The Danville Public Library has launched a redesigned website that better reflects the extension of a modern library far beyond bricks, mortar and books.
The site can be found at a new web address – www.readdanvilleva.org. Among other things, the site integrates with the library’s catalog and lets patrons check their accounts, place books on hold, renew books, download eBooks and audio, learn new languages, and search online databases for a broad range of information from genealogy to law.
“The new site is like a virtual branch library,” said Joe Zappacosta, library director. “We want citizens to visit the library, but we recognize there are factors, such as work hours, that prevent many from visiting frequently. It’s important for them to be able to take care of things online, and for others, it may be more convenient at times to use our online services.”
Citizens also have the opportunity to submit questions online to “Ask a Librarian,” without a phone call or trip to the main library or the Westover branch.
The new site offers an easy-to-use gateway to all the library’s services, programs and events, and research resources.
“With the new site, we wanted to direct people to a place where everything is represented as far as what we do,” Zappacosta said. “All of our services, programs and resources are labeled more clearly. We want you to see and know all that we have to offer.”
Zappacosta said patrons could click on the menu labels provided or use the improved search features that the site offers. “This allows patrons to learn more about what we do in their own way of discovery,” he said.
To search the site, patrons can enter keywords or use a “How Do I” feature that provides quick answers to the most frequently asked questions, such as how to get a library card, reserve a room, view the online catalog, and find digital magazines.
The new site offers a calendar of featured events, and patrons will learn about new projects and activities through a feature called “In the Spotlight.” Currently, this feature provides details on upcoming renovations to the children’s area.
Zappacosta said redesigning the website was one of his priorities when he joined the city as library director on Oct. 1.
“I wanted to have a site that I felt comfortable directing citizens to. This site is easier to navigate, it integrates more of what we have to offer, and it features things that people may not know that we offer. For example, we have a law library. I am willing to bet a lot of people do not know we have one.”
Other little known offerings include TumbleBooks – an online collection of animated, talking picture books for children – and Mango Languages – a natural, online learning system for foreign languages.
“We wanted to make everyone more aware of what we offer, and we wanted to make their experience with the library better,” Zappacosta. “We believe this new site meets those goals.”
The city’s Information Technology Department partnered with CivicPlus, the city’s content management system provider, to develop the website.
Future enhancements will allow the site to adapt to any screen size, such as smart phones and tablets, so that the responsive design ensures users have the same experience regardless of the mobile device.