Cutting Down Library Website Content

Static pages should be written with as little time sensitive content as possible, to prevent the need for constant revision.  They should also be organized visually and with important information in an easy to read format (Redish, 2007).  The writer needs to pay particular attention to the language used for their audience.  This elementary library site is attempting to meet the needs of three groups requires careful wording and succinct text to make the content meaningful to all of these audiences.

  1. students
  2. teachers/staff
  3. parents

Since this is a site I am working on I have knowledge of the audience and the frequently asked questions about the two following topics.

Rewrite #1:  Home, Information or About?



Note the length and images

Original text: 


All classes to get library books in by Monday, May 20th get their names entered into a raffle for a special prize.


Explore the rhythm and sound of poetry in the Poetry Beats Studio.

What is your favorite book? Leave us a comment below.

Library Schedule for the School Year:

  • Open library from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. and during lunch and recess everyday from 12:00 to 12:30 and 12:30 to 1:00.  Come look for a great book!
  • Library classes are held everyday, see the schedule outside the door for details or contact the school directly.

THANK YOU to all the wonderful volunteers who made Spring Book Fair 2013 happen!

 Library Podcast in ARCHIVES. Listen to students and teachers talk about reading and books.

Seward Elementary Library Policy:

  • K-2nd grade, 1 book checked out at a time, up to 2 weeks
  • 3rd -6th grade, 2 books checked out at a time, up to 2 weeks

Students may renew books to extend their checkout date.  Overdue books are to be returned or fines paid before checking out another book.

Fines are charged only when a book is lost or damaged beyond repair. Costs for books vary. Please contact [Librarian] or Mrs. Kingsland under these circumstances.

Phone: 907-224-3356

Email: librarian

Email: library aide

Rewritten Text:  Includes just the information needed, no more, broken down in short chunks for easy scanning and readability.  I’ve been considering putting the contact info on a separate page with a contact form…still undecided…

Library Schedule

  • Library Classes: meet through the week for 30 minutes
  • Open Library:  Every day during lunch and recess (Noon- 12:55 pm) school wide
  • The library schedule is posted outside the library door and online [Google doc link]

Borrowing Policies

  • K-2nd  One book at a time for up to 2 weeks
  • 3rd -6th: Two books at a time for up to 2 weeks
  • Books may be renewed
  • Overdue books must be returned before checking out another book.  There are no overdue fines.
  • Lost or damaged books may result in a replacement charge.  Costs vary.  If it presents a hardship, please let us know and we will work with you.  The intent is for students to learn responsibility, not to punish them.

Contact Information

  • 907-224-7573
  • Librarian [name] [email]
  • Library Aide [name] [email]
  • Mailing Address:  POB 247
  • Physical address: 600 Sea Lion Ave
  • Seward, AK  99664

Rewrite #2:  Book Fairs


The link goes to a book fair that already ended


Original Text

Click here for all book fair information: BOOK FAIR HOMEPAGE

We still need volunteers.  Conatact the library at 224-7573 or sign up at the office or in the library. All volunteers must fill out the volunteer application.

Rewritten Text:  Page is rewritten based on experience with a dozen book fairs at this school, many of which I orchestrated, and the frequently asked questions I heard every time.  Here’s to paying attention to your audience.  I look forward to re-examining this this fall as we begin planning the book fair for October and seeing what could be further cut, cut, cut (Redish, 2007)!!!  Thank you, Janice Redish!

Seward Elementary Library Book Fairs

The library usually holds two Scholastic Book Fairs a year.

  • Fall Book Fair:  Held during parent/teacher conferences in late October
  • Spring Book Fair:  Usually close to March 2nd for Read Across America and Dr. Seuss’s birthday

The book fair offers books from preschool board books to upper-elementary fiction, non-fiction, activity and discounted books.  Included are novelty items, such as pens, pencils, erasers, and posters.  Scholastic also sends a small selection of cookbooks for adults.

The profits from the book fairs provide funds to purchase books, supplies and Birthday Books for the library.

Announcements will be posted to this blog, but you can call for more information

Interested in volunteering? 

  • Stop by or call us at 907-224-7573 and let us know
  • Fill out this volunteer application before the book fair

Rewrite #3:  Christchurch City Libraries: Borrowing items


just a little toooooo long


This library almost gets it.  The content is pretty well written and gives useful content by focusing on the facts, but the page is just too long.  Too long to print here!  What I like about the page in spite of the length is how they organized the process one goes through in borrowing an item with large clear headlines for each section.  They did a good job of handling the information their patrons expect to access online about how to borrow items from their library.

They could have applied the strategy suggested by Redish (2007, page 73, figure 5-3) to break up the content into topics.  So instead of a long page, it might look more like this with links to pages the content they put together for each section:

(unfortunately, it isn’t styled as it would be online, but I hope you get the idea…)

Stock availability

When items are available for borrowing

Locating items

How to find an item in the library

Placing holds

How to place a hold on an item

Borrow an item

What you need to know to borrow items

Returning the item

Ways items can be returned to the library

Overdue items and money owed

What to do if your item is overdue or you owe money

Each was followed by a bullet-ed list of simplified sentences that are easy to skim for key words that could easily be placed on a separate page.

ps.  Those multi-color tabs on the bottom of the header blend in with the header graphic and are difficult to see.  It would be better if the label was inside the tab, rather than on top of it.

Redish, J. (2007). Letting go of the words: Writing Web content that works. Amsterdam: Elsevier/Morgan Kaufmann Publishers.