Watch ALA 2015 Springy Presentations By Guest Flash Presenters!

Whether you attended ALA in San Francisco, or not, you can still watch (and rewatch!) guest presenter’s Jessie Riggins (TBLC), Cathay Keough (Delaware Libraries), Aaron Dobbs (Shippensburg University), and Louise Hilton with Andrew Tadman (EBPRL) presenting on their use of Springy Tools!

Jessie Riggins

Jessie Riggins

Using LibAnswers for Statewide Ask-A-Librarian Services

Jessie Riggins – Tampa Bay Library Consortium

Jessie Riggins is the Member Services Coordinator for the Tampa Bay Library Consortium. Jessie manages the statewide virtual reference program for the State of Florida, Ask A Librarian. The program consists of 130 public, academic, special and k-12 libraries. The live Chat and SMS service is open 84 hours a week, and offers 24/7 email.

>> Watch Now (11min 31sec)

Cathay Keough

Cathay Keough

Cathay Keough – Delaware Division of Libraries

Delaware Division of Libraries was the first consortium to use LibAnswers to power their statewide reference.
Hear from Cathay on why they made the switch and how Delaware Division of Libraries reference teams are loving LibAnswers.

>> Watch Now (11min 10sec)

Using LibGuides @ East Baton Rouge Parish Library

Louise Hilton & Andrew Tadman – LibGuides @EBPL

East Baton Rouge Parish Library

East Baton Rouge Parish Library

EBRPL is the largest library system in Louisiana, covering the capital city of Baton Rouge and the surrounding parish. We have nearly 350,000 card holders, 14 branches, and last year we circulated 2.5 million items. EBPL has 135 active LibGuides and last year they received nearly 150,000 LibGuide views. The largest LibGuide successes have been using them as ‘how to guides’ for Overdrive, and as a focal point for community programs such as out ‘One Book/One Community’ and for their Maker resources and programming.

>> Watch Now (7min 27sec)


LibAnswers: Not just for Library Answers @Shippensburg University

Aarron Dobbs – LibAnswers @Shippensburg University

Aaron Dobbs

Aaron Dobbs

Do you ever get questions about non-library topics? Ship Library sure does. They reached out to offices around campus and asked them what question they most commonly (and most easily/straightforwardly) answered. They worked out a process to gather, answer, and update the questions commonly asked across campus – and, because they’re librarians, they classified the heck out of the Q&A pairs and linked to the webpages which provide more information.

>> Watch Now (7min 14sec)

LibAnswers 2.5 Update Coming Friday

The summer of updates continues! The LibAnswers 2.5 update is coming on Friday, July 24th at 7:30am EDT. There will be no downtime for the overall LibAnswers system, with the exception of a minute or two of downtime for users currently logged in to LibChat. Here’s what’s on deck:

LibAnswers Updates

  • Updated Dashboard Views – We’re making a few adjustments to the Dashboard ticket view pages to make them easier to scan for key information on each ticket. Now it’s easier to scan the page for patron name/email, current status, and who last replied (so you know who’s waiting on a response).
  • Image Previews in Tickets – We’re adding an onscreen preview for submitted image files (gif, jpeg, png, etc.). When patrons send you image files in LibChat and LibAnswers, you’ll see the image in a little popup window instead of downloading the file, so you’ll never have to download an email signature or social networking icon again. :)
  • RefAnalytics Completion Prompts – Want to make doubly sure librarians fill out key Reference Analytics metrics when answering tickets and chats? We’re adding a new administrative setting to remind your LibAnswers staffers to fill out the Reference Analytics form. Admins will head to Admin > System Settings > General and scroll to the new RefAnalytics settings.

LibChat Updates

  • Emoticons – We’re adding support for basic smiley chat images, making it that much easier to let folks know how you feel. :) Click on the smile image in the chat widget pane to see which emoticons are supported, and add to your live chats using menu-selection or keyboard entry.
  • Updated Canned Message UI – We’re updating the selection menu in the chat pane for canned messages, so it’s easier to scan and quickly choose the right message.
  • Wait Time Statistics – We’re adding a new stats report to show you how long, on average, your chat patrons are waiting before their chat is answered. You’ll see this metric integrated in various chat reports, and you’ll also see individual wait times in each chat transcript.

