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LibAnswers 2.17 – iFrame Chat is Here!

We have some exciting LibAnswers features to share, including a new chat option to make the patron chat experience seamless, even while browsing between pages!

iFrame Chat

Picture this: you’re in the middle of guiding a patron on how to use a particular resource and poof, the patron suddenly disappears. Odds are the patron has clicked on a new link in the page, navigating away from the page where the chat was embedded. Here at Springy HQ we’ve been giving a lot of thought to how this experience can be prevented, and in that spirit we’re thrilled to bring you the brand new iFrame Chat feature. Walking patrons through complicated research questions and database searches has never been easier!

Here’s how it works: Patrons will now see a new icon in the chat window to Launch iFrame Chat – when clicked, this will relaunch the page they’re currently viewing in an iFrame, with the current chat session overlaid on top. Patrons can browse to any URL in the underlying page (or any URL you share with them in Chat) – no matter where they go, the chat window remains overlaid on top. This greatly reduces the disappearing patron effect, and make it heaps easier to walk patrons through complicated web or database searches.

Once a patron launches iFrame chat, this is what they’ll see – the page they were viewing loads within a frame, with the chat window overlaid on top. Patrons can search, click links within the frame or in the chat window, etc. – the chat window remains floating on top of the frame:

Worried your patrons won’t discover this new feature on their own? Fear not – we’ve also included a new button in the chat operator window to Suggest iFrame Chat. This button sends a prompt to the patron to Launch iFrame Chat. You’ll see an in-chat notification when the patron switches into iFrame mode.

Good to know: some websites employ iFrame busting software, which causes the patron to see a blank white screen within the frame. If this happens, the patron can leave iFrame chat mode, either by returning to the first page they started from, or popping the chat window out of the frame.

Dashboard View & Ticket Improvements

Filterable ViewsViews are one of the unsung heroes of LibAnswers – they make it easy to customize the tickets you see on the dashboard, by filtering to just the queues, tags, owners, etc. you’re most interested in. Previously, when you switched to a particular view, the filters on the dashboard would disappear. Now, when you click on a view, the filters will continue to display, meaning you can use each view as a starting point and continue to refine your options. And to make views even handier, we’ve added a new “My Tickets” view to all views, so it’s easy to jump to just your new and pending tickets.

User History – In this release we’ve also made it a bit easier to see the full history of a conversation with a specific patron, right from the ticket answer page. We’ve updated the link so it’s easier to find, and we’ve improved the modal window that displays past ticket information, so it’s easier to see all open/pending/closed tickets from the same person at a glance.

New Typeahead Menu – We’ve revamped the formatting for the predictive search dropdown menu, shared by all search boxes throughout LibAnswers. The new menu is fully accessible/keyboard friendly, and we’ve added search term highlighting to the results, so it’s easy to spot how a result relates to a search query.

LibCal 2.12 – Hours Module Improvements and More now Live!

LibCal Hours Exceptions System-wide

We’ve been busy beavers here at Springy HQ, and we have several fun new features to share!

We’re making the hours module easier to manage and rolling out several great quality of life features, just in time for the holidays!

Hours Module Improvements

  • New Daily Hours Widget – We’ve added a new widget to the hours module to make sharing your open hours a breeze! The new Daily Hours Widget displays your library’s hours in a simple grid, and includes quick links to jump to the next day’s hours. To check out the new widget, head to Admin > Hours > Widgets > Daily Hours.
  • Universal Exceptions – We know how time consuming it can be to enter exceptions for each library and department that you manage in the Hours Module, so we’re making things easier! Now, when you create an exception for one department/library, you can choose to apply that exception either to all departments within a library, or all libraries and departments – no more duplication! Head to Admin > Hours > Exceptions and look for the new “Copy To” option.
  • Copy Hours Template – Another improvement aimed at simplifying hours management, you’ll now see an option to Copy Hours Template, instead of creating each hours template from scratch. This should make life much easier when you just have minor modifications to make to an existing template. Head to Admin > Hours > Weekly Templates to see the new option.

