New Data Center: Australia / Asia-Pacific – February 2019

Springshare is pleased to announce that we are bringing data centers online in Australia on February 11, 2019! All Asia-Pacific customers will be hosted on these servers. (See below for the list of countries moving to these servers.)

These new servers host v2 products only: LibGuides, E-Reserves, LibAnswers v2, LibCal w/Equipment Booking, LibStaffer, LibWizard, LibInsight, and LibCRM. Once you move to this new cluster, all of your Springshare tools (current and future) are located there.

Who is moving & will there be down time?

We’re moving all v2 sites and content for customers located in the Asia-Pacific region. If you are located in one of these countries, your data is moving to the Australian servers: Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, British Indian Ocean Territory, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Heard Island & McDonald Islands, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kiribati, Laos, Macao, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Niue, Norfolk Island, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Pitcairn, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Wallis and Futuna.

Customers not located in one of the above countries are unaffected. There will be no down time for customers on servers in the U.S., Europe, or Canada while we move these sites.

Asia-Pacific customers will experience some down time during the migration process:

  • LibGuides Public side: No down time.
  • LibGuides Admin side and all other apps (both public and admin sides): Estimated 15 minutes of down time; may be up to 30 minutes.

I’m in the Asia-Pacific region – what do I need to do / know?

  • Migration Date: Monday, February 11, 2019 starting at 7pm U.S. EST (Melbourne time: Tuesday, February 12, 2019 at 11am AEDT)
    Time Converter – click “Add another city or time zone” to convert to your location.
  • LibGuides / LibAnswers / LibCal Custom Domains: If you have a custom domain (e.g., research.mylibrary.org, ask.myschool.edu, calendar.library.myschool.edu.au) for your LibGuides, LibAnswers, and/or LibCal site(s), you’ll need to work with your IT department to update your DNS records in time for the migration. We’ll send you instructions / more details in early January.
    If you are not on a custom domain (e.g., mylib.libguides.com, university.libanswers.com, springylib.libcal.com), you do not need to do anything. We’ll take care of everything on our side.
  • We’ll email you in early January with more information about what to expect and what you need to do to prepare for the move.

If you’re using LibAnswers v1 or LibAnalytics and want to move to the Australian server cluster, you will need to move to v2 in order to do so. LibAnswers v1 customers will be live with v2 prior to this server move. If you are using LibAnalytics, please update to LibInsight Lite.

If any questions / concerns pop up, please let us know, and as always, thanks for being on board!

HTTPS for All and All for HTTPS!

(Past HTTPS posts: Aug 24, 2017  |  Sept 28, 2017  |  Jan 25, 2018  |  June 7, 2018)

All major browsers are now flagging HTTP pages as “not secure” as a matter of course. This move toward web-security-by-default is something we at Springshare agree with, so we’ve implemented several things to help all of you ensure that your users are always enjoying a secure experience with Springy Apps – security certificates, forcing HTTPS, and removing TLS1.0 support, to name a few – and we’ll continue to roll out security options in future. In addition, we’re always vigilant in making sure that our code and our servers are safe and secure.

You may be wondering…why should I care if my pages are loading over HTTPS? Well, it’s all about your users’ security & privacy! With data leaks and cyber attacks on the rise, it just makes sense to take advantage of every opportunity to give your users the most secure web experience possible, and HTTPS is the baseline. Also, if you’d like to use the forthcoming LibCal billing functionality (online payments FTW!), an HTTPS connection is required.

Many of our customers have already made the move to HTTPS-only, and found it easy to do! There is no downtime or cost when moving to HTTPS (unless you choose to purchase your own security certificate) and it ensures a better, more secure experience for all of your users. In fact, we have issued over 2,000 certificates (for free!) so that all you need to do is push one button to switch to all secure access, all the time. It’s a win for everyone!

What We Do / What We’re Going to Do:

  • We provide free, automatically renewed Let’s Encrypt security certificates, in addition to the ability to upload your own security certificates.*
    • Load your page using https to double check whether or not your site has a valid, active security certificate.
    • Simply click in your address bar and type https://yoursiteURL.
  • We offer the ability for sites to force all of their pages to load over HTTPS. It is not enabled by default (yet), because there may be some content on your site that you need to update prior to making that move. (See below for more info on mixed content.)
  • We offer HTTPS access for all APIs, so you can ensure security of any information transferred via API.
  • We will remove the LibApps > Admin > Domains and Certificates option to toggle “Force HTTPS” for good by the end of Q1 2019.
  • If your site is not already set to enforce HTTPS, we set that for you beginning Jan 2nd, 2019. We will do this a few sites at a time each day to ensure that everyone is covered before the end of Q1 2019.

