Share Your LibGuides Feedback & Win!

Here at Springy HQ, we’re starting to put virtual pen to virtual paper to spec out the features, user interface, and functionality of the next iteration of LibGuides. And like all things we do here at Springshare, we want your feedback to help guide us. Especially now, in light of the global pandemic, where everything has flipped completely upside down and this “new normal” might be here to stay. We want to know, does LibGuides work for you in current or future roles?

To that end, can you spare a few minutes (10 minutes tops) and fill out this survey on your current thoughts of LibGuides? What are you favorite features? Biggest frustrations? What can’t you live without, and what do you never ever use?


Additionally, we know the global pandemic has not only uprooted your personal lives, but your professional ones as well. We want to know your thoughts on the future landscape of web content publishing. What types of content do you think you’ll be creating e 2, 3, or 5+ years from now? Will it look different? And how?

We know your time is precious, and to that end, we’re giving away $25 Amazon giftcards to a select number of lucky winners who complete the survey. Once you complete the survey, you’ll be redirected to a form where you can enter your contact information to enter the random drawing. This way, your contact information is completely separate from your LibGuides feedback – so don’t hold back, tell us what you really think!

The survey will be live until July 1, 2020. You can only enter the drawing once, and we’ll randomly choose winners of the $25 Amazon giftcards after July 1.

We thank you for the generous use of your time in filling out our LibGuides feedback survey! We here at Springshare are committed and dedicated to building products and tools that meet your needs – and we look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Using LibCal to Schedule Curbside Pickup

You might have heard of LibCal or perhaps you’re already an avid user. If you’ve never heard of it at all, LibCal is our web-based calendar & event management tool helping you:


But…. have you thought about using LibCal Spaces for scheduling and managing curbside pickup of library holds? Yes! LibCal Spaces is so flexible, it can be used to schedule any type of space whether it’s a parking space, a table outside the library, or any area you’d like to designate for contactless/curbside delivery.

Plus, by creating a booking schedule that you control – you can help to protect the safety of patrons by limiting and staggering when patrons pick up their holds. This ensures that there’s only one patron pickup request per designated time-period… eliminating crowds, lines, and potential ways for patrons to spread COVID-19 to each other, and to you and your staff. Protecting patrons and staff health and safety? It’s a win, win. Read on as we give a brief overview of how you can use LibCal Spaces to schedule and communicate curbside pickup of library holds.

Want to Learn More? Attend our Designated Training Sessions!

Setting Up a Holds Pickup Location

It all starts by creating a Location, “Holds Pickup” or “Curbside Pickup” under Admin > Equipment & Spaces > Create Location. Within your location, navigate to Spaces Tab > add a Category.

Create different categories for different areas that you’d like to designate for curbside pickup. Create categories for:

  • Parking Spaces
  • Tables Outside the Library
  • Entrances

Each category has unique spaces and you can define rules within each category relating to booking duration, booking window, and more.

Timeslot Settings

Within each Spaces Category, you can customize booking duration, booking lead time, padding between bookings. We recommend the following settings:

  • Booking Maximum Duration, Booking Minimum Duration, Booking Default Duration – should all be the same value, 10-15 minute timeslots.
  • Add Padding Between Bookings – give yourself a bit of a breather so you’re not running back and forth into the building.
  • Single Booking Multiple Rooms and Single Booking Same Room Multiple Times – set these options to not allowed.
  • Duration Limit – how many minutes a day a patron is allowed to book for? If you’ve setup 10min timeslots and you only want to allow patrons 1 curbside pickup/day > set this value to 10 / day.
  • Frequency Limit – How many bookings do you want to allow in a week? Can patrons come every day for a pickup?
  • Window Limit – How far in Advance can they book? We suggest 10 days or less

Defining Spaces

Upload pictures of each space and define where that space is in the directions area. This way patrons know exactly where they’re supposed to go to pickup their holds. When patrons receive confirmation of their curbside booking, the space’s directions {{{ROOM_DIRECTIONS}}} are included.

Customize the email confirmation to include instructions for curbside pickup, what happens if they miss their timeslot, and instructions on how to reschedule.

Create a Customized Booking Form

Setup a Custom Booking Form (Locations > Booking Forms) – to gather information about the user so you can be better prepared for their pickup. Examples include Car Make/Model/Color, Library Barcode Number so you can check out the items to them once they’ve arrived, and information on how to checkout items for other family members.

Creating a Booking Schedule

Does each Spaces category have a different schedule? Are parking spaces pickup only available from 10am-2pm Monday – Friday? Outdoor table pickups available weekends only from 9am-1pm? Each Spaces Category can have a different schedule of booking availability.

Routing Patrons to Curbside Pickup Scheduling

Add a link to scheduling curbside pickup to your ILS Holds Confirmation Email. Once patrons’ holds have arrived in the library, instruct them through the process of scheduling contactless pickup.

Tip: Add friendly URLs to your Curbside Delivery Location! This makes the URL much more accessible in the ILS Holds Confirmation Email.

Communication During Curbside Pickup

Is your patron running late? Are they in a different car than the one they specified on the form? Have they been waiting outside for 15 minutes and you haven’t seen them? Here are ways you can communicate with them during their curbside pickup.

Add Instructions for Texting the Library

If you’re a LibAnswers user, you might be using the SMS/Text-a-Librarian option therein. Your LibAnswers system has the ability to have a custom SMS number and you can even create SMS automatic keywords. When patrons text ‘PICKUP’ to your SMS number, it sends them an automated response with instructions. When they reply back, you’ll know that they’re outside, in which vehicle, and picking up holds for confirmation #123. Don’t have LibAnswers and want to learn more? Contact us!