New in Equipment and Spaces

  • Email Digest for Mediated Bookings – We’ve added a new email digest to alert you when there are pending Equipment or Space reservations that are waiting on mediation. These emails are a “digest” of all pending requests, and are sent once an hour to all named mediators, ie those with approve/deny rights. Even better, we’re also including quick approve/deny links right in the email text, so mediators can approve/deny these requests right from their inbox! It’s a super handy way to make managing mediated Equipment & Space bookings a snap.
  • Email Notification for Admin Cancelled Bookings – If for some reason you need to cancel a patron’s existing equipment or space reservation, you’ll now see an option to send an email alert to that patron and alert them of the change.
  • Setting: User Must Cancel By: We’ve added a setting in Spaces to control when a user must give up their reservation. This is particularly handy if you have cagey students who try to get around any booking limits you may have in place by canceling their booking just before it’s set to end. To enable this setting, head to Edit Space Category > Booking Limits.
  • Setting: Limit to X number of reservations at one time –  We’ve also added a new limiter to control how many reservations a user can have at one time. This works similarly to our existing limiters but isn’t limited by time – so instead of only being able to have x number of reservations in a week, they can only have x number of upcoming registrations at one time. For your patron, this means that as soon as an existing reservation ends, they’ll then be able to create a new reservation. To enable this setting, head to Edit Space Category > Booking Limits.

Additional Improvements

  • Optimized Explorer Pages – We discovered that running reports in the Spaces and Event Explorers could take a very long time to load, so we optimized things – now running reports in the Explorer pages should be zippy!
  • Time Pickers Default to Hour-on-the-Hour – We’ve updated all of the time pickers throughout the system to default to hours on the hour. Ex say your event starts at 3pm, and you’re creating the event at 2:14pm – previously when you clicked on “3” in the time picker, the start time was entered as 3:14pm, and you had to go back and click “00” to get the event started on the hour. Now when you select a time, we’ll default to each hour on the hour, so you won’t need to explicitly click “00” to have an event start on the hour.
  • Export all Event Registration Info – For you data lovers out there, you can now export all event registration info for multiple events at one time! To see this in action, head to any Calendar’s Event Explorer page; limit your search to a specific booking form and make sure “Show Registration Responses” is set to Yes, then run the report and select Export. The resulting excel file will include registration info for each event registrant, including booking form responses!

LibCal 2.11 – Event Updates and More are Live!

The LibCal 2.11 release is live, and we have loads to tell you about! We’ve redesigned the Manage Event Screens to bring you many new event management features, plus Event Templates are here! Read on for all the details.

New Manage Event Screens

So many of you have asked us for additional features and functionality for managing events – marking attendance, more email flexibility, etc. When we coded all this we realized that the modal for the event editing was too small for all this additional functionality, so we created a separate page for event management. This gives us (and you) a lot more breathing room and the ability to add several great new management features. To see the new pages, from any Calendar, click on an event and select Manage Event. There you’ll find great new features, including…

  • Event Notes – We’ve added an easy way to share internal information about an event with colleagues – event notes are here! These notes appear in the event modal and on the event overview tab, but never appear to the public. They’re perfect for sharing information about event setup information, like technology setup information or who’s bringing refreshments. To add a note to an event, head to Manage Event > Overview and add a new note.
  • Confirm Attendance – A hugely popular request, we’ve added a method to track which event registrants actually attended an event! Head to Manage Event > Registrations > Confirm Attendance column, and check off the actual attendees as they arrive. This setting will also make it easy to email only the registrants who actually attended your event after the event takes place – just select “Add Attendees” from the Email Attendees tab to insert the email addresses of just the folks who attended your event. This is especially handy for sending a satisfaction/follow up email after an event takes place!
  • View User History – We’ve added a new report to show all of the events a user has registered for, so it’s easy to see which of your users are power users! Just head to Manage Registrations/Waitlist and select View User History to see a list of all events a user has registered for – and even better, if you’re using the Confirm Attendance option, we’ll show you all of the events they actually attended as well!
  • Search Registrations – We’ve added a simple search box to the Registrations and Waitlist tabs, so it’s easier to find a specific person’s registration info.
  • View Cancelled Attendees – We’ve added a new tab that shows all attendees whose registration was cancelled – plus, you’ll be able to see whether the registration was cancelled by the patron, or by an admin. This is especially useful for outreach and user satisfaction efforts – if someone cancelled, consider following up with them to see why, in order to tailor your services to patron needs. Head to Manage Event > Cancelled to see the list of cancelled attendees.
  • Send Rich Text Emails – We’ve also update the Email Attendees tab to include a Rich Text Editor, so it’s easier than ever to send patrons emails that contain basic text formatting and images, without having to muck around with HTML. 🙂 Head to the Email Attendees tab to find the new options.

