Library district goes higher tech

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NEWPORT — Its address has not changed but many features of the Pend Oreille Library District’s website, pocld.org, have become much more user-friendly said librarian Maria Town here April 10. Library district director Mandy Walters did the website’s overhaul, which resulted in a much nicer, cleaner interface for both patrons and library district staff, said Town.

“Patrons have commented on how much easier it is to use,” she said. Significantly, she said that the website still has all the features it had before -- they’re just better.

You can log on with your library card, download music, put things on hold, download ebooks, and more, said Town. “The calendar under ‘events’ is much more user-friendly.”

Walters said she designed the new website in order to make it better reflect how modernized the library district has become.

“The website is often the first way that people know about you,” she said. “It’s the first thing they look for when they’re curious about the library.” She said the old website looked like it had been put together in 1996 and stayed that way for the next two decades.

“It was inaccurate. It’s not what the library’s about.”

Walters, who described herself as “pretty techy,” began the redesign in early February and got through most of it herself before needing assistance with some technical details from the district’s information technology staff. She built the website with Wordpress and installed new calendar software to integrate the calendars of events at the library district’s multiple locations. Those upgrades cost a little bit, but otherwise the web redesign did not require extra expenses, she said.

Public libraries have shifted massive amounts of time and money into computer-based and online activities in recent years. As the American Library Association noted in its 2015 State of America’s Libraries report, libraries are no longer just collections of books. Instead, they’re community centers where people come together to make art, have classes, learn skills, use the Internet, apply for jobs, and more. On Friday, April 14 the library here will host an Easter egg hunt for toddlers and preschoolers from 3-4 p.m. The library here will also hold a training session for patrons interested in using social media for the first time. The class will offer one-on-one coaching for those eager to dip their toes into Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and more on April 26 from 10:30 a.m to 12 p.m.

Walters said “Staff is definitely available to get people reintegrated into the website.” They’re happy to help on a drop-in basis, she added.

“I want it to be easy for everyone, to reflect how we feel about the community, and we want people to know we’re here to help.”

To visit the library district’s new website, go to pocld.org. For more information, call 800-366-3654.

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