A few years ago a colleague emailed me and asked about what his public library should do on their re-designed/re-developed website for its teen presence. I said, “don’t have one.” Well, what I really said is “if you have teen pages on your site then focus them on the adults in teen lives and not on the teens.” Anytime I get asked this question, which I do quite a bit, my answer is the same.
I know, some people are thinking that by not having teen focused web pages on a library site it’s like saying no to a teen space in a library. But I disagree. For public libraries, I think it is different for school libraries, I think spending time, effort, dollars and more on teen web pages as a part of a library site is a waste of time and money. Have you looked at your teen page statistics lately? How well are they doing? And, if you tell me they get lots of hits, are you sure those are teens visiting those pages, or are they the adults in teen lives – teachers, parents, youth serving staff, etc.? Or, if you tell me that your teen advisory board is using the pages then that’s great, but why no one else?
Some of you may have noticed back in late January that you did not need to log into the site to view YALSA’s Awards and Selected Lists (that is, if you were not already been using the links provided by YALSA which you could bookmark and use to bypass the log-in). We did this because we knew that the ALA/YALSA website gets unusually large amounts of traffic just after the awards and lists are announced at the Midwinter Meeting, and based on information from ALA, we were concerned that the site couldn’t handle the number of log-in requests.
YALSA had originally instituted the website login for one year to:
1. Work towards fulfilling one of the goals of our Strategic Plan, Member Recruitment, by reaching out to perusers of our Awards and Selected Lists.
2. Find out more about list and award viewers in order to learn how to better connect with those interested in that type of content.
3. Tap the fanbase (which extends way, way beyond our membership) of our Selected Lists and Awards to help them step up as advocates for the entire association and the teens we serve in libraries everyday.
Despite tweaks and improvements to the website, we know that it wasn’t easy for many users to access the awards and lists portion of site, via login, in a seamless manner.
Throughout the Spring, the YALSA Executive Committee and Board evaluated the one year project, including the capacity of the ALA/YALSA website to deliver a seamless log-in process and the success of using an email form for non-member access. ‘ The Board found that:
In February, I posted about changes that were made to YALSA’s website that required a login to reach the selected lists and awards. I explained the rationale and indicated that there would be refinements in the process.
There have been refinements, but we haven’t done a very good job of sharing that information with you, so I want to apologize for that lack of timely communication and try to remedy it now.
First of all, I do apologize for the early glitches and for the unfriendliness of ALA’s web interface. It can be very discouraging to click on a link that says â€œloginâ€ and immediately get an â€œaccess deniedâ€ message. However, if you just click on the ALA login link in the upper right corner of the screen, all will be well. Continue reading