LibApps release with new LibAuth, LibGuides, LibCal, LibAnswers, LibInsight, and LibStaffer Features

Wow, do we have a ton of end of year updates to share with you – we have new LibAuth, LibGuides, LibCal, LibAnswers, LibInsight, and LibStaffer features to share! This time we’re doing something different with the announcement – rather than spreading out the announcements in multiple blog posts (one per product) we’ll outline them all here, in a single post.

These releases are on their way to you next week, and will be live in all regions by the end of the day on Wednesday December 19th.

LibAuth & LibApps

LibAuth now supports SSO logins via OAuth2 and Sirsi Symphony. If your SSO supports the OAuth2 protocol, or if you have the Sirsi-Dynix Symphony ILS, you can now set up LibAuth configurations that will use these methods. Use LibAuth to authenticate patrons for LibCal Space Bookings, events, LibGuides E-Reserves, or to place your LibGuides site, group of guides, or a single guide behind authentication. LibApps admins can head to LibApps > Admin > LibAuth Authentication to see these two new options.

In LibApps, if you switch to a custom domain or change an existing custom domain for your LibGuides, LibCal, or LibAnswers site, we will request & install a free Let’s Encrypt security certificate before we put the domain change into effect. This ensures that all traffic to your sites continues to go over HTTPS rather than over the insecure HTTP protocol. If you haven’t yet read our blog post on making all your Springy traffic HTTPS, check it out now.

We’re also adding two more customizable fields to the Primo Search Source, when you set it up to show Primo results inside your LibGuides & LibAnswers search. The two new customizable fields are for changing the scope and tab name. Head to LibApps > Admin > Search Sources to set this up for Primo.

LibGuides

Over in LibGuides, if you have LibGuides CMS and have implemented IP Access Restrictions for your site, group, or guide, you will no longer see results for these IP-protected assets in search results, unless you are inside the required IP range. Your IP-protected guides will only show up in search results for users within valid ranges.

We also added a feature many of our A-Z Databases admins have asked for: the option to remove a “Trial” label from a trial Database when the trial expires. To set this up, go to Content > A-Z Databases > edit your database, apply the label, add the trial expiration date, and check the box labelled “Hide from public view on trial expiration date.”

Speaking of A-Z list, we’ve made a small change to the way that A-Z Databases search works with filters on the public A-Z page. Previously, if you filtered the page view to a subject, vendor, or type, and then did a search, these filters weren’t cleared, resulting in incorrect search results. Now, filters will be cleared when you do a search. Once a search is executed, you can further filter by subject, vendor, or type, if you wish.

There are also a bunch of small features and fixes to share:

  • We fixed the A-Z Databases map count, which were incorrect in a few instances.
  • We fixed the rendering of A-Z Database Description popovers in two cases:
    • When you’re using a A-Z page template that contains a custom content box with A-Z databases in it.
    • If you’re using IE11 or on a mobile device.

LibCal

We’re happy to announce that LibCal now has an online payments component built right into the system, and it comes with no additional fee – it’s a standard part of your LibCal system.


Online payments are being added to event registrations and spaces first. Support for payments on equipment bookings will be coming soon (late January/early February). We’re doing a limited online payments release to early adopters, until we polish all the payments features over the next few weeks (the wide release will be later in January). If you’re interested in being an early adopter for online payments in LibCal, let us know! For a sneak peek at how this functionality is integrated within LibCal, check out the December Springy Newsletter feature on LibCal – Way to Pay.

In addition to online payments, we have several other new features rolling out in this release, including:

  • The new “Next Available” quick link in Spaces and Equipment is now available via the APIs
  • We’ve added a simple honeypot captcha to Event booking forms, to help reduce spammy event registrations. This captcha method doesn’t display to the patron at all, so you won’t see anything different in your registration forms, but spambots will run into hidden fields that are designed to catch them and prevent the form from being submitted.
  • We’ve updated our Spaces Exchange Integration to support displaying Space reservations in Exchange using either the patron’s name, or a nickname they enter as part of the registration form. This is designed to assist folks who are relying on the Exchange integration to tie in with an external room panel. To try out this new setting, head to Admin > Equipment and Spaces > Exchange/Outlook and look for the Title Setting toggle.

LibAnswers/LibChat

We’re thrilled to announce that our new screensharing & webinars functionality is here! We went way beyond just basic librarian-to-patron sharing of screen during chat. Patrons and Librarians can also request control of each others’ screens, do an audio chat, start an optional webcam share for a face to face chat, annotate the screen to help guide your users in the right direction, save and send screenshots… and that’s just the basics. Also, why stop with two people – have a screensharing/webinar session with 3, 4, 5 or more people – the more the merrier! It’s all there, in LibChat.

  • Supported Across All Browsers – Whether you or the patron are using Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or some other browser… our screensharing works across all browsers.
  • Supported Across Multiple Operating Systems – From Windows to Mac OS, from Ubuntu to Mint… we’ve got you covered.
  • Works on Tablets & Mobile Devices – From Surface Pro 2 (running Win 8.1 / Win 10) to iOS/Andriod devices and even on Slaven’s beloved Blackberry (yes, we went there!)… you can screenshare with users on multiple device types.
  • Audio & Video Options – You and the patron have the option to turn on your mics and webcams to enhance the screensharing experience.
  • Screen Annotation – Annotate screens, draw attention to certain elements, type up notes, and then save the screenshot and send to the patron.
  • Multi-Person Webinars or Virtual Staff Meetings – Screenshare as a group for internal meetings, staff webinars, etc. Why should only two people have all the fun?
  • Distance Education Support – With our screensharing and webinars, your library can better support distance ed programs at your institution.
  • Saved Recordings – Optionally, save your screenshare session and share it with relevant parties.

