Public Community Library Website Tools


A community library is a wonderful place of reading, events, and more. It’s a community hub. This is where people go to study for their exams, research various topics, and relax as they read a book. Public community libraries are also social places with events and activities, and today they’re expected to be digital refuges and communication hubs by having a robust library website.

Incorporating a digital library in your library website will help you engage your community and make access faster and easier for all. However, library websites shouldn’t just be a collection of online data and documents.They should help members interact, learn and grow.

Create a better user experience for the people in your community. Add these key features to your public library website.

Features of a Great Public Community Library Website

Easy navigation for the library website

According to HBR, choice paralysis is a real thing. Therefore, if you present numerous website navigation options on the homepage of your library website, your visitors will most likely get overwhelmed. This in turn will can them leave prematurely, and they won’t browse through. To avoid this, consider showing just a few key options in the main menu and then add extensive sub-menus under the main options.

Responsive library web design

In the year 2015, Google made a major change to search engine algorithms to factor in mobile websites. With approximately 5 billion smartphone users worldwide, it’s important for a public community library website to be user-friendly on every device. Because Google ranks websites that are mobile-friendly higher, a public community library website that isn’t optimized for smaller screens will decline in search engine rankings. According to Statista, 64 percent of searches on the internet are from mobile devices.

Use understandable language

Different industries have their unique jargon, and community services along with other information service providers are no exception. However, public community library website visitors are made up of community people, and they’re not familiar with complex library talk. Therefore, consider using layman’s language. In cases where jargon cannot be avoided, provide users with explanations of the terms you use. Don’t rely solely on a glossary; most visitors won’t bother switching pages or tabs to understand what is being said.

Searches are key for library websites

Today, most internet users are searching for specific information whenever they visit public community library websites. Therefore, your library website should have an easy to identify search box that appears on every page of the website. If the website offers advanced search options with catalog for finer search results, conceal these other options until a visitor does an actual search. This will make things less confusing.  We recommended a robust search with different options such as for books, events, and website content.

Timely content

Most of the content on public community library websites is either static (one time) or evergreen (never gets old). However, there are some details that are not, for instance, the ever-changing catalogs. Therefore, push the newest content to the front of the site so that visitors are motivated to make repeat visits. This is also a good way for you to promote other activities that the library engages in, for instance, new community initiatives.  Keep an events and “updates” area visible and updated on your library website!

Calendar of Events

An updated calendar of events for your library allows visitors to the website to easily see upcoming events they may be interested in, such as a book club or author reading.  This is key to offering a valuable service to your community. A Website created by our team can easily have this type of feature that your team can manage in-house.

Book and Reserve Meeting Rooms

The public community library is often a hub for local community members or businesses. Being able to book a meeting or event space online is a huge benefit. By having a “Book A Meeting Room” page, you can allow visitors with an active library card to reserve a room for a particular date while also seeing a room’s booking status and capacity. Furthermore, with a few clicks of a mouse and the completion of a simple form, people can book a room for their next meeting.  Again, easily managed with notifications via email to all parties is critical and possible with library websites we build.

Advanced Book Search and Reservation Database for Libraries

Having an advanced book database online, allows visitors with an active membership to see the status of a book they are interested in an online catalog. Additionally allowing them to then reserve the books that are currently checked out from the comfort of their own home can promote additional visits.  Many library databases offer website integrations that allow for using your system on your website.

Easy to update Library information with the WordPress CMS system

A public community library with a staff team will need a website CMS that can allow design flexibility and easy updating. Most experts recommend using an open source CMS platform like WordPress to meet these needs. This type of CMS has lots of features and plugins available for expansion while being easy to use and allowing internal staff the ability to update all content and events.

Other reasons to use a WordPress CMS for your Library

  • It allows editing access to multiple editors
  • It makes management and upkeep of the website coding-free, which means you can get updates much faster.
  • The CMS is installed behind the firewall, which makes it more secure from being exploited by hackers.

What Next?

The internet has changed how people do things. Unlike the olden days, internet users first check online before they visit a location in person. This means that the experience they get when they use your public community library website should motivate them to make an in-person visit to the library. Give your community a seamless website to quickly search for the books, movies, and information they need in an easy and fast way.

Is your library looking to upgrade its website presence? We have experience with multiple library websites and the features your library website needs. Contact us to start the discussion today!