What You Can Do Now:

  • Check your site for “mixed content“: content embedded in your page that is loaded over HTTP instead of HTTPS.
    Why does this matter? If your overall page is loading over HTTPS, but an embedded item on the page is trying to load over HTTP, the embedded item will not display on the page. Although Springshare has supported HTTPS for a long time, this is the primary reason we have not enforced it yet: giving you time to update your widgets and ensure all content continues to load on your pages.

    • This content could be a search widget, a video, or anything else you’ve embedded. If it’s embedded in your site, it must be embedded via HTTPS.
    • Notes on how to find mixed content in your site is below in the “Searching for Mixed Content” section.
    • If your widget is loading over HTTP, check the site where you got the widget to see if they offer an HTTPS version.
    • If your widget is from a Springy app, it’s easy! Just add https: to the beginning of the “src” to require that it load via HTTPS.
    • If you use Springy APIs anywhere, make sure you’re using them over HTTPS. If not, update your calls by adding that s.
  • Force your LibGuides, LibAnswers, LibCal, and LibWizard sites to load over HTTPS.
    • This ensures a secure experience for your users when using those apps.
    • LibInsight, LibStaffer, and LibCRM are designed to always load over HTTPS, so there’s nothing to change for those systems.
    • This will be enabled for all sites by the end of Q1 2019.

Searching for Mixed Content:

  • In LibGuides:
    • Rich Text items: use the “Search” portion of our Search & Replace tool, and search on http: (with the colon at the end). Then review the list for embedded content. If the item is simply a link out to another website, you do not have to update that (unless the other site supports HTTPS and you want to update it). (This might be the majority of the list.) You’re looking for content embedded in the page, JavaScript, calls to stylesheets, etc. You can use CTRL+A to highlight the results, copy them, and paste them into a program like Excel for easier scanning, if you wish.
    • Widget items: use the filtering options in the Content > Assets area. Once on that page, limit Type to Widgets, enter http: in the Description / Metadata field, and click Filter. Click the edit icon for each item and review as noted above.
  • In LibAnswers you can use the “Search” part of the Admin > Assets > Search & Replace Links tool to find all instances of http: in your FAQ answers (yes, even though it says Search & Replace Links 😉 ). Be sure to check off the “Perform a search only” checkbox when using this tool. The first section will list any Public FAQ Links that contain http: – which may be just fine (though if there is an https equivalent, then it’s a good thing to update). The second section lists Public FAQ content that contains http:. Be sure to check this second area, as it’s likely where you may have embedded something. Also remember to check your Embedded Media / Widgets in your Public FAQs!
  • Load your page over HTTPS and use your Browser’s developer tools (usually something along the lines of: right click on the page > select Inspect > select the Console tab) to see what it marks as “mixed content” on each page. This may take a while, considering the number of pages you may have on your site, but it’s an option.
  • Another option is to use one of the myriad of tools that have popped up to help with this very thing! Do a web search on “mixed content check” (or similar keywords) and you’ll find options like “Why No Padlock?”, etc. (We’re not endorsing any particular thing; that site is simply noted as an example.) Continuing with using that site as an example, it works like this: you enter your https link into the tool and it scans that page (and any page that it links out to), notes any mixed content, and reports back to you with a list. It’s a great way to find all mixed content at once and/or as a check before forcing HTTPs for your site.

* Using a custom domain and seeing that your site does not have a security certificate?

Your DNS records could be pointing to the wrong place or there could be a Certificate Authority Authorization (CAA) in place that is preventing us from getting a Let’s Encrypt certificate on your behalf. We’ve contacted the handful of sites where we know this is a problem. If you’re seeing that you do not have a security certificate, contact your IT department with this information:

  1. Check that your DNS records are pointing to the right place.
  2. Check to see if CAA is enabled. If so, either:

If you do not either allow us to successfully obtain a security certificate on your behalf or purchase one on your own, your site will be unreachable when we require all pages be loaded via HTTPS (by the end of Q1 2019). Let us know if you have any questions!

Planned Server Maintenance: December 26, 2018

Server maintenance is planned for LibGuides, LibAnswers, and LibCal in all regions on Wednesday, December 26, 2018, which may cause brief downtime (no more than 15 minutes in the worst case) for a subset of our customers.

There are no changes or actions required on your side, by anyone, for any product. So you don’t have to lift a finger! This is simply a notification of the expected downtime while we update our servers. We will remind you again (via a message when you log into your system) as we approach the maintenance date.

