Ok, I've got a rough draft of my ideas for the homepage.
Note: I am all in favor of having a pretty photo of the library in the lower left quadrant, rotating photos in the "news and announcements" area, larger icons, maybe a few more icons (like the RSS for the blog) etc.
But, though I like KN's photo banner, I would rather opt for putting the catalog search box right on the homepage, so used the ULM standard-ish banner which is a bit smaller, and leaves more real estate free.
Also, I am not strongly attached to having so much text on the page -- but I was trying to see what would fit (mostly seen without scrolling) and maybe still leave enough white space.
[I've added an image version. Hope you don't mind. --Karen N. ]