Screensharing is an optional module but it’s included free to all our Suite customers. Non Suite users can join in the fun too for $199 for this module – we worked hard to bring enterprise-class screensharing & webinars solution that costs thousands to every library that needs it, for less than a daily cup of joe at the local deli. That’s what we’re all about – delivering outstanding value to our libraries that we’re privileged to serve and work with.

Based on the amount of emails and inquiries we received since we told you about our screensharing plans, we know that you will want this installed, like, yesterday. But in order to ensure the stability of the infrastructure the rollout will be gradual, over the next couple of months. If you want to be an early adopter please let us know you’re interested and we’ll go from there.

In addition to screensharing, we have a couple of additional updates to share:

  • New Chat Status: Internal – With all of the screensharing excitement around the potential for internal staff meetings and support, we realized that our existing availability options in LibChat needed some tweaks. Thus as of this release there are now 3 presence/status settings for LibChat:
    • Online – You’re available to answer all public and internal chats
    • Internal – You’re offline as far as public chat departments are concerned, but online and available for internal chat departments and 1:1 operator chats
    • Offline – You’re entirely offline and unavailable to chat
  • Department Monitoring Update – We’ve updated the way we display information on who is publicly monitoring chats for each LibChat department. Previously we were displaying availability for each user in each department based on their overall online/offline status. Now, we’ll display this information based on whether the user is specifically publicly monitoring/not monitoring each individual chat department. To see this in action, head to the LibChat dashboard > Select a Department > Click Department Members.

LibInsight

We are working on integration of COUNTER Release 5 datasets into LibInsight, which we expect to be available before the end of March 2019. Meanwhile, we have a slew of small fixes for you:

  • We fixed field editing bug in circulation datasets
  • We fixed the error message displayed if you do not specify a “# of transactions” field in an Aggregate Circulation dataset
  • We fixed Dashboard charts for LibCal, LibAnswers, and LibGuides datasets
  • We’ve made it possible for you to choose whether to require “Required” fields when uploading a file to a custom dataset
  • We fixed a broken export button in the Circulation and Acquisitions Datasets Analysis “Popular” tab
  • We fixed the “Reset” button on widgets, which was not getting appropriate keyboard focus

LibStaffer

We’ve been working hard to bring you some special gifts this holiday season including awesome new features like copying shifts, SMS alert notifications, Geofencing and OAuth authentication for Outlook/Exchange calendar syncing.

  • Copy Shifts – By popular demand, you now have the ability to copy shifts and their assignments to the same or different calendar.  Open any schedule, select the settings icon drop down and select Copy Shifts access this feature.
  • SMS Alert Notifications – SMS alert notifications are here!  Select which LibStaffer alerts to receive through SMS text messages or email (or both).  Head to Admin > Accounts > Edit > Email & SMS Alerts to check out this new feature.
  • Geofencing – We’ve developed a way to put a distance restriction on where staff members can either clock in or clock out within a specified radius from a schedules physical geographic location.  Check out this new feature to set your geofence restrictions and schedule locations latitude/longitude by going to Admin > Schedule Settings > Edit Settings > Location & Time Clock.
  • OAuth Authentication for Outlook/Exchange Sync – A brand new way of syncing to Outlook/Exchange, using OAuth tokens instead of having to enter and update login passwords.  This new way is more secure than storing of Outlook/Exchange passwords.  Head to Admin > Accounts > Edit Account > Outlook/Exchange.
  • Workflow Submissions Explorer Recipient Filter – We’ve improved the workflow forms submission explorer to include a notification recipient filter.  You will now be able to use this filter to see only relevant form submissions that included a specific notification recipient.  To run the explorer with this new filter head to Forms > Submissions Explorer.
  • Max Hours per Day – The ability to set the maximum number of hours a day a staff member can work across all schedules in one day.  Manual shift assignments and the auto scheduler will take this new value into account when checking availability when scheduling staff members.  To set a staff members max hours per day that they can work, go to Admin > Accounts > Edit > Manage Account.
  • Custom Week Start Date – Beyond Sunday and Monday, we’ve now brought you the ability to set the ‘Week starts’ date to any day of the week.  The proper support has also been added for manually assigning staff and running the auto scheduler to determine availability.  Go to Admin > System Settings to set your ‘Week starts’ value to any day of the week.
  • Multi View Start Date – We’ve modified the multi schedule view display where if all the calendars selected for the multi view have the same week start date, the calendar view will start on that same day of the week.  To view this change, go to Schedules > Multi-Schedule View Only and select calendars that all have the same week start date.
  • Shift Swaps with Outlook/Exchange sync – We’ve improved the shift swap sync process for Outlook/Exchange where after a shift is successfully swapped between two staff members, the shift that each staff member was assigned to prior to the swap will be removed from the Outlook/Exchange calendars.
  • Consistent first and last name display – We’ve gone through all of LibStaffer and anywhere an account name appears it will display as First Name Last Name sorted by Last Name.