Include this information in:

  1. In the ILS Holds Confirmation Email
  2. In the LibCal confirmation email they receive once they’ve booked their Spaces curbside timeslot
  3. On the LibCal Spaces webpage > description area

Don’t Have SMS/Text-a-Librarian Service?

Follow the same instructions above but include other ways they can contact you, from calling the library to let you know that they’re outside, to your email address, or all of the above.

We hope these steps provide you with some helpful guidance! Difficult decisions are being made at every level of library service, and COVID-19 has changed the way you can safely interact with your patrons. We’re working on adding functionality to help you service patrons remotely, create a schedule of curbside pickup for the safety of patrons and staff, and more. Stay tuned, this is just the beginning – we’ll have new features announce in the coming months!

LibCRM, LibAnswers, and LibStaffer Updates!

All Regions Important Updates

These releases are on their way to you this week, and will be live in all regions by the end of the day on Friday, May 22.

Read about: LibCRM | LibAnswers | LibStaffer

LibCRM

We’re pleased to bring you a new interface for Reports in LibCRM. Click Reports in the orange Command Bar and click New Report to get started. Keep an eye on the Reports landing page; we’re going to be adding a lot of functionality here in the coming weeks that will make this your LibCRM Reports hub!

New Report

When you create a new report, you’ll have the option to start with a template. You can save any report as a template for ease of running this report in the future.

Once you generate your report, you can refine it further with Additional Filters. For example, you could narrow a report on all of your faculty to show just a certain Interaction Type (a consultation, a tour, a research appointment) or an Interaction Source (LibCal Spaces, E-mail, Webinar).

Also on the New Reports page, you’ll find:

  • How Filters Work, which explains how filters and options inside filters are combined in a report.
  • Basic Filters, which let you choose how you will narrow down your People or Organization Profiles for your report. The most common ones are displayed when you arrive at the page; click “Add/Delete Filters” to customize.
  • Selecting Custom Fields using the “Add/Delete Filters” option lets you include these fields as filters in your report.
  • Additional Filters let you get very specific by filtering using information from Interactions, Projects, and Tasks in your LibCRM system.
  • Save as Template allows users to save the current filters configuration as a report template. Once you save your template, these filters can be reused from the New Report dialog. Go to Reports > Report Templates to manage these.
  • Once you run a report, use Set Report Data Fields to select the data fields you want to print/display in the report. By default, all the fields are selected.
  • Download your report by clicking Export XLS.

LibAnswers

The LibAnswers 2.35.0 release is on its way! This release brings a big update for the LibAnswers question form builder. We’ve overhauled the interface for building question forms, and added more flexibility in terms of the number and type of questions that can be added. We’re also bringing you some great chat updates, including the ability to add internal notes for LibChat chats at any time during the conversation, more options for sending the transcript to the patron during and after the chat, plus some fun updates for tags. Read on for all the deets!

LibAnswers Question Form Update

We’ve made major updates to the LibAnswers question form, with the goal of making it much more flexible and easy to use! With the new question form builder, you are no longer limited to 3 multiple choice and 3 free text fields. Now you’ll be able to create a question form with up to 15 “custom” questions, which can be any of our available types. These types now include 3 types of multiple choice selections (dropdown, radio button, or checkbox fields) and 2 types of free text entry fields (single line or multi-line).

We’ve also completely revamped the question form builder itself. Now, instead of creating “sections” within the form, we’ve added a separate “header” form element, which lets you create header text and rich text areas within the form, and reorder them in the same way you’d reorder any of the other question fields. This also meant moving our old setting for form label positions (i.e., does the label show to the left or above the entry/selection field) out of the old “sections” area, so there is now one label position setting which will apply to the entire form.

In addition, as part of this update, we wanted to address a longstanding pain point with embedding question forms in external sites. If your form includes the ability to upload a file, this file upload will now be available anywhere you embed the widget, even across domains! Just create a question form widget via Admin > Widgets and APIs and embed it wherever you’d like, and the option to upload files will appear.

LibAnswers, LibChat, & Co-Op Improvements

We have several nice-to-have features for LibAnswers, LibChat and Co-Ops!

  • Screenshot of Internal Note functionInternal Notes for LibChat. It’s now possible to add an internal note to a chat transcript at any time during a chat interaction! These internal notes are not displayed to the patron, but they become part of the transcript that admin/librarian users are able to view. This will be a really helpful feature for communicating with folks who may be reviewing the transcript after the fact, and we hope it will make it easier to communicate things like resources consulted during the course of the interaction, or comments about policy page information that needs updating, or really anything! You’ll see this new feature when chatting with patrons; select the “Note” label to switch the typing area into Notes mode. Click the “Message Patron” label to switch back. Happy noting!
  • Email Chat Transcripts to the Patron. We’ve expanded the options in the system for emailing chat transcripts to patrons. You’ll now see a button within the chat UI itself that allows you to email the current transcript to the patron at any time during or after the chat interaction. We’ve also added an option to email the transcript to the patron from within a Coop > Transcripts tab, so you can email the patron with the transcript after the chat concludes.
  • Tags Color Picker. We’ve added a handy color picker option for internal tags, the tags which can be applied to tickets and chat transcripts. Admins can now customize the colors of these tags, to help impart more meaning where they’ve been applied. Admins can head to Admin > Metadata > Tags > Edit Tag to customize the background and/or font color of tags in your system.
  • Tag Chart for LibChat Transcripts. We’ve also added a handy tag distribution chart to LibChat reports, so you can quickly see the distribution of tags which have been applied to chat transcripts in your system. Head to LibChat > Statistics > Clients/Staff in order to view the distribution of applied tags.
  • Tags and Initial Question In List of Transcripts. We’ve also tweaked the display of chat transcripts in their overall list; we’ve replaced the prior “IP Address” column with a new column dedicated to displaying the chat initial question text and associated tags. This way, it’s easy to see at-a-glance which chats have been tagged. To see this in action head to LibChat > Transcripts.