Event Templates

Awesome news for sites that manage large numbers of events! We’re adding a new Event Template management area, so you can create templates that contain the basic information – things like Title, Description, Start/End Time, padding, registration details… everything you might need to create a new event in a flash! To start creating event templates, Admins can head to Admin > Calendars > Event Templates.

And even better, if you have an existing event that you’d like to turn into a template, Admins can select that event from the Calendar screen and use the dropdown to select “Create Template from Event”. We hope this makes it that much easier to transition to the new Event Template options – managing large numbers of events has never been easier!

Equipment and Spaces Updates

  • Spaces Widgets in LTI Tool – If you’ve integrated the LibApps LTI tool in your LMS system, good news – Spaces widgets are now fully integrated, so you can easily add a widget for booking a space to any page in your LMS! This makes it easy for students to reserve spaces in the library without having to leave the LMS environment, and integrates the booking process right at point of need.
  • Copy Space – We’re always looking for ways to make the site setup process easier, so we’re happy to introduce a new Copy Space function for the Spaces module. As you’re setting up Spaces, you’ll see a new option to Copy Space – this pulls all the key information about a space (including Description, Terms & Conditions, Room Capacity, Booking Form, Image, etc.) into a new Space record, making setup a snap!
  • Spaces Filter in Event Explorer – The Event Explorer contains an option to filter by location – previously, only system locations and Rooms were appearing. We’ve updated this filter to include Spaces, so now you can search all 3 possible locations at once.
  • Consolidate Sequential Bookings – For some folks migrating from Room Booking to Spaces, we’ve discovered that there are some patrons who are still booking multiple timeslots back to back instead of using the dropdown menu to select their preferred duration. We’re now consolidating those individual bookings into one continuous booking.
  • Admin Recurring Booking: Error Message Update – Previously, when admins created recurring bookings and there was a conflict with one of those bookings on certain dates, the error messages weren’t making it clear that some of the bookings would not go through. We’ve updated this behavior so it’s clearer that some bookings will not go through.

MyScheduler Updates

  • View Past & Cancelled Bookings via API – We’ve lifted some prior restrictions on the MyScheduler API, so you can now access bookings which happened in the past, and cancelled bookings. To view the available APIs, head to Admin > API > MyScheduler.
  • We squashed a bug in MyScheduler Widgets, where the first group’s appointment availability options were being applied to all groups. Now, as you change group selection in the widget, the availability options will update as expected.

Accessibility Updates

  • We’ve fixed an accessibility issue with the “close” link in MyScheduler widgets by updating the link reference so it’s no longer empty.
  • We’ve addressed several accessibility issues with the Today’s Hours widget – they now include <th> elements and have the proper role=’presentation’ attribute, so they’re now fully accessible!

Coming Soon: Mediated Equipment & Space Email Digest

Looking for email alerts when patrons make a request for mediated items and spaces? Coming in the next few days, we’re adding a new email digest to alert you when there are pending Equipment or Space reservations that are waiting on mediation. These emails are a “digest” of all pending requests, and are sent once an hour to all mediators who can approve a booking. Even better, we’re also including quick approve/deny links right in the email text, so mediators can approve/deny these requests right from their inbox! It’s a super handy way to make managing mediated Equipment & Space bookings a snap. 🙂

LibAnswers 2.16 Update – Sharing Images is Here!

The LibAnswers 2.16 update rolled out this morning, and we’re thrilled to bring you some fresh updates to Social Media Management!

Get Social – Now With Images!

