Virtual Book Displays Using Google Sites

by - November 24, 2020

Whether your library building is closed due to a pandemic, remodeling, or you're just looking to beef up your online presence, creating virtual book displays on Google Sites is an easy, free, and quick way to showcase your collection to patrons and help recreate that browsing feeling from far away.


Google Sites is very intuitive and works well with copy and paste




We're going to create a simple virtual book display about dogs.


1. Visit sites.google.comYou need to be logged into Google. If you have a Gmail account, that's all you need. If not, you can make one pretty quickly. 

2. In another window, open up your library's card catalog site/OPAC. 



3. Choose "Blank." 


You will notice on the right an option for "Theme."  You can tinker with this to your heart's desire. Some themes will let you change the photo background of your header, or upload your own.


4. Let's add our first book. Go to your library's OPAC and search for books about dogs. 

If your OPAC shows book covers, you can right click on the book cover and select "Copy." Then, go to the window of your new Google Site, click on the middle of the page somewhere, right click, and select "Paste." (You can also use the keyboard by Control + C to copy and Control + V to paste.)

If your OPAC does NOT show book covers, you'll need to do some digging. I'd recommend going to Amazon or Google Image search and looking for the book cover there. Then, right click on the book cover and select "copy", and go to the window of your new Google Site, click on the middle of the page somewhere, right click, and select "Paste." (You can also use the keyboard by Control + C to copy and Control + V to paste.)

5. You can now tinker with the size of your photo. Notice how Google Sites uses gridlines to help you keep things orderly? How nice of them.

6. Next, let's add the book title. If your OPAC is like mine, the title of the book is probably also a link to the catalog page. If so, highlight the book title, right click and select "Copy" (or hit Control and C on the keyboard). Now go to your Google Sites page, and right click and select "Paste" (or hit Control and V on the keyboard.) You should now see the book title, and it should be a link!

If your OPAC does not have it linked, you can go to your Google Site, select "Insert" and "Text box", and type in the title. Then, go to your OPAC, copy the link to that dog book's catalog page, and then go back to Google Sites. When you highlight book title, you should see a few things popup. Click on the link button (pictured below) and copy/paste the catalog link there. 


You've added your first book to your display!

As you tinker with Google Sites, you'll get more and more comfortable with it. Explore a bit! You can add more text boxes and separate your book display by age or reading level. You can add more links to other things, or even YouTube videos. 


7. Publishing your site when you're done creating it: First, you will need to make sure your sharing settings will allow people to view it. Click on the sharing button. (Shown below.)



Under "Links," make sure "Published site" is viewable to "public."

Next, click the "Publish" button on the upper right side.

Success!

More Ideas

If an item you are displaying is available in more than one format, consider adding links to patrons can order it in additional formats. (Large type, CD audio, Playaway, etc.) Don't forget about your ebook holdings -- if you subscribe to OverDrive, Kanopy, etc., include those links as well.

You can make a page that changes over time. We use a New York Times Bestseller page to showcase links to bestselling books in our catalog. You can also create a "Staff Picks" page. Any time you make changes, just click the "Publish" button again to update it.

As you get more comfortable, tinker around with the "Pages" option to add more pages to your Google Site. 

Sample Virtual Book Displays

Here are a few examples of book displays from my library: (Note: My library is not affiliated with and does not sponsor this blog, but I am using it as an example here!)


Good luck!


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