Bug Fixes and Miscellany

  • We’ve fixed a couple of bugs related to viewing transcripts in the Co-Op, including:
    • Librarian names will now display for users outside of your home region, instead of displaying “Unknown.”
    • Chat Transcripts from users outside your home region will now display as expected.
    • Transcripts will now display all results, instead of showing a limited number of transcripts when using certain filter combinations.
  • We’ve fixed a bug in the Admin > 24/7 Co-Op tab, where in some sites this page would render an error message.
  • We’ve fixed a bug where the QuestionPoint stats data was not updated correctly in limited cases.
  • We’ve fixed a bug where sometimes, Co-Op Feedback could show duplicate records.
  • We’ve made many improvements to our initial internationalization translations for the LibAnswers admin interface.

Upcoming LibAnswers Training Sessions:

LibStaffer

We have a super exciting announcement for you from the LibStaffer team: We are in the process of implementing time zone support! This is just a sneak peek announcement; as there are quite a large number of moving parts in which we need to add time zones. But watch this space for more information in the near future!

In addition to diligently working on supporting the ability to set different time zones for user accounts we have the following updates in this release:

  • We’ve added a filter for Position, when viewing shifts. This applies to schedules that have been set to assign shifts by position.
  • An issue has been corrected for the LibCal Hours integration that caused opening hours to not display on the schedule view.
  • We’ve fixed a problem on the ‘Staff’ report where in some scenarios, regular user accounts had access to the admin clock in/out functionality.

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That’s it for this round of updates from Springy HQ. We would like to thank you, our user community, for sharing all your great ideas with us! We love making them a reality and look forward to bringing you many more improvements in 2020. We are always here for you if have any suggestions or questions.

Librarian Reserve Corps Fighting COVID-19’s Infodemic

At this point, you’ve likely heard that we’re battling an ‘infodemic’ in addition to a pandemic. Misinformation abounds and some of it is costing people their health and, unfortunately, their lives. But what you might not know, is that even the world’s top researchers, scientists, doctors, and specialists are also battling the infodemic. Sifting through the massive amount of data that is being published almost daily, identifying valuable and credible research studies from others, and trying to make hay out of the mountain of straw laid at their feet.

So, who did they call on to help them manage the 400+ new COVID-19 informational records being published each day? You guessed it, librarians. As Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes once said, “Data, data, data. I can’t make bricks without clay”. And the World Health Organization (WHO) needed librarians to separate the clay from the dirt so that researchers can get busy making those bricks.

It all started when Dr. Lina Moses, an epidemiologist and disease ecologist at Tulane University, was deployed to the WHO’s Geneva headquarters as part of their Global Outreach Alert & Response Network (GOARN) in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Lina began sifting through all of the COVID-19 resources and identifying and sharing the information most reliable and helpful to response teams. With hundreds and hundreds of new COVID-19 records being published each day, how you do identify, select, and disseminate the right information to doctors and researchers on the front-lines? Lina quickly realized she needed help and called on Elaine Hicks, Tulane University’s Health Sciences librarian, for her expertise.

Elaine Hicks quickly formed the Librarian Reserve Corps and put out a call for volunteers on the Medical Library Association’s (MLA) MEDLIB-L listserv. And boy, did she get them! A group of 130 librarians from around the world offered to pitch in.

For more details on how the effort began, take a look at Library Journal’s May 11, 2020, article “Librarian Volunteers Help WHO Make Sense of COVID Information.”

The original need revolved around a daily publication list she receives, reviews, and disseminates to WHO Operational Pillar leads. The list grew from a mere 8 articles to regularly including 400 or more. Our services have since expanded to include literature searching and facilitating collaborations among information providers. The sheer volume of literature hinders the response effort. Low quality evidence and a flood of commentary make it difficult to identify the most important, impactful literature. Our responders need help in this infodemic-pandemic. As librarians we have the skills to locate and curate information to help responders fight the pandemic.

Librarian Reserve Corps, Stacy Brody & Sara Loree

LRC volunteers Sara Loree and Stacy Brody reached out to us here at Springshare to see if we could help the Librarian Reserve Corps with their charge, and we sure did – in less than 48 hours – by installing free LibGuides CMS, LibAnswers Platform, LibCRM, and LibWizard systems for the LRC to accomplish their charge.

Sara Loree
Stacy Brody

We are using LibAnswers to receive and respond to requests for information from WHO and GOARN partner organizations. We also use it to post search strategies and results. We are using LibGuides CMS as a website and to build instructional guides for our volunteers. And, we are starting to explore additional opportunities to use this tool, e.g. sharing daily publication lists with GOARN-Research. We may use LibWizard to share surveys with and collect information from other information providers. By collecting the data in one place, we hope to be able to identify opportunities for partnerships and collaboration. We are new to LibCRM, but are hoping to use it for volunteer management. We are in need of a hosted, relational database that our leadership team can access to help engage our many fantastic librarian volunteers! Our current state of spreadsheets and surveys has been a significant challenge preventing us from staying connected to those interested in participating.