New in LibGuides – OAI-PMH Support

We’re very excited to check off another frequently-requested item off our development to-do list – LibGuides now offers full OAI-PMH support.

Need a refresher on OAI-PMH? To borrow from the official project site:

The Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting is a low-barrier mechanism for repository interoperability. Data Providers are repositories that expose structured metadata via OAI-PMH. Service Providers then make OAI-PMH service requests to harvest that metadata. OAI-PMH is a set of six verbs or services that are invoked within HTTP.

Basically, with the full OAI-PMH support in LibGuides it is now even easier to index and show results from your guides alongside all of your library resources – in your catalog, discovery layer, federated search system, institutional repository, you name it – if it supports OAI-PMH you can index LibGuides in it, too. We’ve been psyched to see folks creating more and more key library content – everything from course and subject guides to important documentation to entire library websites – in LibGuides. With OAI-PMH support in LibGuides your patrons can find your LibGuides content no matter where they begin their search. Imagine it – students searching for assignment help in your federated search engine find the LibGuide for their course – instruction for the win! A patron searching for library policies from the catalog discovers your About the Library guide – point of need help, kaboom! The guides you create are integrated right along all of your other library content – it’s indexing made easy. :)

On the LibGuides side, our OAI-PMH gateway retrieves the standard set of DC metadata tags for each guide in your system. These tags are tied to the descriptive information about your guide – guide title becomes a dc:title tag, guide description becomes dc:description, etc. To be clear, this isn’t a full text index of your guide content, though we may support this in the future if there’s widespread interest.

Ready to get started? Admins, head to Tools > Data Exports and click Get OAI Base URL to find the unique base URL for your LibGuides site. You’ll use this base URL in combination with the 6 standard OAI-PMH requests to generate search-indexer-friendly XML files.

Delaware Libraries Using LibAnswers for Statewide Reference

AskALibrarian DelawareWith more than 30 public, academic, and special libraries participating statewide, Ask a Librarian Delaware has been servicing Delawareans since 2003. In 2014 alone, they answered 3,000 chat questions and an additional 3,000 email questions roughly equating to 500 questions answered per month.

On March 1st, 2015 – the Ask A Librarian Delaware service switched to using LibAnswers for their statewide reference expanding their service to include SMS/Text-Message Reference. We had a chance to chat with Cathay Keough, Statewide Coordinate of Reference Services for DAAL, and here’s what she had to say!

Delaware Division of Libraries - Genealogy LibGuides

Delaware Division of Libraries – Genealogy LibGuides

What inspired you to switch to LibAnswers for your Statewide Service?

Ask a Librarian Delaware is an extension of Delaware libraries’ reference services, and in keeping with our initiative to find ways to improve library services, it was important to keep our eyes open for products that best fit our ideals.  Springshare’s LibGuides was already being used by Delaware Division of Libraries, and that gave us an introduction to the other products Springshare provides.  Upon closer examination and through a trial process, we decided to proceed with this transition to LibAnswers.  I had also seen the FAQs portion of LibAnswers in action through another library service, and was impressed by a demo provided during a library conference.

Statistics are important to DAAL – Tell us how you’re using LibAnswers Reference Analytics to track reference stats.

To track statistics, we began using the Dewey Decimal system a few years ago as a way to help us identify types of questions asked across all of our reference interactions (on the desk, telephone, email, chat, texting) and have coined the term for this reporting process, “Dewey Delaware.”  Our LibAnswers Reference Analytics was easily set up to continue this type of tracking.

You’ve been using LibAnswers for DAAL for 5 months now – tell us about your experience!

June Stats!

  • 555 Views on FAQs
  • 86 SMS/Text-Message Questions Answered
  • 600 Total June Reference Questions across Email, SMS, Chat

So far, from the training to the statistics, LibAnswers has been just what we hoped it would be:

  • easy to train library staff
  • intuitive to use
  • responsive on any device for library staff and patrons
  • adaptable for future considerations, such as developing a separate Group or Queue identity for a special library, but within the same cooperative.

Staff commonly remark that they love the interface and find it to be an easy and effective way to provide reference for online customers.

As a shared statewide system, the “Reuse Answers” (FAQs and librarians’ responses) have already shown value for library staff; it saves time as well as creates consistency in answering to share what we know in this way.  Features like Reuse Answers, patron surveys on chat, and Query Spy give us excellent information to continue to improve our reference services.

