Archive for August 22, 2013

Meet LibStaffer – Web-based Staff Scheduling Management for Libraries

We love creating tools that make (professional) lives of busy librarians a little easier, a tad more efficient, and much more pleasant. As the saying goes, time is money so if we can save you time – especially when doing mundane tasks that “just need to be done” – that’s a big win in our book.

Let’s talk about one of these types of tasks: staff scheduling for various service points and departments. It’s all about spreadsheets, post it notes, endless back-and-forth about who can work when, where, how to swap shifts when needs arise, who to staff at which desk, how to let everyone know of any changes, etc. To add complication, most academic libraries have student assistants who have limited schedule and can only work a certain number of hours,  public libraries have volunteers who can commit only a certain number of hours as well, and school libraries have parents and other volunteers who’d love to help if things can work around their already-busy schedules.

“There must be a better way”, we thought. How about a simple web-based system that takes into account the availability of each staff member, their other responsibilities, the max # of hours they can work, their shift preferences… and it makes it easy to change things when needed, i.e. swap shifts, and organize everything in one place, with awesome statistics to boot. Meet LibStaffer – a web-based staff scheduling system for Academic, Public, School, and Special libraries. With LibStaffer you can:

  • Define and Develop Schedules for:
    • Desk staffing 
    • Services staffing (virtual reference, telephone support, etc.)
    • Department coverage
    • Student Employees
    • Library Volunteers
  • Get the Whole Picture
    LibStaffer shows you the schedules for all your services and departments in one place, with a variety of view options (daily/weekly/monthly, Timeline-based views, etc.). Filter those views to target shifts that still need coverage, filled shifts, shifts by staff member, etc.
  • Effortlessly Create Repeat Shifts
    Set up shifts once, and repeat them for as long as you like! Label and color-code your shifts for clarity, set the number of staff required to fill the shift, and even add notes so people know what to do during that shift.
  • Auto Schedule Shifts
    Assign each staff member “Favorite” shifts to create a repeating schedule in a snap! Plug in a date range, and Auto Scheduler takes care of assigning staff to shifts. We automatically resolve things like:

    • Assigning staff to preferred shifts
    • Scheduling conflicts across calendars
    • Time-off requests
    • Weekly / Monthly maximum work hours per staff member
  • Manage Time-off Requests Online
    Staff can request time off using categories that you define (Vacation, Sick leave / Dr.’s appointments, Conference Travel, etc.). Admins can approve & deny these requests, and leave notes for clarification.
  • Shift Swaps
    Optionally allow staff to swap assigned shifts automatically, or require Admin approval.

LibStaffer is only a month or so from official release, so we’re looking for a few forward-thinking libraries to participate in our “Fast-track Beta” to help us figure out the last few details before release.

Update: Thanks to overwhelming interest, we are no longer accepting beta site applications. To sign up for LibStaffer updates and be the first to know when it’s available, email us at sales@springshare.com.

Springy Products, Public Libraries, and Younger Adults

Chart_Pie_48No one has given them a cutesy label yet—thank goodness for that—but 16-29 year olds have been identified by Pew Research as a key and, in many ways, surprising demographic for public libraries.

The under-30 crowd has particular needs and particular ways they want their needs met. Pew’s recent report “Young Americans’ Library Habits and Expectations” says members of this age group are not only heavy technology users, but “value a mix of traditional and technological library services.”

Are you looking for ways to bridge the gaps—between the traditional and the technological and between you and your young users? Let Springy products help.

  • Mobile telephone_48Online Here, There, Anywhere. Younger adults are one-third more likely than the general adult population to have visited a library’s website, both in the library and remotely, reports Pew. What’s more, 40% of them have accessed library services and resources via a mobile device. Springy products let you reach this key group in what you might call their natural habitat. (All Springy products are mobile-ready, natch.)
  • Answers at Their Fingertips. 16-29 year olds are 25% less likely than older Americans to get help from a librarian when visiting a library, reports Pew. But 77% of them say they would be likely to use an online Ask a Librarian service. Ring any bells? If you have LibAnswers, make sure you’re keeping these most-likely-to-ask patrons in mind. Don’t have LibAnswers yet? Here’s another good reason to add it to your suite of services.la16-29
  • Wazzup? (And When?) Nearly two-thirds of 16-29 year olds say it’s very important for public libraries to provide free events and activities, such as classes and cultural events, for people of all ages. At the same time, they’re less likely than older adults to be aware of what the library has to offer. Reach them where they’re at. Put your events online in LibCal and make them easy to find.
    lc16-29

Public librarians: how would you use Springy products to reach 16-29 year olds and keep them as library regulars now and in the future.  Read the Pew report and share your ideas with other Springy librarians in the comments.