Create Virtual Book Displays

Whether your library building is closed due to a global 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. I'll tell you a secret: I've taken classes/trainings on web design and this site is made on Google Sites because ohmygoodness it's so easy and fun to use.

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

First, navigate to You will need to be logged into a Google account. If you have a Gmail account or G Suites account, that's all you need. If not, you can make one pretty quickly.

Next, choose Blank.

To the right, you'll notice an option for Theme. Feel free to tinker with this to your heart's desire.

To the left, you'll see an option to to "Change image." You can upload your own, or use ones they offer. You can tinker with "Header type" to get the right look.

We'll get started by adding our first book. In another window or screen, open up your library's OPAC and search for books about dogs.

If your OPAC shows book covers, you can click and drag that picture onto your new webpage, or use the copy/paste function.

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, you can click and drag that picture onto your new webpage, or use the copy/paste function.

You'll be doing a lot of tinkering. Play with the size of the photo to determine how you'd like to line them up. Notice how Google Sites uses gridlines to help you keep things orderly? How nice of them.

Next, let's add the book titles. 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. 

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.


More Ideas

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, play around with the "Pages" option to add more pages to your Google Site.