Tis the Season for (spring)Sharing – Tip #1: Getting Emoji’tional

Emojis

While your library might be winding down from the hectic schedule of finals or if you’re experiencing the general slowdown of traffic and questions typical during this time period – here are some quick (and fun!) things you can do, right now.

We’ll be releasing our Tis the Season for (spring)Sharing as a blog series from now till Dec 22nd! So come back and check out our other Springy Tips.

Tip #1 – Getting Emoji’tional 😉

Emoji’s can be an effective way to communicate with patrons and coworkers. They’re fun, expressive, and most importantly – compact. Universally agreed upon emoji symbols can help us convey a sentiment, or emotion, without having to phrase it in a convoluted or ambiguous sentence. So, not only does it save you time, but it can help prevent confusion from indecipherable sentences. For example, if you write that you’re heading over to a reference desk meeting and I reply with an emoji thumbs-up 👍👍, you can ascertain that I understand and am confirming your message. All parties are on the same page! Time magazine recently reported a study by Harris Poll showing that 36% of millennials ages 18-34 who use “visual expressions” say that those images better communicate their thoughts and feelings than words do.

On the flip side, using emoji’s improperly can land you in some hot water if you’re not using emojis that everyone can understand or are universally accepted. For example, in the same example above, if I had replied to your message with a party popper 🎉🎉 – does that mean that I’m happy you’re leaving to go to this meeting? Or am I wishing you good luck? Sending a party popper to that message just doesn’t make sense. As the recipient to my ambiguous emoji reply, you’re justifiably confused.

So, like with any communication tool, it’s important to consider your message and how the recipient of your message will interpret it. When in doubt, don’t use any emojis at all.

Accessing Your Built-In Emoji Keyboard

You’re probably very familiar with your emoji keyboard built into your smartphone device. But, did you know that your desktop computer also has a built-in emoji keyboard? Well, it does! Here’s how you can access it!

Step One: Be sure your cursor is inside an editing/typing window – like LibAnswers SMS Ticket Reply, or LibCal Social Publishing Field.

Step Two: Keyboard Shortcuts for Accessing the Emoji Keyboard

Windows Users Mac Users
  • Windows Button + semicolon (;)
    or
  • Windows Button + period (.)
  • CMD + Control + Spacebar

Step Three: Double-click to select your emojis, choosing as many as you want. You’ll notice the emojis being added to your text-editor. When you’re done, click to close the emoji keyboard.

Mac Computer Emoji Keyboard

Using Emojis In Your Springshare Tools

Now that you know how you can access your emoji keyboard, let’s have fun exploring all the different ways you can use emojis in your Springshare tools.

1. LibAnswers

There are many places that you can use emojis when replying to patron inquires inside of LibAnswers. Three places that come to mind are the SMS/Text-Message Tickets, Social Media Management, and inside of LibChat.

Additionally, using emojis in more ‘informal’ communication like text-messages, and social media posts can help users feel more connected to your content. In that same Time Magazine article, they reported that “the majority of people across age groups also said they feel ‘more connected’ to people they frequently message when using emojis and GIFs.”

In Your SMS/Text-Message Replies

LibAnswers SMS ticketing functionality allows you to answer patron-initiated texts natively inside the LibAnswers platform. Bottom-line, if you can type…you can text.

While replying to a patron inquiry, consider adding an emoji! Remember, text-messaging was the original birthplace of emojis, so using emojis in your reply will appear natively in the patron’s smartphone messaging app.

Adding Emojis to your LibAnswers SMS/Text-Message Replies

 

In Your Social Media Posts/Replies

If emojis were born in text-message, they grew to adulthood on social media. In your LibAnswers Social Media Management Tool, consider adding emojis to your Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest Posts and Replies. Remember, users feel comfortable when communicating with people who use emojis. And from our recent social media post, it’s important to be authentic. Emojis in your social media posts are a great way to communicate with patrons in a casual, informal, and authentic manner.

