The new Great Barrington Libraries website is a result of a collabaration between Library Director Anne Just and Library Chair Patty Melville in partnership with local web developer Tom Stier – Promote Globally.
“The Board of Trustees wanted the new library site to be a portal to both services and events at the library,” explains developer Tom Stier. “For instance, right at launch, Library Director Anne Just has been able to add news items about upcoming events at the library, without having to write html or use a commercial software (WordPress is an “open source” software, developed by a world-wide community and free for any use). It makes the site much more up-to-date, so people will come back more often.”
In addition to the attractive and unified design and navigation of the new site, it’s also much more flexible. Authorized individuals are able to post information and add news items on an ongoing basis. Stier says that by using WordPress as a content management system, he was able to inexpensively build a framework for these constant updates. Additionally, he integrated the WordPress software with the libraries current implementation of the Engaged Patrons (http://engagedpatrons.org/) custom library calendar. This makes keeping events and basic information about the libraries, such as hours, policies, and location, always current.
Integrating the links to the online card catalog was also a major part of the function of the new site. “Our family visits the online card catalog (wmars.cwmars.org) and reserves material from the Western MA Library System almost daily,” Stier says. “This has been a tremendous improvement in the amount of material available to us. I wanted to make sure that this feature was as practical and easy to use as possible for residents. I’m a big fan of public libraries”
Since returning to the Berkshires in 2006, Tom Stier has been working with many local businesses to help them leverage the power of the web to increase their bottom line.
He says his slogan – “Work Locally, Promote Globally” – best describes his web development business.
“Local businesses can attract the attention of various search engines, including Google, MSN & Yahoo, by increasing activity on their web sites. ‘Activity’ means writing content that contains words and phrases for which your customers are searching on. Even more than a handsome design, you need to be writing often and well if you want to promote your business.”