Archive for LibAnswers

The Importance of Having a Social Media Presence

Whether you’re on Pinterest, Facebook, or Twitter – social media is a powerful tool for relationship building and creating brand loyalty.

Increase Brand Recognition

Libraries are in a prime position to use social media to engage with customers, develop positive and sustaining relationships, and promote advocacy. Every opportunity you have to share and syndicate your content increases your visibility. Each social media channel is a way to broadcast your brand’s voice. Think about it this way. Let’s say you have a Twitter exchange with patron Sally. And Sally is so happy that you were able to solve her problem and answer her questions. All of Sally’s followers can see her exchange with your Library’s Twitter account – thus increasing your visibility to these potential new followers. Therefore, you’ve increased your potential inbound traffic to include users who *aren’t* your followers.

Richer Patron Experiences

Pie chart on SproutSocial Customer Care

SproutSocial Study on Customer Care

Several social media tools have evolved into more than just tools for posting your updates but now are important channels for customers to solicit and receive customer service. This concept is often referred to as ‘social care’ and it’s becoming the norm more and more. In fact, a SproutSocial 2016 Q2 study found that “90% of people surveyed have used social in some way to communicate directly with a brand. And that social surpasses phone and email as the first place most people turn when they have a problem or issue with a product or service.”

What does this mean for Libraries? Well, if your catalog suddenly goes down – can patrons find outage related information on your Twitter feed? Can your Facebook followers contact you if they’re having trouble logging into their Library account?

The Power of ‘Listening’

A common misuse of social media is to use it to constantly post updates. Broadcasting events, sharing library resources, etc. And while those are very important, and valid, uses of social media – don’t forget that social media is a two-way communication platform. And with two-way communication, social listening is key. Social listening is more than just replying to your @mentions, it means paying attention to conversations around specific phrases or keywords and then leveraging those opportunities to create user-targeted content.

For example, let’s say you’ve got a keyword watch on the incoming class’ hashtag “#SpringyUnivClass2022” and you notice conversations taking place on that keyword channel about a lack of snack places on campus. And wouldn’t you know it, the library just invested in a brand new coffee and snack cart at the library. This is an opportunity to market your new cafe and reach more followers – just because you were listening.

For more information on social listening, check-out this SproutSocial article on The Importance of Social Listening.

How Can You Be Where ‘They’ Are?

Social media requires a plan, manpower, and a strategy. And Libraries are increasingly short-staffed and often pulled in multiple directions at once.

We understand the importance of social media and to that end Springshare has added several new features to Springy Tools to help you have a strong social media presence – even if you’re a library of just one staffer.

LibAnswers Social Media Management Tool

In case you missed it, we rolled out Social Media Management inside of the LibAnswers platform. Connect your library’s Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest pages and manage all three of them from one interface. Here’s what else you can do:

  • Engage in Social Listening – Setup Twitter Hashtags to watch and keep your finger on the conversation pulse occurring in your community.
  • Schedule Posts – One of the most important aspects of social media is consistent posting. To that end, schedule Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest posts into the future so your social feed is always buzzing.
  • Use Facebook Messenger Live – Integrate your Facebook page and you’ll be able to answer Facebook Messenger live chats right from the LibChat operator console. This is a great way to provide social customer service natively inside Facebook.
  • One View for All Stats – Never shortchange your reference stats by being able to view all your social activity from one stats interface.

Advertise Your New LibGuides and LibCal Events

We’ve integrated social posting right into LibGuides and LibCal so that way, you can easily share and post out your new events, LibGuides, etc…and keep your followers abreast of the library’s activities.

  • Advertise Your Published LibGuides – Navigate to your LibGuide and select the ‘Change Status & Share’ Button. From here, you can publish your LibGuide, snag a guide screenshot, and advertise your LibGuide on Twitter and Facebook. Don’t forget, your guide thumbnail is automatically included in your social posts – helping them be more visually engaging to users.
  • Announce Your Latest Blog Post – If you’re using the LibGuides Blogging functionality, for every new blog post you can seamlessly share it on social media.
  • Market Your Upcoming LibCal Events – When creating a new LibCal Calendar event, you can publish the event and advertise it on social media with one simple click. Plus, if you’ve uploaded a ‘featured image’, it will automagically display in your post to create a more visually engaging post.
Screenshot of LibGuides social media engagement screen

Advertising a Published LibGuide on Social Media

Screenshot of LibAnswers Systems and Services management tool twitter integration

LibAnswers Systems & Services Management Tool

Announce Library Systems Outages & Issues

Hey, it happens to everyone. Suddenly the library website goes down or your experiencing spotty outages with your catalog.