This work is necessary to strengthen our load balancing infrastructure for all of our customers. As a reminder, we use load balancing so that any sites attempting to connect to a disrupted server automatically move to a healthy server while we replace the disrupted server. A minority of customers, however, opted to be tied to a single server due to the nature of the setup of their custom domain. Those customers will also be load balanced upon completion of this update. (If this does not sound familiar to you, you are likely not part of that minority of customers.)

We chose Wednesday, December 26, 2018 for this maintenance / brief downtime based on usage logs, which show this is one of the lowest usage periods in the entire year. We will further mitigate any disruptions by performing this server work either early in the morning or late at night in each server region’s time zone.

Please let us know if you have any questions!

5 Ways to Use LibStaffer Workflow Forms

If you’ve seen LibStaffer’s newest addition, Workflow Forms, and you’re already wondering about the ways you can use it – then look no further than this blog post.

And if you’ve never heard of LibStaffer, Springshare’s staff and service-point scheduling tool, then you’re in luck! We’re doing webinars all November long and the first one starts tomorrow, Wed Nov 14 @12pm US ET. Sign-up to attend the 30min session and learn all about LibStaffer, Workflow Forms, and exciting upcoming updates like SMS notifications and GPS Limiters for Clocking In/Out.

Whether you’re an Academic, Public, K12, or Special Library – we have 5 examples of ways you can use LibStaffer Workflow Forms in your library – read on below!

All webinars are 30 minutes long, join us!

1. Librarian/Para-Professional Job Application

One of the many reasons Workflow Forms came to be was a need to have one place to route all incoming job/position applications. And it made sense to make that ‘one-place’ be inside the very staffing/scheduling tool you use.

Use LibStaffer Workflow Forms to create a Job Application Form for librarian or para-professional positions.

>> Example Job Application Form <<

Create custom stages to route each application through your process. Bonus, each ‘stage’ has customizable email alerts so only staff on the interviewing committee will receive an email alert when an application is moved to ‘Selected Interview’.

  • New Application
  • Selected Interview
  • Not Qualified
  • Finalist
  • Closed (Accepted)
  • Closed (Denied)

2. Human Library / Live ‘Book’ Volunteer

Is your library thinking of starting a Human Library program? If yes, consider creating a LibStaffer Workflow Form to route all ‘live book’ applications into one space.

>> Example Human Library Form <<

Human Library volunteers can use the form to:

  • Describe what their book ‘title’ would be.
  • Explain why they want to volunteer to be a part of your library’s Human Library project.
  • Allow the library to take pictures, and to share them, during your Human Library events.

 

3. Student Employment Form

Many of us here at Springy HQ were former Academic Librarians – and a few of us were in charge of workstudy students. So, we completely know the pain you go through finding reliable student workers, scheduling them, and then dealing with the 10,000 schedule changes they need to make – from dropped/picked-up classes, sports commitments, and the horrors of finals week. In fact, LibStaffer was originally built with these ‘pains’ in mind! So, Academic Librarians in charge of student employees – there are tons of features inside of LibStaffer designed to make your scheduling woes a distant memory! But, we digress!

>> Example Student Employment Form <<

Do you hire non-workstudy students? If yes, indicate so in your form.

Ask questions regarding their availability. And consider asking about any special skills they might have.

Perhaps you’ll get an application from someone who is a native Spanish Speaker. Serán muy útiles if you need feedback on which Spanish-language books to add to your collection!

 

4. Read to the Dogs Volunteer Form

Therapy dogs have shown their assistance in helping patrons of all ages. From college students who need help reducing stress during finals week to shy children, teens (and even college students) looking to build confidence by reading to a therapy dog or practicing a presentation to build public-speaking skills.

Create a ‘Read to Dogs’ Volunteer Form to get some four-legged slobbery volunteers to come into your library and work with patrons.

>> Example Read to Dogs Volunteer Form <<

Are you looking for only certified therapy dogs? Be sure to ask that in your form.

Do you want to see a picture of the doggy in question before accepting them? Add a ‘file upload’ field to your form so applicants can upload a picture of their furry friend.

5. Sabbatical Request Form

Sabbatical requests often go through a complicated process where many different staff are involved at differing stages.

Create your sabbatical request as a Workflow Form – this way each and every submission goes through your process with strict oversight and auditing-capabilities.

>> Example Sabbatical Request Form <<

Is the request a brand-new request or an extension? Create that question as ‘Notify Checkboxes’ field type. This way, ‘New’ requests are routed to the approval committee and ‘extensions’ are routed to the review committee.