Stacy Brody & Sara Loree

We asked Sara and Stacy why they reached out to us here at Springshare for this very important responsibility.

Because so many of us use Springshare products in our daily work to share information and track reference requests, it was an obvious choice. It is a familiar, user-friendly, and trusted product that aligns with our services and is supported by a great team and training materials. Because your products are so flexible and intuitive, it is a platform that can grow and change as the organization evolves.

Stacy Brody & Sara Loree

Sara, Stacy, Elaine, and all the Librarian Reserve Corps volunteers, we are so honored to be part of the immeasurable and invaluable efforts that the LRC is undertaking. We’re all doing what we can to help each other during this crisis and we’re grateful to play a small part in the life-saving work you’re doing. You can never truly know when your expertise can help make a difference.

Code Release: New LibGuides & LibInsight features coming your way!

All Regions Important Updates

These releases are on their way to you next week, and will be live in all regions by the end of the day on Friday, May 15, 2020. May is a busy month for us here at Springy HQ! In addition to the new LibGuides and LibInsight features heading your way next week, the following week we will be bringing you a new Reports interface for LibCRM, as well as additional updates for LibAnswers. Keep your eyes here on our blog for more info about that release, coming soon.

Before we get to release details, we have a couple of exciting updates / announcements:

  • We are switching all remaining LibCal, LibAnswers, and LibGuides sites to HTTPS-required this summer, starting in mid-June. We are 90% of the way there! This final push for the remaining sites will get us to 100%. If you are currently not requiring HTTPS for your site, we will be changing your site to required. Please stay tuned to your inboxes for more information, by around mid-June.
  • Also upcoming to LibGuides, we are deprecating support for LibGuides API 1.0. If you are using LibGuides API 1.0, you will be contacted before this change is made. If you are not, you do not need to do anything.

Read about: LibGuides | LibInsight

LibGuides & LibApps

This month we’re excited to bring you a few changes to LibGuides, including the ability to require SSO login for LibApps, and an update to Tabbed Boxes.

Limit LibApps Login via SSO

Many of you have asked if you can pair your LibApps logins with your SSO, and now you can! With this release, you can do two things:

  • Require SSO authentication for LibApps login.
  • Limit that LibApps login to a group defined in your SSO.

In practice, this means that you can direct anyone who clicks “Login to LibApps” to your SSO login screen, which hides the LibApps login form from your users. If you further limit LibApps login to a group defined in your SSO, you can immediately remove someone from that group in order to revoke access to the admin side of all Springy apps. This is especially useful for larger institutions who need to revoke access when someone leaves, but who may not have time to remove all accounts at the drop of a hat.

Tabbed Boxes Now Powered by Bootstrap

We are in the process of retiring the jQuery-ui library for security reasons, and as part of that process have swapped it out for Bootstrap, for Tabbed Boxes on guides.

If you have never written custom CSS or Javascript to act on your Tabbed Boxes, you can safely ignore this update; just know that their look and feel will change slightly when this code is released.

If you have written custom CSS or Javascript to act on your Tabbed Boxes, please look at this FAQ explaining which CSS selectors have changed. If you have written extensive Javascript and would like to take a peek at Tabbed Boxes before the code is released, please drop us a line.

Here’s a screenshot preview of a new Tabbed Box:

screenshot

Additional Features and Fixes

  • We fixed an issue that caused guides in Internal Groups to be missing from the public guides list for people who are logged into LibApps. This fix also ensures that search results for guides in Internal Groups are displayed for people who are logged into LibApps.
  • To help prevent accidental deletion of guides, we removed the option to delete a guide while on the editing screen. Go to Content > Guides to delete a guide. Protip: make and double-check an HTML backup first!
  • To help prevent accidental breakage of LibGuides pages, we are introducing code that will examine Guide, Page, and Box title content to make sure that what is included there will not break the page. You can still include tags to make these titles bold or italicised, and you can still use a FontAwesome icon at the beginning of a title.
  • To help prevent accidental breakage of LibGuides pages, we changed the way that Content Box and Blog Widgets are generated. Now, if you wish to use a Content Box Widget or a Blog widget outside of Springy products, you’ll check the box below to include jQuery.
Screenshot
  • We fixed an issue affecting proper display of language keys for Books from the Catalog assets on guides in a group, where the group’s language differs from the system’s language (whew!).
  • Lastly, we have a few accessibility fixes to bring you:
    • Now when you navigate through a guide via the keyboard, your cursor will stop on the description fields for non-database assets.
    • We fixed an issue preventing the saving of Alt Text when creating a new or editing an existing Book from the Catalog asset.
    • We made the User Privacy Alert more accessible by making sure it is the element in the page first encountered by screen readers.

Upcoming LibGuides Training Sessions:

Also check out our recorded sessions! [Back to Top]

LibInsight

For this round of releases, we’ve been working behind the scenes once more on our code for LibAnswers, LibCal, LibGuides, and Google Analytics datasets! We’ve also fixed a couple issues, including one that caused user sessions to be fetched improperly in a LibGuides dataset.