How can you let your patrons know that you’re aware of the issue and that you’re on top of it?

If you’re using the LibAnswers Systems & Services Management Tool, you can make use of the Twitter integration to announce issues and outages with your library systems.

Simply navigate to the Status Management button on your LibAnswers Orange Command Bar > select the tool > and ‘Add Post’.

Sign-Up For Training

If you’re using Springy Tools and you want to be more active in social media, then you’re in luck! We have a dedicated training session just for you!

We promise you, social media has the potential to be a treasure trove of opportunity for your Library’s brand. By learning to use it more, you’ll better understand your customer’s and their needs as well as ways to engage with them. They’ll be #converted before they know it.

LibAnswers 2.15 Update – Redesigned Chat Widgets!

You read that right, the latest LibAnswers release includes redesigned chat widgets for your patrons, a few awesome operator side updates, and a brand new widget type, to boot! You do not need to make any changes to your existing LibAnswers widgets to take advantage of the redesign. All of your widgets have automatically been updated / settings transferred, so they now display the new layout. There are two reasons you might want to edit your widgets:

  1. Take advantage of the new functionality (outlined further below), like asking for contact info or sending a LibCal My Scheduler link.
  2. If you had added Custom CSS to a widget, you’ll need to edit that widget and redo the CSS. All class names changed in the new widgets, so CSS changes need to be redone. Until you do this, your widgets should just have the default look.
    How do you know? Edit a widget in LibAnswers > LibChat > LibChat Widgets and check out the Custom CSS box. If there’s something there, you’ll want to check out the new version and redo customizations.

And with that out of the way, let’s get into more details! We’ll start with operator side changes, so you can see them in action in the widgets later. 🙂

Operator Updates / Additional Widget Options:

When you log into your LibAnswers system, you’ll see the LibChat / Stand-by Alerts area at the top looks a bit different. We redesigned this area to make it a little clearer what was happening there. LibChat is Online / Offline: see whether or not anyone in your system is online with LibChat. LibChat: You are Online / Offline: for your account, specifically; sign in or go to the LibChat dashboard, depending on your status. Stand-by Alerts toggles stand-by alert notifications on / off.

LibAnswers Dashboard - Statuses

Did you notice the profile picture there? Set a profile pic for yourself or for a LibChat Department for use with the new widgets! Click your email address in the upper right hand corner to choose your LibApps profile pic or a generic profile pic. Edit a Department (Admin > LibChat Set-up) to set a profile pic for a department. Department profile pics are used with proactive chat, in the initial proactive window. Individual profile pics are used within the chat itself.

Have you ever been logged in at one location, then moved locations, realized you forgot to log out of LibChat, and needed to log in again? Well, now you can easily log yourself out of other locations! If you’re logged in at one location and then log in again at a new location, the error page offers an option to log other locations out of LibChat.

New chat options / widget:

  • Contact Info: Make patron follow up easy by requesting contact info (email / SMS number) right on the widget login screen or anytime during the chat.
    • On the Create / Edit Widget page, look for the “Prompt for contact info” option in the “Before the Chat” section.
    • Once selected, configure additional options: Contact Request Message (message sent during a chat) and Require contact info at start (of chat).
    • LibChat: Operator - NewOptionsWhile chatting with a patron, you can use the i icon at the top of the chat box to see if they submitted their contact info. If they didn’t, use the address card icon at the top of the chat box to request it! If you don’t prompt for name, contact, etc., before a chat begins, it will also request those fields, including custom questions.
  • Follow Up Message: New setting for the message sent if patron is inadvertently disconnected (internet connection trouble, etc.) or if they get the delayed claim message, allowing them to submit a ticket for follow up.
  • Ratings & Comments Additions: Users can now check a box to email themselves a transcript or request to be contacted for follow up right in the Ratings & Comments area! If they have not already entered contact info (email / SMS), they’ll be prompted to do so. Modify the labels on these checkboxes by clicking on that area in the widget builder preview.
  • LibCal My Scheduler: Send your patrons a link to your My Scheduler page right in your chat!
    • Update your LibAnswers profile (click your email address in the top right corner) to define your personal & system level My Scheduler URLs.
    • Also (optionally) included as a button in the proactive chat / offline chat messages. Use the widget settings to set a group / personal My Scheduler as the button link.
  • LibChat Floating ButtonsFloating Widget: A new widget type that puts a chat icon at the bottom-right of your webpage. When clicked, the widget opens to full screen height, maximizing available chat space. This widget can be minimized / maximized without losing the chat, which is especially great for mobile devices, if the patron wants to see the page behind the chat again. Like other chats, it can also be popped out into its own window, so the patron can take the chat with them.

Widget Updates

Here we are – the patron-side updates! The entire look of the widgets has changed, from top to bottom.
LibChat Floating Widget

  • Left/right side messaging, so it’s easier to follow the conversation with a familiar text-message-like layout.
  • As mentioned, profile image inclusion, to create a stronger connection with your patrons.
  • Buttons for overall widget actions, like sound, are at the top and message related actions, like file attachments, are at the bottom.
  • Feedback is integrated into the end of the chat vs. taking over the window. It also includes the option to email a transcript, so patrons don’t have to click the icon separately at the end of a chat.
  • Patrons can elect to be contacted for follow up, if that’s been enabled for the widget. Their message is submitted as a ticket in LibAnswers, which provides notifications to you however you have that set up (email, LibChat, etc.).
  • As mentioned above, if a patron happens to get disconnected, they’re able to enter their contact info and submit a ticket to the system for follow up.
  • Once a chat has ended, the x (end chat) icon changes to a reload icon, allowing the patron to start a new chat, if they wish.

We also included a helpful little fix in the mix:

  • LibChat statistics export now correctly shows the total number of chats (vs. 0). You know you chatted, LibAnswers knows you chatted, the stats show you chatted…and now the total number in the export has fallen in line to show you just how much.

We hope you enjoy these LibChat updates as much as we do! <3 🙂

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… 🙂

“We’re All In, Because It’s Easy”

..says Andrew Adler, director of the Georgetown College Library, when asked why the Library is using the entire platform of Springshare tools.

Andrew, like most librarians, wears a lot of hats. From teaching library instruction, manning the reference desk, creating training tutorials for student workers, and being available nine hours a week for one-on-one research consultations, plus being the director for the entire library – he needs their web platform tools to just work and be easy to use“.

LibGuides CMS-Powered Website w/ Integrations

Georgetown College Website

LibGuides CMS allows for seamless integration with Springy Tools

The Georgetown College Library uses the entire Platform of Springshare Tools – and they use LibGuides CMS to power their Library Website.

“Things got a lot easier when we moved our website to LibGuides CMS.”

On their library homepage, an embedded LibCal Hours widget automatically updates to display today’s hours… no manual updating needed.

Their reference services are prominently showcased, with embedded LibAnswers LibChat widgets promoting their live reference assistance and a customized Ask Us form that routes all queries right into their LibAnswers ticketing queue.

All library forms, from a book purchase request form to reporting a catalog error are created and stored using LibWizard. In an effort to streamline work processes, their library student application is a LibWizard form! This way, librarians only have to go to one place, LibWizard, to view all form submissions.

Student Worker Training

Student Worker Training

Informing & Training Student Workers

All library student employees are trained using a combination of LibGuides with embedded LibWizard tutorials. Talk about making your tools work for you!

Circulation Student employees access the Circ Dashboard LibGuide when they sign into the circ desk computers.

From here, they can easily view their work schedules via LibStaffer, access library quick links, and take interactive training with LibWizard tutorials.

Since they’ve already used LibWizard to submit their student application forms, the process is consistent and seamless. As Andrew said, “everything they need – put in one spot”.