Exciting news – the LibAnswers Social Media Management tool is about to get even more social!  You can now send and receive images via Twitter and Facebook. It’s never been easier to share content and provide best-of-the-best customer service to your patrons. You’ll find this new functionality both in the Social Media Stream, as well as on ticket answer pages when replying to Tweets and Facebook Messages. Sharing and receiving images makes it that much easier to engage your patrons and catch their attention – whether it’s pics of the latest library events or your arsenal of shocked response gifs, LibAnswers is ready!

To upload an image to a new Twitter or Facebook post, just head to the create post screen and use the handy dandy image uploader to select the image you want to share. Replying to social tickets is just as easy – just head to the ticket screen and use the image uploader to start sharing!

A note re: Twitter Direct Messages: Twitter’s Direct Message (DM) APIs are a little different than their public tweet APIs, so images sending and receiving works a little differently for DMs. It’s possible to receive images via DM, but it’s not currently possible to send images via DM (though we’re hoping to support this soon). In addition, you must be logged in to Twitter and have an active login cookie in order to view received images in LibAnswers.

LibStaffer 2.5 Update Now Live!

Our latest LibStaffer update hits on a couple of major requested features, including staff claiming unfilled shifts (without having to go through a schedule admin), staff “favoriting” their own shifts, and tons of nice-to-have improvements to various schedule views.

Staff can Claim Available Shifts

As one of our most requested features, we’re thrilled to bring you the ability to claim unfilled shifts, without having to go through a schedule admin. To enable the feature, Admins should head to Admin > Schedule Settings > Modify Schedule. You’ll find a new option for “Allow Staff to Claim Shifts?”, along with settings to control how far in advance a schedule should be opened up (anywhere from 1-6 weeks). Once enabled, schedule admins will see an additional option when creating/editing a shift for “Enable Shift Claiming?” – use this to designate which shifts in a schedule should be available for claiming.

When you use this option, schedule admins build a schedule as usual, but choose which shifts can be claimed and which need to be assigned – this is great if you have some shifts that need to be filled by particular people (like a supervisory shift) and others that can be filled by anyone. Assign a portion of those shifts to staff members and leave others open, or leave all shifts unassigned. Your staff members then head to the Open Shifts tab, where they’ll see all of the available shifts in your schedule and can “claim” the ones they want. Easy as 1-2-3!

Staff can “Favorite” shifts

We’ve got great news in store for those of you who use the auto scheduler to create schedules: staff can now designate their own “Favorite” shifts, so everyone can volunteer to work the shifts they like best! Schedule admins will find this setting under Admin > Schedule Settings > Modify Schedule > Allow Staff to mark shifts as favorite?

When enabled, your staff will see a new option in the Schedules tab – as they hover over the shifts in your schedule, they’ll see a prompt to “Click shift to add/remove as favorite”. Favoriting a shift doesn’t necessarily assign them to the shift, but it does make them much more likely to be assigned to a particular shift when filling a schedule with the auto scheduler. This makes it much easier to keep track of staff preferences, while still ensuring fairness – if everyone favorites the same shift(s), auto-scheduler will attempt to distribute assignments fairly, so everyone gets a shot at the best shifts.

Improvements to Schedule Views

  • Time Off Overlay: Filter by Staff Member – Previously, when you viewed a schedule with the time off overlay, you saw everyone’s time off, even if you’d filtered by certain staff members. Now, if you’ve filtered by particular staff members, you’ll only see their time off instead of all time off.
  • Filter Shifts by Multiple Staff Members – Previously when viewing a schedule or looking at multi schedule view, you could only filter that view by one staff member at a time. We’ve expanded this functionality, so you can filter by multiple staff members across multiple calendars and see both shift assignments and time off, which gives you a much fuller staffing picture!

Additional Updates and Fixes

  • We’ve updated LibStaffer so all pages load in HTTPS, so your staff information is secure by default.
  • We fixed a small bug with the “Save and Assign Shift” button – in some cases, this was only saving the shift and not directing to the assign shift screen. This should now work as intended – once you click “Save and Assign Shift, you’ll head to the assign shift screen.
  • We fixed another small bug where inactive users could still be assigned to shifts, even though their account was inactive. Now an inactive user won’t show up in the list of people who can be assigned to a shift.

