CALS to Revamp Its Website

by Kyle Massey  on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017 4:03 pm   2 min read

The library isn’t shushing folks about its plan to redesign its website. In fact, the Central Arkansas Library System is shouting it from the rooftops.

CALS wants web users to find a fresh look, easier navigation and integrated e-commerce when they encounter the cals.org website early next year.

The system has set February 2018 as the launch date and has chosen Few, the design and development firm based in the Little Rock Technology Park, to remake the library’s digital properties and visual brand.

The project will also integrate new sites for the system’s programs and affiliates, including the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, the Friends of Central Arkansas Libraries, the CALS Foundation, the Arkansas Library Festival, River Market Books & Gifts and the Ron Robinson Theater.

The idea is to unify the look of CAL and its affiliates on the internet, including its 14 branch locations across central Arkansas. Another goal is to allow users to reserve meeting rooms online.

Nate Coulter, the library system’s executive director, wants to emphasize the library’s commitment to technology, noting that CALS is a free source for learning, entertainment and personal development for the 350,000 Arkansans living in its service area.

“CALS is by almost any measure a very comprehensive public library,” Coulter said in a news release. “In addition to books, digital downloads of eBooks, magazines and music, we frequently offer entertainment at our theater and branches, as well as lifelong learning opportunities. The website redesign and rebranding will help ensure the relevant CALS programs and resources are better known and more readily accessible to our patrons.”

The effort is an outgrowth of a communications audit by the library in 2016, one that found frustration with the website’s visual appeal, user friendliness and effectiveness. The new site will seek to reflect the culture and personality of the library better, and will include an updated calendar of events and a simplified user experience.

“People increasingly seek information online,” Coulter said, describing the website as CALS’ “front door.” “We want a friendlier welcome mat out there, one with more helpful prompts to get visitors to what they need as quickly as possible.”

Few has begun engaging with CALS patrons, library workers and board members to learn more and begin developing a plan for changes. One part of that process is an online survey available at www.cals.org.

Zack Hill, CEO of Few, said his firm looks forward to helping the library system because it is of crucial value to Little Rock and central Arkansas. “Few is excited to be involved in this project. Our goal is to unify the library’s overall brand and bring it to life through the web.”

 

 

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