This post marks the relaunch of A Working Library, and what I’ve come to think of as the new beginning. I have a lot of love for the previous editions—which managed to be charming and warm despite the asceticism of the design and varying success of the posts. But loving something doesn’t make it last, and it was time to move on.
This new design maintains the simplicity and readerly layout, while avoiding some of the more awkward quirks of the previous designs. There are more graceful ways to manage clutter and support the reading experience than hiding the navigation on page load. Likewise, a well designed book (read: site) need not open on page 3, but can admit of a cover or table of contents to welcome the reader in. Ergo, the home page now supports browsing before reading.
In addition, I’ve increased the type size considerably. The more I read online, the more I believe larger sizes are more comfortable, especially for reading long form. And the book covers are shown much larger as well—part of a general desire on my part to better communicate how much the physical form of the book remains a part of the reading experience.
Perhaps most significantly, I’ve broken the content into two main sections: Reading and Writing. The former is home to the books in the library and—new to this edition—reading notes. These are short, excerpt-driven notes that aim to record something that struck me while I’m reading. The early months of this site included a lot of writing of this kind, and I’ve missed it as I moved towards the essay form. Here, they return in the context of the books they sprang from. The writing section will be reserved for the kind of long-form writing I’ve done more recently (and which I will be returning to very soon).
I’ve made my feelings about obnoxious advertising on the web clear, but what I did not address was the alternative: simple, attractive ads that do not compete with the content but instead contribute to it. With that said, I’m proud to have joined The Deck—an advertising network that pairs great products and great sites in a manner that respects them both. The member sites represent some of my favorite places on the web, and I’m delighted to be among them.