Want to learn more? Sign up for our custom training session this Thursday, October 26th, where we’ll discuss these new features and more! Head to http://calendar.springshare.com/event/3691324 to register.

LibAnswers 2.14 Update Now Live!

The hits just keep coming – we have new LibAnswers features to share! These updates are all about providing timely reminders and notifications, plus additional protection from viruses in file attachments and exciting news about what’s coming in LibChat. Read on for more…

Custom Email Alerts

We’re adding several new customizable email and SMS alerts, to help manage your LibAnswers system and keep on top of emergencies as they happen! These real-time alert features truly make LibAnswers a must-have help desk system and a necessity at any library. We’re introducing two new types of alerts:

Email & SMS alerts that trigger when many tickets show up in a short period of time

Think of these as “emergency alerts”, as they’re built to provide immediate notification when something unexpected is happening, so you can troubleshoot immediately. Admins can set up special email/SMS alert triggers that notify a custom list of emails/SMS numbers when either:

  • a specific number of tickets arrive in the system in a short amount of time (so ex when a lot of people are reporting that a database is down), or
  • Any tickets with a specific keyword shows up (so ex if a patron emails them with something that includes the word “emergency”, notify this list of people)

Periodic reminder alert email to remind people to answer their open tickets

One of our highly requested features! Admins can set up automatic reminder emails – either to a custom list of email addresses OR to individual ticket owners, to alert/remind them about particular things, including:

  • When a librarian has tickets that have been open for X days
  • When a librarian has tickets that have been open for X days and the patron is waiting on a reply
  • When there are X number of unclaimed tickets in your system

To set up both of these types of alerts, Admins can head to Admin > Queues > Edit Queue > Notifications > Customized Alerts.

Virus Scanning for File Attachments

We’re adding antivirus scanning to all file uploads in LA, so if the patron or the librarian attempt to upload a file that contains a virus, it will be rejected by the system. If patrons attempts to upload a file with a virus, the file will be rejected, BUT the system will display a note to that effect (so you’ll know that they attempted to share a file with XYZ name, but that it was rejected).

Coming Soon: Chat Updates

We’re already busy working on the next update which will come your way in June and will contain awesome new LibChat functionality – we can’t wait to share the news with you soon… 🙂

LibCal 2.7.0 Now Live!

Holy smokes, do we have a ton of new features in LibCal to share! This release brings major improvements and updates to the Equipment and Spaces modules, plus great new features for Calendars and Events.

Room Booking -> Spaces Migration

As of this release, we’re making it possible for EVERYONE to upgrade to Spaces from the existing Room Booking module, at no cost. Spaces is really the future of Room Booking – it’s built using a more flexible framework and packed with frequently requested features from folks using the Room Booking module. This includes:

  • Each reservation is a continuous block – Patrons don’t need to sign up for individual time slots anymore – each reservation is treated as a continuous block of time. Changing or cancelling a reservation is much easier now, rather than editing individual time slots.
  • Availability tied to the hours module – This is big. The new Spaces module displays availability based on the hours you define in the hours module, so you no longer have to maintain information in two places!
  • Reserve Equipment and Spaces at the same time – If you subscribe to the full Equipment module, patrons and admins can reserve everything they need in the same reservation – space and equipment at once.
  • Full Read/Write APIs – Read/Write APIs are now available for both Equipment and Spaces. Integrate with existing room panel systems, with your mobile app, build your own front end for reservations… the possibilities are endless.

To start the migration from Room Bookings to Spaces, admins can head to Admin > Equipment and Spaces to get started. And to test drive the new Equipment module, contact sales@springshare.com for more info and a free trial!