Fixes and Improvements
  • User sessions data is now fetched properly for the LibGuides dataset.
  • In COUNTER 5 dataset analysis, we have changed the way that the Top 100 Databases / Journals / Books / Others Titles Report is generated, to ensure that you’re seeing the Top 100 Titles for each individual metric. Formerly, we pulled the Top 100 Titles by Total Item Investigations then sorted by other metrics.
  • We fixed the issue with deselecting affecting the “Include Cost-Per-Use-Analysis” checkbox for COUNTER 5 analysis.
  • The Daily Time-Based Analysis report no longer fails for date ranges beyond 364 days.
  • The widget summary report (custom datasets) now lists the fields in their original order instead of alphabetically.
  • The Custom Dataset Search and Replace tool now works with field data that contains slashes (‘/’).
  • We’ve addressed a couple of color contrast accessibility issues throughout the app.

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That’s it for this round of updates from Springy HQ. We would like to thank you, our user community, for sharing all your great ideas with us! We love making them a reality and look forward to bringing you many more improvements in 2020. We are always here for you if have any suggestions or questions.

LibAnswers’ Reference Analytics Research Study

Now, more than ever, we’re helping people. Helping family, helping neighbors, and even helping strangers. To that end, Springshare is helping Casey Roberson with his research study on how Academic Libraries use LibAnswers’ Reference Analytics “Add a Transaction” form. So if you have 20 minutes to spare and you’re an Academic Librarian using LibAnswers’ Reference Analytics – fill out Casey’s survey.

We’ve asked Casey to introduce himself and explain his study and its goals. Take it away Casey! 🙂

I’m Casey Roberson, a research & instruction librarian at the University of Georgia. I am conducting a study on how Academic Libraries utilize Springshare’s LibAnswers’ Reference Analytics “Add a Transaction” form. My hope is to discover commonalities/differences across institutions as well as best practices, with a goal of publication in a peer-reviewed library science journal.

Participation in this study is voluntary, and you are in no way obligated to complete the linked survey. You could even stop reading this blog post right now, if you wanted! But please don’t.

The survey asks 30 questions about your library’s use of the LibAnswers’ Ref. Analytics transaction form, what information you capture about reference interactions, and how you decided to capture that information. The survey shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes to complete. But, hey, it’s not a race.

If you choose to complete the survey, your answers will be recorded anonymously, and your participation will be our little secret. If any of your answers do contain information that could identify you or your institution, none of the identifying information will be made known to anyone or published.

You may withdraw from participating in the survey at any time, and leave it uncompleted. You may decline to answer any questions in the survey and still submit it with those unanswered. If you really wanted to, you could submit it with just one question answered, but honestly I’d probably have to throw out your response. You could start the survey, do some of the questions, save your progress, and then come back. It’ll be up for a month, so you’ve got plenty of time!

If you have questions about this study, send them over to casey.roberson@uga.edu.

Thanks in advance for your time and — I hope — participation in this study!

LibCal and LibAnswers Major New Functionality Release

Quarantine or not, we’re always busy churning new features and functionality of our platform, based on suggestions and feedback from our customers. This upcoming code release for LibCal and LibAnswers is the best example of our responsiveness to customers’ needs. With librarians pivoting to different service models centered around remote-first teaching and learning, many of you told us that you’d love to be able to conduct research appointments and hold online events via LibCal. We heard you and, a few weeks later – we made it happen.

With LibAnswers/LibChat, many international libraries have taken strong interest in the platform as it’s the most well-rounded communication platform for libraries – but they need the admin/librarian interface to be in their local language. And – you guessed it – we made it happen! Read on for details.

Read about: LibCal | LibAnswers

LibCal – conduct online appointments and online events

LibCal servers in our regions around the world will start getting this new functionality on Monday evening and by Wednesday all regions will be live with this new Online appointments/Online events functionality.

Online Appointments

Up until now, the LibCal appointment booking engine has enabled booking of appointments with the assumption that the patron would go to the library (or the librarian would visit the classroom) to conduct the actual appointment. In the “new normal”, however, a number of these research appointments/consultations will likely be conducted remotely. Enter our LibCal Zoom integration (more integration options coming soon – let us know what other video/communication platforms you want us to integrate). 

Here’s how to enable Zoom integration for Online Appointments in LibCal:

  1. Head to Admin -> Integrations and enter your Zoom API/Key (don’t have institutional Zoom license? We may be able to help – email us at sales@springshare.com).
  2. Online appointments are thought of as happening at their own Location i.e. Online. Create one (or more) Locations to designate that these appointments will be held online. Head to Admin -> Appointments -> Locations to create the Online Location(s).
  3. Each user/librarian who wants to host online appointments must be associated with their Zoom account. Head to Admin -> Users and enable Zoom for each user that should have this enabled.

And voila… your LibCal appointment scheduler can now handle online appointments via Zoom. Note that the actual online appointment happens in Zoom but LibCal makes it super-easy to schedule it and it automatically includes relevant Zoom meeting URLs in the ICS/CAL calendar file, in the email notification to the patron, and in the admin interface for the librarian. So they all just need to click on the link and jump into the meeting.

Online Events

With this new feature you’ll be able to create online events in LibCal, and patrons browsing the event calendars will be able to filter/browse by event type (Onsite or Online).

What’s neat is that you don’t have to host the online event in Zoom – you can use Facebook Events, or WebEx, or… any platform that lets you hold an online group event. Here’s how to set it up.