We also appreciate that Springshare’s Support Team have listened to suggestions and ideas for improving the interface as well.

What does the future hold for Ask a Librarian Delaware?

In the future we plan to explore more options for visibility of the Ask a Librarian DE service.  The widgets are easy to create and implement on library websites and anywhere Delaware patrons are online.  Our only challenge is to work with those in charge of the sites; sometimes there are hurdles with website restrictions, depending upon the library or institution.  Springshare’s products are well established and their reputation is rapidly growing, however, so it’s just a matter of time.

We enjoy providing professional and fun options for all our library patrons and students and look forward to serving our Delaware community in ways that fit their needs, where they are and when they need it.

New Castle County Public Library

New Castle County Public Library – LibAnswers Search FAQ Widget

LibAnswers Update this Thursday

Hello, hi, and howdy! We’re rolling out a LibAnswers update this Thursday, June 25th at 7:30am EDT. There will be no downtime for the overall LibAnswers system, with the exception of a minute or two of downtime for users currently logged in to LibChat.

This update is focused on making several important under-the-hood updates, so you won’t see any major changes in the UI, functionality, etc., but you will see exciting opportunities! 😉

Remember last month when we told you about Consortial Shared Systems? You know, the awesomeness that allows you to hook up with other, related LibAnswers v2 systems so you can share queues and chat departments (and where we rolled out the chat functionality piece of the equation)? Yeaaaah. That one. Cool, right?

Well this update brings in the big guns with shared Queues. Yup, not only can you band together to answer all patron chats, you can do the same with submitted questions! Librarians in separate sites can monitor and answer tickets from the same Queue. It’s breathtaking.

Interested in Shared Systems? Just use the handy Support tab on the admin side of your site and write to our crack support team to get your sharing party started!

And remember…there will be no downtime for the overall LibAnswers v2 system this Thursday, June 25th at 7:30am EDT, but there will be a minute or two of downtime for users logged into chat, so please plan accordingly.

LibGuides Release 2.1.7

New month, new stuff! We’re planning on releasing yet another action-packed LibGuides release this week. Here’s a peek at what’s coming… :)

E-Reserves: Additions! Modifications! Fixes! This release has it all.

Oh E-Reserves…how do we love thee? Let me count the ways:

  1. New E-Reserves form, Article fields.

    The Article fields in the new E-Reserves form.

    E-Reserves Form & Administrative Area: Yup, it’s true…E-Reserves now has a super-duper-awesome form you can post for your faculty and their administrative partners so they can easily send you the info you need to populate your system. The huge, major differences from the v1 form:

    • Options for adding books (including chapters), articles, website, and media with relevant fields for each item type;
    • Option to add another item upon submission, including keeping the user / course info in place (while clearing out the item fields);
    • An “additional info” field where they can add whatever other info you may need;
    • Customizable Copyright / Fair Use Compliance statement checkbox.

    Once the form is submitted, the info is sent straight into the new administrative area (E-Reserves Requests) where you can review, add items right into your system, or deny items. If an item is added, the fields from the submission are copied directly into a new item, so you don’t have to re-type anything!

  2. Editor Level Users as Course Editors: Speaking of faculty…have you ever wanted to allow them to manage their own course, but don’t really want to give them a full account in the system? Well, now you can! The Editor level user can be added as an editor to any course in your system. The course does have to exist before they’re added, but once they’re in they can add / modify items to their heart’s content…but only in the courses where they’ve been granted access.
  3. Copyright Status Management: At the moment, copyright status additions are a bit of a free-for-all. After this release, it’ll be a lot more structured. Define your copyright status list; view/filter a list of all items and their statuses so you can see statuses at a glance; modify an item’s status on that screen.
  4. Courses Page Additions / Improvements: The course name links directly to the manage screen instead of the public page, making it that much faster to manage your course readings. Also, when adding a new Course you have the option to copy an existing course! All info / items will be copied over, then you can modify all the things.
  5. Manage Course Additions / Improvements: Simple changes here, but ones that make things more user-friendly. The course name / number are at the top of the page; new Manage Copyright button brings you to the Copyright Management area, filtered to only show items from that course; visibility dates can be set at both the Folder and Item level; Items indicate on the main course page whether or not they’re hidden from public view.