Emojis in Twitter - LibAnswers Social Media Management Posting

In Your LibChat Messages

In case you didn’t know, LibAnswers’ LibChat comes with built-in emoji support – but it’s limited to just the smiley face emojis. Use your built-in emoji keyboard to add more visuals to your chat convos! 👍

Built-in Emoji Support in LibAnswers’ LibChat

 

2. LibCal

Your library’s calendar events are an ideal spot for integrating some emoji fun! Remember, context is important – so it’s probably not a good idea to add emojis in a calendar event advertising the library’s counseling services.

In Your LibCal Calendar Events

When advertising your LibCal calendar events, consider adding emojis to the built-in Social Media posting integration.

Social Media Integration built-in to LibCal Calendars.

 

3. LibWizard

When asking patrons to fill out Library feedback forms or surveys – consider adding emojis to the radio and checkbox options!

As a tip, don’t replace words entirely with emojis as some user’s browsers might not be able to display them. Always use them in ‘conjunction’ with text unless you’re 100% certain that the emojis you’re using are compliant across all apps.

Adding emojis to the LibWizard Choices Options Fields.

Have fun poking around your Springshare tools and explore all the ways you can use emojis! And remember to have fun! 🎊🎉🎈

 

That’s all for this edition of ‘Tis the Season for (spring)Sharing’ Tips! Come back later this week for Tip #2!

7 Tips for Making Your Case to Use LibGuides CMS to Power Your Website

Kutztown University Library Homepage

When updating the library’s website, you’re not making that decision in a vacuum. More often than not, it’s a group decision that must go through multiple layers of stakeholders and departments.

If you’re advocating moving your Library Website into LibGuides CMS, you’ll need some feathers in your quill to strengthen your position.

Here are seven tips designed to help you ‘make your case’ towards moving your library website into LibGuides CMS.

1. Streamline Interfaces…For Everyone

Your library employs many web-based services to meet the needs of your patrons. From your website to the online catalog, from your blog to your Facebook page – you have a lot of virtual touch-points to manage.

Moving your library website into LibGuides CMS helps you to streamline interfaces, for everyone. Staff only have to go to one place to access research guides and website content. Plus, with LibGuides CMS you get free access to LibWizard Lite survey and form builder. This means one less login and password to remember to create forms and surveys. And, if you setup LibAuth integration, staff only need to login to your CAS/LDAP/AD/Shibboleth or other authentication tool to login to LibGuides CMS.

Patrons only have to navigate to one URL to access their website, research guides, embedded LibWizard surveys/forms, E-Reserves content, and more.

August University Library Homepage

Augsburg University Library uses their LibGuides CMS homepage to showcase library resources and prominently display their research guides.

2. Mobile-Friendly & Accessibly Designed

The 2016 Pew Research Center Libraries Report showed that 49% of people accessed a public library website from their handheld mobile devices – smartphones and tablets. The 2017 Horizon Report highlights a 2016 StatCounter study which found that 51.3% of all web browsing worldwide took place on mobile phones and tablets, surpassing desktop web browsing for the first time.

These stats are letting you know that mobile access is not a trend, but the ‘new normal’ and it’s here to stay. But, that’s easier said than done. A mobile-first website is more than just ensuring that your website adjusts properly on all screen sizes, but it’s also important that your website’s user-interface elements change based on their screen size as well. A submit button, for example, should adjust for both desktop mouse usage and smartphone’s touchscreen ‘finger’ usage.

And, if that wasn’t already too much to consider – you also need to ensure that your website is accessible to boot. Do you have ‘skip to’ navigate for screen-readers? What about Aria tags for any JavaScript elements?

If you’re looking to make a case to move to LibGuides CMS to power your website, a mobile-first layout and built-in accessibility features can help!

Kutztown University Library Homepage

Kutztown University Library’s LibGuides CMS powered website looks great on desktop and mobile.

3. Showcase Other Libraries That Are Doing It

Sometimes, the best way to make your case is to showcase all of the other libraries that are doing it.

Our Buzz Guide showcases tons and tons (and did we say tons?) of libraries from Academic, to Special, to K-12/School Libraries that are using LibGuides CMS to power their websites. Plus, did you know that all Government of Health Libraries in Western Australia use LibGuides CMS to power their respective websites? Cool, right?!

