The Library of Virginia has long maintained an excellent series of introductory guides to the Library’s resources and subject areas. At first, these were mostly print guides available to researchers visiting the Library. As our online resources grew, the print guides were supplemented with online guides and indexes that helped users access our collections, both in the Library and online.
Making library resources user-friendly is a priority of the Library of Virginia, with online access being especially critical since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to simplify access to our online resources—now totaling 140 research guides and indexes and 49 research databases—the Library has adopted the LibGuides content management system. LibGuides supplies a uniform look for web pages, while allowing for design flexibility and easy updating. Users can browse our Research Guides & Indexes by subject or alphabetically, or search by keyword across the collection.
Updating and converting all of these resources to the LibGuides format is an ongoing project. Earlier this year we introduced 26 guides that allow users to easily search collections located in the catalog. For example, digitized land grants now can be directly searched via the Virginia Land Patents and Grants guide. Over time, all guides will be converted to the LibGuides format.
Using LibGuides, we also redesigned our Databases & eBooks page. Our database collection consists of resources purchased by the Library, such as digitized newspapers, books, journals, and maps. Databases can be viewed alphabetically or by subject. A keyword search option enables searching by database title or by words included in the database description. Most of the Library’s databases are available remotely to Virginia residents and can be accessed with either a Library of Virginia library card or the email address associated with a library account.
Initial reaction to these changes from users has been very positive, and we are excited to continue moving forward with this project.
-Submitted by Lisa Wehrmann, Electronic Reference Services Coordinator; Rebecca Schneider, Senior Reference Librarian; and Kevin Shupe, Senior Reference Archivist