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East Gwillimbury Public Library

Mugo partner since 2023

East Gwillimbury Public Library launches new website and sees immediate increase in use of library services

The new homepage has a clear menu items and a large banner promoting a short story contest.

The new East Gwillimbury Public Library site design focused on patron usability and accessibility while adding new features to help patrons access library services and materials.

East Gwillimbury Public Library (EGPL) had a website that was causing problems for patrons and staff alike. The homepage was not editable and staff could only change pages within the body of the site. Because they were unable to update the site’s homepage, the first experience users had was with a dated and crumbling website. It wasn’t accessible. It was relying on old WordPress plugins that were failing and couldn’t be replaced. Certain parts just weren’t functioning at all. It was time to start to go back to the drawing board and design a new site from scratch.  


EGPL issued an RFP to find a new web development partner. Mugo Web’s experience with libraries, accessibility, and transparent cost proposal paved the way to help EGPL with its new site. 

User experience focus from the ground up

Staff at EGPL knew from the start that they wanted their site to focus on the patrons’ experience. It needed to feature a clean design, with clear messaging, and a layout that enhanced discoverability. Making sure patrons had as few steps as possible to get to the services they needed was also key. The library also had a new brand that needed to be incorporated into the design. 

The team spent much of the design phase talking through what specific library resources should look like to support these goals. Being able to feature EGPL’s Library of Things, eResources, and digital services was important. Drilling down into how long text should be in descriptions, where accordions would be most useful, and how to filter digital resources were all issues that were thoughtfully addressed by the team.  The result is a site with an understated but memorable design, full of features to enhance the library’s services and marketing. 

Items featured in the library of things includes an automotive code reader and a birding kit.

The EGPL staff spent time with the design team to work through how the Library of Things would appear on the site, to make it as easy to use as possible for patrons. This included making the copy for each item concise and focusing on button placement and clear pictures. Each item is linked to the appropriate record in the library catalog.

The digital resources landing page has options to filter resources by categoris, including learn, listen, read, or watch.

Not only did the team come up with clear categories for the digital resources, but each image incorporated both the branded logo from the individual services and the new EGPL branding guidelines.

Three callout cards are visiable on the home page. They feature the digital library collection, the Library of things, and the EGPL blog.

New callout cards on the homepage direct patrons to areas of interest and special services. The team was conscientious about how these aligned, what images would be used, and the differences in text wrapping to make sure the effect was both usable and pleasing.

New features add to functionality of website

Going with Mugo Library also allowed EGPL to add new, built-in features their previous site didn’t have, such as meeting room reservations and native event registration. 

Calendar functionality is a favourite feature of the staff

While the previous EGPL site had event registration, it was managed by a third-party service. Patrons would be sent to a different site to complete the registration experience. It was a disjointed experience and had issues with accessibility. 

The Mugo Library solution has the registration process built into the CMS, which makes the experience seamless for both the patron and the library staff. Everything from the patron side occurs on the same site. Their personal information is only shared with the library and not outside vendors. 

The events list shows a large icon with the date of the event, along with the title, time, and location. Each has a link for additional details and a color coded block to denote audience.

The design of the calendar list view (which is what appears on mobile devices as well) shows clear information about programs and incorporates the calendar event design from the home page featured area.

Meeting rooms see increase in usage with implementation of online request feature

“Study room bookings have been the biggest difference operationally in the new site,” Van Gorp said. 

The ability to reserve meeting room spaces online was an entirely new feature for EGPL and is one of the features that has had the most significant impact on their services and patron usability. Previously, patrons would have to call or request rooms in person. 

Mugo Library meeting room allows EGPL to create individual rooms with custom calendars and schedules for each of their public meeting spaces. Patrons can view an anonymized calendar of availability on the website and select times to request meeting space. 

The study room landing page shows individual rooms with details about capacity and arrangments.

Each of the rooms has a form that can be copied from a base form or customized to fit the purposes and services of the room. The form is sent to the CMS, where library staff can view it to approve, reject, or reassign the space with a click of a button. Patrons get automatic email confirmations for each stage of the approval process. 

Staff can easily view the availability calendar with details in the back end so that they can assist patrons when they arrive and ready the room if needed.  Programming staff can also book space in the rooms via a simplified form in the backend. 

Backend view shows to categories: Makerspace, which lists resources for reservations, and Study room bookings, which lists individual space.

In the backend, room reservations and maker space equipment are separated out, and staff can access the calendar to view reservations or add their own by clicking on the individual room. Admins can add new rooms as needed and approve pending requests.

EGPL decided to use the meeting room feature not just for bookable spaces, but bookable equipment. They set up a separate landing page to allow patrons to request the use of equipment in their maker space. 

Since the site launched in January 2024, they’ve seen an uptick in the use of their public meeting spaces. “Since launch, we’ve had 319 booking requests for 3 rooms,” says Ben Van Gorp, Acting Deputy CEO. “That’s an 87% increase of requests compared to 2023 for one location, and a 27% increase in requests overall.”

Dynamic booklists make for enhanced marketing opportunities

Another improvement the Mugo team was able to make in the usability of EGPL’s site was developing dynamic booklist creation within the CMS. Using the API from EGPL’s BiblioCommons discovery layer, Mugo Web developed an easy-to-use interface for the EGPL staff to build auto booklists using a few selection categories. Staff can select content format, date of addition to the catalog (recency), and targeted audience for new booklists to auto-populate. This saves the staff time when creating content to promote new books for different audiences. They also have the option of manually selecting each title and supplying the reference ID of the list in the CMS for more specific lists. The flexibility of the solution gives EGPL multiple options to showcase its collection across the site. Booklists are featured on the home page, but also on other pages throughout the website. 

Backend screenshot of the dynamic book list builder shows the fields for Titel, source feed, CTA text, Recency, format, audience, and sort by.

The dynamic book list builder in the CMS lets staff create a new list with the selection of a few categories. Staff can also customize the list name, add CTAs, and choose how the list is sorted.

“It’s changed collection marketing,” Van Gorp reports. “We have a much more active front-page presentation now. It’s been a big part of our push this year for iterative monthly programming in general. We can swap out and rotate content without any problems.”

Staff reaction to the new site

“Everyone loves the look,” Van Gorp shared about the staff reaction to the new website. “It looks great and functions great, and we enjoy showing it off to customers.” 

The tiered editorial access in Mugo Library’s CMS allows for better workflows and delegation of website tasks. Van Gorp agrees, “We have more hands in it than before. Previously only one or two staff members had access, now everyone has.” 

Another benefit of the new site has been the level of support provided by Mugo Web. “Continuous support is great,” Van Gorp reported. “We didn’t just get an artifact that we have to maintain on our own, but a site that can evolve, and that’s what we needed.”

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