Sarah E. Dunaway




1. What motivated you to market your library with a rebranding and website redesign?

We were long overdue for a website redesign! When PLLKC hired me in April 2016, one of my first responsibilities was the maintenance and updates on our then Drupal based website. It did not take long for me to see the issues with the old website and it took even less time for me to convince the rest of the library that we should rebrand and redesign the website. Here are a few of the key reasons why we redesigned the website: (1) the old website was not mobile friendly; it simply did not work on a smartphone. (2) Information on the website was too difficult to find, for both users and the library staff; the majority of the library staff was not even using the website! (3) The Drupal platform was too difficult for the majority of the staff to use; simply posting announcements on the website, such as library closures, proved to be more difficult than it should have been.

2. How has the project been received so far, and how will you evaluate its success?

Overall, the feedback we have gotten has been pretty good! We are evaluating the success of the website redesign in a few different ways: (1) We had a survey posted on the website for several months, asking patrons to give us feedback about the website, evaluating both how appealing it was and how user-friendly it was. (2) We use Google Analytics to track website traffic. We have seen an uptick in mobile smartphone usage of the website since the redesign, which is great! We also use Google Analytics to see how people are finding the information they need on the website – the fewer clicks and searches they have to make, the better. (3) We still receive phone calls from patrons who cannot find information they need on the website – interacting with patrons in this manner is a great way to get direct feedback so that we can tweak the website to make sure it is as user friendly as possible.

3. What “if only I knew!” advice would you give others wanting to replicate this project?

If only I knew that everyone on the library staff would have such strong and differing opinions about color schemes! I think we spent more time trying to decide on a color scheme than any other aspect of the redesign and rebranding process of the website! What will make things easier, when tackling a project like this one, is if you can remain flexible in your own opinions. When working on such a massive project, like this one, it is really easy to become protective of every single choice and decision that has to be made. Things are easier if you do not become very protective and remain flexible in your opinions. Just always remember – this is not your project, it is the library’s project.

4. What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading “Akata Witch” by Nnedi Okorafor. From the back cover: “Sunny Nwazue lives in Nigeria, but she was born in New York City. Her features are West African, but she’s albino. She’s a terrific athlete, but can’t go out into the sun to play soccer. There seems to be no place where she fits in. An then she discovers something amazing – she is a ‘free agent’ with latent magical power. And she has a lot of catching up to do.”

If you haven’t read anything by Nnedi Okorafor, do so ASAP! She is an international award-winning novelist of African-based science fiction, fantasy, and magical realism for both children and adults. Her novella, “Binti” won the Hugo Nebula Award for Best Novella. Even Ursula K. Le Guin has said, “There’s more vivid imagination in a page of Nnedi Okorafor’s work than in whole volumes of ordinary fantasy epics.”

5. What’s the best way to spend a day off from work?

My favorite days off from work are spent doing something along these lines: Sleeping in until about 8am (if at all possible) and then enjoying a good book with a delicious latte and a yummy sweet potato hash scramble. Then I’ll usually do a short workout and then sit down and work on my own blog or my novel (I’m currently attempting to write a fantasy novel). I’ll sit and work on my book for several hours until my fiancé wakes up (he’s an EMT that works overnights on an ambulance) and then we’ll go outside for some fresh air and a walk around Greenlake. Our apartment is too small for a dog, so we enjoy walking around Greenlake on the weekends so that we can pet ALL of the dogs. The evenings consist of delicious homemade food, a glass or two of red wine, and a movie or some more reading. My weekdays can be pretty hectic, so I really like to relax and reboot over the weekends.