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Staff-Developed Website

San Jose Public Library
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Innovation Leader: Mana Tominaga, Acting Manager of Digital Futures, mana.tominaga@sjlibrary.org

Problem Statement

Library websites require simple, intuitive navigation to enable customers to easily locate materials and relevant information such as local branch events. At the same time, content on a library site should be dynamic, rather than static. All staff can contribute, rather than just subject specialists.

Innovation

San Jose Public Library’s new website, sjpl.org, is entirely staff developed using a Drupal-based content management system, which allows staff to input edits directly to the website. The newly designed site provides quick, intuitive access to the library’s online resources and information. Content is organized by what task the user wants to perform, rather than a format/category focus. For instance, users can choose from research, downloads, books, or services. The site incorporates videos and podcasts, as well as email and RSS alerts for new materials and library events.

Moreover, to provide engaging, fresh content in an easy to navigate format, the site features blog entries and pages that are created and updated by all staff. Over 250 staff, from clerical to librarians to managers, create blog posts and update content to pages in just a few clicks. Site visitors are invited to comment and interact with staff through the website, resulting in engaging conversations and a truly collaborative, staff-driven site.

Progress

The blog-driven site has been operational since mid November, 2010. Staff now regularly contribute an average of 60 blog posts a week on a variety of topics ranging from book and movie reviews, upcoming events information, general web resources, and tips on using the library’s various electronic resources. Site visits have increased by about 30% every month since the launch. eBook and eAudio downloads, both easier to find after the redesign, increased by 16%. After an initial user survey, 71% of respondents reported that they would recommend the site to a friend.