  • If using Zoom, Head to Admin -> Integrations and enter your Zoom API/Key (don’t have institutional Zoom license? We may be able to help – email us at sales@springshare.com).
  • When you go to create an event, for “Location” you’ll see 3 options.
  • For Zoom events, the registration option is required and attendees will receive the event URL in their registration email.
  • For other online events (e.g. Facebook Live, etc.) the event URL will be shown on the event page but if there is an access password/pin to access the event – it will be emailed to attendees in the registration email.

Patrons are able to filter and search for online events from public calendars.

Bug Fixes, New Features, & Misc.

  • Customize the contents of your Appointments booking page. Make your own page title and page text for this all-important page. Make it look/feel like just another page on your website. Head to Admin -> System Settings -> Language Options > Appointments Page. Bonus – you can now enter HTML customization for page text, hooray.
  • Add a custom message to public pages for Equipment & Spaces when all items and/or spaces are set to inactive. Head to Admin > Equipment & Spaces > Settings, and look for the new panel titled Inactive Equipment/Spaces Display.
  • Copied Equipment & Space bookings will now check the Banned Email list when creating the new booking.
  • We fixed an issue that allowed regular users with no access to a specific Equipment & Space location to modify bookings.
  • Custom text in the “Today’s Hours” widget now displays only once.
  • We’ve standardized the time format for all Excel exports.
  • Centering text in any RTE located throughout LibCal will now correctly apply inline CSS.

Upcoming LibCal Training Sessions:

Also check out our recorded sessions!

Excited yet? So are we. We look forward to hearing your feedback and suggestions for further improvements.

[Back to Top]


LibAnswers multi-lingual admin interface + few more enhancements

LibAnswers servers in our regions around the world will start getting this new functionality this evening and by Monday, May 4, all regions will be live with this new functionality.

The LibAnswers 2.34.0 release is on its way, and we’re thrilled to bring you international translations for the majority of the LibAnswers admin interface! With this release, the major pages in LibAnswers – which include the LibAnswers Dashboard, LibChat Operator Dashboard, the Ticket Create & Answer pages, Ticket Knowledge Base Explorer, and Chat Transcripts and Statistics – can now be viewed using any of our supported base language customizations. To date, in addition to English, we also support French, Spanish, Italian, Swedish, and Serbian (Cyrillic).

When the 2.34.0 release goes live, your LibAnswers system will be rendered in the default base language selection that your Admins have set up under Admin > System Settings > Base Language. All users with a LibAnswers login will also be able to change their personal language display on the fly, by using the dropdown option included in the footer of every LibAnswers administrative page.

New in LibChat and Shared Group Systems

In addition to our very exciting language customization updates, we have several new features rolling out in LibChat and for Shared Group Systems!

  • Create Follow-Up Tickets from the Co-Op > Transcripts View. This new view is especially helpful in cases where you’ve concluded a chat interaction while monitoring a Co-Op, but perhaps forgot to create the local follow-up ticket while you still had the chat in view. Just head to LibChat > Co-Op Dashboard > Transcripts to view the new icon for creating follow-up tickets.
  • Proactive Chat with Co-Op Fallback. We know how crucial it is to offer your patrons assistance at the point of need, so we’ve updated our approach to creating chat widgets. Now, it’s possible to create a proactive widget (i.e. a widget that prompts the user whether they need assistance via a pop-out) and include a Co-Op as a fallback option. In practice, when you create this type of widget, the widget will only behave proactively when your local librarians are online and monitoring chat; if your local librarians aren’t online, but your widget is displaying as online because it’s being monitored by Co-Op librarians, then the widget will not proactively prompt the patron. To set your widgets as proactive, head to LibChat > Chat Widgets > Choose a Button, Slide-out or Floating widget > Enter a time in seconds in the Autoload Delay field.
  • LibChat Wait Time Counter. We’ve added a new timer feature in the LibChat operator dashboard to indicate how long a new chat patron has been waiting for their chat to be answered. This new timer is displayed on all new chats.
  • Group Admin Updates for Shared Group Systems. We’ve added two new key permissions for the new Group Admin account level in Shared Group Systems: Group Admins can now edit the group policy FAQ(s) for their group and can leave feedback on transcripts that a Co-Op answered on chats that originated from widgets connected to their Group Member Library.

Bug Fixes & Performance Improvements

  • We’ve added a message to alert patrons when they attempt to upload an unsupported file type.
  • We’ve fixed a bug when creating Macros. Previously, if your site only had access to one queue, the modal window did not display the list of users required for assigning tickets to a specific user.
  • We’ve fixed a bug when setting LibChat Default Queues to Monitor. Sites with access to just one queue were not seeing an option under Edit Account > LibChat Settings > Default Queues to Monitor that would allow the user to not monitor that one Queue when first logging into LibChat.
  •  We’ve implemented a number of performance improvements in the Tickets Knowledge Base Explorer > Statistics pages and when creating new Tickets and FAQs. While these updates aren’t directly visible, you should now see speedier load times and an overall improved experience for these pages.

Upcoming LibAnswers Training Sessions:

Also check out our recorded sessions! [Back to Top]

That’s it for this round of updates from Springy HQ, but stay tuned for more mid-May when a few other things will be coming your way.

We want to give a shout-out to our entire community in these uncertain times. We see how you are retooling your libraries and educational offerings to meet users where they are (at home, like us!), and we are proud to be a part of the vibrant industry that is libraryland. Stay safe and well, out there, Springy fam! We are always here for you if have any suggestions or questions.

You’ve Switched to Remote Services… And the Numbers Show It

As libraries across the globe quickly pivoted to online services in response to the pandemic, we’ve been seeing some really interesting early numbers that illustrate the size of this sudden change in library services. We wanted to share these with you, along with some information about what we’ve been doing on our end to support you all during this time.