Andrew presented at the October 2016 SpringyCamp on training student workers using LibGuides and LibWizard. View Andrew’s presentation and download his slides.

Geogetown College Circulation Desk LibGuide

Student Circulation Dashboard LibGuide

LibWizard Tutorial

LibWizard Interactive Tutorial used to train student employees

Georgetown Staff Directory

Staff Directory LibGuide Powered by LibAnswers FAQ Widget

Using Widgets Makes It Easy to Maintain & Share Info

Even the library’s staff directory is a product of integration.

Andrew maintains the Library Staff directory as a published LibAnswers FAQ, making it easy for anyone searching the FAQ database to find staff email addresses and phone numbers. But, what if they’re not in the FAQ database? How do they find that information?

Easy!

Simply embed that Staff Directory FAQ as a widget into any webpage, including their LibGuides CMS-powered website. This way, Andrew only has to update the directory in one place, the FAQ, and watch those updates trickle down to everywhere it’s been embedded. The same consistent information is easily syndicated across multiple platforms and is easy to maintain from one central location.

Wait, What About Faculty?

 

LibCal Booking form

LibCal My Scheduler IL-Booking Form

Andrew wanted to create an online process where faculty could request library instruction as quickly and efficiently as possible. Email wasn’t cutting it, creating a lot of unnecessary back and forth. Plus, the Library maintains access to several IL-Classrooms so pointing faculty to a room reservation system would have required that Faculty know which room to request and when.

Using an outside-the-box solution, Andrew repurposed their LibCal My Scheduler as a tool for faculty to book library instruction. Most libraries use the My Scheduler tool to coordinate and schedule one-on-one research consultations. But Andrew saw it as a way to streamline their IL-Booking process. Faculty select their preferred date and time, and share their session preferences and class notes to ensure that the instruction is as targeted as possible – for the student’s benefit. Andrew receives the request, selects the appropriate classroom, and it’s all done…in just a few clicks. Easy-peasy.

These IL-Instruction Stats, and all stats from their Springshare tools, are automatically funneled into their LibInsight data gathering tool. From here, Andrew can run reports on how many classes were taught last semester, hits they had on their Library Website, and chats/texts/email reference questions they received.

Plus, using LibInsight’s Gate Counts Dataset, Andrew is able to view how many people are in the building – updated to the most recent hour. This data allows them to make staffing changes to their service desks based upon actual library traffic data. “It’s important for us to understand our student’s point of need and work to meet that need.”

 

LibInsight Gate Count Dataset

Gate Counts Data

LibInsight Gate Counts Data

Every year, Andrew meets with the Georgetown College Provost to cover the library budget. As is typical at these meetings, every line item is scrutinized. Andrew makes it clear that their use of Springshare tools are an essential library service.

“The Library couldn’t function without it – it’s our website, our research guides, our reference service tool, or reservation tool, and so much more. — Andrew Adler

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.

LibAnswers 2.10.0 Now Live!

We’re continuing the update party throughout January, and this week we’re bringing you the LibAnswers 2.10 release. From drag and drop file uploads to a new bulk edit / delete / apply macro option, there’s lots to love in this update! Let’s get to it…

Bulk Updates for Tickets

BulkEditThis has been a hugely popular request, and we’re thrilled to be bringing it to you just in time for Spring – Administrators can now make bulk edits to LibAnswers tickets from the Dashboard and from the Knowledgebase Explorer! This impacts all sorts of edits and changes – everything from adding a new tag to a group of tickets, to sending several patrons the same message by applying a Macro, to changing the status of a group of tickets from “Open” to “Pending” – our new bulk changes feature will have you updating tons of tickets in no time. 🙂 To start making mass updates, Admins can head to the Dashboard or Knowledgebase Explorer and select the Actions dropdown.

Temporary Trash Bin

TrashCanOne of the elements of the new Bulk Ticket Update feature is the ability to delete multiple tickets at once en masse – an exciting feature for sure, but one that could use a bit of a safety net to help cover itchy trigger fingers. That’s why we’ve also added a new Trash Can feature, to help with those potential accidental deletions.

