The Morristown & Township Library gets a new (digital) look

The Morristown & Township Library has updated its logo--and website.
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By Marion Filler

The Morristown & Township Library always has embraced the digital world.  And now the library has a website that should help patrons navigate that world more easily, says Director Chad Leinaweaver.

Updated, streamlined and more user-friendly, the site even boasts a new address, MMTlibrary.org. (Don’t worry, prior URLs will re-direct there automatically.)

Debra Gottsleben, library Director Chad Leinaweaver and Lisa Price at centennial celebration of Morristown & Township Library, Oct. 27, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Debra Gottsleben, library Director Chad Leinaweaver and Lisa Price at centennial celebration of Morristown & Township Library, Oct. 27, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

The old website was text-heavy, making it difficult for mobile devices to view and resize the content, according to Leinaweaver.

“This is where we started with the whole thing,” he says. “We wanted to be able to view our website better from any device, so it pops up better and resizes better so you can see things easier.”

It took about five months to find the right company for the project.

“We asked if they were used to working with archival content, and some firms didn’t get it at all,” Leinaweaver recounts. PrincetonOnline was selected, and took approximately 18 months to redesign the website. Funding came from donations and unrestricted gifts to the Library.

Beginning with the idea of making the website compatible to more devices, the developers proceeded to implement the original structure, with improvements. Fear not intrepid patrons: More has remained the same than has changed. But accessibility has improved.

The first thing you will notice is the very different appearance of the home page. The old green-and-ivory color scheme has been exchanged for soothing tones of blue. The distinctive font and logo especially created for the Library in 2006 are the same, but  enhanced by a drawing of a small Gothic door by staff member Gracey Osmun Palmer.

The Morristown & Township Library website has a new, streamlined look.

There is a slide show of images to advertise special books and events of note, and easy-to- see boxes listed under “Resources” to click for museum passes, Library of Things to borrow, and an array of free downloads such as Kanopy for movies, the Cloud library for audio and e-books, and RB Digital for comics.

Events for the week still are listed in a column on the right. But clicking on “more events” at the bottom opens an easy-to-read calendar grid that provides a view of the entire month at a glance.

Navigation is facilitated with a new site-wide search function, at the top right of the opening page. The search has two tabs, one to search the online catalog of the Library (and its partners, local libraries in the Morris County MAIN consortium) and a second tab to search content of the website itself.

“This can be helpful if you’re not sure where to find your favorite resource from our old website, or just to explore what new items we have added,” says Osmun Palmer.

“We felt this was cleaner,” says Leinaweaver.”

Best of all, the redesign will allow new software to be installed in-house as needed. “Our old site was not compatible to do those kinds of things,” says Leinaweaver. “We would have to call the developer if we wanted to change anything.”

Bugs were worked out during a trial run, and the new site has been up for about two weeks. It’s too soon to test public reaction, says Leinaweaver, “but the staff thinks it’s much better.”

As usual, staffers are glad to assist patrons with any questions that may arise. Contact the Reference Department at (973) 538-2592 or email here for assistance.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. How fortunate we are in Morristown, to have the Library close by and easy to visit. I still find the staff and volunteers very helpful. They go out of their way to help you find what you are looking for, especially the staff in the Local History department. The well documented records and collections there are often unavailable elsewhere.

  2. As a web developer who works with WordPress, I have two thoughts:

    – 18 months?
    – Since this is a public organization, I’d love to see the budget.

    The stated goal is to be mobile-friendly, but the mobile layout pushes the actual reference content below all the other content, which means people just looking for information have a) wait for the whole page to load (slow) b) scroll a really long way with their finger. And the site scores a 32 on Google’s audit tool when looking at the mobile version – I have clients that would not sign off with a number like that.

    GTMetrix (and some other analysis tools) are somewhat biased against WordPress, as they ding it for some unfortunate design decisions in the WP core, but still worth looking at and addressing with your vendor when taking delivery of a site 18 months(!!) in the making:

    https://gtmetrix.com/reports/mmtlibrary.org/fwQbbzLO

    Compare, for example, to the county library:

    https://gtmetrix.com/compare/fwQbbzLO/3fG7QIsT

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