ASSOCIATES (vol. 6, no. 1, July 1999) -

The Tale of the Spider's Web


Carol Borzyskowski
Library Associate
Winona Public Library

      What, I shouldn't be surprised when web pages get tangled, mangled, and ignored? What about the praise and the glory? No wait, that is a different story. This story is the "Tale of the Spider's Web".

      Some of you may remember my first article on writing a web page for the library (it is archived, go look, it will be good experience for you!), mainly concerned about how no one else wanted to do it, the LIBRARIANS being too busy and all, the lack of support, and the lack of input, and how in the end, WONDER SUPPORT STAFF-PERSON, does the deed and gets to bask in the praise of her ASSOCIATES peers!

      But, oh my, the things that have happened. Patrons continue to use the page and enjoy it, 'specially the Children's Page, but the Reference Librarians refuse to have it as the Home Page on the Internet access computer. They prefer the City Home Page, hmmmm. Do I detect a message there? So nothing has changed in that respect, except I continue to get favorable comments via e-mail from satisfied patrons, and the Director likes that aspect very much.

      Two really major things have happened, both of which shook my spider web to the very edges. First of all I had to take off my personal poetry page because a customer (ONE!!) called the city manger and said the title of one poem wasn't appropriate for a Library Page. I came into work on Monday and Carol's Creative Corner was just gone. The funny thing, and this really is funny, is no one (NO ONE) in the building knew how to take it off, so the director had to contact our Web Host, and have them do it. Now was I involved? Was I even asked if I wanted to make a tiny change? Nope--zippo-- poetry was all gone.

      Well, I sulked for weeks. But then I got my own free web page and had fun designing that and putting whatever piece of poetry I wanted on it.

      The next big thing was the City decided they needed a whole new web page. A huge undertaking. I, and are we surprised??, was not invited to the meeting. However, the Library Web Page was held up as a great example of what they could do! Finally I got to attend a meeting, and everyone looked at me blankly. No one know why I was there, so I said I was Carol from the library and I had designed our web page. Okay, that was good. Then the meeting began. How it ended up boils down to this: each department contributes their own information to the overall web page, (makes sense so far) but every little change has to go through City Hall, and won't that be fun, and, in the interest of harmony everyone's page will look exactly the same. Isn't that nice?

      Now after using our site as an example of a great page, we were immediately told we can't do that. So all pages will be white with black text. We can however, add a graphic or two, but the web people will decide where it goes, and the layout of your text. No backgrounds, nothing fun or fancy. Nothing.

      The page will be strictly functional, and will look basically like an illustrated dictionary. I voiced the opinion that if one went to an illustrated dictionary and looked up BORING, there would be a picture of the new proposed web page.

      Meanwhile back at the center of the web, I wept, I wailed, I thought about a grass roots campaign to S.O.P. (save our page) then went and talked to the director. What we came up with is now we will have two web pages (isn't that fun?) the "official" web page the city will host, and the "real" web page that our Library Consortia will continue to host. So my question now is, can I put a link on the "official" city page saying, "If you want to see our 'real' web site, click here?

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