A girl in a library looking at her online library catalogue

How to create an amazing online library presence at your school

The world has gone online and libraries must join the trend or risk being left behind. Building a strong online library presence creates buzz around your school library and a stronger patron-base – so let’s draw your students to it!

Create your library’s visual identity:

You might not be trained in marketing, but just for fun, ask yourself: Who are your borrowers? How old are they? What do they care about? What do they want to see/read?

For example, if you believe your library is a sanctuary for those who don’t fit in, you might decide to create the equivalent of a cozy online reading nook. You might theme your online platform with yellows, creamy whites and soft blues, and fill homepage with gentle images, inclusive quotes and a diverse range of recommended reads.

Create meaningful posts – do your research:

When creating new content for your library homepage, make sure it serves a purpose. Content dumping for no reason is never a good idea. If you need a place to start, draw on the Accessit Web App reporting tools to create analytics on what people are searching for in your library; the most popular searches, failed searches, the most borrowed items, and so on. Once you know how people are already using your library, you can start catering to their interests appropriately, or filling in the gaps to inspire your non-readers.

User Experience – modern, attractive and intuitive:

Consider the experience of reading the homepage. What information do students need to see? What information is currently most prominent? When considering the experience for the user, remember these simple tips:

1. Contrast the text and background: It’s good to consider the experience of someone with sight impairment or colour-blindness. Legibility is key, so don’t put light text on a light background or red text on a blue background.

2. Bigger news items are more prominent: It goes without saying that you can determine the hierarchy of news items by changing their size and position on a page.

3. Use complementary colour contrast: If blue appears in your Web App logo and banner, highlight other areas using complementary colours. Blues go nicely with oranges, yellows with purple, and so on.

4. Stick to a format: If you have chosen a particular font, stick to that font throughout your homepage. Using a number of different fonts might seem like a quirky idea, but in reality they appear disorderly.

Regular updates:

To ensure your online library remains a place people want to return to, make it a goal to keep your content up-to-date and changing regularly. Here are a couple of time-saving tricks to keep content fresh:

1. Reorder your news items. You don’t have to spend ages finding and creating new content – if you have quality content hidden at the bottom of your Web App, bring it up for air.

2. Post Twitter widgets. Linking to reputable Twitter feeds on your Web App is another way of displaying engaging content without additional work, as they literally update themselves.

Get seasonal with your library system homepage:

Accessit allows you to create multiple Web App homepages out of sight, and then pin them when you need to. This means you can work away on a special Halloween homepage for example, and put it in place just for the month of October.

A library system with a schoolwide reach:

Make sure that you encourage everyone in the school to use the Web App. It’s a valuable space to celebrate school news and an easy place for teacher/librarian collaboration to begin. Schools can even link their online library directly to the school website as a way for the wider community to keep up with what is going on in your school.

Believe in your online library platform. If you back the library by promoting a strong online library presence, others will learn to back you too.

Accessit Tip: Don’t forget to make the most of ALeC, our Accessit Library eLearning Centre. Follow the Web App Interface Guide to learn how to zhoosh up your Web App and ensure you are doing everything you can to draw attention to your library.

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