Top 10 Academic Library Websites

At my library we are currently in the midst of a major re-design of our website and search interfaces.  Because of this, I’ve become somewhat obsessed with looking at library websites.  What are other libraries getting right?  How do they steer people to resources? How do they answer questions? How do they collect feedback?  With literally hundreds of library websites bookmarked, I think this may be turning into something of an addiction.  Here are my top 10 favorite academic library sites:

1)  Ithaca College Library

This is my choice for Best Academic Library Website. What I like:

  • Clean look, sleek modern design, subtle color scheme.
  • Lots of feedback options: “Ask Us” and “Tell us” right on center homepage.
Ithaca College

Ithaca College Library website detail

    • User-friendly: “Not sure where to start?,” “Tips,” and an explanation of call numbers.  Very little library jargon.
    • Help features:  Almost every page includes different ways to connect with librarians, including friendly photos of staff. Chat, email, phone numbers are everywhere.
    • They have a mobile site!
    • Good social media integration.

2) Notre Dame University Hesburgh Library

Best Big Academic Library website.  What I like:

  • Easy to navigate; user-friendly language such as “I need to find..” and “How do I…”
  • Prominent “Help and Guides” tab.
  • Services filtered by undergraduate/grad, etc.

3) Williams College Library

Best Small Academic Library website. What I like:

Williams College Library

Williams College Library website detail

  • “How do I” tab right in library catalog search box.
  • Multiple ways to search for materials, clearly defined.
  • Library widgets!
  • A nice “Popular now” tag cloud

4) California State University Fresno

Best State University site.  Very attractive, classy, easy to navigate.

5) Villanova University

Nice interactive “Question Center.”

Milligan College Library

Milligan College Library website detail

6) Milligan College Library

Best use of WordPress for a library site.

7) Colby College

Best use of LibGuides for a library site.

Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU library website detail

8 ) Virginia Commonwealth University

Best integration of LibGuides research guides into library site.

9) University of Washington

Embeddable Search widgets!

University of Washington Library

UW Library website detail

10) College of Saint Benedict and Saint Johns

Nice “Library minutes” video tutorial feature.

College of St. Benedict

College of St. Benedict and St. Johns website detail

Honorable mentions:

Brigham Young University
California State University San Marcos
North Carolina State University
Syracuse University
University of Oklaholma
University of Central Florida

For even more great library websites, see the Library Website Hall of Fame. 

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4 thoughts on “Top 10 Academic Library Websites

  1. You did an excellent job determining the top librray websites. Ithaca does have a clean and friendly interface.
    My question: I went to Curry College library website. I am impressed. It is user friendly and easy to navigate. Did you create this cite? Did you draw ideas from the ten library site you list: Is Ithaca still your top ranked? Have you found any other library websites you like since the initial project?

    1. Kate —

      Thanks for your positive feedback! I did work on the re-design of the Curry site, and yes, the team that did the re-design drew ideas from many library sites, including those on my list. I still like Ithaca the best. Another one I would add as an example of a small academic library is Wheelock College.

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