Opening Up at the St. Louis County Library

| By: Nathan Sprehe
Nathan Sprehe

Would you be surprised to learn that the St. Louis County Library System is the busiest in the state? Or that many of the people they serve never set foot in a library building? In 2012 this sprawling system of 20 branches had 6,381,494 visits and a total circulation of 14,393,528 items. These guys are innovative in every way, offering ebooks, knitting clubs, yoga, community gardening, outreach programs, free online educational courses and a whole array of talks and author events.

Opening Up – 2012 at the St. Louis County Library District:

When the library approached Almanac about creating their online annual report, we wanted to find a way to show all the interesting and unexpected things that make a library such a unique asset for the entire community. Rather than lengthy stories, our solution was to use a series of chapters—Statistics, Programs, Partnerships, Outreach, Foundation—to deliver highlights from 2012. First we worked with library staff to develop their content into bite-sized pieces, pulling out surprising statistics along the way. Next, we developed the site architecture, at the core of which is a simple menu navigation element allowing users to quickly move through the chapter highlights. Our team sifted through the Library’s robust Flickr collection of event photos to find the right images to pair with each highlight and developed over 20 original illustrations and infographics to further reinforce each message. A video with clips highlighting a flurry of activity around the library is embedded on the homepage.

Up for a few weeks, the website has been well received. The Library is continually sharing pieces of content on its Facebook page. The site was also chosen as a nominee on and has been featured on siteInspire.

If you haven’t been to the library recently, we hope the website inspires you to stop in and explore.