    Jump to Manage Copyright area from Course page.

    Go directly to Manage Copyright area, filtered for that Course’s items.

  6. Custom Boxes Updates / Fixes: Right now, you can set custom boxes to display, but (due to a bug) they only display on course pages within guides! This update fixes that (they display on the E-Reserves homepage, course pages, and course pages within guides), allows you to choose which standard boxes (Help / Related Guides) appear (if any), and looks/works more like the Look & Feel > Pages > Homepage options, so it should be familiar.
  7. E-Reserves Import: Our import utility has been created, so if you’re joining us from another system, have no fear! After you talk with our sales crew, we can import your existing content using either our JSON schema or CSV template file (along with a way for us to access files to upload). (You’ll download the schema / template from our E-Reserves guide.)

There are more ways we love E-Reserves, for sure, but man, this is a whole lot of awesome right here. :)

Group Modifications (LibGuides CMS)

We did some rearranging and refactoring with the Groups functionality to make things work as they should and clean things up a little.

  • Group Type Name Changes:
    • Restricted with Indexing: This name was a bit confusing, so we changed it to just Restricted. This means the content is technically public and will show up in search results, but you have to either know the password or be in the appropriate IP range (or both!) to access it.
    • Fully Restricted: Again with the confusing name! So now, these groups are called Internal, because that’s their purpose: only folks with accounts can access these groups. They are not accessible unless you are logged in to your system. Think of Internal groups as internal sites where staff can log in and get guides for training, reference, policies, administration, etc. If you are logged in, you’ll see the groups listed on the public side.
  • User Permissions related to Groups: We changed up how group permissions are added; we liked the way LibAnswers v2 handles it, so LibGuides v2 works in a similar way. At the Account level, you can set a user’s permission level for each group in your system; at the Group level, you can set which users have access to the group, and at what level. Admins still have access to everything, but now Regular users can be Admins of a group, have their usual Regular access, have Read-Only access, or have No Access to create guides in that group. Editor level users can be added with their usual Regular access, Read-Only or No Access. Admins: Here’s how things are account level access is going to migrate with this new functionality:
    • Admin level users: Admins have access to everything, as usual.
    • Regular level users:
      • If users had the “Manage Groups” user permission, they will be made an Admin for each group in your system.
      • If users had the “Manage Groups” user permission and Group designations:
        • They will be made an Admin for each Group designated;
        • They will have Regular access for all other groups. (Same as current access.)
      • If users do not have the “Manage Groups” user permission, they will have Regular access for all groups. (Same as current access.)
    • Editor level users: Editors will have Regular access to groups that contain guides where they’re a Guide Editor. This means they’ll have the same access as before.

    After the release, Admins can then go to either the Group Edit screen (User Access tab) or to the Accounts screen and modify any user’s permission to one or more groups.

  • Guides in Internal Groups: If you add a guide to an Internal Group, its behavior will change slightly. The Sharing Restriction is enabled by default; it’s only visible on the public side if someone is logged in; Publication Status does not include Private, as these groups are basically private by default since they are Internal; these guides will not appear in the Public Content XML Export, widgets or API content.Guides in the current Fully Restricted (soon to be Internal) groups will function this way after the update.

Other Additions, Modifications, and Fixes:

  • LTI Improvements: You can now set a default page other than the homepage for the Full LibGuides option; there’s a new option to embed a Single Page from a guide; the Content Box embed has a new option to remove the box header / border.

    LTI Updates: checkbox to hide box header / borders.

    Click to view larger > Sample of embedded box with no header / borders.

  • CSS File Changes: Font color is now #333 (instead of #555) in boxes – it’s a little darker / easier to read; page titles are now a standard 24px (instead of 18px in guides and 36px on all other pages).
  • Additional Page Templates: There are now page templates for the main Subjects (sb.php) & Profile (prf.php) pages.
  • Top level pages with no content now display a sub-page list.

    Sub-page list on empty top level page.

    Pages: Top level pages which have no content, but do have sub-pages, now automatically display a list of sub-pages on the top-level page (in public view), as they did in v1.
    If you have created custom templates and would like to take advantage of this functionality, you need to add a keyword to your templates: {{empty_page_sub_page_list}}
    It should go directly after <div id=”s-lg-guide-main” class=”container s-lib-main s-lib-side-borders”> and before {{content}} (or your custom column HTML).

