The Gretna Public Library website is back after being completely corrupted by malware.
Library staff had been working on updating the website for the past few weeks. When the site went down on Jan. 8, staff initially thought they had done something wrong, said Gretna Public Library assistant director Rebecca McCorkindale.
Instead, they learned that a dormant plugin – which had not yet been removed – was infected with malware, malicious software that corrupted the site. (The website is kept separate from the library’s card catalog, where people’s information is stored, so no private information has been compromised.)
Originally working to quickly rebuild the site, staff realized that “what we thought we could salvage had also been corrupted,” McCorkindale said.
This realization prompted the staff to throw it all away again earlier this week, relaunching a “bare metal” version of the website on Wednesday, January 26.
“The thought was kind of, this turned into a nightmare, let’s just build it from scratch,” McCorkindale said.
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With the January launch of a new logo and branding for the library, a refresh of the website has been a regular topic of conversation among staff. The hack only pushed the timeline forward.
“With the new logo and new design, we had been discussing updating our website in the first six months of this year,” McCorkindale said. “It just sort of forced our hand. Now we have the chance to start fresh and have a better website than ever.
The library now works with a new corporate and site platform, which maintains daily backups of the website. This will save the library from having to completely rebuild the website in the future.
“We’ve been using the same site for over a decade at this point and it’s been very successful for us so far; it just took a plugin,” McCorkindale said.
GPL is now seeking feedback from the community on what they want to see on the library website. Comments and suggestions can be emailed to [email protected]
“We looked at other library websites and other nonprofit organizations to see how they do things,” McCorkindale said. “We thought, why don’t we check with the audience and see if there’s anything they’ve thought of but never thought to mention to us?! They could let us know at any time, but right now, when we’re making so many changes, it would be nice to have some good ideas.
Staff will continue to update the website according to their schedule.
“It’s ‘What will our community enjoy using our site, or something they can be proud of?'” McCorkindale said. “It’s for them, so of course we want them to be involved.”