Advanced WordPress Topics Librarians Want to Know

I asked on Twitter the other day what advanced WordPress topics librarians would be interested in learning. These are the responses and my quick attempts to answer:

Answer: Create a Network. However, your web server needs to support multisite functionality otherwise you cannot set up the proper URL subdomains.

Weak-answer: OpenBook Book Data plugin

Answer: Too many to name! Custom post type creation plugins, and I’ve used the User Role Editor plugin before. I have some ideas for niche websites as well — but that’s a secret at the moment!

Answer: A large chunk of my forthcoming book deals with the topic of plugins libraries use!

Answer: Nowadays there are TONS of responsive WordPress themes if you don’t have the time to learn responsive web design yourself. In fact, this blog uses the Responsive theme. I’m waiting to hear back on the variable part.

Answer: I ran into a few FAQ and LibAnswers style WordPress sites in research for my book, but the one by Bates stuck out for me. Unfortunately they did not respond to my request for comments on how they build their site. I can clearly see how their WordPress website works. I’m guessing their search interface is custom built though.

Answer: This is build right into WordPress. When you write a post or a page, just click on the Edit button next to “Publish immediately” under the Publish top right box. You can then set the date and time for the post to go live.

Fixing Your Library’s Web Content

A post just came across the listserv asking for examples of web content style guides. Below is my response which I thought I’d share:

Edit: This was a post on the LITA listserv, but I emailed the below response to the original poster.

We have a bare bones style guidelines at work. I’d share it here but it’s basically got stuff like “use email, not e-mail and 4:00 p.m. not 4pm.” We have one staff member that we consult when we have questions. She usually refers to the New York Times style guidelines. I also did a staff-wide presentation on why it’s important to use short headlines, italicize X but bold Y. My job is to try and enforce the guidelines, but usually I give in and fix errors myself. This is quicker than waiting for someone to check their email and do it (but not very efficient!).

Otherwise, I’ve been boning up on learning content strategy so I can create better and more consistent data on our website. This way I can build structures that people don’t even have to think about when they’re inputting their content. I then take over everything from there for displaying the content correctly via coding. Some resources to get you started:

My LibraryJournal Article: Mad Men Meets Reference

I was approached via email a few months ago about writing an article for Library Journal. You can imagine my excitement! The prompt was for UX + reference. Working with Sally Ijams (@lilly_libarian), the Head of Reference at Darien Library, we brainstormed several topics. Once the editor signed off on one, I set to work. The resulting article has a wonderful title that I did not get at first!

The task seemed daunting at first since most of my UX observations in regards to reference patrons had been about their physical presence in the building. I have sat on the mezzanine level and balanced a laptop on my knees while observing the reference room below. Another time, I called for an hour long meeting with two reference staff to discuss their observations and history of reference usage in the library. Otherwise my attention has been spent on several redesigns of the reference page and setting up the LibGuides. So, while I am not a guru of databases, I have previously thought about the experiences of reference patrons. (So many long sentences!)

Fortunately, I had seen Emily Clasper (@eclasper) tweet before about their GIS library card signup process. Earlier I had asked Emily about that process, but this time I was thinking of something different. The results of this thought process can be read in the article.

Writing articles for LJ and UX Magazine have been wonderful experiences. Perhaps I should think about writing more serious posts here instead of rambling away?

Review: The Sky – The Art of Final Fantasy

Thanks to Netgalley, I was able to preview The Sky – The Art of Final Fantasy by Yoshitaka Amano.

There is very little text in this volume. The focus is on the highly detailed artwork. While the style does not appeal to me (very David Bowie and reminiscent of the 80s), I can see how it inspired the earlier Final Fantasy games. Creatures contained within these pages are horrifying at turns. The human like creatures remind me the Satan-like character in an anime whose title I’ve forgotten. Their eyes are cold, otherworldly, and they make you feel utterly uncomfortable.

My First Article: UX in Libraries


I’ve been hinting that I was working on two articles simultaneously. Well, here is the first one, Libraries: A Canvas for Creating Meaningful User Experience, for UX Magazine. I would like to thank Josh Tyson, the managing editor for UX Magazine for reaching out to me for this piece. This is the first article I have ever written! My other thanks goes to John Blyberg for walking me through the thought process of creating an article. Then there’s the library community, which has been so supportive in sharing the link around! Thank you! I’m very humbled.

The picture book reorganization mentioned in the Children’s Library was done by Gretchen Caserotti (@gcaserotti). The other examples were spearheaded by certain people, I’m sure, but I feel that most things are a a collaborative effort. We are a close-knit team at work. I am fortunate in my position because I can get to know nearly everyone on some substantial level.

While writing the first UX Magazine article to feature libraries was daunting as a representative of UX in libraries in whole, I hope the article inspires other ways to continue user-centric thinking at your own library.

Launched Zinio eMagazine Service

Today we soft launched our subscription which is provided by RBDigital. I only heard the news that we had purchased access a month ago. Then I went to CIL/vacation for a week. This gave me two weeks to learn the process, teach staff, write up documentation, and create all the necessary promotional material. It was a hard push to get everyone prepared in time! Especially when I had the final Gala preparations going on simultaneously.

So today we launched and I had to create some last minute items:

  • new Facebook cover
  • web post
  • banner ad for website (not up yet)
  • designed printed 8.5 x 11″ signs to go around the building
  • altered the RBDigital/Zinio bookmark template they provide to fit our needs
  • created a PHP redirect page for our website so we’d have a short URL at

I wrapped up the Zinio launch day activities with some social media posts and demonstrating the process with a patron. My colleagues asked if they could help, but I knew that they couldn’t work with the new service without being trained and having the materials to teach others. I told my supervisor when she congratulated me, “I’ve launched a few new services now, so I have the process down now.” Ah, this sounds terribly arrogant, but it’s true! Perhaps I should write down my mental checklist of steps…

Our next round of publicity will be holding an eMagazine walk-in session like we do with eBooks.