 

Many of the new features and functionality in Springshare tools came as a direct result of you, our customers, sending us your ideas, suggestions, pain points, constructive criticism, and kudos. We can’t thank you enough, and we promise so much more good stuff coming your way in 2019 – new features, enhanced functionality, new products… all with one singular purpose – to make your library workflows better and for you to continue impressing your customers and making them love and appreciate their library and their librarians even more. Thank you for your amazing suggestions and ideas in 2018, and here’s to a lot more goodies in 2019 and beyond. As always we’re here for you if any questions pop up.

New Data Center: Australia / Asia-Pacific – February 2019

Springshare is pleased to announce that we are bringing data centers online in Australia on February 11, 2019! All Asia-Pacific customers will be hosted on these servers. (See below for the list of countries moving to these servers.)

These new servers host v2 products only: LibGuides, E-Reserves, LibAnswers v2, LibCal w/Equipment Booking, LibStaffer, LibWizard, LibInsight, and LibCRM. Once you move to this new cluster, all of your Springshare tools (current and future) are located there.

Who is moving & will there be down time?

We’re moving all v2 sites and content for customers located in the Asia-Pacific region. If you are located in one of these countries, your data is moving to the Australian servers: Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, British Indian Ocean Territory, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Heard Island & McDonald Islands, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kiribati, Laos, Macao, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Niue, Norfolk Island, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Pitcairn, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Wallis and Futuna.

Customers not located in one of the above countries are unaffected. There will be no down time for customers on servers in the U.S., Europe, or Canada while we move these sites.

Asia-Pacific customers will experience some down time during the migration process:

  • LibGuides Public side: No down time.
  • LibGuides Admin side and all other apps (both public and admin sides): Estimated 15 minutes of down time; may be up to 30 minutes.

I’m in the Asia-Pacific region – what do I need to do / know?

  • Migration Date: Monday, February 11, 2019 starting at 7pm U.S. EST (Melbourne time: Tuesday, February 12, 2019 at 11am AEDT)
    Time Converter – click “Add another city or time zone” to convert to your location.
  • LibGuides / LibAnswers / LibCal Custom Domains: If you have a custom domain (e.g., research.mylibrary.org, ask.myschool.edu, calendar.library.myschool.edu.au) for your LibGuides, LibAnswers, and/or LibCal site(s), you’ll need to work with your IT department to update your DNS records in time for the migration. We’ll send you instructions / more details in early January.
    If you are not on a custom domain (e.g., mylib.libguides.com, university.libanswers.com, springylib.libcal.com), you do not need to do anything. We’ll take care of everything on our side.
  • We’ll email you in early January with more information about what to expect and what you need to do to prepare for the move.

If you’re using LibAnswers v1 or LibAnalytics and want to move to the Australian server cluster, you will need to move to v2 in order to do so. LibAnswers v1 customers will be live with v2 prior to this server move. If you are using LibAnalytics, please update to LibInsight Lite.

If any questions / concerns pop up, please let us know, and as always, thanks for being on board!

HTTPS for All and All for HTTPS!

(Past HTTPS posts: Aug 24, 2017  |  Sept 28, 2017  |  Jan 25, 2018  |  June 7, 2018)

All major browsers are now flagging HTTP pages as “not secure” as a matter of course. This move toward web-security-by-default is something we at Springshare agree with, so we’ve implemented several things to help all of you ensure that your users are always enjoying a secure experience with Springy Apps – security certificates, forcing HTTPS, and removing TLS1.0 support, to name a few – and we’ll continue to roll out security options in future. In addition, we’re always vigilant in making sure that our code and our servers are safe and secure.

You may be wondering…why should I care if my pages are loading over HTTPS? Well, it’s all about your users’ security & privacy! With data leaks and cyber attacks on the rise, it just makes sense to take advantage of every opportunity to give your users the most secure web experience possible, and HTTPS is the baseline. Also, if you’d like to use the forthcoming LibCal billing functionality (online payments FTW!), an HTTPS connection is required.

Many of our customers have already made the move to HTTPS-only, and found it easy to do! There is no downtime or cost when moving to HTTPS (unless you choose to purchase your own security certificate) and it ensures a better, more secure experience for all of your users. In fact, we have issued over 2,000 certificates (for free!) so that all you need to do is push one button to switch to all secure access, all the time. It’s a win for everyone!

What We Do / What We’re Going to Do:

  • We provide free, automatically renewed Let’s Encrypt security certificates, in addition to the ability to upload your own security certificates.*
    • Load your page using https to double check whether or not your site has a valid, active security certificate.
    • Simply click in your address bar and type https://yoursiteURL.
  • We offer the ability for sites to force all of their pages to load over HTTPS. It is not enabled by default (yet), because there may be some content on your site that you need to update prior to making that move. (See below for more info on mixed content.)
  • We offer HTTPS access for all APIs, so you can ensure security of any information transferred via API.
  • We will remove the LibApps > Admin > Domains and Certificates option to toggle “Force HTTPS” for good by the end of Q1 2019.
  • If your site is not already set to enforce HTTPS, we set that for you beginning Jan 2nd, 2019. We will do this a few sites at a time each day to ensure that everyone is covered before the end of Q1 2019.

What You Can Do Now:

  • Check your site for “mixed content“: content embedded in your page that is loaded over HTTP instead of HTTPS.
    Why does this matter? If your overall page is loading over HTTPS, but an embedded item on the page is trying to load over HTTP, the embedded item will not display on the page. Although Springshare has supported HTTPS for a long time, this is the primary reason we have not enforced it yet: giving you time to update your widgets and ensure all content continues to load on your pages.