Here’s how it works: Any ticket deleted from the Dashboard or Knowledgebase Explorer is sent to the temporary Trash Can. Tickets will remain in the Trash Can for 30 days before being automatically (and permanently) deleted. Admins can access this Trash Can by heading to Admin > Manage Trash Can – from there, you can view all trashed tickets, recover tickets (which rescues them from the Trash Can), or permanently delete tickets.

Drag and Drop File Uploads

DragDropContinuing the theme of convenience, we’ve got another big feature in this update – we’re adding drag and drop file uploads on both the public and administrative sides of the system! We’re reducing the number of clicks required when uploading files for both patrons and librarians by adding a super simple drag and drop file uploader to all of the places where you can upload files in LibAnswers, including the Question Form, Ticket Reply pages, and in LibChat for both patrons and chat operators. To upload a file up to 20 MB, just grab the file from your desktop and drag it into the uploader. Of course if you prefer, you can still click on the uploader to choose a file from your desktop.

Additional Updates

  • We’ve made it a bit easier to view the history of interactions with a patron on the ticket answer page. At the top of the page, you should now see a link for (History) next to the patron’s name – click it to view all past interactions with that patron.
  • We’ve made a couple of minor adjustments to how search works, to ensure that all content in a ticket is indexed, and to make sure that the autocomplete functionality is working properly.
  • We now support SPF DNS records for sending email using custom email domains (ie non-*.libanswers.com email domains) out of LibAnswers. Admins can head to Admin > Queues > Edit Queue > Email > Custom Outgoing Email Address for more information on the new options.
  • We fixed a minor bug where clicking “Add Question” from QuerySpy wasn’t auto-populating the question information into the Create FAQ page (now it does!).

Login to LibGuides (And Other Springy v2 Tools!) Using Your Authentication Layer

LibAuth Login

LibAuth Login

Early this year, we announced greater LibAuth integration with Springshare Tools. One of the components of this integration is the ability to use your own authentication method to login to your v2 Springy tools!

Basically, if you’re using LDAP, CAS, Shibboleth, SAML, ADFS, or a self-hosted authentication tool – you can use that protocol for logging into your LibGuides, LibCal, LibAnswers, etc.

While you’ll still need to have an account in those Springshare tools, you won’t have to remember separate passwords for your Authentication layer and your Springshare apps.

Setting It Up – Cool Winter Project!

Navigate to LibApps > Admin > LibAuth Authentication. You need to be a LibApps admin in order to see this menu. Being a LibApps admin is different than being a LibGuides admin. Contact your LibApps admin if you need to elevate your account status.

On the configuration tab, set up your authentication protocol and be sure to run tests to make sure it’s working. At the bottom of the screen, click “YES” under Allow logging into LibApps using this authentication. Inside your authentication layer, you’ll need to release the email attribute.

LibAuth Authentication

Creating a lot of LibGuides Accounts?

No one wants to click ‘Add Account’ 100+ times when adding all of your LibGuides authors. But, they do need to have a LibGuides account for the authentication integration to ‘connect’. So, we’ve got a workaround that will make things much faster for LibGuides admins!

  • Setup your LibAuth login credentials (see above)
  • Login to LibGuides > Admin > Accounts
  • Click ‘Invitations’ Tab > Invite Users Button
  • Paste in email addresses for all your LibGuides authors (paste in hundreds of emails!)
  • Choose account level > hit send!
  • Authors will receive an invitation to create an account password however, their account has been ‘created’ so they can sign into LibGuides using your authentication layer!

Important Things to Note:

  • Not available with SIP2 – SIP does not contain the email attribute, so we’re not able to offer this option for SIP2 authentication services.
  • Granular Permissions – Are still managed at the Springshare Tool level. So granting access to specific tools and areas within those tools are handled inside LibGuides, LibAnswers, LibCal, etc.

But Wait, There’s More!

Authentication in LibCalIf you haven’t had a chance to check it out, there are amazing LibAuth integrations with LibCal. You can route users through your authentication layer for Room Bookings, Calendar Event Registrations, Equipment Bookings module, and even My Scheduler Librarian appointments.

It’s Just the Beginning!