  • Fixes:
    • “Make this the default design for new guides” radio button is now “sticking” in Groups.
    • Tabbed Boxes: reordering content on a tab other than the 1st tab keeps you on the appropriate tab after saving.
    • Sub-Pages: when previewing a guide, sub-pages are now inheriting the Preview info; in the HTML backup, sub-pages are now linking to the appropriate place within the backup instead of the live guide.
    • iframe widget spacing issues have been fixed, so there are no more errors seen if you embed a box widget within your LibGuides.

LibAnswers 2.4 Update – LibChat Updates and Consortial Shared Systems

LibAnswers 2.4 is coming this weekend! This update will include improvements both large and small. We’re planning to roll this update out at 8:00am EDT this coming Saturday, May 30th. There will be no downtime for the overall LibAnswers system, with the exception of several minutes of downtime for users currently logged in to LibChat. Read on for more information about this exciting update!

LibChat Operator Screen Update

We’re in full-on spring cleaning mode, and the LibChat Operator Screen is our latest target. The upcoming interface update is a clean, modern dream – check it out:

sopSleek, right? The new design incorporates a lot of frequently requested features, plus some things we cooked up ourselves, including:

  • Redesigned Alerts – We know it can be tricky to scan the page when tons of new chats are coming in, so we’ve updated the look of all incoming notifications and alerts to make the information more scannable and easy to read.
  • Selective Queue Notifications – We expanded the “Receive alerts for incoming LibAnswers tickets” feature – now, you can choose to receive notifications for specific LibAnswers queues.
  • Responsive Improvements – The operator screen has been optimized so it looks great on any device.
  • Better Chat Window Resizing – We’ve improved the resizing capabilities of the chat window in the Operator pane

Consortial Shared Systems

We’re rolling out a brand new option in this update – it’s not as obvious as the LibChat Operator redesign, but trust us, it’s got some extremely exciting implications. :) We’re introducing a new way to connect your LibAnswers v2 system to another v2 system – what we’re calling Shared Systems. Once you’re joined up for sharing, you’ll be able to create chat departments and LibAnswers queues that are shared between the systems, so librarians at either site can claim, answer, and transfer questions back and forth.

There are a ton of potential uses for this new sharing functionality, but a big one is Consortiums, where multiple libraries staff a shared answering service. With this update, librarians in separate LibAnswers systems will be able to monitor and claim chats from a shared chat department, transfer live chats to librarians in other LibAnswers systems, and transfer tickets to Queues in other LibAnswers systems. In our next update, we’ll be adding shared Queue monitoring, so librarians in separate sites can monitor and answer tickets from the same Queue. It’s sharing at it’s finest!

The new Shared Systems feature is pretty awesome in Consortium setups, and it’s even more awesome if your library uses a separate service to staff your chat department in the off-hours. This update makes it super easy to create chat widgets that connect to your local library by default, but if no one from your local library is available, connect to the off-hours service. Best of all, we’ve also updated our statistics (shoutout to the data nerds!), so you can see all the relevant statistical data on shared chat departments, transfers, etc. regardless of which system answered.

If you’re ready to get sharing with another site on the LibAnswers v2 platform, just send an email to our support team to get the sharing party started. :)

Other Updates

  • LibChat API for Online/Offline Status – We’ve heard some rumblings from folks in the tech community that you’d like even more flexibility when it comes to designing your own widgets, so we’ve added a new API for detecting your LibChat service’s online/offline status.
  • Queue-level Macros & Views – We’ve also added more flexibility for queue-level administrators – now, they can create macros and views that apply for all users with access to that queue.

LibGuides 2.1.6 Coming Soon!

We’re bringing you some really exciting updates with v2.1.6, including a new LTI tool, enhancements to E-Reserves, custom column widths in tabbed-nav guides, and a bunch of great fixes. We’re aiming to release this update later this week Thursday, April 30th at 12pm Pacific. There will be no downtime. :)

LibApps LTI Tool for LibGuides CMS

With LibGuides v2, we made it easier to integrate your guides / content anywhere by introducing protocol-less widgets, which work via http and https, and a RESTful API. Now we’re going one step further – this new tool enables embedding of LibGuides CMS content into any LTI-compliant LMS (Canvas, Moodle, Blackboard, etc.).