New in Equipment Booking

  • Mediated Equipment Bookings – A hugely popular request! Now, equipment reservations can be mediated in the same way as space and room reservations. Setting up mediation is a two-step process:
    • First, choose who can approve mediated requests by going to Admin > Equipment and Spaces > Edit Location > Who can Mediate Bookings?
    • Then, choose which item categories should be mediated by heading to Admin > Equipment and Spaces > Manage Equipment > Edit Category > Mediation and choose “Patron bookings require manual approval by nominated mediators”
  • Custom Item, Space, and Category Availability – Create custom availability hours for individual equipment items, spaces, and categories throughout the Equipment Booking module. This is particularly useful if you’re managing multiple spaces or items which have different periods of availability. To customize hours, head to the relevant edit screen (edit item, edit space, or edit category) and click on “hours” to set custom hours.
  • Recurring Bookings (Admins only) – New for both Equipment and Spaces – Admins can now create recurring bookings from the admin side of the system! This is great if you have an event that repeats, like a class or book club that meets every Monday night. Set up a reservation that repeats for as long as your Equipment and Spaces are available – yay for easy!
  • Friendly URLs for Categories and Locations – Create friendly URLs for both equipment and space categories as well as locations! Head to the relevant edit screen (edit category or edit location) to choose your preferred friendly URL.
  • Add and Check Out – Create an equipment reservation and check the item(s) out in one fell swoop. You’ll see a new button on the admin booking confirmation page to “Check Out Equipment”. This will immediately check the item(s) out, so you don’t have to look up the same reservation you just created.
  • Ban a user from creating new reservations and checkout items if they have fines or overdues – If people owe too much in fines or have an item that’s overdue, prevent them from creating additional reservations and checkouts. Better yet, customize the amount of fines it will take to trigger a block. For setup, head to Admin > Equipment and Spaces > Settings > User Banning.
  • Return time option for Daily Bookings > Booking extends to same hour next day – A new setting for patrons to choose what time they intend to return an item. Patrons are still restricted to booking only a certain number of days, but we’re defining the end of a “day” in a less literal way, so patrons can choose any time on the final day of the reservation to return the item. To use this setting, head to Admin > Equipment and Spaces > Edit Category > Daily Bookings.
  • Booking Explorer Updates – The booking explorer now supports multiple search modes and full content export, including custom booking form responses. We’ve also added new ‘Grouping’ functionality, which shows things like how many minutes people have booked in certain time periods, or how many minutes a particular room has been booked. To check out these changes, head to Equipment/Spaces > Booking Explorer.

New in Spaces

  • Space Booking Widgets – Another highly requested item! We now have customizable widgets as part of the spaces module, so patrons can reserve spaces from any webpage. To start using the new spaces widgets, head to Spaces > Widgets.
  • Space Capacity – Define the capacity for each space you manage, so patrons can filter all availability views for spaces that will fit the number of people in their group! Capacity is a new setting on the edit space screen, and you’ll see capacity filters on the public spaces category and widget screens.

New in Calendars & Events

  • Setup/Teardown for Events – We made it easy to create setup and teardown padding around the events you create in LibCal, so you’ll be able to reserve a space or room for the entire time the event runs. This time doesn’t display on the public side of the system, and is used solely for calculating the location/space reservation time – so internally, people know the space is busy, but patrons will only see the actual event time.
  • Book a Space when creating an Event – Another awesome integration – you can now reserve a space when you create a new event! This will display as an option once you’ve fully migrated to the new Spaces module. Just head to the add/edit event screen and you’ll see all available spaces listed in the Location field.
  • Create an Event from a Space Reservation – When a patron requests a space (or an admin creates a space reservation on the admin side), use that space reservation to generate a new event to display on the public calendar. This is very useful for folks scheduling instruction sessions – just have your faculty members submit a space reservation, then creating a publicly-viewable event with one click, so students know where their instruction session will be held!
  • New Search API Endpoint – Perfect for integrating LibCal search results in 3rd party applications! Admins can head to Admin > API > event_search API to start using the new functionality.
  • New Search Engine – We’ve also updated the underlying search engine used for LibCal events – now, standard boolean terms (and, or, not) are fully supported.

New in MyScheduler

  • MyScheduler: Tie Duration categories to a Group – Have you tried our new MyScheduler Appointment Categories? We’re expanding that great new functionality so different “Groups” of MyScheduler users can offer different types of appointments. To customize appointment category assignments, admins can head to Admin > MyScheduler Settings > Manage Groups > Associate Categories.

LibStaffer 2.3 Now Live!

We have a small LibStaffer update to share this morning, that’s packed with nice to have improvements! From preventing back to back shift scheduling to improved communication via notes and emails, to the new inactive account level, there are lots of little goodies to love!

