By Steve Cram, Facilities Coordinator
There is a myth that librarians know everything. It may be true that librarians know a lot, but we don't know everything. One thing most of us don't know is the nuts-n-bolts side of a website. Websites have become an increasingly important part of our society. Many people get their first impression of an organization or business by viewing their website, so keeping one up-to-date and looking professional is important to libraries in the 21st century.
Fortunately, there are those who do understand the technical details of maintaining a website. For our area of Ohio, we turn to NORWELD – Northwest Regional Library System. NORWELD keeps a technical coordinator on staff who helps member libraries set up, publish, and maintain their websites.
Recently, NORWELD introduced website software to help make the process of writing and editing web pages easier. Drupal is an open source web site publishing framework, which means it’s available at no cost for use by anyone.
NORWELD offered classes introducing this new software to the member libraries and helped us create new websites based on it. Bill Hardison, the Computer Services Coordinator, walked us through the whole process from beginning class to publishing the new websites. His advice and suggestions helped me a lot in designing and maintaining North Baltimore Public Library’s Drupal website. He and I have had to agree to disagree on some items, but I never could have gotten the new website done without his help.
I found Drupal was a kind of good news – bad news thing. The good news is that it’s much easier to edit our web pages and get them looking more professional. The bad news is that it locks you into a theme, (Drupal is theme-based,) and our site, like most Drupal sites, takes on a blocky look. Still, what Drupal lacks in creativity it makes for by the ease of editing.NORWELD is not just about websites, either. They have helped our library in many other ways as well, offering classes and advice on a variety of subjects and coordinated discounted pricing on expensive software and hardware purchases. For such a small staff, they do some big things for our libraries.