This means you can log into your LMS, add the LibApps LTI tool, and embed away!Choose to embed full guides, specific boxes, and (coming soon) E-Reserves courses.

Want a sneak peek at how it works in Canvas? Check out the video below!

* Some LMSes, like Blackboard, may require that the LMS Admin add the LTI Tool before you’ll be able to use it in your course sites. You’ll need to refer to the LTI instructions for your LMS and your local policies to determine what you’ll need to do to use this tool in your system. Our LTI Tool guide walks you through getting to the configuration information and using the tool once it’s been added. :)

E-Reserves Enhancements

Next on the list of awesome are our enhancements to E-Reserves. This is phase 1 of enhancements – there will be more in the next release, so don’t you worry if the feature you were wishing for isn’t in this list. We have more great stuff on the horizon!

  • Statistics: Get the low down on how many times courses have been accessed and items viewed.
  • Open / Close All Folders: On the public side, use the links at the top to open or close all folders at once.
  • Associating Subjects with Courses: Allow folks to browse courses by subject by associating one or more subjects with the course.
  • Term Dates: We’ve added a date picker to make it easier to select the start and end dates for terms.
  • Delete Summaries: This is just like what we have for assets / boxes / pages / guides – when you’re deleting something from E-Reserves, the delete screen lets you know exactly what will be deleted if you continue with the process.
  • E-Reserves User Permissions (CMS Only): There was a bug with allowing Regular users permission to manage all E-Reserves content. That has been fixed. :)

Custom Column Width in Tabbed-Nav Guides

We added a Custom option (with a slider, since everyone loved that from v1 😉 ) to the column width options for tabbed-nav guides. You still have the option of 1, 2, 3, or 4 columns, but now you can move those sliders around to choose the column sizes you want vs. fitting things in to the default options we provide. The sizing is based on Bootstrap column widths, so it is all percentages, which helps your site be responsive to screen size.

Custom Column Widths

…And More! (Includes bug fixes / layout changes :) )

  • Skip Nav links have been added to all pages for accessibility.

    Template Change Notice

    • If you have (or create) custom page templates, make sure you do not remove the #s-lg-guide-main ID, as that is where the Skip Nav links bring the user to on the page.
    • If you have previously created custom page templates, you must add this keyword directly after the body tag in order for Skip Nav links to work on guides / pages using that template: {{skip_link}}
  • Added missing Language Options labels.
    Try as we might to get everything in one go, when there are 180+ labels to find, it was inevitable that we’d miss some. 😉 Thanks to our customers who made us aware of the missing labels!

    • No guides / groups / subjects / owners available. (When there aren’t any to display on a homepage.)
    • Next / Previous button text in guides.
    • Breadcrumbs:
      • Added one for Home (the homepage title on both system and group homepages)
      • Ensured Subjects, A-Z, etc., breadcrumbs use the page title label as defined in the Language Options area.
  • CSS Change for selected options on the Databases A-Z page.
    Selected items from the subjects, database types, and vendors drop downs will now be highlighted, so:

    • the user has a visual cue that they’re looking at a subset of databases based on a selection in those filters, and
    • the user understands that the filters work together – if you select from more than one drop down, it filters based on both selections; selecting from one drop down does not clear the selection made in the other.

    Thanks to Matt Reidsma for his post about making the change for the GVSU LibGuides site – another great example of system updates inspired by our clients! :)
    CSS change for selected filters on the Databases A-Z page.

  • Consolidation of Page Templates area in Look & Feel
    Whew, with all of the options for page templates in the Look & Feel area, it was making the tabs go into a 2nd row, which is something we always try to avoid. In order to make this list o’ pages (and Look & Feel options 😉 ) easier to use, we consolidated them under one heading. Now you’ll see an option for Page Templates with a dropdown menu where you can select the type: guide, homepage, etc.
    Consolidated Page Layout Template Menu
  • Guide Type List Ordering on the Homepage
    The Guide Type list on the homepage are now ordered properly, by the name of the type.
  • Subjects Breadcrumb Link
    If you had a multi-level friendly URL, the subjects breadcrumb wasn’t pointing to the right place…oops! That’s been fixed. 😉
  • Books from the Catalog ISBN Lookup
    Sometimes there’s no book data to display for an ISBN, but there is a book cover. That should now properly display even if there’s no other book data available. If there’s no Syndetics book cover to display, you’ll see an error message in the Book Cover Art area so you can choose a different option, if you want.
  • Content > Assets > Icons area now uses the same table layout as the other screens, including filtering options.

