PLOW (Putting Libraries on the Web)
SILO provides free hosted websites for any public library in Iowa. The websites are preloaded with a variety of local information specific to each library, including links to local catalogs, location, hours, contacts, and trustees. Through the library's website, users will be able access to statewide resources and databases.
The PLOW program provides a pre-configured library website with sections for:
- About the Library
- Library Services
- Events and Calendar
- Online Resources
- Local online catalog
The website uses a content management system called Concrete 5 which features a professional design with high use of color and images. Concrete 5 benefits include:
- Visual and intuitive editing
- Fewer steps to add content
- A WYSIWYG editor plus drag-and-drop capabilities
- A responsive website for mobile and tablet users
PLOW Website Options
There are two types of PLOW library websites that Iowa public libraries can choose from:
Full Library Website: This website many pre-made sections that can be fully customized by the library. While the basic design remains, library staff can add new sections, new tabs, new pages, new blocks and new images. The layout and colors can be changed. The front page boxes can be customized to content, layout, color and number. The website includes an image slider on the front page that can be easily updated and changed. The library can maintain a calendar of events and add widgets for Facebook and the library catalog. This type of website is good for libraries that have tech-savvy staff and have the desire for a dynamic and attractive website. See a Full Library Website example.
Lite Site: The Lite Site is a pared down, basic library website that does not offer the full range and depth of content as the full site. The boxes on the front page are set for certain types of content and there is no front page image slider. There are no tabs and no calendar of events. Library hours and a link to the library's online catalog is included. A library choosing the Lite Site works with their District LRT to provide some content, such as policies, pictures, and a list of services. The LRT adds the content to the Lite Site as directed by the librarian. This type of site is good for libraries that essentially want a library brochure on the web. Once the initial content is added it will not change very much. See a Lite Site example.
Old Plone PLOW Websites
Libraries with PLOW websites using the previous content management system, Plone, must to request and build a new library website using the new, updated Concrete 5 platform by December 31, 2021. Plone and the hosting servers cannot be updated, so the system and the websites will be decommissioned December 31, 2021. Libraries with Plone websites should move forward with a new Concrete 5 website as soon as possible.
To request a new PLOW website on the Concrete 5 platform, contact your District LRT. A PLOW website can be created and delivered at any time. The District LRT will assess your library's readiness and make the necessary preparations for the new website.