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Contact: Larra Clark
312-280-5043

For Immediate Release
March 19, 2003

ALA begins transition to new Web site April 7

Association expands customer service hours, offers navigation tips to assist members

The American Library Association (ALA) is pleased to announce its new Web design will debut April 7. ALA members and staff have spent the last year conceptualizing the new Web site and developing a new content management system.

The new site will feature a better search engine, one-stop pages detailing ALA's work in major areas of interest, a more modern look and feel and more content to help library professionals in their daily work. The home page also will feature new navigation headings:

  • Awards & Scholarships (includes information on grants, fellowships and professional achievement awards);
  • Education & Careers (includes information on accredited programs, recruitment and continuing education);
  • Events & Conferences (goings-on at ALA, its divisions, office and roundtables);
  • Issues & Advocacy (one-stop pages for information on issues ranging from diversity to censorship to literacy);
  • Libraries & You (geared to the public, with recommended reading lists and information on how to support libraries);
  • News (the latest press releases, press kits and promotions;
  • Our Association (access to ALA governance, divisions, offices and customer service);
  • Products & Publications (everything printed, published or sold by the ALA); and
  • Professional Tools (a toolbox of resources for those who work in all types of libraries, including collection services, administration and management and user services)

"The new site will make it much easier for members and the general public to find the information they are looking for," said ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels. "Member feedback from our online survey, emails and telephone calls provided us with a blueprint for developing the new site."

The most requested improvements were for an improved search engine, clearer organizational structure, more attractive design and enhanced user features. Web users will now be able to search the site by keyword, by division/office or by subject and receive results ranked by relevance and pulled from a dynamically generated search based on new content tags.

"Of course, I expect there will be a period of adjustment and transition as we all get acquainted with the new features, so the ALA is gearing up to provide additional customer service hours and navigation tips to help orient members to the new site," Fiels said.

During the first week of the Web transition, Customer Service hours will be extended to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Staff will be prepared to help locate information and switch over bookmarks. A new FAQ also will be loaded onto the ALA home page with step-by-step information on how to get to some of the most frequently visited Web pages.

"I believe this new design positions the association for the future - giving our members the ability to customize our Web content for their use, making the site more accessible for the general public and creating a more consistent online presence," Fiels said. "We welcome member feedback throughout this transition as we continue to improve the site. A new email address has been created to receive online feedback at feedback@ala.org."

For more information or assistance, please call ALA Customer Service at 800-545-2433 and press 5.


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