Library of the future: building the Multnomah County Library website

Accepted Session
Short Form
Scheduled: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 from 2:30 – 3:15pm in B302/303


The Multnomah County Library website has combined Drupal, Solr Search, Nginx, Varnish and a host of other technologies to build a highly scalable web infrastructure. The site takes advantage of responsive design techniques to provide patrons—the people who check out the books—with an impressive mobile experience.


The Multnomah County Library is the second largest public library in the U.S. by circulation. We are second only to the New York Public Library system. We move more books, music, movies (and more) per patron than anyone.

This February we launched a major redesign of the Library’s website using Drupal as the content management framework and a software as a service social search front end with BiblioCommons. Unlike most Library websites, we’ve used BiblioCommons API combined with a site search powered by Apache Solr to build a unified search experience. Search on Twilight and we’ll not only show you our collection of Twilight DVDs and books, but we’ll also show you our Twilight inspired events and blogs posts from Librarians that will connect the dots about the importance of vampire stories in popular culture.

Mobile now represents over 20% of the traffic to the Library’s site. With a new responsive design and a focus on mobile first content. We’ve built an engine of discovery that you can reach on the go.

Join Joshua Mitchell, Enterprise and Web Applications Manager at Multnomah County, and his team as they walk you through this monumental achievement.

Speaking experience

Numerous sales presentations for web design and development projects
2012 Digital Government Summit - Innovation at Multnomah County
2010 Migrating from Vignette to Drupal at Multnomah County - Acquia Webinar
2009 Presentation of Grammy365 to the Recording Academy Board of Directors - http://
2009 Presentation of Grammy365 to the GrammyU Event at the Sound Experience in Seattle, WA
2006 Introduction to Web Design, MEDA 265 at Pacific University2006 Strategies for Online Donations - CASE Summit (Higher Education)
2005 Introduction to Computer Science, CS105 at Pacific University
2004 Writing for the Web, business and technology course at Concordia University


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    Joshua Mitchell

    Web and Enterprise Applications Manager at Multnomah County


    ??Joshua Mitchell is the Web and Enterprise Applications Manager at Multnomah County. He has over 10 years of experience leading design and development teams in higher education, start up and enterprise organizations. Joshua brings a unique web as a platform strategy to organizations that need to build complex systems quickly while keeping cost of ownership low.

    In three years at Multnomah County, he led the teams that launched a new public website platform (migrating all previously separate websites), a rapid application deployment platform with over 12 productivity and publishing apps for county departments, a new Intranet built on social and collaboration tools, a learning management system to promote online learning and a website for the Multnomah County Library that is drawing excited reviews from around the country.

    Joshua focuses his development strategy on open source projects (i.e. Drupal and Apache Solr) and software as a service solutions that can be integrated into the enterprise (i.e. Google Apps for Government). His mantra for all software is that it should do less faster and meet the needs of the people over process.