Library services spotlight: Connect IN

As you probably know, public library standards require public libraries to have a functional website, but, are you aware that the Indiana State Library can host your library’s website for free?! The program is called Connect IN and it’s free for public libraries without a current online presence and those having difficulty maintaining their existing site.

Program participants receive these free services from the Indiana State Library:

  • Modern and high-quality website featuring:
    • An easy-to-use content management system (CMS), based on WordPress, that allows you to manage and update your website and easily create new web pages and online features.
    • Web editing software as simple as using a word processor.
    • Seamless and instant publishing to the web allows you to make instantaneous changes to your website.
    • Dozens of customizable templates to help you get the exact design that reflects your library and community.
    • Libraries interested in joining can review the Connect IN Checklist to gain a better understanding of the process.
  • Technical support and training
  • Content management system (CMS) training
  • Free website hosting
    • The Indiana State Library is contracting with IT experts to handle the complicated back end tasks and to save you time and money.
  • Free email for library staff
    • Get up to 20 email accounts for your library (i.e., yourname@yourlibrary.lib.in.us).
    • Email storage capacity meets industry standards.
    • Email is Microsoft Outlook compatible.
    • Manage account settings as an administrator.

If you’d like to learn more about the Connect IN program, click here. To utilize the program, contact your regional coordinator.

This blog post was written by Courtney Brown, southeast regional coordinator, Indiana State Library.

Continuing education website gets a facelift

The Continuing Education portion of the Indiana State Library’s (ISL) website will be undergoing some changes soon. ISL’s Certification Program Director and Legal Consultant Cheri Harris and Professional Development Office Supervisor Suzanne Walker have been working through the website to identify instances where the same information is listed in multiple places, places where information does not match and pages that are confusing and wordy. “Our hope is to make the website more useful by making it easier to navigate,” Harris said. “In addition to streamlining the way the site is organized,” she added “we are also updating the language and content.”

The website will be updated gently in stages. A major overhaul to the archived webinar page has already been completed. The next phase will tackle the main menus and the initial landing pages and then more changes will spread out from there. The look of the site will mostly remain the same, but watch for a new menu for important forms, more ISL staff on the contact page and the changes to the Archived Webinar page.

“That’s what I’m most excited about,” Walker said. “Now people will have a much more visual experience with our archived webinars. They are now grouped by category with clickable tags to help the user find similar trainings. We have so many great trainings. We will easily hit fifty webinars this year. It is great that people can use the search box on the website to find them and the fact that they are now categorized and tagged makes it almost like a webinar database.”

Here’s a sample of what the old archived webinar page looked like:

Lots of text, arranged by date, with the newest webinars at the top and it linked out directly to YouTube.

Introducing, the new look:

Each webinar has a landing page where ISL can link to additional resources about the topic and each webinar has a category at the top of the block of text (Populations and Programming are shown here) that are color-coded and alphabetized.

Check back often to observe all of the updates.

Submitted by Suzanne Walker, supervisor of the Professional Development Office at the Indiana State Library and co-director of the Indiana Center for the Book.