Say good-bye to minty green! The St. Albert Public Library just launched its new website last Thursday and probably the first thing you’ll notice is that the colour scheme has changed to become a bright blue portal to approximately 160,000 items and many other features to entertain, educate and otherwise improve your life and lifestyle.
Naturally there are more new features than just where it lands on the colour spectrum. Still located at www.sapl.ab.ca, the website boasts improved functionality and integration to make it even more user-friendly than before.
“We want it to be more interactive,” explained teen services co-ordinator Kathleen Troppmann. She said that where there once was a blog for teen users now exists an entire section for this age group, and it’s all accessible right from the homepage. Teens can now easily get to the blog but they’ll also find options to peruse book lists directly linked to the catalogue. They can also submit their own writing to be posted on the wall, something that the teen advisory board thought would improve the connection that many local teens would have with the library.
This is much the same situation for children and seniors, as well as general adult users. It was critical to create these avenues as usage of the site is skyrocketing. According to the library’s figures, there were around 256,000 visits in 2009, up about 30,000 from the previous year. The original website, in place since 1999, just wasn’t sophisticated enough to accommodate all of the community’s needs and the library’s burgeoning slate of programs and services.
Now there’s a calendar that shows everything going on from author visits to training sessions to the upcoming Tattooing 101 information session. The calendar is fully sortable and each item is linked to a page with more detail. This integration is one of the main objectives of the two-year revamp project.
“That was a big part of it,” Troppmann said, speaking of the calendar. “It’s so much easier to see at a glance what’s happening.”
Users can also subscribe to the automated monthly newsletter, access resources or online databases, download audio files and check out the Twitter feed among other features.
So far, nearly 80 per cent of people who responded to the library’s online survey have indicated that they like it a lot. This is still a work in progress so they ask that anyone who has suggestions contact them at 780-459-1530 or email@example.com. There’s also a form on the site for comments.