Nothing is ever finished.

In light of these three principles, I'd like to take a moment to acknowledge a big moment: a new library website.

In accordance with the first principle, I'd like to thank Moira Ash (Web Administrator), Bob Pasicznyuk (Associate Director of Virtual Services), the Contact Center staff (Sabrina Speight, Don Dickenson, Lois Karbach, Carey Lambert, Jacque Moore, Janet Nelson, Carol Parry, Tanna Crowley, Kayla Hickman), Laurie Van Court, Hutch Tibbetts, Linda Sturgeon, our Community Relations staff, Roy Johnston, and the many others who helped us hone the user profiles, assemble databases and tools, and generally assist in rolling out a 21st century web presence.

Our website is a kind of library branch -- open 24/7, boasting a host of services, and staffed by real people, even if you can't see them. Our technical and support staff are among the best in the world, and their work together is impressive.

The library was the first website ever to flower in Douglas County, back a dozen years ago now. Our latest website went live on June 10, 2008. This one is based on Drupal, a complex and powerful Open Source "content management system." It allows not only the creation of complex websites, but permits, and incorporates, user comments. This marks a change in how we add content to our site, distributing the work among many minds.

I hardly know how to describe the incredible richness of our site. It really is much like a visit to a library.

Front and center (the blank spot at the top of the home page) is our catalog -- the crowning achievement of America's public libraries. Or you can switch from "catalog" to "website" to do a search -- and pull in a host of other resources, including local community members. Just below that is a link to manage your account -- holds, what you've got checked out, renewals, and so on. Just these two options deserve a column of their own.

Also on that first page is a navigational tool (the "tabs" along the top of the screen), and some key links on the left pane (everything from contact information, to our program calendar, to our site about voter information).

The rest of the page is given over to highlights. It will be different every time you load it.

Right now, you'll see links to "eLearning2Go" -- online training, including everything from office software to college, career, and test preparation. The library website: a virtual classroom. How cool is that?

But here's that second point: celebration! The unveiling of this website reflects at least a year of preparation -- and more. Well done! Fireworks! Cakes and candles! Dancing in the street!

And now the third point: the library's website, it goes without saying, really isn't done. It never will be. Anything this infernally complex has incomplete parts, quite aside from the fact that the public keeps expecting new and better things from us. Bear with us as we fill in the outline, tweak the system, and generally respond to both public and staff scrutiny.

In weeks to come, expect to see our website continue to evolve, I hope toward greater simplicity. (And let's add another principle: 4. Simplicity isn't easy.)

But perfection is a fool's dream. Let's take a moment to breathe a big sigh, and say, "Wow."

DouglasCountyLibraries.org -- you're just a click away from one big neighborhood of knowledge.

No comments:

Post a Comment