Musser Library has been proudly serving the Muscatine area 118 years. More than just a library, Musser is a hub for knowledge, interaction, and community support in Muscatine and beyond. Added together, the library’s 19 employees have decades of experience in connecting patrons to resources. Recently, Big Imprint got to become part of the opportunities that Musser Library provides by designing a new website to accompany the library’s big move.
In June 2018, the library pulled up its roots at the corner of Iowa and 3rd Streets in Muscatine and moved to a new location on 2nd Street, a transition made possible with the help of the Carver Foundation, the City of Muscatine, and the HNI corporation, which donated its former headquarters.
The move allowed the library to expand in size and in resources. The new building provides thirteen meeting rooms ranging from group study areas to a board-style conference room. Their technology upgrade included new self-check stations and Microsoft Surface tablets. Musser also brought in people to help accommodate library users who speak languages other than English, broadening their reach even further.
One of their proudest accomplishments is bringing in the LENA Program. LENA is a national program designed to assist with language development in young children from birth to age three. Through LENA, Musser Library helps parents cultivate language skills and cognitive abilities in their children by increasing their exposure to new words, which promotes early literacy and school readiness. Musser Library is one of the few libraries in Iowa that offers this program.
Like many businesses and community resources, Musser was impacted by the spread of COVID-19. In March 2020, the library had to close completely. In the ensuing weeks, staff were able to develop precautions that allowed the library to safely open to the public by reducing the number of open hours and limiting patron circulation. Staff provided curbside pickup, bringing checked out materials to patrons in their cars. To continue programming, the library staff recorded events for adults and children and shared these videos to their Facebook and the public TV station. To support online learning for area students and community members obliged to work remotely, the library added exterior wi-fi hotspots that allow 24/7 internet access from the comfort of your vehicle. The library also added a blog on their website to share information as they continue to extend their services and gradually resume normal operations.
The Musser Library website was a huge help during the pandemic, when electronic communication was crucial. Big Imprint is grateful to have played a part in this. We designed a new website for Musser Library back in 2018, during their move to the new building. They wanted an updated look and a site that was user-friendly and mobile responsive.
The Library chose Big Imprint because they wanted to work with a local company and they liked the aesthetics of other sites we’ve done. They felt we would understand their audience. Fortunately, when the new website rolled out, the feedback was positive. The Muscatine community enjoyed the website’s updated look and new offerings.
For Bobby Fiedler, the library’s assistant director, the advantages of the new website are twofold. Bobby enjoys the look of the site and the easy navigation, but he’s especially pleased with the online room reservation portal. We provided software that allows patrons to find available meeting rooms and reserve them quickly and easily online. Overall, the new Musser Library website has made their online presence more accessible and easier for patrons to navigate, all part of the quality service that library staff are dedicated to providing.
While their priority right now is to restore as many services as possible, library staff have lots of ideas for the future. One option under discussion is the possibility of cooperating with Muscatine Power and Water to install charging stations for electric cars. Given their commitment to providing as many resources as possible to the Muscatine community, we look forward to seeing what amazing things come from Musser Library in the future.