With sabbatical requests, don’t be afraid to go nuts with the Workflow Stages. This way, you’ll be able to filter form submissions by a specific stage so you’ll always know the next step in the process.

 

Notify Checkboxes Field Type

 

Already using LibStaffer? Learn more about using Workflow Forms!

If you’re already using LibStaffer, then you might want to learn more about Workflow Forms.

LibCal 2.18 release coming on November 12-13

The LibCal 2.18 release is coming to you this week and will be rolled out to all regions by the end of the day Tuesday November 13th.

This is a mini release of sorts but still includes lots of great features including a next available button for space/equipment bookings, the addition of the image manager for featured event image selection and more!

Calendars/Events:

  • Email can be set to optional for event registrations – You’ve asked for it, and we delivered. 🙂 Email address can now be set so that it is not required on an event registration form. Phone number and library barcode have been added as additional event registration information – but can also be set as either optional or required fields, or you can disable them altogether. In addition, you’ll be able to customize the field descriptors and add custom help text for each.  From the orange command bar, select Calendars > Registrations Forms Tab to edit or create a new form to view this feature.

  • Image Manager Integration – We’ve added the ability to launch the Image Manager to select featured event images when creating or modifying an events details. You can check out this new option by clicking on Calendars from the main menu navigation bar and choosing your desired event calendar. Once you are inside the calendar, simply add or modify an event and then press the new ‘Launch Image Manager’ button to choose an event image.

  • Event Location Display On Admin Calendar Day/Week View – We’ve added the event location to the display of the day view of the admin event calendar. The location of the event will appear after the event title in italic font with the word at preceding the location. To view this new display, head to Calendars > Edit Calendar and then select the Day/Week view options.

  • Category & Audience Fields Required – We’ve added a setting on the system-wide audience and category fields to make these required when creating a new event. Admins can locate the setting to make these fields required by going to Admin > Calendars and then accessing the Audiences tab and Categories tab.

Spaces/Equipment:

  • Next Available Button for Space/Equipment Bookings – We’ve added a new button that will easily allow the next available space or equipment booking to be found! When this button is pressed, the availability grid will jump to the next available time slot. This will really help where equipment items are in high demand or long lead times are set up before allowing bookings.  To use this new feature, head to the public Space or Equipment booking page and select the “Next Available” button.
  • Copying Booking Form Info – We’ve added a way to copy all relevant booking form information from an existing booking to create a brand new booking. To use this feature, from the orange command bar select Spaces > Click on a past space booking > click on the new ‘copy’ button.  After clicking this button, you’ll be prompted to create a new booking and all the booking form details from the source booking will be copied over.

  • Confirmed Bookings Date Picker – We’ve added a date picker to the Confirmed Bookings page that displays on the public page. Use the date picker by selecting the new ‘Custom Date option in the ‘When’ drop down selection. The public page for confirmed bookings can be accessed by clicking the ‘View Confirmed Bookings’ link public space booking grid page (note this only appears for spaces where “Public Nickname” has been enabled).

  • Reminder Email for Space Bookings – We’ve added an optional opt-in email reminder for space bookings. If you enable these emails, they will send based on a duration (available by the number of hours before) selected before the space booking occurs. If multiple bookings occur on the same day, they will all be sent in one reminder email.  To enable these emails, admins can head to Admin > Equipment & Spaces > Edit Location > General > Reminder Email & choose the amount of time prior to the booking start time when the email should be sent.

Bug Fixes:

  • Exchange Sync Issues – We’ve resolved an issue with exchange where double bookings were being created in the Appointments module. These double bookings were showing in the Appointments>Availability grid. The issue has been corrected and should no longer happen!
  • 12 am Time Slot Booking Error – We’ve fixed an error that occurred when a booking was attempted to be made that started at 12 am.

Always Stay Tuned: Springshare Has Lots For You To Love.

Fall Back — In Love With Learning More!

For those of you who changed your clocks, what will you do with your extra hour? As the calendar year comes to a close, one might think that it’s time to wind things down.

However, here at Springshare, we do no such thing. For a lot of libraries, this time of year actually poses an opportunity. Perhaps you finally have some time to evaluate current processes, look into new solutions and/or catch up on the latest feature updates to the Springy tools you’ve already got.

So, instead of slowing down, we’re just as ramped up as ever to help you take advantage of this time.

Springy Live Sessions Are Always A Best Bet.

Our classic free training sessions are a staple around here as they are a delightful mix of thorough and lively — mostly because our trainers love interacting with clients and our clients ask excellent questions that benefit everyone in attendance. Don’t miss these upcoming sessions. For a complete list of what’s to come, please check the training calendar.

