Best Web Design Practices for Library Giving Pages


Note: These are my own opinions and are not associated in any way to my institution.

Below are some of the best web pages that caught my eye for library “Gifts & Giving” while I was checking out various library web sites during the summer of 2009. Many libraries only have donations mentioned within their policies, link to the general college donations page, or have a link with their Friends of the Library organization. Here are other interesting library pages I found.



OSU: This is the best site: clean, intuitive, & inspiring.

OSU: Clean, intuitive, & inspiring.

These pages are located under “About Library,” two links from home page.

This is probably my favorite web site I ran across for library giving.  It has two outstanding & well-marketed videos: a longer video about what the library is doing and heading (future goals), its value to students & faculty (from various perspectives), & unique collections & services; and a shorter video from a student’s perspective on the value of the OSU Library & how donations help the library & students.


U of O

UO: This is the best site: clean, intuitive, & inspiring.

U of O: Purpose & priorities.

I eventually located these pages by clicking on “Index” to “Giving.” This process was four links into site, which is surprising that it was buried so deep within the site; it is not easily found.

U of O currently has a very basic layout, which is clean cut and intuitive to use. It does not sport any graphics or videos, but simply lays out the different ways to donate and their wish list and priorities. It also includes basic forms for specific funds.


U. Washington

U. Wash: E-newsletter & easy navigation.

U. Wash: E-newsletter & navigation.

These pages are located under the “Support the Library” link, which is listed directly on home page.

The U. of Washington is one of the few sites that has a link directly from the library home page. It includes many pages of “giving” and the history of each fund.  I found myself getting a little lost because there were so many layers (sub pages) and different ways of giving; the navigation was a little problematic (again, my opinion).

However, the donation process itself is an easy 1-2-3 online gift form.  It also sports a nice e-newsletter that outlines library activities, and links to upcoming library events.  The left navigation bar kind of gets lost in the purple background; it could probably use a different background, such as a more neutral purple or something with less contrast, but still makes it “pop” from the current location as well as tie it into the rest of the page. I also noticed that it incorporates an image of a person (personalizes the page).  This is a very important element which many libraries and web sites consistently forget to include throughout their web sites!



Clearly shows different ways to support financially.

Clearly shows different ways to support financially.

These pages are located under the “Giving to the Library” link on home page.

It link to a page which is clearly labeled. It states their future plans/goals and the different ways to lend financial support.  The top navigation blends a little too well and should be made a little more obvious.  This is probably due to choice of color, shape, text font size and style. There is a button after each project for online giving, and the online giving form is another easy 1-2-3 outlined process. Overall, these pages are pretty nice.



Contains a lot of useful info, but no directly link to 'Give   Now.'

Useful info

These pages are located under the “Gifts & Donations” on home page.

This site provides a lot of info about how people can contribute to the library, mostly through the friends of the library, but not exclusively.   It is the only institution that lists specific small resources such as encyclopedia sets or databases in which the donations would support. It includes support for collections, special gifts given to the collections, endowments, special projects and library spaces. It also includes a list of past Friends of the Library members, but the A-Z navigation membership list does not allow for browsing–one needs to click on each letter to view the donors under the respective letters. The list is pretty neat because it include historical members too.  This site has a lot of very useful and informative content!


Sarah Lawrence

Shows what past contributions have funded.

Shows past contributions.

These pages are located under the “Friends of the Library” link on home page.  It is a little on the text-heavy side.

This site is more basic, but it includes accomplishments of Friends of Library funds from current and previous years as well as what privileges that Friends of the Library membership provides.



Good content & well arranged. Includes images of students, the   many ways of giving & reasons to give. E-form & postal   directions for giving.

Smith: Good content & well arranged.

These pages are located under the “Giving to the Library” link which is on home page.

The content for donations and gifts is located on the same page.  There is not much content posted on these pages, so it is actually fairly easy fit everything onto one page.  It includes images of studying students, and the many different ways of giving and reasons to give. For example, they have a goal of creating a new space with in the building for a reading room.   It also has an e-form & postal instructions for giving and donations. Overall, this has good content, and is well arranged.


Other interesting library pages



About repplinger

John has served as a Reference Librarian at Willamette University since 2002. He is the liaison to the Science Departments, and is responsible for maintaining the collections related to the life & physical sciences. His research interests range over the entire spectrum of libraries and information sciences, but includes: - Google and its influence on information & society - The Internet's influence on information seeking & sharing behaviors - Trends of scholarly communication - Electronic learning environments - Traditional pedagogy - GIS use in academic libraries

Posted on June 10, 2009, in Libraries, Web Design and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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