    • This content could be a search widget, a video, or anything else you’ve embedded. If it’s embedded in your site, it must be embedded via HTTPS.
    • Notes on how to find mixed content in your site is below in the “Searching for Mixed Content” section.
    • If your widget is loading over HTTP, check the site where you got the widget to see if they offer an HTTPS version.
    • If your widget is from a Springy app, it’s easy! Just add https: to the beginning of the “src” to require that it load via HTTPS.
    • If you use Springy APIs anywhere, make sure you’re using them over HTTPS. If not, update your calls by adding that s.
  • Force your LibGuides, LibAnswers, LibCal, and LibWizard sites to load over HTTPS.
    • This ensures a secure experience for your users when using those apps.
    • LibInsight, LibStaffer, and LibCRM are designed to always load over HTTPS, so there’s nothing to change for those systems.
    • This will be enabled for all sites by the end of Q1 2019.

Searching for Mixed Content:

  • In LibGuides:
    • Rich Text items: use the “Search” portion of our Search & Replace tool, and search on http: (with the colon at the end). Then review the list for embedded content. If the item is simply a link out to another website, you do not have to update that (unless the other site supports HTTPS and you want to update it). (This might be the majority of the list.) You’re looking for content embedded in the page, JavaScript, calls to stylesheets, etc. You can use CTRL+A to highlight the results, copy them, and paste them into a program like Excel for easier scanning, if you wish.
    • Widget items: use the filtering options in the Content > Assets area. Once on that page, limit Type to Widgets, enter http: in the Description / Metadata field, and click Filter. Click the edit icon for each item and review as noted above.
  • In LibAnswers you can use the “Search” part of the Admin > Assets > Search & Replace Links tool to find all instances of http: in your FAQ answers (yes, even though it says Search & Replace Links 😉 ). Be sure to check off the “Perform a search only” checkbox when using this tool. The first section will list any Public FAQ Links that contain http: – which may be just fine (though if there is an https equivalent, then it’s a good thing to update). The second section lists Public FAQ content that contains http:. Be sure to check this second area, as it’s likely where you may have embedded something. Also remember to check your Embedded Media / Widgets in your Public FAQs!
  • Load your page over HTTPS and use your Browser’s developer tools (usually something along the lines of: right click on the page > select Inspect > select the Console tab) to see what it marks as “mixed content” on each page. This may take a while, considering the number of pages you may have on your site, but it’s an option.
  • Another option is to use one of the myriad of tools that have popped up to help with this very thing! Do a web search on “mixed content check” (or similar keywords) and you’ll find options like “Why No Padlock?”, etc. (We’re not endorsing any particular thing; that site is simply noted as an example.) Continuing with using that site as an example, it works like this: you enter your https link into the tool and it scans that page (and any page that it links out to), notes any mixed content, and reports back to you with a list. It’s a great way to find all mixed content at once and/or as a check before forcing HTTPs for your site.

* Using a custom domain and seeing that your site does not have a security certificate?

Your DNS records could be pointing to the wrong place or there could be a Certificate Authority Authorization (CAA) in place that is preventing us from getting a Let’s Encrypt certificate on your behalf. We’ve contacted the handful of sites where we know this is a problem. If you’re seeing that you do not have a security certificate, contact your IT department with this information:

  1. Check that your DNS records are pointing to the right place.
  2. Check to see if CAA is enabled. If so, either:

If you do not either allow us to successfully obtain a security certificate on your behalf or purchase one on your own, your site will be unreachable when we require all pages be loaded via HTTPS (by the end of Q1 2019). Let us know if you have any questions!

Planned Server Maintenance: December 26, 2018

Server maintenance is planned for LibGuides, LibAnswers, and LibCal in all regions on Wednesday, December 26, 2018, which may cause brief downtime (no more than 15 minutes in the worst case) for a subset of our customers.

There are no changes or actions required on your side, by anyone, for any product. So you don’t have to lift a finger! This is simply a notification of the expected downtime while we update our servers. We will remind you again (via a message when you log into your system) as we approach the maintenance date.

This work is necessary to strengthen our load balancing infrastructure for all of our customers. As a reminder, we use load balancing so that any sites attempting to connect to a disrupted server automatically move to a healthy server while we replace the disrupted server. A minority of customers, however, opted to be tied to a single server due to the nature of the setup of their custom domain. Those customers will also be load balanced upon completion of this update. (If this does not sound familiar to you, you are likely not part of that minority of customers.)

We chose Wednesday, December 26, 2018 for this maintenance / brief downtime based on usage logs, which show this is one of the lowest usage periods in the entire year. We will further mitigate any disruptions by performing this server work either early in the morning or late at night in each server region’s time zone.

Please let us know if you have any questions!

5 Ways to Use LibStaffer Workflow Forms

If you’ve seen LibStaffer’s newest addition, Workflow Forms, and you’re already wondering about the ways you can use it – then look no further than this blog post.

And if you’ve never heard of LibStaffer, Springshare’s staff and service-point scheduling tool, then you’re in luck! We’re doing webinars all November long and the first one starts tomorrow, Wed Nov 14 @12pm US ET. Sign-up to attend the 30min session and learn all about LibStaffer, Workflow Forms, and exciting upcoming updates like SMS notifications and GPS Limiters for Clocking In/Out.

