Monthly Archives: May 2024

The new Open Library Team Page

By Nick Norman, Elizabeth Mays, & Mek

More than just a ‘thank you’, Open Library’s new Team Page shines a spotlight, beyond staff, at the invaluable efforts of leads, fellows, and contributors – spanning engineering, design, librarianship, and communications – who make possible.

The Open Library website is an open source effort, powered by an extensive network of volunteer contributors from across the globe. Some contributors swim by to nibble on a specific issue or check out our weekly community calls. Other contributors plant roots and collaborate with staff, as appointed Fellows, to make progress on involved projects that may entail weeks or months of thoughtful preparation. A select few contributors become intimately familiar with our systems, choose to mentor others in the community, and volunteer to manage and lead specific, discrete parts of the project, like our design system, our javascript practices, or internationalization. 

In the past, the website had a stale list of contributors and we didn’t have an established framework for spotlighting the generous humans behind Open Library and keeping this list up to date. With the skillful touch of fellows from our design team—Debbie San, Jaye Lasseigne—and mentorship from Scott Barnes on staff, we now have a beautiful, filterable, and maintainable way of showcasing the achievements of Open Library’s diverse community of contributors:

We had an opportunity to interview Debbie San, who is responsible for the new Team Page design, to learn more about the design process for this project, and Jaye Lasseigne, who led the new page’s implementation.

An Interview with the Designer & Developer

Speaking with Debbie about the Team Page’s Design Process:

Q.) What led to the decision to create a new team page? 

A.) Debbie’s Insight: I have always believed that it is crucial to recognize individuals for their work. Open Library has many unique and talented individuals, volunteers and staff alike. Our team page is an opportunity to recognize them.

Q.) What was the inspiration behind the team page design?

A.) Debbie’s Response: There were many different websites used as inspirations. We looked at team pages from universities, smaller and bigger projects, and anything else that could help the vision of redesigning our team page.

Q.) How do you incorporate collective input and diverse perspectives into the design process?

A.) Debbie’s Advice: Design is a creative process, but it doesn’t mean it’s a solo process. I believe in the power of collective input and collaboration. Even when I wasn’t 100% sold on the feedback, I valued the diverse perspectives that shaped our collective vision. In the realm of design, embracing a variety of viewpoints is important when it comes to refining and enhancing the end result.

Q.) How do you approach the iterative process in design, particularly when creating different mock-ups?

A.) Debbie’s Thoughts: Even though the implementation may seem simple, challenges may appear, and it is up to everyone, designers and developers alike, to dialogue, to grow together and to find the best solutions. 

I am super thankful to have worked with Jaye and Scott here and how hard they worked to bring this design to life. Now we have a team page that celebrates all staff and contributors who empower Open Library.

Speaking with Jaye about the Team Page’s Technical Implementation:

Q.) Can you share some insights into how your team worked together to bring this page to life? 

A.) Jaye’s Thoughts: Debbie and I worked really well together! I got Debbie’s Figma designs and immediately started working to put it in code. I also received help from Scott Barnes and Mek (Program Lead) to hook up my CSS file, and Jim Champ showed me how to hook up a Javascript file. I remember checking in with Debbie a few times to get feedback on how the design looked on the browser.

Q.) Can you elaborate on challenges you encountered and how you overcame them during the coding process?

A.) Jaye’s Response: Most of my personal challenges came from my limited knowledge of the codebase and where files were located. To help me understand the codebase, I watched some of the videos in the ‘Getting Started’ guide on the Open Library GitHub.

After that, I found I still had questions so I reached out to Mek for help on the CSS. He was able to show me where the CSS files are located, and from there, I was able to figure out how to hook my CSS up to my HTML page. When I got to the Javascript portion, I reached out to Jim Champ who explained the flow of the Javascript files and where everything needed to go for it to work.

Q.) What advice would you give to other organizations who are looking to create a team page?

A.) Jaye’s Advice: “Do lots of research on other team pages you may find online. Find examples you like – you don’t need to reinvent the wheel.”

Just in Time for Growth

Debbie and Jaye’s hard work comes at an important time, given the recent growth of Open Library’s community of contributors.

A Snapshot of Open Library contributors representing 15+ Nations

In 2023, the Open Library project registered interest from 443 volunteer applicants, while cultivating a community of over 1,000 members on Slack. The project also benefited from 2,500 survey respondents, 20+ active developers, and 5 fellows across our 4 programs: Design, Communications, Engineering, and Librarianship. We celebrated the achievements of our community members during our 2023 Open Library Community Celebration.

Join In or Follow Along

Whether you’re a patron, a community contributor, or someone discovering Open Library for the first time, we invite you to explore our new Team Page to meet some of the people who power Open Library.  Or, you can follow us on Twitter for our latest updates. If you’re inspired by our mission and want to contribute, let us know at