I can come to your library, book club meeting, or conference to talk about how to help your readers find their next good read. Click here for more information.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Best Advice for a New RA Website

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.


Booktender said...

We are currently in the process of revising our library website so a better way for the public to find this info may be on its way.

One of the newer things we have implemented community shared lists that staff members have used to create searchable lists and users have also created lists.

see: www.phxlib.org Using the down arrow to the left of the search box, select "shared lists" and use the search term: classic
You will see among the lists a lot of It's a classic! lists. Search by: romance. You will find an It's a classic! list for romance. Shared list contributors have the option of adding metatags so the search will go through those as well as the title of the list and titles included in the lists. Try a search for: school

Searching that way does not currently work from the Books tab. We're working on that.

Staff also have access to an intranet RA section that lists links and quick lists we have made.

Not practical for some websites, but a cool and useful thing anyway!

Becky said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences. I have checked out the site and it looks great! You have these lists and people with interests in certain areas, and finding a way to share all of that at one time is a great idea!