This release is just phase one of our big plans for LibAuth integration with Springy Tools. We hope to integrate authentication services inside all of our Springshare apps! Just imagine, routing LibWizard quiz takers through your authentication service. Or allowing students to post on discussion boards or comments on your blog through your active directory of users. Or using your authentication protocols before patrons can initiate a LibChat chat exchange. This is just the beginning of great things to come!

LibAnswers 2.9 Update Now Live!

Exciting news, we have a slate of LibAnswers updates to share! This release is all about LibChat – we’ve introduced several “holy cow, that is awesome!” features, including chats that can follow the patron from page to page, searchable transcripts, and accessibility updates. Let’s get to the good stuff!

Follow Me Chat Widgets

It’s a common frustration – a patron is chatting with you and happens to navigate to another page in your site, causing a sudden disconnect and lost conversation. We have big BIG news – we’ve added follow-me capabilities to all LibChat widgets, so if a patron navigates to a new page, as long as the new page also contains a LibChat widget, your patrons will be able to continue the conversation seamlessly, without starting a brand new chat session.

This feature makes it much simpler to assist users as they navigate across pages. Previously the popout widget was the best answer to this conundrum (and it’s still a great resource), and we’re thrilled to be able to extend this functionality to sliding widgets and in-page embedded widgets as well!

Searchable/Filterable LibChat Transcripts

Search Transcript Filter ScreenshotThat’s right – you can search the full text of LibChat transcripts for specific keywords! This is a great way to get a read on the number of questions that are coming in on a particular topic. Plus, not only are transcripts themselves searchable, but we’ve also added a keyword search filter to LibChat statistics and reports. Use this to create a report on the number of times a particular keyword has been mentioned on a daily/hourly basis, or by staff member, etc.

LibChat Accessibility Improvements

We’ve made major strides toward fully accessible LibChat widgets, and we’re thrilled to say that LibChat is accessible right from the get go. From better focus management when the window pane, changes, to ensuring that all images have appropriate alt text links, to rewriting the slideout widget so it’s easier for screenreader software to navigate, we’ve made sure to cover accessibility in chat widgets from top to bottom. We’ve also made major improvements to the load time efficiency for all LibChat widgets. All of our chat widget scripts are now roughly 1/4 of their former size under the hood, meaning that any webpage that contains a LibChat widget will load that much faster!

Please note – it’s a good idea to take a peek at your widget today to make sure everything looks as you remember, especially folks using sliding widgets. One of our accessibility improvements updated the way that sliding widgets display – use the same image in any of the 3 page positions (left, right, or bottom). It’s possible that for folks already using an image in a sliding widget, the widget image may be rotated incorrectly. If this happens to you, head to LibChat > Chat Widgets > Edit Widget and find your widget. In most cases if your image is just text on a colored background, you can remove the image and use the existing text and color settings for the tab (that will be more accessible!). If your image is more than just text, you will need to edit the image itself. Rotate the image so the text reads normally (left to right for most of you). Our widget code will automatically rotate the image as necessary for the difference widget positions.

Chat Operator Console Updates

  • Screenshot of FAQ Search BoxFAQ Search in the LibChat Operator Window – Picture this – you’re in the midst of helping a patron answer a tricky question, and need to search your LibAnswers FAQ for an answer. We’ve got a fun new addition to the Chat Operator Window to help – now, you’ll notice a FAQ search build right in, so no more navigating to other pages to search your FAQs!
  • Improved Resizing for Chat Widgets – When you start a chat with a patron, sometimes it’s helpful to expand the size of the chat window to view more of the conversation. We’ve made improvements to the drag-to-resize functionality with this update, so you’ll find it much easier to drag the window to the size that works best for you!
  • Offline Button Colors – We’ve made it easier to customize the color of button widget when they’re offline, to give your patrons more of a visual cue when your service is online vs offline. Head to LibChat > Chat Widgets and select any button widget to customize the offline button color.

