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Public Library Director Toolkit

Website for Libraries Program

Interested in getting a new website? Under the Website for Libraries Program, the North Dakota State Library (NDSL) will design and publish a basic WordPress website for public libraries. Once it is created, the public library will be responsible for maintaining the website.

Currently, over half of the public libraries in North Dakota have a WordPress website through NDSL's Website for Libraries Program.

To apply for a website, complete and submit the Public Library Website Design Application.

General Information

Any questions about the Website for Libraries Program can be directed to:

BreAnne Meier
Marketing Specialist
North Dakota State Library

  • Hosted at no cost to public libraries
  • Easy to access and track statistics (which comes in handy for the website visits question on the annual report)
  • WordPress is user-friendly
  • Customizable (including mobile-friendly themes that dynamically resize to any screen)
  • Update to the website can be made from anywhere

The basic WordPress account that comes with the Website for Libraries Program includes all of the essentials needed for a website. However, the basic plan does not include many extra features available from WordPress. Also, the basic plan does not remove advertisements.

 If a library wants to upgrade to get additional features or to remove ads, they will have to pay for this themselves. NDSL will not pay for the upgrade. WordPress does offer several other plans that include many additional features, including the option to remove ads. Information about the varies plans on WordPress is available at

When websites are created, the public library is made an administrator. NDSL's Marketing Specialist and the public library's Library Development Specialist are also administrators of the website.

So, one of these NDSL staff members can assist public libraries with troubleshooting or if a question ever arises about WordPress, walking the libraries through the process step-by-step as needed.

To learn more about accessibility and websites, consult this LibGuide from the North Dakota State Library:


wordpress logo

WordPress is an online, content management system used to create blogs and websites. WordPress is a powerful, user-friendly tool. It is also very popular, powering over 35% of the internet. is home to bloggers, entrepreneurs, and major brands, such as Spotify, CNN, Time, UPS, CBS, The New York Times, IBM, and NBC.

Themes are ready-made layouts for websites. They are essentially customizable templates for the overall look, color, style, and feel of your website. There are numerous themes to choose from on WordPress, and many of them are free.

If a library wants a theme that is not free, this is still an option. However, the library itself will have to purchase it. NDSL will not pay for this.

Browse the resources listed below for examples of free themes available on WordPress.

Every website has two sides: a front-end that is visible to the public, and a back-end that is not visible to the public. The back-end (or admin side or dashboard) is where the editing takes place. This side is only visible and accessible to the website administrators.

WordPress has two back-ends:

  1. Basic
  2. Advanced


The basic back-end is what you will likely see upon signing in to your website. The basic back-end is good for things like viewing statistics, quick edits to posts or pages, and writing and publishing posts.


The advanced back-end is a little more difficult to access. You have to type "/wp-admin" after your library's URL.

  • For example:
  • Note: If might be beneficial to bookmark the advanced back-end on your internet browser once you have accessed it.

The advanced back-end is good for things like editing links, themes, and menus.

Forgot Username

If you ever forget your WordPress username, contact NDSL. You can either contact the Marketing Specialist or your Library Development Specialist. Either person will be able to access the administrative side of your website and find what username and/or email is associated with your account.

Forgot Password

If you ever forget your WordPress password, you will have to reset it online. Follow these steps:

  1. Go to the login page:
  2. Click on the lost your password option
  3. Enter your WordPress username of password
  4. Instructions on how to reset your password will be sent to the email connected to your account

Examples of North Dakota public library websites that have WordPress websites through NDSL's Website for Libraries Program.

IMLS logo

Many of these resources and programs are funded under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.