New Library Website: Feedback Form and Inspiration

I’m still not feeling up to doing the full write-up, but here are some shots of the final library websites I choose to inspire our current design. How many do you know? I mounted these onto a huge corkboard and displayed them at our visual design meeting. My colleagues got distracted by Skokie’s website and really honed in on that design. I choose these websites after completing the last feedback and “hopes and dreams” interviews.




As you can see in the image below, those interviews yielded nine pages of notes. That is 228 specific comments. I know who made which comments, but I hid the column from the team indicating who precisely wanted it. The spreadsheet is a Google Sheets, but I locked the hidden column so no one else could see it. I choose this route to give our colleague reviewers a sense of privacy so they would speak candidly. At no point did our team encounter an issue where they specifically needed to know who wanted something done. Instead I would stress the points which were repeated as being an area which we needed to address.


I printed out copies of the feedback and passed them around the table for review. The columns were:

  • Priority
  • Category: Website, Catalog, Demographic Info, Website & Catalog, General, Website & General
  • Type: Dream, Easy, Repeat, Requirement
  • Comment
  • Elaboration
  • Notes
  • Assigned To
  • Status
  • Department

I then color coded it somewhat to show what were of immediate concern (red). Offhand, I know that the new site addressed concerns about a single home for events and giving people a way to indicate interest in events. Otherwise, I’d have to sit down and see how many of the dreams we responded to.

Photo in the Newspaper

Photo by Amy Laughlin

Photo by Amy Laughlin

Not my best work ever made in the hectic weeks ahead of the website launch, but the photo plus the photo manip is my handiwork. :-)

Other potential backgrounds was various racetracks, the Sochi Olympics, and other temples. The image I used is by Sam Valadi under CC BY 2.0 with the main change being mirroring it and using just the top portion.

Courtesy of Darien Library

Courtesy of Darien Library

LJ Article on the New Website and Catalog

Library Journal wrote a great article about our new website and catalog. They interviewed my boss and I’m happy to say that the article focuses on the real star of the show: SOPAC3, the catalog.

SOPAC 3 eschews bibliographic record-level search, instead using its own works-level concordance. When patrons conduct a search, rather than retrieving pages full of separate, individual records by format—To Kill a Mockingbird the book, the audiobook, the ebook, large print, or e-audiobook, for example—each title is displayed as a single record, with clickable tabs enabling users to check the location and availability of each format.

“I think what this whole project has really confirmed for us is that works-level catalogs are what lay beyond the event horizon, and that the bibliographic record, as a top-tier discovery entity, has outlived its usefulness in a digital, multi-format age. The work record is our path forward,” explained SOPAC developer John Blyberg, Darien’s assistant director for Innovation and UX.


I’m immensely proud of the work John and James did with the catalog. I’ll be doing some write-ups about the process of the website site of things (John built it himself instead of using a readily available CMS) at some point. The last few months have been really focused on the new site so I’m pretty drained and tired. Launching it was only the first step. Maintaining it and keeping it well-organized on the backend will be an on-going process. My write-ups may be a little slow to appear since Michael Schofield and I are working on our book on service design.