LibCal v2.2 Update Now Live

We’re super-excited about this LibCal v2 code update. It brings major new functionality to the system as well as several nice-to-haves and bug fixes:

  • 2-Way Sync with Outlook for MyScheduler. With the previous update which covered Google Calendar 2-way sync, we now have full integration with two most widely used enterprise calendar platforms. You can embed MyScheduler widgets on any webpage so that your patrons and faculty can easily schedule research consultations and other appointments with librarians, without concerns of booking apointments during the time your Outlook calendar shows another commitment. LibCal will give you detailed statistics how many appointments you had, when they happened, with whom, etc. – a great way to keep track of your time and show evidence of building one-to-one relationships with patrons and your community.
  • Expanded SAML Authentication Support. With LDAP, CAS, SAML, and Shibboleth support (we’re members of InCommon), you can easily restrict access to room bookings (and events) to only the members of your community. The expanded SAML support  now enables admins to fine-tune permissions for groups i.e. to book specific groups of rooms in your system by SAML group affiliation attributes.
  • More features: This update also brings improved mobile-view for room bookings pages, more customization options for button widgets, updated page templates for room bookings, etc.

Here’s more detail about each of these…

Outlook Integration with LibCal’s v2 My Scheduler

You can now push your Free/Busy Times from Outlook/Exchange into My Scheduler! This update is similar to the Google Calendar integration we announced last month. Many of you use Outlook for your personal calendaring, and until now, you had to manually remove availability times from My Scheduler whenever a new meeting came up. Duplicate that effort no more!

Configure My Scheduler to check your Outlook Calendar, and your busy times will be removed from the public side when someone books an appointment.


On the Admin side, those busy times are shown to you when you click “Add New Booking”.

For more details & help getting this awesome new feature set up, check out our guide to My Scheduler / Outlook information (authentication required).

We know you’re wondering–what about Calendars and Room Bookings?!  It’s not possible for those to sync automatically from Outlook into LibCal at this time due to the complexity of Events and Bookings, but we will be looking into more possibilities in the future.

Please note that Outlook Calendar Sync and Google Calendar Sync features are not available in LibCal 3/3/3 free installations.

Restrict SAML Users within Room Bookings

We recently announced authentication support for Room Bookings, and the feedback so far has been great! We’re continuing to expand this integration, and have great news for folks who are using SAML to authenticate users. You can now permit access to book specific groups of rooms in your system by SAML group affiliation attributes.

This is perfect for sites who permit only specific groups of users (like Faculty, Undergraduates, Users) to book specific spaces. Let’s say you have a group of instruction classrooms which should only be reserved by Faculty and Staff, but you also have a group of study rooms that should only be reserved by Undergraduate and Graduate students, this integration will be right up your alley!

Additional Updates

We’ve also added a few additional items in this release, including:

  • Button formatting for both MyScheduler and Room Booking widgets – create a graphic, button-y widget with fully customizable colors and button text
  • Improved Mobile-optimized view for the public Room Booking page
  • Updated Room Booking Email Templates – added a new token for Group Nickname
  • Room Booking Admin View – Now when you add availability for particular date ranges, the calendar display will show those dates in bold font (so you know which days do/don’t have availability added)

As always, thanks to everyone for your ideas and feedback!

Springshare Support Model: We’re Presenting @ Computers in Libraries!

Talia Richards

Talia Richards

Putting UX Into Customer Service: The Springshare Model

When: Tuesday, April 28th from 1:30pm – 2:15pm

Where: B203


Talia Richards, a Springy Librarian, will be presenting on how you can use Springshare’s model for customer service in your library. Drawing inspiration from real-world examples, Richards shares practical tips, strategies, and implementation techniques that illustrate ways in which libraries can better integrate the user experience into their customer service model.

She discusses best practices that have been extracted through successful interactions as well as those that resulted in giant fails. From email and phone calls to Twitter and Facebook, she provides actionable strategies that focus on the customer, customer experience, and a successful outcome for all.

CIL Conference Abstract

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Catch a Preview!


Putting UX into Customer Service

Putting UX into Customer Service