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Website Evaluation Section: Public Libraries

Many public libraries are reaching beyond the walls of their library to provide quality information resources for their patrons. These resources include databases, web links, and original content. Go to the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library. Create a list of the features at their website and compare it with others.

Explore Multnomah County Library. Notice the wide variety of resources aimed at both the local patrons as well as web-based visitors of all ages.

You'll find traditional library resources on most library websites such as the online catalog. In addition, you'll find materials specifically designed for the website. Explore the Columbus Metropolitan Library. Look for the traditional materials accessed through the library building as well as those resources available through the web.

Many public libraries are partnering with community groups and organizations to publish materials for the web. Examples include historical documents, photographs, scientific information, and other resources unique to a local area. Go to the Vancouver Public Library. Notice their collection of over 250,000 historic photographs. Visit the Madison-Jefferson County Public Library and explore the History - Genealogy section.

Online library resources are often divided into sections focusing on the needs of particular clients such as children, young adults, or senior citizens. Visit Allen County Public library and identify some of those websections. In addition, some websites provide resources in multiple languages to accommodate special needs. Examine Storyplace. It's a section of a public library website aimed at young children and is available in both English and Spanish.

Some public libraries open their website to all users, while others restrict access to some sections by requiring patrons to enter their library card number of password. For example, many electronic databases are restricted to local library users. However, online book clubs, email reference requests, and website materials are often available to anyone.

Public Library Website Elements

As you explore public library websites, look for the following elements:

Public Library Website Links

Whether you're designing your own library site or just looking for a good online library, the resources on this page provide a good place to start.

Below you'll find links to directories that provide a gateway to libraries around the world. A few notable public libraries are also listed in alphabetical order.

Directories to Public Libraries Online

Australian Libraries Gateway - Links to libraries in Australia

Hennen's American Public Library Ratings - Not specific to online libraries, but rates quality libraries in general

lib-web-cats - Directory of public library websites throughout the world.

LibDex - Libraries around the world

Yahoo Directory to Libraries - Links to tons of library sites including public libraries

Public Library Websites

Ames (IA) Public Library

Atlanta - Fulton County Library (GA)

Austin Public Library (TX)

Baltimore County Public Library (MD)

Boston Public Library (MA)

Carmel Clay (IN) Public Library

Charlotte & Mecklenburg (NC) County Public Library

Chicago Public Library (IL)

Cuyahoga County Public Library (OH)

Dallas Public Library (TX)

Denver Public Library (CO)

Free Library of Philadelphia (PA)

Hennepin County (Minnetonka, MN) Library

Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library (IN)

Johnson County Library (KS)

Kansas City Public Library (MO)

Las Vegas / Clark County Library District (NV)

Louisville Free Public Library (KY)

Memphis Public Library & Information Center (TN)

Metropolitan Library System (OK)

Miami - Dade Public Library System (FL)

Middletown Thrall Library (NY)

Montgomery County Public Libraries (MD)

Naperville Public Library (IL)

New Orleans Public Library (LA)

New York Public Library (NY)

Omaha Public Library (NB)

Phoenix Public Library - Kid's Place (AZ)

Richland County Public Library (SC)

Rocky River Public Library (OH)

Sacramento Public Library (CA)

Salt Lake City Public Library (UT)

Salt Lake County Library Services (UT)

San Diego Public Library (CA)

Santa Clara County Library (CA)

Saugus Public Library (MA)

Seattle Public Library (WA)

Spokane Public Library (WA)

St. Charles City County Library (MO)

St. Louis Public Library (MO)

Toledo-Lucas County Public Library (OH)

Toronto Public Library (Ontario, Canada)

Urbana Free Library (IL)

Washington-Centerville Public Library (OH)

Wheaton Public Library (IL)

Wichita Public Library (KS)

Wilton Library - Notice the areas for special populations such as teens, children, and senior.

Worthington Libraries (OH)

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