1) Research Content Management System Options

Factors for Consideration:


Curry County Public Library does not have any set amount reserved for the creation of the website. We wanted to find the most cost-effective means of creating the site, and so we chose to explore the free options available.


Features that we are looking for include: plug-in capabilities, the ability to embed video, customization features, mobile device compatibility, the ability to embed the catalog and accessibility.


Functionality is how users interact with the website and consist of functions like access to patron account, access to catalog, placing holds, etc. The web site host would have to be accommodating to these functions.

Documentation of Use in Libraries-

We also considered whether or not the different platforms had already been used by other libraries and if there was any information available on how they worked out.

Template Options-

Templates are very important because they dictate how we will be able to structure the information of the site. The more options or flexibility available to us, the better.


Maintaining the site has to be relatively easy to do since it is more than likely that staff members will be responsible for updating and maintaining the site. Sites that offer easy back end usability are ideal for our circumstances.

Possible Platforms:

Pros: multiple author capability, huge plugin library, user-friendly on back end, strong SEO capabilities, easy customization, flexibility, free, easy to update
Cons: security, incompatibility with older plugins, not all templates are free


Pros: flexible, developer friendly, strong SEO capabilities, stable, open-source
Cons: difficult to use on the back end, lack of free plugins, lack of themes - Mr. Skinner specified Drupal as a system he did not want to use, as he felt the skill level required to perform upkeep and maintenance was too advanced for the capabilities of their limited staff.


Pros: variety of templates available for use, easy-to use, diverse app and add-ons available
Cons: relatively new service, free subscription comes with ads, limited navigation


Pros: easy to use, drag and drop builder, free,
Cons: doesn’t offer many features/applications, less reliable of a service, not flexible or customizable


2) Select a Content Management System for the Site – WordPress

Given our circumstances, Wordpress was clearly the best choice for this project. Wordpress has a documented history of use by libraries and there were many resources available on how to create a website using this service:

Benefits of WordPress for Libraries
List of WordPress library websites
Classes on WordPress for libraries
One library's experience with WordPress

WordPress offers a number of templates for purchase and we decided that the site would benefit from a customized theme template.

3) Research and Compile Templates

We researched templates by exploring many template websites. Below are some resources:

The WordPress Themes Directory (free)
This is connected to your WordPress administration area so you can access these themes directly.

ThemeForest (premium)

Organic Themes (premium)

Studiopress (premium)

WooThemes (free and premium)

Theme Trust (premium)

WPShower (free and premium)

From examining other library websites created through WordPress we learned many library WordPress websites use a magazine layout. We used this information to guide our search, but did not limit ourselves to this type of layout. If something caught our eye, we noted it. Templates were shared among group members and we discussed through e-mail which layouts we liked best, along with their benefits and disadvantages. Through a process of conversation and elimination we came up with 9 templates at which we wanted to look more closely.

We created a spreadsheet with our favorite template options that accounted for cost, responsiveness, colors, logos, and special features.

WordPress Template Comparison


4) Create Site Map and Apply to Templates

Based on the content from the previous site and the input from Jeremy we created a site map.

Site Map

Our site map allowed us to get an idea of how different templates would accommodate the information that we needed to convey. We used a free website called WriteMaps to create a visual representation of the site’s layout: writemaps.com

5) Determine Template Best Suited for Site

We chose to go with the Farad theme, three column. Following the Poka Yoke theory of design (http://pokayoke.co), we wanted the website to be straightforward and easy to use, while still allowing for maximal functionality. The Farad theme feels clean and minimal. We appreciated the visual nature of the homepage, the sticky header feature, and the customization options available.

It is difficult to make mistakes while navigating the Farad site. We accomplished this through the use of three main ‘buttons’ with a sticky header. The buttons provide clear pathways to common actions, while the menus and sub-menus of the sticky header allow for more nuanced navigation for confident users. The header remains at the top of the page while scrolling, ensuring that should a user get turned around, they can get back to the homepage with one easy click.

Other benefits of the Farad theme include: customization of the ‘button’ images, pre-set color scheme options, a large set of font options, the ability to upload a custom logo, and ease of communication with the theme designers. We emailed the designers with questions regarding functionality and received a response the next day. It also has the capacity to host blog posts, which will be useful for updating the ‘New Books this month’ section requested by the CPL staff.