An NHLTA Confession
As I said, I was honored to be asked to speak to NH Library Trustees yesterday. Marie, my handler, pointed out to me that the trustee role is too often overlooked. This was an opportunity to sing my tune to a new crop of library decision makers. With stars in my eyes I wrote the session teaser for their program:
How to choose the best tools, use them appropriately, and how to integrate online services into existing workflows. A demo website will show the potential that exists for library online services and provide some direction with which to begin.
Months passed before I actually sat down to write the talk. Trustees, I reasoned, are meant as support for librarians who are the ones doing the work on the website. What the trustees really need is to understand why web services are important and what kind of commitment is involved. I figured they really don’t want to know the nuts and bolts so I focused on WHY they should expect their librarians to be doing this stuff.
The talk was moving along happily and as I finished up the hard-core theory and moved into a quick introduction to some tools a pair of intrepid trustees stopped me to request that perfect website. They held up the program and pointed to the blurb. I stammered. It’s a tough one; there is no magic bullet for creating the right website. There is no one perfect way. It depends upon your town, your goals, your staff, your commitment, your technology skills…. on and on. Be that as it may, these ladies wanted that demo site I had promised. [Cue hanging head.]
I came home rattled but I began to think what an ‘ideal site’ might look like. If I were working in a Lichen-dream-world – a wonderful library where I had the time and resources and support and patron interest to make such a site – what would it look like? So, this morning with the baby snoozing downstairs, I am sitting down to start building the Ideal Library Website; a best-case-scenario for the hands-on trustees that called me out yesterday!
I plan to do this transparently in order to demonstrate the complexities involved, even in a perfect world. I started by moving the files on this webserver into the root so that I can use the Multi-User feature of WordPress to make an ‘If I Were a Library’ subdirectory. Stay tuned for more.