Concierge / “Can We Help You?” Popup Widgets

  • Auto-popout Button Widget – Do you love the concierge / “Can we help you” auto-slideout widgets? Us too – they’re a great way to call attention to your live chat service and prompt users to ask for help when they need it! We’ve extended this functionality beyond slide-out widgets – now you can add a concierge message using button widgets too! Just head to the widget builder and select the button widget type, scroll to the Autoload Delay setting and select how many seconds the widget should wait before popping up.
  • Dismiss “Can We Help You?” Popouts – Previously, if you had multiple “Can we help you?” concierge widgets on separate pages in your site, the prompt was displayed every time a patron loaded a new page, making it a bit hard to dismiss. There can be a fine line between offering help and pestering the user, so we’ve updated this behavior – now if a patron dismisses the message, it won’t continue to pop up on subsequent pages.

LibAnswers +Social: Your Library’s Full Communication Platform

Last month, we announced a major new LibAnswers enhancement which enables you to manage your library’s social media activity from with your LibAnswers platform. Please join us for a “LibAnswers +Social” webinar series and learn how you can effectively – and efficiently – use LibAnswers as your full library communication platform.

LibAnswers is already the most popular all-in-one reference and help desk platform for libraries. It integrates live chat, ticketing functionality, a searchable FAQ knowledge base, robust SMS integration, and a Systems & Services Management Tool. It also comes with Reference Analytics for powerful reference service statistics reporting. Now, with Social Media Management functionality, your LibAnswers is the communication platform for your library.

Integrate Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest into LibAnswers and effortlessly manage your social media presence… all from one interface.

Watch a 3min Video:


Join us for a 60min two-part tour of LibAnswers +Social:

Brand-New to LibAnswers?

Already Using LibAnswers?

We’ll explore:

  • Searchable FAQs
  • Ticketing System
  • Live chat w/ LibChat
  • Systems & Services Management Tool
  • Robust Statistics
We’ll cover:

  • Dynamic Social Feed
  • Facebook Messenger Integration
  • Twitter Hashtag Tracking
  • Create & Schedule Posts
  • Full Engagement Statistics

Webinar Tour Details

  • All times listed in U.S. Eastern Time
  • Sign-up for just Part One, just Part Two…or both!
  • To attend both, sign-up for each session separately.
  • 10min Break between sessions

Part One: LibAnswers Help Desk Tour

(30min Tour + 10min break)

Part Two: Social Media Mgmt. Tour

(20min Tour)

This tour is not an in-depth training session:

LibAnswers: Social Media Management is Here!

The LibAnswers 2.8 Update is now live, and with it we’re thrilled to announce our new Social Media Management functionality inside LibAnswers.

Nowadays so much communication happens on social media hence it’s essential for libraries to effectively – and efficiently – communicate with users on social media channels, too. LibAnswers now helps libraries effortlessly manage their social media presence and communication with users. Monitor and respond to conversations happening on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. Publish new posts, tweets, and pins, or schedule them for future posting. Follow relevant #hashtag conversations and measurably improve engagement with your community.

Best of all, managing your social media communication happens right alongside the existing communication channels in LibAnswers – email queries, question form responses, SMS, and real-time chat via LibChat. This way all patron communication across all channels happens within one easy-to-use platform, making it that much easier to provide best-of-the-best customer service to your users.

We really can’t wait to tell you more about it, so enough with the small talk – let’s get to it…

Social Media Management

socialfeedoverview

Integrate any number of Twitter accounts, Facebook Pages, and Pinterest accounts into your LibAnswers Queues and voila – all your social media activity shows inside LibAnswers social feed. This feed becomes your social command center, and you respond and engage with users from one place – everything from Twitter mentions and Direct Messages to Facebook likes, comments, and posts and Pinterest Pins, too. If an item requires follow-up (e.g. a reference question sent via Twitter), turn it into a LibAnswers ticket with just one click. As you finish reading/replying to items, just “Mark as Read” to dismiss them from the active monitoring stream.

Facebook Messenger Integration

Facebook Messenger Screenshot

Facebook Messenger is one of the most popular social media conversation platforms. Now librarians can respond on FB Messenger directly from the LibChat operator console. Patrons can Facebook Message the library from anywhere…right from your Facebook page or using their mobile FB Messenger App. This makes the LibChat operator console your one-stop shop for all your chat needs, and it makes it incredibly easy for your patrons to reach out to librarians when they need help – as easy as communicating with their friends on the communication platform which they use all.the.time. Being so easily reachable on FB Messenger is a great way for libraries to increase the “mind-share” with patrons.