Whether you’re an Academic, Public, K12, or Special Library – we have 5 examples of ways you can use LibStaffer Workflow Forms in your library – read on below!

All webinars are 30 minutes long, join us!

1. Librarian/Para-Professional Job Application

One of the many reasons Workflow Forms came to be was a need to have one place to route all incoming job/position applications. And it made sense to make that ‘one-place’ be inside the very staffing/scheduling tool you use.

Use LibStaffer Workflow Forms to create a Job Application Form for librarian or para-professional positions.

>> Example Job Application Form <<

Create custom stages to route each application through your process. Bonus, each ‘stage’ has customizable email alerts so only staff on the interviewing committee will receive an email alert when an application is moved to ‘Selected Interview’.

  • New Application
  • Selected Interview
  • Not Qualified
  • Finalist
  • Closed (Accepted)
  • Closed (Denied)

2. Human Library / Live ‘Book’ Volunteer

Is your library thinking of starting a Human Library program? If yes, consider creating a LibStaffer Workflow Form to route all ‘live book’ applications into one space.

>> Example Human Library Form <<

Human Library volunteers can use the form to:

  • Describe what their book ‘title’ would be.
  • Explain why they want to volunteer to be a part of your library’s Human Library project.
  • Allow the library to take pictures, and to share them, during your Human Library events.

 

3. Student Employment Form

Many of us here at Springy HQ were former Academic Librarians – and a few of us were in charge of workstudy students. So, we completely know the pain you go through finding reliable student workers, scheduling them, and then dealing with the 10,000 schedule changes they need to make – from dropped/picked-up classes, sports commitments, and the horrors of finals week. In fact, LibStaffer was originally built with these ‘pains’ in mind! So, Academic Librarians in charge of student employees – there are tons of features inside of LibStaffer designed to make your scheduling woes a distant memory! But, we digress!

>> Example Student Employment Form <<

Do you hire non-workstudy students? If yes, indicate so in your form.

Ask questions regarding their availability. And consider asking about any special skills they might have.

Perhaps you’ll get an application from someone who is a native Spanish Speaker. Serán muy útiles if you need feedback on which Spanish-language books to add to your collection!

 

4. Read to the Dogs Volunteer Form

Therapy dogs have shown their assistance in helping patrons of all ages. From college students who need help reducing stress during finals week to shy children, teens (and even college students) looking to build confidence by reading to a therapy dog or practicing a presentation to build public-speaking skills.

Create a ‘Read to Dogs’ Volunteer Form to get some four-legged slobbery volunteers to come into your library and work with patrons.

>> Example Read to Dogs Volunteer Form <<

Are you looking for only certified therapy dogs? Be sure to ask that in your form.

Do you want to see a picture of the doggy in question before accepting them? Add a ‘file upload’ field to your form so applicants can upload a picture of their furry friend.

5. Sabbatical Request Form

Sabbatical requests often go through a complicated process where many different staff are involved at differing stages.

Create your sabbatical request as a Workflow Form – this way each and every submission goes through your process with strict oversight and auditing-capabilities.

>> Example Sabbatical Request Form <<

Is the request a brand-new request or an extension? Create that question as ‘Notify Checkboxes’ field type. This way, ‘New’ requests are routed to the approval committee and ‘extensions’ are routed to the review committee.

With sabbatical requests, don’t be afraid to go nuts with the Workflow Stages. This way, you’ll be able to filter form submissions by a specific stage so you’ll always know the next step in the process.

 

Notify Checkboxes Field Type

 

Already using LibStaffer? Learn more about using Workflow Forms!

If you’re already using LibStaffer, then you might want to learn more about Workflow Forms.

LibCal 2.18 release coming on November 12-13

The LibCal 2.18 release is coming to you this week and will be rolled out to all regions by the end of the day Tuesday November 13th.

This is a mini release of sorts but still includes lots of great features including a next available button for space/equipment bookings, the addition of the image manager for featured event image selection and more!

Calendars/Events:

  • Email can be set to optional for event registrations – You’ve asked for it, and we delivered. 🙂 Email address can now be set so that it is not required on an event registration form. Phone number and library barcode have been added as additional event registration information – but can also be set as either optional or required fields, or you can disable them altogether. In addition, you’ll be able to customize the field descriptors and add custom help text for each.  From the orange command bar, select Calendars > Registrations Forms Tab to edit or create a new form to view this feature.

  • Image Manager Integration – We’ve added the ability to launch the Image Manager to select featured event images when creating or modifying an events details. You can check out this new option by clicking on Calendars from the main menu navigation bar and choosing your desired event calendar. Once you are inside the calendar, simply add or modify an event and then press the new ‘Launch Image Manager’ button to choose an event image.

  • Event Location Display On Admin Calendar Day/Week View – We’ve added the event location to the display of the day view of the admin event calendar. The location of the event will appear after the event title in italic font with the word at preceding the location. To view this new display, head to Calendars > Edit Calendar and then select the Day/Week view options.

  • Category & Audience Fields Required – We’ve added a setting on the system-wide audience and category fields to make these required when creating a new event. Admins can locate the setting to make these fields required by going to Admin > Calendars and then accessing the Audiences tab and Categories tab.