Prevent Back to Back Shift Scheduling

Are your staff feeling overworked and tired of working shifts back to back? Then we’ve got great news – we’ve added a new setting in the Auto Scheduler to prevent staff from being scheduled for back to back shifts! Plus, we’ve added an optional “grace period” to help avoid shifts that aren’t technically back to back, but that start/end fairly close to each other. For example, if a staff member is assigned to a shift from 9-10am, and you assign a one hour grace period, that staff member won’t be assigned to another shift until after 11am. You’ll find this new setting built into the Auto Scheduler screen.

Inactive Account Level

This feature will be a huge plus, particularly for sites that manage seasonal or transitional employees (such as student employees that change from semester to semester) – we’ve added an inactive account level for LibStaffer accounts. Inactive account holders won’t be able to log in to your LibStaffer system, and they don’t count against your account subscription. However they’ll continue to display in your historic reports, so you retain an accurate picture of staffing at different times in history.

Good to know: when you set an account to inactive, the account holder will be removed from all future shifts, but they’ll remain assigned to any shifts in the past for reporting purposes. To set an account to inactive, head to Admin > Accounts > Edit Account.

Expanded Shift Notes

We’ve added a couple of popularly requested features for shift notes, to help improve communication with staff. When emailing staff, admins now have the option to include relevant shift notes within the email – a great way to send out additional reminders to make sure everyone is on the same page! We’ve also corrected a small oversight – shift notes will now display to regular level users, both from the dashboard as well as from the overall schedule page. Hooray for increased communication with staff!

Email Updates

We’ve added a few key updates to the email functionality available in LibStaffer:

  • Shift Supervisors can now choose which employees should receive schedule reminder emails. Previously you could either send emails to all staff with an assigned shift, or to one specific staff member. Now we’ve included checkboxes so you can pick which staff should receive an email notification.
  • We’ve also added a cc field to schedule reminder emails, so you can email people who aren’t assigned to a schedule with information on upcoming shift staffing.
  • Shift Supervisors can also now send a general email to staff from within LibStaffer. This is a great way to make announcements to staff apart from schedule reminders – great for things like policy changes, staff reminders and the like.
  • And we’ve added a couple of new email notifications for the following situations:
    • Admin(s) now get an email notification when a time off request is submitted.
    • Schedule admins now get an email notification when an open shift has been picked up.

LibAnswers 2.12.0 Encryption Update Now Live

Exciting news for LibAnswers subscribers, especially for those of you who are concerned about ensuring patron privacy (so, everyone, right?? 😉 ) – in today’s release, we’re rolling out encryption for key patron identifying information as it’s being stored in the LibAnswers database (aka “at rest”). This is one more step in our continuing efforts to ensure that patron data is safe and secure.

Patron Data Encrypted At Rest

Your patrons’ email address and SMS numbers are now encrypted as they’re being stored in the LibAnswers database, as long as they’re in fields that we know to contain email and SMS numbers, ie this does not yet apply to information shared in the text of a patron’s reply. There’s nothing you need to do to opt in to this change – as of this morning, all key patron email addresses and SMS numbers have been encrypted. This also won’t impact your ability to see the “history” of transactions with specific patrons or to run statistics.

Additional Bug Fixes

While testing for the big Encryption update, we ran into a few small bugs which we squashed like Godzilla. Here’s the rundown:

