Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Williamsburg Regional Library unveils new look for online users

The Williamsburg Regional Library's website has a fresh new look for the first time in a decade. (WYDaily/Courtesy WRL)
The Williamsburg Regional Library’s website has a fresh new look for the first time in a decade. (WYDaily/Courtesy WRL)

Fans of the Williamsburg Regional Library will see a change for the first time in 10 years when they visit the location online.

The website was down Wednesday morning for a short period while a new site was launched. The site, which is now accessible, features a new look and easier navigation system for users.

“This change was a visual change in a lot of respects,” said Barry Trott, the library’s special projects and technical services director. “The content is all still there but by making it more visually interesting, it will make it more accessible.”

The previous site design was created a decade ago and featured gray and blue highlights along the navigation menu. The new site has pops of color throughout the details that make the content appear fresh and modern.

In addition, certain aspects of the site have been moved to be more accessible to users, such as the meeting room reservations, said Elizabeth Hornsby, the library’s special projects coordinator.

Hornsby said the bright and clean design was mostly driven by the library’s director, Betsy Fowler, who did research by also looking at other libraries’ websites.

“She wanted it to be bright colors and image-driven,” she said. “That was a big driving force in figuring out the aesthetic elements.”

Trott said they choose certain aspects to make more accessible by analyzing the data from the old website and seeing what features individuals were using the most. Instead of having to click through multiple pages, users can now easily find what they’re looking through with a series of drop-down menus.

The new design was created by the same company who built the previous website, Server Logic, and is now managed through a WordPress system, which Trott said makes the website more robust.

The new website won’t always remain exactly the same. Trott said the library staff plans to listen to feedback and monitor analytics to change and update the site overtime in order to best serve user needs.

“The important piece to all this is that the website is not a static thing,” he said. “It’s a continually evolving tool. So one of the things about using WordPress as our management system is it helps us continue to grow.”

In total, the new website design cost the library $35,000, Trott said.

The idea for the new website started earlier in the year and staff started the process of switching back in the summer of 2019. Now that it is officially up and running, staff are monitoring any minor glitches that occur but overall are just waiting to see how users feel about the new site.

“We’re really excited about it,” Trott said. “It has a great new look and pulls together information in a way that’s easier for people to find all the wonderful things that the library does.”

Alexa Doiron
Alexa Doiron
Alexa Doiron is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She graduated from Roanoke College and is currently working on a master’s degree in English at Virginia Commonwealth University. Alexa was born and raised in Williamsburg and enjoys writing stories about local flair. She began her career in journalism at the Warhill High School newspaper and, eight years later, still loves it. After working as a news editor in Blacksburg, Va., Alexa missed Williamsburg and decided to come back home. In her free time, she enjoys reading Jane Austen and playing with her puppy, Poe. Alexa can be reached at

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