Spaces/Equipment:

  • Next Available Button for Space/Equipment Bookings – We’ve added a new button that will easily allow the next available space or equipment booking to be found! When this button is pressed, the availability grid will jump to the next available time slot. This will really help where equipment items are in high demand or long lead times are set up before allowing bookings.  To use this new feature, head to the public Space or Equipment booking page and select the “Next Available” button.
  • Copying Booking Form Info – We’ve added a way to copy all relevant booking form information from an existing booking to create a brand new booking. To use this feature, from the orange command bar select Spaces > Click on a past space booking > click on the new ‘copy’ button.  After clicking this button, you’ll be prompted to create a new booking and all the booking form details from the source booking will be copied over.

  • Confirmed Bookings Date Picker – We’ve added a date picker to the Confirmed Bookings page that displays on the public page. Use the date picker by selecting the new ‘Custom Date option in the ‘When’ drop down selection. The public page for confirmed bookings can be accessed by clicking the ‘View Confirmed Bookings’ link public space booking grid page (note this only appears for spaces where “Public Nickname” has been enabled).

  • Reminder Email for Space Bookings – We’ve added an optional opt-in email reminder for space bookings. If you enable these emails, they will send based on a duration (available by the number of hours before) selected before the space booking occurs. If multiple bookings occur on the same day, they will all be sent in one reminder email.  To enable these emails, admins can head to Admin > Equipment & Spaces > Edit Location > General > Reminder Email & choose the amount of time prior to the booking start time when the email should be sent.

Bug Fixes:

  • Exchange Sync Issues – We’ve resolved an issue with exchange where double bookings were being created in the Appointments module. These double bookings were showing in the Appointments>Availability grid. The issue has been corrected and should no longer happen!
  • 12 am Time Slot Booking Error – We’ve fixed an error that occurred when a booking was attempted to be made that started at 12 am.

Always Stay Tuned: Springshare Has Lots For You To Love.

Fall Back — In Love With Learning More!

For those of you who changed your clocks, what will you do with your extra hour? As the calendar year comes to a close, one might think that it’s time to wind things down.

However, here at Springshare, we do no such thing. For a lot of libraries, this time of year actually poses an opportunity. Perhaps you finally have some time to evaluate current processes, look into new solutions and/or catch up on the latest feature updates to the Springy tools you’ve already got.

So, instead of slowing down, we’re just as ramped up as ever to help you take advantage of this time.

Springy Live Sessions Are Always A Best Bet.

Our classic free training sessions are a staple around here as they are a delightful mix of thorough and lively — mostly because our trainers love interacting with clients and our clients ask excellent questions that benefit everyone in attendance. Don’t miss these upcoming sessions. For a complete list of what’s to come, please check the training calendar.

New to the lineup is the Brunch & Learn series. These are live sessions centered around specific topics. Often they highlight ways that people are using our tools. We have one more scheduled for this year. Make sure to catch it. But, you can also have fun watching the recordings of some of our recent installments!

For those who have a little time and want to learn a little more, we recently introduced Training Tidbits. If you have 15 minutes and want to walk away after them just stunned by how much you could learn in so little time, then keep an eye out for these quick sessions. Be sure to catch these upcoming LIVE sessions.

A New Watchlist to Add to Your Rotation.

If you read our most recent SpringyNews edition, you probably saw that we added a new section called the Watchlist. It’s our version of staff recommendations but it’s focused on our recorded webinars, presentations from clients at conferences, SpringyCamp sessions, and more. In these next few weeks, go ahead and hunker down with some of these cherry-picked videos. It’s certainly a fun way to gather tips and tricks.

Updates on the Horizon.

The developers here at Springshare are as busy as ever working on bringing to life new features and enhancements to make sure Springy solutions are as up-to-date as possible with the current needs — and, sometimes, we even get a step or two ahead. To always keep up with the tech, make sure to read our Blog. Plus, you’ll find a section of the newsletter devoted to the soon-to-be-released updates. Read up on what’s in store, now.

Don’t want to miss a thing?

Did you see the latest Client Story in our Buzz Site on the Boston Public Library? Perhaps you haven’t. Maybe the new Brunch & Learn sessions and the latest SpringyNews newsletter and the Client Stories are all news to you as you. If you don’t want to miss any of the fun, informative, classic or new content we are actively putting together for you — then make sure you opt-in to the good times.

Always stay tuned in to the Springshare channels. We are regularly working on coming up with interesting topics for training webinars and writing stories about how librarians all over the world are creatively using Springy solutions. We want you to have access to all of it!

Building LibGuides for Current Events

In our most recent newsletter, we talked about creating #TrendingNow content. To summarize, the most successful teaching sessions are based around an assignment, project, or task.

Context is key. And contextual learning leads to long-term learning.

That same concept applies when you connect learning resources with #TrendingNow current events.

Patrons are far more likely to deep-dive into a topic when the subject matter is topical, trending, and “hot right now”.

 

U.S. Mid-Term Elections Are Six Days Away!

The U.S. mid-term elections are only six days away! The news cycle is 24/7 continuous coverage on this hot-button event. What better way to position the library as a leader in information-sharing that creating a topical LibGuide on the Mid-Term Elections.

  • Think Local – Share local, district, state-level races as well as ballot proposal questions.
  • Distill Information – Share ways to register to vote, how to find your local polling place, and suggestions for best times to visit the polls.
  • Inform – There are a lot of fake news resources choking people’s inbox, their social feed… and their brains. Use your Elections / Voting LibGuide to break myths, communicate accurate information, and explain how to be an informed citizen.