New to the lineup is the Brunch & Learn series. These are live sessions centered around specific topics. Often they highlight ways that people are using our tools. We have one more scheduled for this year. Make sure to catch it. But, you can also have fun watching the recordings of some of our recent installments!

For those who have a little time and want to learn a little more, we recently introduced Training Tidbits. If you have 15 minutes and want to walk away after them just stunned by how much you could learn in so little time, then keep an eye out for these quick sessions. Be sure to catch these upcoming LIVE sessions.

A New Watchlist to Add to Your Rotation.

If you read our most recent SpringyNews edition, you probably saw that we added a new section called the Watchlist. It’s our version of staff recommendations but it’s focused on our recorded webinars, presentations from clients at conferences, SpringyCamp sessions, and more. In these next few weeks, go ahead and hunker down with some of these cherry-picked videos. It’s certainly a fun way to gather tips and tricks.

Updates on the Horizon.

The developers here at Springshare are as busy as ever working on bringing to life new features and enhancements to make sure Springy solutions are as up-to-date as possible with the current needs — and, sometimes, we even get a step or two ahead. To always keep up with the tech, make sure to read our Blog. Plus, you’ll find a section of the newsletter devoted to the soon-to-be-released updates. Read up on what’s in store, now.

Don’t want to miss a thing?

Did you see the latest Client Story in our Buzz Site on the Boston Public Library? Perhaps you haven’t. Maybe the new Brunch & Learn sessions and the latest SpringyNews newsletter and the Client Stories are all news to you as you. If you don’t want to miss any of the fun, informative, classic or new content we are actively putting together for you — then make sure you opt-in to the good times.

Always stay tuned in to the Springshare channels. We are regularly working on coming up with interesting topics for training webinars and writing stories about how librarians all over the world are creatively using Springy solutions. We want you to have access to all of it!

Building LibGuides for Current Events

In our most recent newsletter, we talked about creating #TrendingNow content. To summarize, the most successful teaching sessions are based around an assignment, project, or task.

Context is key. And contextual learning leads to long-term learning.

That same concept applies when you connect learning resources with #TrendingNow current events.

Patrons are far more likely to deep-dive into a topic when the subject matter is topical, trending, and “hot right now”.

 

U.S. Mid-Term Elections Are Six Days Away!

The U.S. mid-term elections are only six days away! The news cycle is 24/7 continuous coverage on this hot-button event. What better way to position the library as a leader in information-sharing that creating a topical LibGuide on the Mid-Term Elections.

  • Think Local – Share local, district, state-level races as well as ballot proposal questions.
  • Distill Information – Share ways to register to vote, how to find your local polling place, and suggestions for best times to visit the polls.
  • Inform – There are a lot of fake news resources choking people’s inbox, their social feed… and their brains. Use your Elections / Voting LibGuide to break myths, communicate accurate information, and explain how to be an informed citizen.

 

Pikes Peak Library District – Voting & Elections LibGuide

Stevens Institute of Technology – Vote New Jersey LibGuide

What Other Kinds of Guides Can I Make?

#TrendingNow content doesn’t just have to be about the upcoming elections. Unfortunately, hurricane season is upon us and North America is seeing an uptick in the severity and frequency of hurricanes. Other areas have natural disasters to contend with too, like earthquakes, blizzards, and more.

If you’re in an area with hurricanes or other natural disasters, a Disaster Preparedness LibGuide is an effective way to communicate important information.

To illustrate, the East Baton Rouge Parish Library is the largest library system in Louisiana covering the capital city of Baton Rouge and the surrounding parish. EBRPL services a large community with nearly 350,000 card holders, 14 branches, and an annual circulation of 2.5million items. EBPL has 160+ active LibGuides and they receive roughly 150,000 hits to those guides annually. In 2016, their LibGuides were instrumental in providing resources for a struggling community. From their Disaster Assistance LibGuide to Coping with Traumatic Events LibGuide – these resources were invaluable to citizens. Watch EBPRL Librarian Andrew Tadman present at our 2016 virtual SpringyCamp conference on how their InfoGuides helped citizens during these trying times.

As Andrew stated,

“During the 2016 flood, information was coming out over social media from different news outlets, kind of all over the place. And sometimes, it was contradictory information. So, we knew immediately we had to get a guide setup to create a one-stop resource of curated information. We didn’t want to overwhelm people by just putting every link possible that we could find out there. So we just to focus it on just what people need right now, what’s the most important things. There was lots of gossip and rumor about what you’re supposed to do, where you’re supposed to go, what you’re not supposed to do, including bad information about shelters, and incorrect information on documenting damage for FEMA. Additionally, information from the official city offices wasn’t getting out quickly enough. And that’s where the speed of LibGuides came in. We were able to get information up quickly, link to it on our library website, share it on social media, and disperse it. The mobile-accessibility was important to be able to access this information.”

