This week we explored a number of web building tools. The initial article we read offered information on 11 different platforms. From my work as an instructional coach, I have the most experience with Weebly and Google Sites. This year I also learned about Smore from a classmate when she created a flyer of various libraries that she toured. While I am impressed by many of the other tools in this article, these three tools are my top choices for web site platforms. I feel like they have credible names that continue to maintain status in the ed tech community and beyond. After all, no one wants to start a project only to have the platform discontinue!
As I prepare to create a template for a school library website, I’ve evaluated several Weebly, Google and Smore sites. My dream job is in a middle school so I’ve narrowed my searches to middle school examples. While I have not found an ideal website that has all of the design principles we’re learning about, I’ve learned a lot from my peers. In this blog I am aim to point out some ideals I see in other school library pages. Hopefully, I can build from their successes as I build my own mock template.
Note: Numbers do not indicate ranking.
Website Pick #1: Southridge Middle School – This is a Google site that falls into a larger division template. I think this type of consistency across a division is crucial in communicating effectively with parents, students, and teachers. The graphics on Southridge Middle School’s website are clean and polished. They guide users without being overly distracting. The navigation bar on the left hand side is fairly streamlined and students can click on the graphics or the sidebar to get to their desired destination.
Website Pick #2: Ephraim Curtis Middle School – This website has a clean, accesible interface. The navigation bar on the left hand sidebar easily guides students to the catalog, summer reading, and other valuable resources. The graphics are complementary in color and also link to critical resources such as the school databases, the public library catalog, and citing sources. Two links are not yet available and I’m not sure why. These include the About Us and Parent links. Despite that fact, I think I would pursue a site similar to this if I selected Google Sites as my platform. All follow-up pages continue to use consistent colors, and tables to present information in an organized, accessible manner.
Website #3: Pike Middle School – This is a SMORE site and it is very different from the first two selections. It has more of a blog feel and I think that is because the content margins are rather narrow like most traditional blogs. It does not offer a navigation bar which also makes me feel like this is some type of alternative to a website. However, it features library stats, book trailers from publishing houses, and librarian produced movies on the latest in the library. Whether this is a true website or an alternative tool is not as important as the vibe that this Pike’s SMORE page produces. It feels welcoming, student-centered, and in-tune to the latest hype in world of reading. I aim to create a functional structure with a student-centered vibe like this one.
Website 4: Hyde Park Middle School – This is a Weebly site and highlights Hyde’s school mascot of the panther! The navigation bar is positioned horizontally at the top and I feel like this is much more eye catching and simplified than vertical sidebars. The creator also restrained him/herself to one horizontal navigation row. This is much cleaner than other sites that have so many tabs that it turns into 2-3 vertical rows. The categories in the navigation are quite broad but that is probably what makes them so efficient. The information posted on the landing page is nicely sorted with subtitles of a larger font. This makes it easy for users to scroll down and find what they need. The graphics used represent the local school; they are also humorous. This page links to other larger library resources such as the Library of Congress. The only item that I found difficult was the dark background template. Other than that, I found myself easily clicking away! The panther pictures kept a smile on my face. Go panthers!
If you are reading this blog and want to share other examples of library websites, please post them. I’d love to check them out as I prepare to start my mock template. Happy website building! 🙂