 

Pikes Peak Library District – Voting & Elections LibGuide

Stevens Institute of Technology – Vote New Jersey LibGuide

What Other Kinds of Guides Can I Make?

#TrendingNow content doesn’t just have to be about the upcoming elections. Unfortunately, hurricane season is upon us and North America is seeing an uptick in the severity and frequency of hurricanes. Other areas have natural disasters to contend with too, like earthquakes, blizzards, and more.

If you’re in an area with hurricanes or other natural disasters, a Disaster Preparedness LibGuide is an effective way to communicate important information.

To illustrate, the East Baton Rouge Parish Library is the largest library system in Louisiana covering the capital city of Baton Rouge and the surrounding parish. EBRPL services a large community with nearly 350,000 card holders, 14 branches, and an annual circulation of 2.5million items. EBPL has 160+ active LibGuides and they receive roughly 150,000 hits to those guides annually. In 2016, their LibGuides were instrumental in providing resources for a struggling community. From their Disaster Assistance LibGuide to Coping with Traumatic Events LibGuide – these resources were invaluable to citizens. Watch EBPRL Librarian Andrew Tadman present at our 2016 virtual SpringyCamp conference on how their InfoGuides helped citizens during these trying times.

As Andrew stated,

“During the 2016 flood, information was coming out over social media from different news outlets, kind of all over the place. And sometimes, it was contradictory information. So, we knew immediately we had to get a guide setup to create a one-stop resource of curated information. We didn’t want to overwhelm people by just putting every link possible that we could find out there. So we just to focus it on just what people need right now, what’s the most important things. There was lots of gossip and rumor about what you’re supposed to do, where you’re supposed to go, what you’re not supposed to do, including bad information about shelters, and incorrect information on documenting damage for FEMA. Additionally, information from the official city offices wasn’t getting out quickly enough. And that’s where the speed of LibGuides came in. We were able to get information up quickly, link to it on our library website, share it on social media, and disperse it. The mobile-accessibility was important to be able to access this information.”

Arizona State University – Hurricane Florence LibGuide

Add #TrendingNow Tag

Whatever LibGuide you decide to build, whether it’s on a patron’s chance of winning the 2018 $1.5billion combined lottery or on how the European Union’s Parliament works with Angela Merkel’s recent retirement announcement, add a #TrendingNow tag to your LibGuide.

Big thanks to Sally Stieglitz from Adelphi University for this idea! Sally’s created awesome LibGuides on #ThanksForTyping: Women’s Invisible Labor in Academia and Publishing, Fake News and Alternative Facts, and the 20th Anniversary of Harry Potter.

#TrendingNow guides can have a short shelf life, so use tags to organize them. Then, when they’re considered ‘old news’ simply remove the tag or consider unpublishing them to keep your guide list manageable.

To advertise your #TrendingNow content, create a widget connected to your #TrendingNow tag, embed that widget on your homepage, and voila – you’re creating a quick & easy shortcut for patrons to view your #TrendingNow content. Every guide you build or take down will auto-update that widget.

Beyond The Library: LibCal Usage

Lately, we’ve been discovering more and more examples of non-library folks showing an interest and later purchasing LibCal for use by their teams and the customers they serve. While it may have started in the libraries, it’s clear that many are catching on to the fact that LibCal — with its awesome features and, yet, simple interface — works beautifully in so many different settings.

As Heather Westerlund, IT Manager at Walden University Libraries, stated in an in-depth interview on how Springy Tools have expanded beyond the Walden Uni. Libraries,

Just because it has the word ‘Lib’ in it, doesn’t mean that only the Library can use it!

If you need calendars, appointments, have spaces, perhaps equipment and want to share your hours, LibCal can work for you, too — no matter what it says on your office door.

The essential LibCal.

LibCal is made up of 4 components with an optional 5th that is an add-on module. They work together to form a complete integrated calendaring solution that is flexible enough to be used beyond the library.

It’s cloud-based, mobile-first, affordable, boasts in-depth statistics to help you make data-driven decisions and comes with Springshare’s free training and support.

Libraries have been recommending more than books.

In some institutions, LibCal use is really spreading. Emory University in Atlanta now has 6 LibCal systems, 4 of which are being used outside the library in offices like the Scholarly Communications Office, Tutoring, Student Digital Life, and Campus and Community Relations. There are a number of excellent examples of other departments on academic campuses who are successfully using LibCal for their needs.

 

At Florida Atlantic University, the Office of Instructional Technologies has a LibCal system that they use for upcoming events, room booking and appointment scheduling.

Recently the Human Resources office at FAU also purchased a LibCal system.

 

 

 

 

 


Arizona State University has a Digital Creative Studio that is using LibCal Calendars for events.

They use the Equipment Booking Add-on Module for reserving computer workstations, and the Spaces booking for reserving event space and video studios.

Appointment Scheduling: It should be nice (and easy) to meet you.

LibCal saves you the troublesome back and forth of emails where you keep trying to nail down a time that works for both parties.

Add your availability, create a custom form for people to fill out, and even set up different types of appointments that have appropriate durations.