4. Move Your Intranet Into the Cloud

So, beyond using it to power your website, and creating patron research/subject guides, you can also use LibGuides CMS to create a cloud-based staff intranet. Using Internal Groups, staff are required to ‘sign-in’ to access the protected content. Plus, you can use integrated discussion boards for collaboration and feedback and get out of your inbox.

This way, staff can access important content from anywhere…on any devicesecurely.

Albuequerque/Bernalillo County Public Library Staff Intranet

The Albuequerque/Bernalillo County Public Library created a protected CMS group called Habenero to manage internal communication across 18 branches.

 

5. Enjoy Seamless Springy App Integration

Lots of libraries who use LibGuides CMS to power their website also use LibAnswers and LibChat to power their reference services, LibWizard for all their surveys and interactive tutorials, and LibCal to promote their events, room bookings, and librarian one-on-one consultations.

It’s not just because these tools are awesome (they really are but we could be biased so you could take the University of Liverpool Library’s word for it or the University College Cork Library or even the Houston Community College Library) but also because they easily integrate with your LibGuides CMS powered website.

Plus, our unified search brings together your LibGuides CMS content, your A-Z list, LibAnswers FAQs, LibCal events, and any additional 3rd party tool (i.e. discovery layer or OPAC) that you want to add.

Walden University LibGuides Unified Search

Walden University Library integrates LibAnswers FAQs, LibGuides CMS content, and their LibGuides A-Z list plus their discovery portal inside into their LibGuides CMS Unified Search.

6. Academic Librarians – Employ Native Courseware Integration

It’s hard enough for Academic librarians to get students to navigate to, and use, the library’s website and resources. But, nowadays, students have so many other ‘websites’ that keep drawing their focus. The student portal, the activities webpage for on-campus events, Banner for grades, and now courseware tools like Blackboard, Moodle, and Canvas too. How can the library compete for their attention?

LibGuides CMS has native courseware integration with any LTI-compliant courseware tool. So you can integrate your website content AND relevant courseware materials right at their point-of-need.

Plus, the LibGuides LTI Automagic tool helps you to embed your LibGuides CMS powered content across thousands of courses.

Penn State University used the LibGuides CMS LTI Builder to natively integrate relevant LibGuides, course-specific E-Reserves, and a LibAnswers LibChat widget across 33,000 courses in Fall 2016 and 32,000 courses in the Spring 2017 semester.

Was it successful? Well, in only 138 days of the Fall 2016 semester they had 80,000 hits.

Note: Penn State University Libraries does not use LibGuides CMS to power their website. 

7. Robust Training & Documentation

If you’re already using LibGuides CMS, and you want to know how to use it to power your library website – we’ve got you covered! Watch our ‘Creating a Homepage with CMS‘ training webinar series and check-out our help documentation that walks you through some key steps.

And remember, if you need help at any time, for any reason – you can contact us. Springshare Support to the rescue!

Tips for Designing LibGuides for Children

The look and design of your LibGuides will change depending on your audience. If you’re designing LibGuides for adults, graduate students, or advanced learners – you’ll focus more heavily on library resources, advanced searching techniques, and information literacy skill reinforcement.

When designing LibGuides for children, think bright, colorful, engaging, and entertaining.

No matter what children are doing online, whether its entertainment or education, they’re looking to have fun. Your LibGuide should be simple to use and exciting. If it’s not, you run the risk of them going elsewhere – to a webpage that can hold their short attention spans and fulfill their instant gratification needs.

So, when designing your LibGuide – dig deep and think back to when you were a child. Let’s cover a few tips for designing LibGuides for children.

1. Design for Appropriate Ages

Remember when you were 12 and someone gave you a gift meant for a 7 year old?! Gasp, the horror! You’re a pre-teen, not a baby!! Well, the same principle applies to your LibGuides. One size does not fit all, so consider creating different LibGuides for each age group. Furthermore, what holds the attention of a 7year old is going to be totally different than what attracts a 10year old. Create LibGuides CMS groups to customize the look & feel of each group of guides for each age group.

