Q: I am a reference librarian and I am trying to obtain experience in creating web pages. I would also like to join committees or groups that focus on, or deal with, web design issues, but I am having trouble finding any such groups. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks!
SM: The first thing you should do is to seek out people in your own library, librarians or non-librarians, who are doing web work. See if you can get some hands-on-training and mentoring from them. You should also find out if any local organizations or companies offer classes in HTML or web design, and find out from your supervisor if you can get funding for taking classes. While you’re at it, talk to your supervisor about your desire to obtain experience in creating web pages. He or she might have some ideas that could benefit you in your current position. It is always a good idea to let your supervisors know that you are eager to learn and take on more, or different, responsibilities.
You can also look outside your current place of work. Some library organizations have special interest groups, or SIGs, which focus on specific areas of librarianship or specific technologies. These groups bring people together to learn, discuss, and make connections. If your local library organization does not have a pertinent SIG, you can help start one. If you can’t find local classes, communities, or groups to join, then try going online. I have listed just a few resources below that you might find useful.
Knowing how to create web pages from scratch and understanding the basics of HTML and good design can be very valuable skills for librarians, even if they are not their library’s webmaster. Librarians, in many cases, are the ones who create and maintain the web pages for their libraries; but some libraries (often large library systems) have their web pages created by design firms. Find out if you are able to contribute to your work environment by creating web pages, however minor, for your library’s site. If not, then you might want to see if any of the organizations that you belong to (which do not have to be library related) could use assistance in creating web pages or starting a web site. The best way to learn, of course, is always by doing. Best of luck, and have fun!
Free Online Courses (registration required)
Other Useful Sites
Accessible Design for Library Web Sites
“For designers of library Web sites, this Accessibility Handbook is an interactive “How To” guide that shows how to implement a variety of innovative ideas and practical solutions for the smooth integration of accessible elements into each step of the design process.” Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki
“Library Success was created by Meredith Farkas to be a collaborative space for librarians to share success stories and inspire each other to do great things in our own libraries.”
WebJunction: An Online Community for Library Staff
“WebJunction is a cooperative of library staff sharing and using online resources that enable us to identify and embrace appropriate technologies and apply them to our daily work.”
WebMonkey: The Web Developer’s Resource
“The site that’s been teaching people how to build websites of their own since 1996.”
“The only conference for information professionals who are using, developing, and embracing Internet, Intranet, and Web-based strategies in their roles as information architects and navigators, Webmasters and Web managers, content evaluators and developers, taxonomists, searchers, community builders, information providers, trainers, guides, and more.”
Usability Week 2007
“Takes you beyond the typical conference experience, offering a three-day usability camp, a three-day intensive session on interaction design, and several specialized, day-long tutorials that get both broad and deep on core usability topics.”