Arizona State University – Hurricane Florence LibGuide

Add #TrendingNow Tag

Whatever LibGuide you decide to build, whether it’s on a patron’s chance of winning the 2018 $1.5billion combined lottery or on how the European Union’s Parliament works with Angela Merkel’s recent retirement announcement, add a #TrendingNow tag to your LibGuide.

Big thanks to Sally Stieglitz from Adelphi University for this idea! Sally’s created awesome LibGuides on #ThanksForTyping: Women’s Invisible Labor in Academia and Publishing, Fake News and Alternative Facts, and the 20th Anniversary of Harry Potter.

#TrendingNow guides can have a short shelf life, so use tags to organize them. Then, when they’re considered ‘old news’ simply remove the tag or consider unpublishing them to keep your guide list manageable.

To advertise your #TrendingNow content, create a widget connected to your #TrendingNow tag, embed that widget on your homepage, and voila – you’re creating a quick & easy shortcut for patrons to view your #TrendingNow content. Every guide you build or take down will auto-update that widget.

Beyond The Library: LibCal Usage

Lately, we’ve been discovering more and more examples of non-library folks showing an interest and later purchasing LibCal for use by their teams and the customers they serve. While it may have started in the libraries, it’s clear that many are catching on to the fact that LibCal — with its awesome features and, yet, simple interface — works beautifully in so many different settings.

As Heather Westerlund, IT Manager at Walden University Libraries, stated in an in-depth interview on how Springy Tools have expanded beyond the Walden Uni. Libraries,

Just because it has the word ‘Lib’ in it, doesn’t mean that only the Library can use it!

If you need calendars, appointments, have spaces, perhaps equipment and want to share your hours, LibCal can work for you, too — no matter what it says on your office door.

The essential LibCal.

LibCal is made up of 4 components with an optional 5th that is an add-on module. They work together to form a complete integrated calendaring solution that is flexible enough to be used beyond the library.

It’s cloud-based, mobile-first, affordable, boasts in-depth statistics to help you make data-driven decisions and comes with Springshare’s free training and support.

Libraries have been recommending more than books.

In some institutions, LibCal use is really spreading. Emory University in Atlanta now has 6 LibCal systems, 4 of which are being used outside the library in offices like the Scholarly Communications Office, Tutoring, Student Digital Life, and Campus and Community Relations. There are a number of excellent examples of other departments on academic campuses who are successfully using LibCal for their needs.

 

At Florida Atlantic University, the Office of Instructional Technologies has a LibCal system that they use for upcoming events, room booking and appointment scheduling.

Recently the Human Resources office at FAU also purchased a LibCal system.

 

 

 

 

 


Arizona State University has a Digital Creative Studio that is using LibCal Calendars for events.

They use the Equipment Booking Add-on Module for reserving computer workstations, and the Spaces booking for reserving event space and video studios.

Appointment Scheduling: It should be nice (and easy) to meet you.

LibCal saves you the troublesome back and forth of emails where you keep trying to nail down a time that works for both parties.

Add your availability, create a custom form for people to fill out, and even set up different types of appointments that have appropriate durations.

While students do meet with librarians, imagine all the other departments on campus that have personnel that also meet with students or faculty, etc.. The Southern Methodist University Advisory Group uses LibCal to allow people to schedule appointments with

  • Academic Counseling
  • Academic Services
  • Pre-Health Advising
  • Student Athlete Academic Services
  • Simmons Student Academic Advising
  • the University Advising Center
  • and the Student Transfer Admission department

Booking spaces, rooms and more!

We’ve heard just about everything when it comes to how people are handling the booking of spaces and rooms. With all the conference rooms and performance spaces, computer labs, classrooms, auditoriums, etc. on site, having a simple way to make them available and manage them is in order. The Spaces component is one of the main draws to LibCal. People are really creative in how they use it — because it’s flexible enough to suit many needs.

The Oklahoma State School of Business is using LibCal Spaces for their breakout rooms.

 

An innovative use comes to us from the Thompson Rivers University Sustainability Department which is using it to allow people to book cars as a way of car sharing.

Equip yourself with tools for success.

