Redesigning a Library Web Site

In a previous post “Why Reinventing The Wheel?”, I talked about how I used Google Sites Templates and Google Drawing to share ideas with my elective group of students about redesign our library web page.

We got further in this project now and the web page will be ready soon, before the three main contributors will leave us to prepare their International Baccalaureate exams.

Getting started
One period was dedicated to get basic knowledge about web design:
what makes a web site a good web site”, tips from Google sites and blog posts by Jacob Nielsen about designing web sites.

We first brainstormed about the current web page and what should be improved:
We decided to change the presentation to fit Seisen’s web site better by choosing the school color and embed the school logo.

Second, we added several pages to serve the community.
– about us
– our school policy
– contact us
– tips about research, copyright and creative commons
– links to download e books
– links for teens about reading and teens’ life
– links to Book reviews (Guardian, New York Times, American Library Association etc…
– links to e books (links to find e.books for free as well as our e.books library)

Third, we wanted to include some kind of journal or blog with archives about our events with embed videos and picture galleries.

Making the web page
We found a Google Site template that includes a blog feature and a nice lay out and started modifying it.

It was great to be able to work together in real time. Each student chose a field to work on, but they collaborated and learned a lot from each other too.
– Home page
A new presentation (colorful tabs, Widgets of our online subscriptions
Look What is Happening? Blog posts about events and news, linked to “library News”, where we will post articles published monthly in Seisen Newsletter. Includes RSS feed widget.
Videos of activities
Slideshow of the most popular books
– New pages
e books,
contact us
– Maintenance/ enhancing existing pages: Shelfari, Links for teens, Useful sites.

We started working on January and it was easy for me to check how far the students were and modify their work because I could check the previous versions when I needed to.
I was impressed to see how much they worked collaboratively! Each personality brought something different: one was fast in understanding how features such as widgets or embed videos are working, an other was our creative mind with a eye to details, colors and lay out, the third one became our the overall designer with new ideas of lay out and links such as creating a “contact us” page.

We are not finished yet, the lay out of the Home Page needs improvement, we have links to add in the “Links For Teens” section and articles to write for “What is happening?” But we know that a web page is a work in progress anyway.

This is a what my students wrote about their project for their Community Action Service (CAS) report::

“This year, I learned how to make the Seisen Website along with my fellow elective members. Moreover, I learned to use the shelfari website to add books to the Seisen virtual book shelf. By doing so, we were able to promote the books and have them read by Seisen students, then have them write feedback.” (Mano)
“The major task that I was appointed to this year was making a new website for the library. This required skills in web designing, and knowledge about the important aspects of the library. I feel that I was able to do a good job, and have helped out in developing the library.” (Ami)
“My job in the second half of the year was to work on the Seisen High School Library homepage on Google Sites with the other library assistants. It was my first time to be a part of creating a website; therefore, it was an interesting and exciting experience for me.
The three assistants collaborated in working on different parts of the website by ourselves, and giving feedback in improving the website. I felt that our ideas were well reflected on the design and structure of the website.
A memorable experience when during this process was when we were trying to include a Shelfari bookshelf, which is an online bookshelf system, onto the website. The process involved complex computer knowledge, so the accomplishment I felt when I succeeded in getting it done was huge. I also learned how to edit computer codes to change colors of widgets, which was a new and significant discovery for me.
I hope that I will be able to use my knowledge in creating websites in the future.” (Lisa)

For me, this was a great experience. I learned a lot about how collaboration works, how students can teach me things, how I need to listen and praise. I would like to thank them for their patience, their commitment, and their good taste!

Please visit our web site and tell us what you think!

Mano, Lisa and Ami can be proud of their work! BRAVO!

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4 Responses to Redesigning a Library Web Site

  1. Kim Cofino says:

    Wow! Fantastic job Anne Marie! I love the new website (and I’m totally amazed at how “pretty” it is even using Google Sites). I’ve been struggling with the limited features of Google Sites for things we’re doing at YIS and you’ve inspired me to go back and look again!

  2. Hi Anne – great outline on your approach to redesigning your library website. It’s definitely something I’ll pass on to our librarian for next year. We are in the process of implementing a new library management system (Follett) and might just “borrow” some of your students’ ideas for designing the library homepage :-):-)

    One suggestion to make might be to include a link to your school’s homepage and/or school intranet, if you have one?

    • Avatar of amthinnes amthinnes says:

      Hi Michelle,
      Thank you for your comment. I like your suggestion of adding a link to our school web site. I will do it next week!
      We are also preparing a page about e.books (how to get e books for free as well as to access the ones we bought from Follett) and more teen links.
      Thanks a lot and have a nice week end,

  3. Scott says:

    I just checked out your website. I like that it has a very good loading time. The design is pretty simple but i think that you should change the pink into another color. I know you’re girls but the background color doesn’t go with pink.

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