Example Guides Customized by Age Group

One great example that comes to mind is the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District LibGuides System. They’ve created different groups for PreK, K-5, and 6-12 age groups that all have a different look and feel.

Las Vegas County Public Library LibGuides

Las Vegas Clark County Public Library has different customizations for each age LibGuides CMS age group

2. Use Bright Colors & Images

Children respond to bright primary and secondary colors. Think red, blue, yellow, green, purple, and orange. Avoid muted colors and think bright saturated color schemes. Don’t skip over accessibility concerns, because if an adult can’t read purple text on a yellow background, then a child won’t be able to either.

3. Use Images to Create a Call to Action

Try to avoid lots of ‘copy’ and consider using images to create a call to action. There are loads of free tools you can use to create beautiful icons, and you don’t need to be a graphic designer to use them!

Examples:

Trinity Grammar School Uses Large Icons to guide Students

Canadian International School uses awesome icons to communicate library resources to students.

4. Incorporate Interactive Elements

Children want to play, plain and simple. Even when they’re learning, they learn better in a game’ified environment. Consider adding interactive polls, embedded videos, interactive widgets and activities to enrich their learning experience.

Moffat Library of Washingtonville adds interactive poll assets to every book asset to create a ‘Battle of the Books’ environment.

5. Consider ‘Characters’

Young children respond to characters and storylines. Creating a rich ‘story’ helps to create a connection between them, your content, and the learning outcomes. Consider using LibGuides blogs to create ongoing blog posts around a library character or story element.

The Harker School’s blog features the Harker Eagle, the school’s mascot.

6. HAVE FUN!

Above all, when creating a LibGuide designed for children – have fun with it! Unleash your inner child and think big, bold, bright, engaging, and entertaining.

BiblioEvents and LibCal Integration

Bibliocommons LogoHere at Springy HQ, we’re super excited to announce a unique integration between BiblioEvents and LibCal’s Spaces Bookings!

How does it work? When creating an event inside of your BiblioEvents admin interface, you can reserve the space/room for that event inside LibCal.

*Update: 11/16/2017*

The recording of the webinar is available now! Watch this 1hour recording and learn how BiblioEvents and LibCal Spaces are integrated.

Attend a Webinar and Learn More!

See this integration in action during today’s 1hour webinar. Can’t attend? Register anyway and we’ll send you the recording.

Topic: LibCal/BiblioEvents Integration

Date & Time: Wednesday, Nov 15: 4:00pm – 5:00pm U.S EST.

Description:

Join Springshare and BiblioCommons to learn about the new LibCal/BiblioEvents integration.

Staff who are scheduling events in BiblioEvents will be able to check and reserve rooms via LibCal with the integration.

Springys Bill Kessler and Talia Richards will discuss in conversation with BiblioCommons how the integration works and its ease-of-use for library staff.

Register Now

LibCal 2.11 – Event Updates and More are Live!

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

New Manage Event Screens

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

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

Event Templates

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

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

Equipment and Spaces Updates

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

MyScheduler Updates

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

Accessibility Updates

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

Coming Soon: Mediated Equipment & Space Email Digest

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

LibWizard Update Now Live

We have a brand new mini-release for LibWizard out today. This is just a maintenance release that is mostly concentrated on often requested bug fixes and some back end performance tweaks. You should notice a faster, smoother, LibWizard experience!

Just a few items:

  • Corrected a usability issue when LibWizard assets are embedded into LibGuides.
  • Fixed a problem where users were unable to edit the date and time field on reports.
  • Corrected a few typos on both the welcome and thank you screens.
  • Corrected an issue where checkbox fields set to display in multi-columns were not indented correctly.
  • Assets will now sort correctly when sorted by the created date.
  • Changes in asset title are now applied without refreshing the page.
  • Fixed an issue where under a very specific scenario submission notification emails were not being generated

HTTPS

We encourage you to use LibWizard with HTTPS but if you’re not, you should definitely give it a look. When web browsers start to force HTTPS, some of your forms my break if you’re not properly prepared so get started now!

