Recently, a former student asked me what my "best advice" was for starting a website for a small RA department. I think my advice is the same for any sized RA department just starting out.
First, post the links to any databases your library subscribes to that could possibly help your patron identify leisure reading options. Click here to see the BPL's page linking patrons to NoveList and RA Online.
Second, make a list of your favorite RA related free Internet sites and provide links to them for your patrons. You can either list them with 1-2 sentence descriptions of why you like them or put them into9 categories. Either way, simply getting them on your page to act as a guide to the Web for your patrons will be quite helpful. Again, here is an example.
Third, any lists you create for use by patrons in the library should be posted and archived on the website. I have been surprised by the number of librarians who did not think of this on their own. Lists in the library might stay up for a few weeks but on the website they can be easily archived and kept indefinitely, providing more information to your readers.
Click here and here to see examples of how we do this at the BPL.
I think if you do these three things, along with providing links for e-mail and basic contact info, will get your RA homepage started off on the right foot. And remember, this is only the beginning. You will continue to grow and add to your page all of the time. We've only been going for about 1 year with our new site and it is looking great!
Feel free to share links to your RA websites by leaving a comment here. If I get a bunch, I will compile them all into one post.
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