Spikes in LibAnswers and LibGuides = Librarians hard at work

Since March 2020, we recorded these numbers in LibAnswers activity compared to March-April 2019:

  • Incoming chats increased by 109%. To put this in perspective, that’s a total of 338,794 LibAnswers chats in less than two months.
  • Our 24/7 librarians fielded 5,677 chats on the new 24/7 LibAnswers Cooperative platform. Each of these represents a chat that would have gone unanswered.
  • Patron-submitted questions increased by 56%, which equals 303,273 queries sent via email, social, SMS, and question form since March.
  • FAQ creation increased by a whopping 217% as 13,017 FAQs were added to public and internal staff FAQ groups.

In LibGuides, library staff created more than 26,000 new guides — that’s roughly a 96% increase compared to last year!

First off, kudos to all of the librarians answering this multitude of questions and creating new content quickly for all of your users. Each one of these numbers represents a person you helped during this crisis. These statistics show how critical it is for librarians to be able to share essential information online while you’re unable to provide in-person assistance.

What we’ve been up to at Springy HQ

It’s been an all hands on deck effort for the Springy team. In addition to our official update on the pandemic, we’ve been working diligently to support you while you’re helping all of these patrons so you can answer questions, share updates, and meet with them from anywhere. This has translated some pretty big numbers on our end, too, and here’s how we’ve handled them.

  • As support tickets skyrocketed, the team adjusted its internal processes to ensure swift responses. Customer queries are up 27% since March 2020 compared to this time last year, and the majority of customer questions are fully answered and closed within one business day.
  • The team launched a new training series dedicated to libraries transitioning to online learning and reference and managing remote workplaces. In March, training attendance was up 198% and video viewership increased by 211% compared to March 2019.
  • We bolstered infrastructure to support increased usage to handle the extra load.

Speaking of training, we’ll be announcing May’s training schedule, which includes our new What is LibAnswers with LibChat? session on May 7th, in this week’s training newsletter. Don’t receive our newsletters yet? Sign up to get them in your inbox.

What’s ahead

  • We donated our platform to the Librarian Reserve Corps, an international volunteer network of over 120 medical, public health, and health science librarians supporting the World Health Organization (WHO) and the WHO Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) with their urgent information needs related to COVID-19. Their sites were installed in just over 24 hours. Read our interview with them next week on this blog!
  • In the coming weeks, we’ll be announcing several exciting (and major) product updates to further help our customers as they pivot to different service models.

We hope you are safe and well where you are, and thank you for being on board with us! We promise to continue to provide stellar tools and superior customer support to help you navigate this difficult period.

Using LibCal Appointments & Events to Stay Engaged Online

It’s National Library Week! Springshare applauds the hard work librarians everywhere are putting in during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep their libraries operating and serving patrons. It may seem like an impossible task to keep the library — especially those whose doors are closed — engaged with the community, but your ingenuity and resourceful natures have been making it happen!

We’ve collected some examples of how libraries are using LibCal to effectively continue to provide help and to “gather” online. When I’ll meet you there veers to become Meet up from anywhere — it’s a pretty creative pivot.

Virtual Events at Mesa County Libraries Keep Fun on the Menu

In Colorado, Mesa County Libraries comprises 9 branches, all of which are closed until further notice. But from home, the librarians have been busy making a lemonade stand to share all of their lemonade! By hosting a series of virtual events in place of their popular on-site programming, they can still engage their patrons via new channels.

Using LibCal, they share the pertinent details for their Virtual Creative Fiber Arts Club, which happens via Google Hangouts, a Virtual Story Time, which is carried out in their social media channels, a poetry reading aimed at adults is highlighted, and so much more. Instead of enabling registrations, they’re promoting a sign-up button that allows patrons to get notified of upcoming programs and classes.

The virtual events are shared via their YouTube channel, Facebook page, and Instagram TV as they navigate this time and combat closed doors with open minds.

Birmingham City University’s Library Staff Makes a Beeline…to Online Services

The Library and Learning Resources department at the United Kingdom’s Birmingham City University wants its students and faculty to be aware that the library staff is available online and is ready to help.

They’re answering questions via LibAnswers and they’re even geared up to meet! LibCal Appointments allows the BCU Library team to meet for tutoring sessions. They even have peer mentors available for student support to help with developing library skills to make searching a better experience.

Letting people know this is a full-time job these days and BCU has taken to social media to get the word out. Many libraries tweet several times a day to reinforce the news that they are, in fact, operational.

Beyond social media, this outreach is supported with messaging on their website, LibGuides pages feature Book-a-Tutorial buttons, and you can even access the Appointments link on their LibAnswers home page. Let your students know they’re not alone. Use as many channels as you can to reach out.

Being There for Students — Salve Regina’s Library Gets the Word Out

The McKillop Library at Salve Regina University is making sure that students and faculty know that they’re ready and able to help with some clever cross-promotion of services.

The enterprising librarians also added a link to their appointments right below their LibAnswers chat widget so students can easily see it.

So — not only are they ensuring patrons that they can ask questions from anywhere — they also take the opportunity to offer appointments for those who’d prefer to have a block of one-on-one assistance. It’s true the doors are closed for now. But help is still available!