We’ve written more about HTTPS on a previous blog post, so be sure to check that out.

Fall LibGuides Updates – Check ’em Out!

We released support for uploading your own HTTPS (SSL) certificates in September, and boy have you been using it! You’ve had a lot of great questions and helped us devise an improved Certificate Management page that is more intuitive to use. Haven’t uploaded a certificate yet? Need to renew and upload a new one? No problem! Just log into LibApps and head to Admin > Domains & Certificates. Click the padlock icon for the domain in question, and you’ll see information about your certificate (or lack thereof) right there.

Please note: the first step in the process is to change your domain’s DNS to point to the secure endpoint for your region. Please see our help guide for complete information.

Once you’ve done that, go to Your Certificate > Upload Certificate Files, or if you need a CSR and KEY with which to purchase a certificate, create and download those at Your Certificate > Generate and Download Certificate Signing Request & Private Key.

Once you upload your certificate file and key, the files will be installed and activated on our servers within one business day. The time of final activation depends on your region.

Screenshot

A Note on Site Cleanup

Just a friendly reminder that if you have ever switched to a custom domain or have otherwise had a domain change, including moving from a beta site to your live site, you should update any redirects and links that point to the old site.

Redirects include your custom homepage guide if you use one, group homepages, guides, and guide pages. We have redirects in place so that these bad domains will themselves redirect to the right place, but it’s best practice to eliminate these bad links by using relative URLs for your redirects. Using relative URLs means you don’t have to worry about changing redirects or links should you happen to change domains again in future.

So, if you redirect your system URL to a guide, go to Admin > Look & Feel > Page Layout > Homepage > Customization. If you’ve clicked the “Use Custom” button and have a redirect entered in the redirect field, make sure that it’s a relative URL. That would mean entering /home rather than https://mylibrary.libguides.com/home.

 

DO THIS: NOT THIS:
/home https://mylibrary.libguides.com/home

 

Screenshot

If you’re a LibGuides CMS customer and make use of groups, you should check at Admin > Groups > (edit group) > Page Layout > Group Homepage > Customization and make sure that you’re using relative URLs as redirects, if you have any.

It’s also important to check all custom templates and header and footer code for your site and groups to make sure that you aren’t using any links to old domains, including your original LibGuides v2 beta site. These can also be safely replaced with relative URLs.

Lastly, do a quick search in the Search & Replace tool for “beta” or your old domain to make sure you don’t have any guide content that needs updating. Check out our Search & Replace Tools videos for more help:

Accessibility Fixes

  • Database resource icons correctly have a blank ALT tag, as these are decorative images. Screenreaders will read a resource icon’s description aloud, so be sure to add that if the icon’s meaning isn’t otherwise conveyed in the link name.
  • The Fieldset Element has been correctly added to LibGuides search results facets.
  • The <b> tag no longer appears on search results pages.
  • The Guides and AZ list widgets have appropriate labels, when displayed as a drop-down menu

Aditional Fixes and Features

We also have a slew of smaller things to share with you:

  • Fixed! Search from a group homepage, search results are filtered to show only that group.
  • Gallery box slide titles are now easy to target with CSS.
  • The character limit for database asset internal notes has been expanded to 1,000 characters.
  • If you exceed the character limit for guide-level Custom JS/CSS, you are warned and not able to save.

LibAnswers 2.16 Update – Sharing Images is Here!

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

Get Social – Now With Images!

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

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

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

LibStaffer 2.5 Update Now Live!

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

Staff can Claim Available Shifts

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

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

Staff can “Favorite” shifts

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

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

Improvements to Schedule Views

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

Additional Updates and Fixes

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

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

Social Media’s Role in Higher Education Libraries

If you’re not already on social media, we hope we’ve made a case in our recent blog post and August SpringyNews newsletter for you to consider hopping on the social media train.

But if not, perhaps this recent Pew Research Report on Social Media might change your mind. They found that 69% of Americans use social media today. And of that 69%, 86% are between the ages of 18-29.

Check out this map by Pew Research:

Pew Internet Usage Map

Furthermore, roughly 3/4 of Facebook users and about half of Instagram users visit these sites at least once per day.