Facebook Pages Integration

Our new Facebook integration doesn’t end with Messenger – with our new Social Media Management tool, you’ll be able to view and respond to any and all patron interactions that occur on your institution’s Facebook page. View and respond to posts, comments, replies, and likes – LibAnswers collects it all and makes it easy to respond to everything, all from your social feed.

Twitter Integration – Including Hashtag Tracking

We’ve included twitter integration inside LibAnswers for a while now but this release takes it to a whole new level with a major host of updates, including:

  • Send & Receive Direct Messages – In addition to the public @mention integration, you’ll now be able to send and receive private messages with other Twitter users. Manage public and private Twitter conversations all in one place!
  • Hashtag Tracking – Keeping an eye on ALA Annual Conference Hashtag, #alaac16? Or hashtag trends that are happening in your local community like #MIT? Or even hashtags on the national or global scale like #BRexit? Track up to 5 hashtags per LibAnswers queue, and all tweets with those hashtags will automatically display in your Social Feed.
  • Improved Fetch Rates – We’re speeding up communication rates with Twitter to bring you fresh information even faster!
  • Twitter Engagement Statistics – See below on the new statistics features but suffice it to say that you will be blown away with the depth of the statistics reports offered.

Pinterest Integration

We’ve noticed libraries using Pinterest in a myriad of ways – everything from showcasing new acquisitions to highlighting unique archival collections. Libraries have a wealth of visual content, and Pinterest is the perfect medium to share that content with your community!

With our new Pinterest integration, it’s a breeze to create pins for any type of content the library wants to highlight, and schedule them to post to Pinterest at a later date. This makes it easy to create a schedule of content that posts at the ideal time to reach your patrons. How do you determine what that schedule should be? Easy – just head to your Pinterest Stats panel for an in-depth look at monthly, daily, and hourly breakdowns of likes, comments, and repins of the pins you’ve created. Plus, view your most popular pins at a glance – this helps you tailor your social media strategy so you can keep generating content that users love the most!

Schedule Social Posts

Effective and successful social media strategy requires the ability for advance scheduling of posts on any social media channels. LibAnswers has you covered – compose Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest posts right from inside your LibAnswers system. Embed live links, send Twitter Direct Messages, and post right to your Pinterest Boards. Scheduling posts ahead of time ensures that your social media channels are always buzzing with activity – even when you’re too busy to create them at that moment.

Stats, Glorious Stats

impressions

We’re harnessing the full power of the Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest APIs to bring you turbo-charged statistics on your library’s social media presence. With these new statistics your library can demonstrably measure and report on user engagement. You’ll know at a glance which of your posts generated the most likes, comments, and shares. Plus, it’s easy to get an overview of your full social media presence – everything from your number of followers to a breakdown of impressions is included!

Ready? Let’s Go!

We hope you’re as excited about the new Social Media Management tool as we are! To get started, have your LibApps Administrator authorize each app (Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest) by heading to the LibApps dashboard and selecting Admin > Social Channel Integration.

If you need help identifying your LibApps Administrator: Click the blue dropdown menu from the orange command bar and select “LibApps”. Your LibApps administrator(s) is displayed at the top of the list of sites in the center of the screen.

Additional Updates

We also rolled out several smaller updates as part of this release. These include:

  • LibChat Expanded “Information” – We’ve heard your requests to make the “Information” about new chats more obvious – this includes things like the URL of the page where the patron started the chat, their browser version info, and their responses to any initial questions. With this update, this information comes front and center – just click the “i” icon at the top of the chat pane and boom, all the info you need is at your fingertips.
  • Searchable Internal Notes – Several of you asked if the internal notes field could be indexed & made searchable (but only on the librarian side of course!), so we did just that. You can now search for keywords and content in internal notes – just use the “full text” search from the ticket knowledgebase.
  • Friendly URLs are case-insensitive – We’ve updated the behavior of friendly URLs, so they now treat capital and lowercase letters the same. This was causing isolated issues where a friendly URL had been assigned more than once (once with uppercase and once with lowercase letters), and now those issues are no more.