  • Reply Editing – Sometimes patron replies that are submitted into the system can either show up as too long (where they include the entire reply thread in a single reply), or too short (where a key piece of information gets cut off). To help with these, we’ve added a new option to edit the patron’s reply, so you can simplify or clarify individual patron replies. To do this, head to any ticket with patron replies, click the cog icon on a particular reply, and select “Edit Reply” – this will bring up the text of the original patron reply alongside a rich text editor, which you can use to edit the reply’s content.
  • Manage Assets: Edit File & Click Filename – We noted a couple of small issues on the Manage Assets screen, where clicking on an asset’s title didn’t do anything (instead of loading a preview of the file as intended), and editing a file lead to some pretty odd errors. We’ve squashed both of these issues – to see the fixes in action, head to Admin > Manage Assets.
  • Chat Widgets Now Load via HTTPS – This has been an optional setting for LibChat, but in this update we’ve streamlined things so that chat widgets now load via HTTPS by default, so patron chats load via SSL right from the get go.
  • Systems Status Management: Image Manager – We realized the image manager icon was missing from the product description field – oops! This is now back – Admins, head to Admin > System Status Management > Edit Product and you’ll see it’s back.
  • API Issues:
    • There was a minor issue where the search API was not properly returning the total number of results, which we’ve since quashed.
    • There was also an issue where adding an IP restriction for the API wasn’t being applied properly to widget – this is also fixed.
  • Accessibility Updates:
    • We’ve added an aria label to the hamburger menu (visible when viewing a site on a mobile device).
    • For screenreaders, we’ve added aria-hidden=true to the hidden input for the typeahead widget, as it was causing accessibility errors.

LibCal 2.6.4.2 Equipment Booking Update Now Live

Lots more updates for the Equipment and Spaces module coming your way! With this update we’re focusing on the admin side of Equipment and Spaces, so managing items and loans is as seamlessly easy as one could imagine. From redesigned loan management screens with all new editing and emailing functionality built in, to reconfigured item and category management screens, plus a sprinkling of new features on top – this update has a ton to love, so let’s dive in!

Redesigned Checkin/Checkout/Overdue Tabs

We’ve updated the look and feel of the Equipment Checkin, Checkout and Overdue tabs, with a dual goal of adding more functionality and making the page easier to use. The new layout should make it easier to manage large numbers of items on the same page, by moving from a tile based layout to something more streamlined. In addition, we’re adding a quick “email patron” function right to these pages, so it’s easy to stay in touch with folks who have upcoming and overdue reservations! Plus, we’ve added simple edit and cancel booking function to the Checkin and Overdue tabs, so you can edit relevant information from any of the admin tabs. Check it out:

In addition to updating the Checkout, Checkin and Overdue tabs, we’ve also updated the Booking Explorer page – you can now edit or cancel bookings and email patrons from the Booking Explorer.

Redesigned Edit Item and Category Screens

We also took the opportunity to greatly simplify the navigation of the Admin Edit Item and Edit Category screens by consolidating the “Manage Categories” and “Manage Items” functionality into a single page, organized by panels. These two features were previously presented on two separate screens, which felt a bit disconnected. With these changes, the relationship between Categories and Locations should be much clearer, and hopefully it will be easier to keep track of which items belong to which categories.

Plus Bonus Features – We couldn’t leave the Edit Item and Category pages without adding some new functionality, so we also added a couple of nice to have features, including:

  • Reorder Categories & Sort Categories By Name – You can now customize the order in which categories display in Equipment and Spaces! This is a great option if you’d like to feature a few items at the top of the list, or sort by most popularly requested item category. To sort, head to Admin > Equipment and Spaces > Edit Location > Equipment > Re-order Categories.
  • New Minimum Duration Setting – We’ve added a new setting so you can control the minimum length of time required to book a reservation. This is particularly useful for folks who may not be lending items locally, ie if you need time to mail an item out and back, you can now ensure that a reservation must last a certain number of days to make transit possible.

Support for Public Nicknames in Spaces

New for the “Spaces” portion of Equipment and Spaces, we’re adding support for public nicknames. A public nickname is essentially a public moniker that a person signing up for a space might give their group – this displays on the public side of the system, so group members can efficiently look for where their group might be meeting. This is an ideal way to make relevant information about a booking display on the public side of the system without exposing any personal identifying information for group members. To enable this setting for your spaces, head to Admin > Equipment and Spaces > Edit Location > Spaces > Edit Category > Enable Public Nickname.

Even better, we’ve added some great new features to the way nicknames display on the public side of the system. We’ve added a whole new “Confirmed Bookings” landing page, which patrons can use to filter and search for their upcoming reservation – pretty sweet! And of course, the public nickname information is included as part of all API calls, so if you’re using the all new Read/Write APIs available in Equipment Booking, you can grab the public nickname for each group and display it on tablets and display panels throughout the library!

ConfirmedBookings