So, why is social media important for Higher Education Libraries? Well, that’s where your students, and prospective students, are.

So, You’ve Drunk the Kool-aid…What’s Next?

So, you’re on social media – good for you! Here are some ideas and suggestions for engaging with your social media demographic.

The Importance of Being Authentic

However you approach social media, imagine your posts as if you’re talking to an acquaintance. Not a close, personal friend, but someone with whom you can have a casual and informal conversation.

Social media users are accustomed, and therefore respond more strongly, to a more conversational style. Additionally, they’ll feel more connected to the Library through social interactions which feel more human and accessible than your highly-stylized library website.

What Types of Content Should You Post?

Like everyone in the social media universe, you probably struggle with the following social existential questions:

  • What should I post today?
  • Does this thing I want to post add value for our users?
  • How do I post something that will go viral with our followers?

And while we can’t offer the answers to those specific questions, we do have some tips for writing successful posts.

1. Highlight Your Community

Nothing speaks to your social media users than talking to them about them (how meta!). Skim the newspapers, both on-campus and locally, and share posts that talk about current students, faculty, staff, or alumni.

Highlight student workers, and their contributions to the library. They’ll most likely retweet/share it, meaning their large group of followers will see it too.

Bottom-line, show your audience that your community is note-worthy and that you’re proud to share their accomplishments, which by extension, are your accomplishments as well. #PatYourselfOnTheBack

2. Showcase Events…Even Ones Outside the Library

It’s easy to get stuck in the mind-set that the library’s Social Media accounts are solely for the purpose of promoting library content. But, by promoting campus-wide events and content, you’re positioning your social media accounts as the go-to place for knowing what’s going on on-campus.

And, for events that occur at the library, consider creating a digital experience around a physical event…especially for people who can’t attend. Set up a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram Live video stream of the event. Gather user-generated content and retweet them to show that you’re listening on social media. Once the event has passed, continue to showcase and advertise it. Post quotes, pictures, recap videos, and more.

3. Show the Day-to-Day At the Library

comfychairstweetIs the library coffee cart running low on donuts? Post a picture inviting your users to grab the last one before they’re all gone!

Teaching a library instruction class today? Be sure to post a picture of the library classroom tagging the professor and mentioning the course name/number.

Take a quickie video of how to enter the library from a particularly confusing location or how to find Room 201 behind the strange corner next to the bathroom.

The point is that if your users can see the ‘day-to-day’ experience in the library, they’ll see how they can fit into it and how they belong there.

4. What Can You Offer… That No One Else Can

Librarians are often the worst at touting their own horns, but the work you all do to help and support your students, faculty, and staff is nothing short of amazing. So, take some time on social media to tell your users what you can offer them, that no other space or department on campus can. #BlowYourHorn

  • 24Hour Library – If you’re the only space on campus with 24hour access, be sure to let your users know…and remind them, often.
  • Citation Services – Most freshman have no idea how to write up a works cited page. If you offer citation services, let them know. Also, don’t hesitate to tag specific classes or professors in your posts. Students may not know that they should seek out MLA citation help,  but if you tweet “Students of Prof. Smith’s ENG102 Comp. Class – come to the library for help with your paper.” they’ll know you’re talking about them.
  • Quiet/Safe Space – Don’t underestimate the value of simply having a quiet and safe space on a loud, bustling campus. Take photos of your comfy chairs, cozy nooks, and stationed security guards so students know that this is a place to go to not only get some peace and quiet, but to feel safe as well.
  • Your Awesome Equipment – If you’ve got 3D printers and a makerspace lab, you’re probably the only place on campus with that level of equipment. You’re like the Tony Stark on-campus, showcase it on social media too.

How Can Springshare Help You on Social Media?

We understand the importance of social media and to that end we’ve rolled out Social Media Management inside of the LibAnswers platform. This completely *free* with your LibAnswers v2 Platform subscription tool empowers you to do what you do best on social media.

LibAnswers Social Media Management Tool

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.
LibAnswers Social Media Management Tool

LibAnswers Social Media Management Tool