While students do meet with librarians, imagine all the other departments on campus that have personnel that also meet with students or faculty, etc.. The Southern Methodist University Advisory Group uses LibCal to allow people to schedule appointments with

  • Academic Counseling
  • Academic Services
  • Pre-Health Advising
  • Student Athlete Academic Services
  • Simmons Student Academic Advising
  • the University Advising Center
  • and the Student Transfer Admission department

Booking spaces, rooms and more!

We’ve heard just about everything when it comes to how people are handling the booking of spaces and rooms. With all the conference rooms and performance spaces, computer labs, classrooms, auditoriums, etc. on site, having a simple way to make them available and manage them is in order. The Spaces component is one of the main draws to LibCal. People are really creative in how they use it — because it’s flexible enough to suit many needs.

The Oklahoma State School of Business is using LibCal Spaces for their breakout rooms.

 

An innovative use comes to us from the Thompson Rivers University Sustainability Department which is using it to allow people to book cars as a way of car sharing.

Equip yourself with tools for success.

Maker spaces are popping up all over. We’ve seen a rise in interest from them in recent years and they use LibCal to highlight workshops and classes. They let people book appointments with artists and experts and techs. They use the Equipment Booking Add-on Module to make their devices, machinery, tools, and equipment available. It’s proving to be a great pairing.

The Innevation Center at the University of Nevada, Reno is doing awesome things with LibCal. Here’s the Equipment Module in action there.

 

So, here’s to the same energy that prompts a person to tell another about a really great book or movie or restaurant. Word of mouth is powerful, even in the tech world — but only if the solutions really work. LibCal is an excellent tool that helps you seamlessly allow your students, faculty, staff, and patrons to take advantage of the services, classes, workshops you offer, to meet with you, to reserve your spaces and equipment — to engage with you. And, if they are doing that — you’ll all be a wild success.

LibAnswers Proactive Chat Increases User Engagement

If you’re looking for a way to increase user engagements, look no further than LibAnswers proactive LibChat widgets!

Create as many customizable chat widgets as you’d like, embed them anywhere (including https secure websites), and watch the chats roll in.

How do I make one?

It’s as easy as select, type, copy, and paste. Blammo – and you’re done!

  • Login to your LibAnswers system > LibChat from the Orange Command Bar > LibChat Widgets.
  • Select the Create New Widget Button.
  • Give your widget a name and choose either the button, slide-out tab, or floating chat widget display options.
    • Pro-tip: Give your widget a descriptive name so you can remember what style of chat widget it is, where’s it been embedded, and your autoload delay properties. Your patrons will never see the name on the public side. Your future self will thank you!
      • e.g. title: “Slide-Out Tab Widget: Right-Side, Auto-Delay (60second). Library Homepage.”
  • Go through your widget options but pay special attention to the feature titled “Autoload Delay (in seconds).” This is your proactive chat widget! Choose, in seconds, how long you want to wait before you engage your user with the widget prompt.
    • Pro-tip: For your library homepage, choose a longer autoload delay (60 – 120 seconds). For web resources were users tend to get “stuck” like your A-Z resource list or discovery layer, choose a shorter autoload delay (20 – 45 seconds).
  • You’re almost done! Take a minute and customize the language of your autoload delay window. Simply click the autoload preview in the right column to pop-out a window that allows you to customize the default language. This way, you can inform your users of how the chat works, that you’re there to help, and how easy it is to ask questions.
  • Make any additional customizations, including what happens when your LibChat widget is offline and click save.
  • Copy the Embed code > and you’re done!
  • Repeat the steps above to offer different and unique LibChat experiences on your various digital touch points. Create one proactive chat widget for your library homepage and a different one, with different help language, for your Database A-Z list!
    • Pro-tip: If you’re using the LibGuides A-Z list, login to LibGuides > Content > Databases A-Z List > Settings > LibChat Widget > to add your proactive LibChat widget to your LibGuides A-Z list. This is where giving your chat widget as descriptive a name as possible really helps you out!

Will it increase my user engagement?

While we can’t promise how your specific demographic will respond, recent research articles written by Michael Epstein from the University of San Diego’s Copley Library and another from Lydia Pyburn from The University of Texas at Arlington Library indicate that the answer is yes!

The Reference Department at the University of San Diego’s Copley Library implemented Proactive LibChat widgets and saw a 600% increase in chat engagements.1

The University of Texas at Arlington Library doubled their chat engagements from 4,020 (2015-2016) to 8,120 (2016-2017) after implementing proactive LibChat and for some months saw their incoming chats tripled.2

Are there examples of the LibAnswers Proactive LibChat widget I can check out?

Absolutely, there are probably loads more out there in SpringyLand…but here are just a few of our favorites!

College of the Mainland Library
Floating LibChat Widget w/ Custom Icons

Ashland University Library
Slide out Tab Widget

Where can I learn more about adding LibAnswers proactive LibChat widgets?

We’re hosting webinars in October with guest speaker Michael Epstein from the University of San Diego’s Copley Library. We’ll take a quick tour of LibAnswers, explore live library examples of LibAnswers Proactive LibChat widgets, and Michael Epstein will present on their use-case at the Copley Library Reference Department.

Citations

1. Epstein, Michael. “That thing is so annoying: How proactive chat helps us reach more users.” College & Research Libraries News [Online], 79.8 (2018): 436. Web. 3 Oct. 2018.

2. Pyburn, Lydia L. “Implementing a Proactive Chat Widget in an Academic Library.Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning [Online], 2018.