Maker spaces are popping up all over. We’ve seen a rise in interest from them in recent years and they use LibCal to highlight workshops and classes. They let people book appointments with artists and experts and techs. They use the Equipment Booking Add-on Module to make their devices, machinery, tools, and equipment available. It’s proving to be a great pairing.

The Innevation Center at the University of Nevada, Reno is doing awesome things with LibCal. Here’s the Equipment Module in action there.

 

So, here’s to the same energy that prompts a person to tell another about a really great book or movie or restaurant. Word of mouth is powerful, even in the tech world — but only if the solutions really work. LibCal is an excellent tool that helps you seamlessly allow your students, faculty, staff, and patrons to take advantage of the services, classes, workshops you offer, to meet with you, to reserve your spaces and equipment — to engage with you. And, if they are doing that — you’ll all be a wild success.

LibAnswers Proactive Chat Increases User Engagement

If you’re looking for a way to increase user engagements, look no further than LibAnswers proactive LibChat widgets!

Create as many customizable chat widgets as you’d like, embed them anywhere (including https secure websites), and watch the chats roll in.

How do I make one?

It’s as easy as select, type, copy, and paste. Blammo – and you’re done!

  • Login to your LibAnswers system > LibChat from the Orange Command Bar > LibChat Widgets.
  • Select the Create New Widget Button.
  • Give your widget a name and choose either the button, slide-out tab, or floating chat widget display options.
    • Pro-tip: Give your widget a descriptive name so you can remember what style of chat widget it is, where’s it been embedded, and your autoload delay properties. Your patrons will never see the name on the public side. Your future self will thank you!
      • e.g. title: “Slide-Out Tab Widget: Right-Side, Auto-Delay (60second). Library Homepage.”
  • Go through your widget options but pay special attention to the feature titled “Autoload Delay (in seconds).” This is your proactive chat widget! Choose, in seconds, how long you want to wait before you engage your user with the widget prompt.
    • Pro-tip: For your library homepage, choose a longer autoload delay (60 – 120 seconds). For web resources were users tend to get “stuck” like your A-Z resource list or discovery layer, choose a shorter autoload delay (20 – 45 seconds).
  • You’re almost done! Take a minute and customize the language of your autoload delay window. Simply click the autoload preview in the right column to pop-out a window that allows you to customize the default language. This way, you can inform your users of how the chat works, that you’re there to help, and how easy it is to ask questions.
  • Make any additional customizations, including what happens when your LibChat widget is offline and click save.
  • Copy the Embed code > and you’re done!
  • Repeat the steps above to offer different and unique LibChat experiences on your various digital touch points. Create one proactive chat widget for your library homepage and a different one, with different help language, for your Database A-Z list!
    • Pro-tip: If you’re using the LibGuides A-Z list, login to LibGuides > Content > Databases A-Z List > Settings > LibChat Widget > to add your proactive LibChat widget to your LibGuides A-Z list. This is where giving your chat widget as descriptive a name as possible really helps you out!

Will it increase my user engagement?

While we can’t promise how your specific demographic will respond, recent research articles written by Michael Epstein from the University of San Diego’s Copley Library and another from Lydia Pyburn from The University of Texas at Arlington Library indicate that the answer is yes!

The Reference Department at the University of San Diego’s Copley Library implemented Proactive LibChat widgets and saw a 600% increase in chat engagements.1

The University of Texas at Arlington Library doubled their chat engagements from 4,020 (2015-2016) to 8,120 (2016-2017) after implementing proactive LibChat and for some months saw their incoming chats tripled.2

Are there examples of the LibAnswers Proactive LibChat widget I can check out?

Absolutely, there are probably loads more out there in SpringyLand…but here are just a few of our favorites!

College of the Mainland Library
Floating LibChat Widget w/ Custom Icons

Ashland University Library
Slide out Tab Widget

Where can I learn more about adding LibAnswers proactive LibChat widgets?

We’re hosting webinars in October with guest speaker Michael Epstein from the University of San Diego’s Copley Library. We’ll take a quick tour of LibAnswers, explore live library examples of LibAnswers Proactive LibChat widgets, and Michael Epstein will present on their use-case at the Copley Library Reference Department.

Citations

1. Epstein, Michael. “That thing is so annoying: How proactive chat helps us reach more users.” College & Research Libraries News [Online], 79.8 (2018): 436. Web. 3 Oct. 2018.

2. Pyburn, Lydia L. “Implementing a Proactive Chat Widget in an Academic Library.Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning [Online], 2018.

LibStaffer Update Coming Soon!

A really big – and important – LibStaffer update is on its way to production servers on Monday, October 15th, 2018 (US Eastern Time), and will be live in all regions by the end of the day. Why is this release so big and important? Two words: Workflow Forms.

