Designing Effective Library Websites

Designing an effective Library 2.0 website should include a strategy that addresses the needs of a range of audiences in the community. Matthews (2009) argues that effective Library 2.0 websites are designed with segmentation to cater for a range of audiences. The Orange County and Kanakee Public Library’s mobile friendly section of their website, Colorado State University’s Electronic Theses section and the simple modular layout of Buffalo State University’s library Home Page demonstrate effective design principles for different patrons. A children’s section of a Library 2.0 website is also an effective way to build relationships with the community and can encourage parents to introduce library services through participating in programs and events (SCC, 2015). A children’s section of the website should include the use of bright colours, images of natural objects, user interaction, videos, games, artistic use of spaces on the page to avoid the grid like look of most webpages and an information for parents section (Lazaris, 2009).

A focus for Library 2.0 development is occurring in Universities where the students are increasingly using mobile devices and social media (McBurnie, 2007). Gagliardi (2011) indicates that libraries need to reach out to students through a more strategic use of social networking platforms such as Facebook. Facebook Places, Pages, Groups and Events are important features of the social networking platform’s popularity among university students according to Gagliardi (2011). Re- directing audiences back to the Library 2.0 website from Facebook using links to latest blogs, news feeds, videos and chat services is an important aspect to consider when using social networking applications so that the visitors return to your site (Smith, 2015).

The technical design of a Library 2.0 website needs to maintain a sustainable approach toward innovation by using Open Source platforms that are able to be modified according to community needs (Governor, Hinchcliffe and Nickull, 2009). Mitropoulos, Dimitrios Baltasis, Rodios and Douligeris (2014) have proposed such an Open Source cooperative Digital Library 2.0 model for the development of a content management system (CMS) called SociaLib. While still in the planning stages at the moment, SociaLib seeks to build on previous examples of successful Web 2.0 integration into Library 2.0 websites in the digital library of the Belgian Health Care Knowledge Centre (KCE) led by Chalon. Chalon, Di Pretoro, and Kohn (2008) outline the importance of Library 2.0 websites utilising the Open Public Access Catalogue 2.0 (OPAC 2.0) standard that can provide a technical framework for addressing Gates’ (2009) 4Cs of Web 2.0 by adding social networking features that allow Library members with accounts to comment, rate, tag and suggest books based on their experiences.




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Gagliardi, K. (2011). How to Use Social Media to Engage Students. Retrieved from:


Chalon, P.X., Di Pretoro, E. and Kohn, L. (2008), “OPAC 2.0: opportunities, development and analysis”, 11th European Conference of Medical and Health Libraries, Helsinki, Finland. Retrieved from:


Gates, J. (2009). The 4Cs of web 2.0 and storytelling. In The learning evolution. Retrieved from:


Governor, J., Hinchcliffe, D. and Nickull, D. (2009). Capturing Web 2.0 Knowledge with Patterns and Architecture. in: Web 2.0 architectures (1st ed.). Sebastopol, Calif.: O’Reilly Media. [ebook] Retrieved from:


King, D., (2014). Improving the Customer Experience: on the web, in the library, in the community. Retrieved from:


Lazaris, L. (2009). Designing websites for kids: Trends and best practices, Smashing Magazine, (27 November). Retrieved from


Mathews, B. (2009). Web Design Matters. Library Journal, 134(3), 24-25. Retrieved from:


McBurnie, J. (2007). Your online identity: Key to marketing and being found. FUMSI, (October). Retrieved from:


Mitropoulos, S., Dimitrios Baltasis, G., Rodios, M., & Douligeris, C. (2014). SociaLib: a collaborative digital library model platform using Web 2.0. The Electronic Library, 32(5), 622-641. Retrieved from:


Sagar Vinod Kumar, R., & Kumar, V. (2014). Library 2.0: The Social Library. Retrieved from:


Smith, K. (2015). Top Five Facebook Updates and Marketing Tips: The Social Scoop Issue 132. Retrieved from:


SCC – Sydney City Council. (2015). Rock, rhyme and storytime. Retrieved from:


Waggener, S. (2007). Opening Remarks in: UC Berkeley Events (2007) Building Academic Library 2.0. Retrieved from:


One thought on “Designing Effective Library Websites

  1. Hi Iain, thanks for the informative post. The links are great and I think you make a good point regarding the ability to tailor different aspects of sites for different audiences e.g. children’s section. Amazing amount of work evident in your posts!

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