University of Pittsburgh Librarians Stay Connected

The Greensburg Campus librarians at the University of Pittsburgh are determined to stay engaged despite the distance. The best way to combat the isolation is to get together…albeit virtually. Staying connected, building relationships, assisting students and faculty is always a top priority but it can be challenging today.

This library staff decided to build a tabbed box in their LibGuides system to prominently share information about each of the team members. They’ve included photos and a button that connects students and faculty with the librarian’s LibCal Appointments availability or email.

There is no more accurate word for this time than unprecedented. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced academic, public, school, and special libraries around the world to move services entirely online. While it is a daunting task to provide excellent service to patrons virtually, librarians have answered the call. The innovation, out of the box (and onto the screen) thinking, and the absolute willingness to successfully shift to stay engaged that librarians are displaying is inspiring to us all here at Springshare.

Supporting Patrons During the Pandemic Using Springshare Tools

Before we dive into today’s blog post, we want to take a moment to thank all librarians and library workers on National Librarian Day (one day late). Thank you! The world is made better by librarians, and we certainly would not be here without you. 😄 If we could virtually hug each and every one of you, we would!

Librarians are problem solvers. Librarians are information seekers. Most importantly, when librarians see a need, they step up. Springshare tools were created with their unique needs in mind, and we’ve been excited to see the impressive and creative ways our customers have been using them to address their communities’ needs during this pandemic.

Today we’re bringing you three examples out of the many libraries doing just that. When their physical doors closed and resource sharing needs quickly shifted, they sprang into action with Springshare tools at their side.

Creating a Responsive COVID-19 Resource Hub for Health Care Workers


Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) Library Services

The need: “As Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA), our provincial health authority, formally stood up its response to COVID-19, content creation rolled into high gear. We had a high volume of information being produced, particularly in the realm of clinical guidance documents, as well as communications/SOPs on infection prevention and control. NSHA’s operational efforts in responding to the pandemic required a vast array of just in time information. This required content management specialists, but also the appropriate tool to get this information to the front line as quickly as possible, knowing that the front line for NSHA means clinics that were standing up in rural areas, busy urban ICUs, physician offices and everything in between. It needed to be outside the firewall, and yet separate from the patient focused communications.”

The solution: In late March, NSHA Library Services purchased a second LibGuides site to serve as their COVID-19 Hub for NSHA health care workers. It launched in just one week!

“After an analysis of our existing tools, we decided to combine Springshare LibGuides (leaning heavily on the Database asset feature) with a legacy document management tool. We host documents in our existing document management system, which provides an archiving function, version control, and permalinks.”

The hub provides a way for the NSHA team to quickly access the information they need. On the backend, the library can add new content that will automatically publish everywhere it needs to be used thanks to Database widgets embedded on guide pages.

The outcome: While it’s still early, the site is already generating approximately 3,000 visits a day.

“[LibGuides] made the Hub possible. When faced with an emergent and quickly developing situation, the Springshare platform offered us the ease of development and the user responsiveness required to meet the competing demands of the situation…. Having this tool at our fingertips and being able to impose some organization on the information coming out (and making it accessible to those who need it) may truly make a difference in a life-or-death situation.”

Engaging Students and Supporting Parents Across an Entire School System


Lincoln Public Schools (LPS) Media Services

The need: “In Lincoln Public Schools, our libraries serve over 42,000 students who were suddenly home for undetermined amount of time. We recognized that our Library Services could offer unique and engaging learning opportunities to keep kids reading, writing, and creating while staying safe at home. We know that parents are anxious to provide structure and meaningful learning for their children, but the flood of resources and random activities that overwhelmed our social media streams are not necessarily helpful.”

The solution: The library quickly created their Daily Learning Challenges guide — an all hands on deck effort to encourage creative learning, engage children and teens, and support their parents at home. Using LibGuides, they collaborated district-wide to create a platform that initially filled a much-needed gap while their school district organized its remote learning effort. Now that it’s in place, the guide continues to positively engage its students.

The outcome: “We have had a tremendous response to the resources we have been providing.  Parents genuinely appreciate the structure our Daily Challenge LibGuides provide to their child’s day and the creative learning that happens as a result. We have had between 5000-6000 visitors to our Daily Challenges LibGuide each day.”

“This has been a huge, ongoing effort by all our district school librarians. They’ve pulled out all the stops to design challenges that will inspire and excite students every single day. The collaborative nature of LibGuides gives us the structure and organization we need to keep this initiative going for as long as we are out of school.”

Supporting Patrons Social Distancing & Connecting them to Library Services


The Westport Library

The need: “We realized early on that folks in our community were going to still need our library, even if we were not open physically. We tried to think of how we could turn our physical resources into virtual from programming, to readers advisory, to reference help.”

The solution: After brainstorming how they could create a virtual library as robust as their physical library, the reference team was “LibGuideing like fiends” to quickly launch the Stuck at Home series. This visually engaging guide was so popular that it created two spin-offs: Navigating Virtual Living and Sports, Sports, Sports!

The outcome: They’re continuing to publish content important to their patrons. Meanwhile, their views have skyrocketed. In the first 35 days after they closed, they have had 69,334 views across all of our guides. In the previous 35 days, they had 32,858 views. That’s more than double!

“Every time we post one of our guides on social, the community response has been positive… On a side note, we have never received so many requests from other libraries to borrow our Libguide designs! For those reading this, we are always thrilled to share!”

“We have used Libguides for several years now, and we have loved it for as long as we have used it. Now, when we don’t have the option of a physical gathering space and a physical reference desk, we are able to produce a Libguide for our community on topics that are important to them.”