Workflow Forms

This new functionality in LibStaffer has the potential to greatly streamline the way your library processes various staffing-related forms. Everyone agrees collecting info via forms is useful – there are tons of use-cases for forms when it comes to staffing: Forms for Job (or Volunteer) application, Equipment requests, Professional Development requests, Travel requests, Consent forms, Onboarding forms, Staff suggestions forms, Vacation/Time off request forms… we could go on and on, but you get the idea. It’s easy to whip up a basic form using any number of online tools. But what happens after the form is filled out? That part is still largely manual and prone to errors, delays, confusion, inaction, etc. That’s where our new Workflow Forms functionality comes in.

Workflow Forms enable LibStaffer admins to create a customized online form for staff use, and then goes further to facilitate the entire lifecycle of the form after the initial submission. The form sends automatic email notifications to various staff members based on selected values within form fields. You can create “stages” for each Workflow Form so different staff are notified whenever a form reaches a given stage. You decide who can review submissions, and then those staff members can leave notes and communicate internally regarding the content of form submissions… At the end of this you have a full history and audit trail of each form submission and the workflow/history around it – who assigned which stage to a given form, who left notes about it, etc. For compliance and record keeping reasons itself this Workflow Forms functionality is worth its weight in gold.

Let’s take one obvious use-case scenario – an online application for a student workers or volunteers. Create your customized form with any number of fields/options, and even include a file upload field so applicants can submit their resume as part of the form submission. Tres cool! One of the fields could be a list of checkboxes indicating which position the person is interested in, and each checkbox could alert a different staff member of the submission – circulation desk applications go to jane@, the archives application interest can go to john@, info desk applications go to michelle@ etc.  You would then assign “Stages” that each submission goes through e.g. “New Application / In Review / Qualifications Match / Interview Conducted / Accepted / Denied” and each Stage has its own notifications setup, too. As reviewers put applications through its paces they can leave notes on each “touch” and communicate/exchange info and thoughts about the application. The full notes history and Stages changelog is there for for all authorized users see, for audit compliance and transparency.

Then, upon successfully hiring new student workers or volunteers, you can create another Workflow Form to be used for onboarding them! There are so many potential use-cases to put Workflow Forms to good use at your library. We’re incredibly excited about this functionality and we know you will be as well, once you start playing with it. You’ll arrive at many a-ha moments after you realize how many of your current form-based workflows can be moved online and improved upon with the LibStaffer’s new Workflows Forms.

Additional Updates

In addition to the all new Workflows functionality, we have even more features to share with you in this release.

  • Clock In/Out Dashboard – We’ve added a high level overview to show all staff members the current clock in/out status for every user in your system, so everyone is on the same page about their colleague’s current status. To view the new Dashboard, select View Staff Current Status from the LibStaffer dashboard.
  • Updated Regular-level Schedule View – We’ve updated the schedule view that regular level users see when they log in, so the selector menus for viewing other dates, schedules, etc. will now look the same for both admin and regular level users.
  • Scheduled Shifts Report Update – We’ve made a small tweak to the Scheduled shifts report and will now display the total number of hours a user has been assigned to within the time period you specify. To see this in action, admins can head to Reports > Scheduled Shifts.
  • Time Clock Report Updates – We’ve added an “All Staff” view to time clock reports, so you can view a report for all staff members who are part of a particular schedule. We’ve also updated the way that time displays in these reports – rather than just displaying information in minutes, we’re now displaying in hours and minutes, so it’s easier to understand how much time you’re looking at.
  • Elevated Regular Level Users can now edit and delete approved time off for users on schedules they manage. To see this in action, these users can now head to the Time Off page and will be able to see, edit, and update requests that have been approved.
  • Updated Working Hours – We’ve updated the way Working Hours are entered, so it’s now possible to fully clear out hours that you’ve previously entered. To manage your working hours, head to Manage Account > Working Hours.
  • And we have a couple of Bug Fixes to share:
    • Auto Scheduler will no longer schedule staff members who previously belonged to a schedule, were favorited for particular shifts, but have since been deleted from the schedule.
    • We’ve fixed an issue where, in specific circumstances, the Auto Scheduler would sometimes assign the same person to the same shift twice

Upcoming Training

To learn about the all new Workflow Forms, or get a refresher on using LibStaffer, sign up for our upcoming training sessions!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018 2:00-3:00pm (ET) LibStaffer: Setting up Your System with Workflow Forms

Wednesday, November 28, 2018 2:00-2:45pm (ET): LibStaffer for Employees