Abbot Public Library website gets biggest redesign in years

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For the first time in about two decades, the Abbot Public Library debuted a new website in late July.

“The previous website was created about 20 years ago,” the library’s executive director, Kimberly Grad, told Marblehead News. “The former website was created in the early 2000s and included a lot of outdated material.”

Its state until recently featured redundancies, multiple layers and duplicated links. Over the last several years, Grad said patrons found navigating library services via the Internet an arduous task.

Over the past three months, the town department contracted with Hyphenate -“a creative design agency known for top-notch design, responsive and mobile-ready websites and strategic marketing services” – to build out and redesign the public library’s website.

“The redesign process started in April 2022 and the new site launched July 25,” said Grad. “It’s important to note that the website is a work in progress as we will be constantly updating content, writing new blog posts, adding new events and sections, as well as photographs and images to compliment the individual sections.”

The homepage to the Abbot Public Library’s new website arrived in late July after a three-month redevelopment. The last time its website underwent a redesign was two decades ago.

Grad said a library’s website should achieve and contain the following elements:

  • A clean, accessible design with reliable information
  • Compatibility with mobile devices
  • Reliable navigation and search functions
  • Access to catalog and patron account information
  • A content management system that makes it easy for library staff to edit and add content

A digital branch

The website was built out with emphasis on mobile use as patrons access library services via iPads, cell phones, Kindle Fires, iPhones among other devices other than desktop computers.

“A clean and simple design looks great on a mobile phone which is how we expect many patrons will view the website,” said Grad. “We are excited that we have the opportunity to include a blog on the new site. Staff are already thinking about what they might write about. ”

Grad went on to call library websites “digital branches,” a characterization that the pandemic only underscored, she pointed out.

“We reorganized the information on our website in the hope that patrons can find exactly what they need, whether it’s access to their account, reserving a meeting room, reserving a museum pass, placing a hold on a book, checking out e-books, movies or TV series, discovering local history or using one of our many databases,” Grad said. “The Abbot Public Library is a gateway to digital information.”

With a Marblehead library card, patrons can access a bevy of top-shelf databases and services that include but are not limited to:

  • Business directories
  • Downloadable legal forms
  • ValueLine
  • Morningstar
  • Banker & Tradesman
  • Mango Languages
  • Consumer Reports and other magazines
  • local newspaper archives
  • JStor
  • Ancestry
  • Cooking recipes
  • test preparation

The website went live as the public library embarks on a multi-million dollar renovation.

Abbot Public Library’s new website was built out with emphasis on mobile use as patrons access library services via iPads, cell phones, Kindle Fires, iPhones among other devices other than desktop computers.

“The process of developing a new website takes a lot of time. And determining the best time to launch the site was a challenge,” said Grad. “The goal was to have the site ready before the start of the renovation , so that it can act as a digital branch of the library and provide reliable service during the period of time that we will be closed for moving to the interim space at the Eveleth School.”

The town department endeavored to produce a new website that reflects the library’s mission statement: “Serve as a vibrant hub of education, community and culture for the Town of Marblehead. It will continue to be a free, inclusive and safe gathering place for all where the pursuit of knowledge, literacy and continuing education is actively encouraged and supported.”

The library’s website development has been made possible through the generous support of the Harold B. and Elizabeth L. Shattuck Memorial Fund.

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