Personal Professional Websites: Lively Librarian

Shannon Distel worked in public libraries for 20 years most recently as the Deputy Director of a public library in a suburb of Chicago. 

In her role as an administrator, manager and librarian, she oversaw seven departments and daily operations of the main library, branches and bookmobile. Shannon currently lives in Chicago where she works for a non-profit assisting ESL learners with computer and job skills. In addition to her website, you can find her on Twitter @livelylibrarian    

What is your site’s URL?

What is your tagline or title on your site?

Lively Librarian

Briefly, what is the current purpose of your site?

Professional page with information on my career, training and presentations.

Was the original purpose of your site different from this current purpose? If yes, how and why did it change?

I started Lively Librarian as a blog at, the blog is still up but has not been updated since 2013.

Are you actively looking for work? (check all that apply)

√ Other: I am currently a yoga teacher and not actively looking for a job in libraries.

Has your site brought you any work? And if so, what?

Yes. I have been asked to present at conferences, instruct classes and been hired.  

About Your Site and Sites in General

Did you pay someone to design or build your site?

√ No 

Which of the following content do you have on your site (check all that apply)?

√ List of presentations 

√ Your Bio

√ Your photo 

Which of the following personal links or connection methods do you provide on your site? (Check all that apply)

√ Contact Form 

√ Twitter 

√ Instagram

√ LinkedIn  

Is your site strictly library/archives/LIS related?

√ Yes 

When was your site last updated?

√ Within the last month 

What causes you to update your site, and about how frequently does that occur?

Inquiries into my background, training or presentations. 

Does your site use any of the following platforms/services?

√ GoDaddy 

√ WordPress (*not* 

How much do you pay annually to run your website? (for numbers not in American dollars, please use other)

√ Other: Renewing my domain and domain privacy is $28.98 per year. 

Do you allow comments on your site?

√ No 

Do you have advertising on your site?

√ No 

Do you have analytics on your site?

√ No 

About how many people visit your site in a month?

√ I don’t know 

Is having a personal website a “must”?

√ Yes, for job hunters 

√ Yes, for people looking for speaking gigs

√ Yes, for people who are independent contractors/freelancers  

Do you have any privacy concerns associated with sharing your personal information, resume, etc., on a public website? If so, what measures do you take to feel safer?

I do not share where I am working or have worked on my website. I do not share my location or personal information. My bio is professional accomplishments, education and industry involvement. 

What advice would you give someone wanting to create their own personal professional site?

Less is more. Sharing general career information, training and education, awards and professional accomplishments is good to begin with. Unless you are willing to commit to growing an audience, blogging is usually a waste of time. If you want to share book reviews, programs etc., use social media. I use Instagram, TikTok and Twitter to share ideas and connect with library professionals. 

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your website? Or personal websites in general?

I blogged for years starting in 2007, I used analytics, and grew a large following thru regular blog posts and social media. Then social media evolved and people stopped reading blogs. A static website has served me better than the blog ever did and is 99% less work. For professional details I send people to my LinkedIn. 


What is your job title?

Until September 2021 I was the Deputy Director of a public library. 

What types of organizations do you work for or with? (Check all that apply)

√ Public Library 

If you work for someone besides yourself, does that organization have rules about what you can share on your personal site?

√ No 

What part of the world are you in?

√ Midwestern US 

Anything else you’d like to say, to me or to the readers?

Professional websites are useful for job seekers, presenters, freelancers or influencers. The website creation is the most work, then the website works for you.

Thanks for reading! If you have a personal professional website that you’d like to talk about, please fill out the survey.

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