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:
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.
- 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.
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.
Best Small Academic Library website. What I like:
- “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
Best State University site. Very attractive, classy, easy to navigate.
Nice interactive “Question Center.”
Best use of WordPress for a library site.
Best use of LibGuides for a library site.
Best integration of LibGuides research guides into library site.
Embeddable Search widgets!
Nice “Library minutes” video tutorial feature.
For even more great library websites, see the Library Website Hall of Fame.