Archive for December 15, 2017

Tis the Season for (spring)Sharing – Tip #2: Cultivating a Homemade Experience

Crafting

Nothing says the holidays more than homemade. Whether you’re baking rugelach, hand-crafting thoughtful gifts, or DIY’ing your decorations – you’re sending the message that your guests are special and deserving of homemade. Nothing beats homemade, but it can take a lot of effort, time, and work!

If you’re looking to bring that ‘homemade’ feeling to your library, you’re probably daunted by the idea of providing a homemade experience for each and every one of your patrons! How will you do it?! Well, a great way to offer a homemade experience is to provide tailored services. So while you’re not knitting individual items for each individual patron, you’re still providing a tailored experience just for them.

In fact, a 2016 article in Forbes magazine on 2017 technology trends predicted the ‘everything on-demand’ trend that definitely took off this year. Apps to deliver food, laundry, a ride, movie streaming, and more.

So, our next tip in our ‘Tis the Season for (spring)Sharing’ is all about delivering that tailored homemade and on-demand experience.

Tip #2: Cultivating a Homemade Experience

You might already be familar with creating LibGuides tailored-made for specific courses or assignments, but there are loads of other Springy tools you can use to bring that feeling of Hygge into your Library and for your users.

Create Holiday-Specific Mobile Micro Sites

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. So, mobile access is important!

In case you didn’t know, LibGuides and LibGuides CMS subscribers have access to an optional add-on module called the mSite Builder. The mSite Builder allows you to create multiple mobile ‘micro’ sites for users to access on their smartphones.

There are tons of way you could use the mSite Builder. You could create a microsite for a walking tour of your library, or one showcasing upcoming library events, a fun scavenger hunt, or even a mobile conference site if you’re hosting!

But, what about creating a microsite focused on the library’s holiday events and activities?

Holiday Microsite: Getting Hygge With It!

Link to your special holiday microsite off of your regular mobile website to deliver a homemade, tailored, and on-demand experience to your patrons.

Plus, you can embed Font-Awesome icons on your mobile page menu to add a visual element.

Librarian On-Demand – Uber Reference Using LibAnswers SMS

If your library promotes roving reference, why not rebrand it as Uber reference? Everyone is calling themselves the ‘uber of something’ these days and it immediately brings to mind “they’re coming to me”. Plus, nothing says tailored library services than literally showing up at their library location with research goodies just for them.

Add signage throughout your library encouraging users to text-a-librarian for uber reference! If they text their location and what they need help with, you can reply back with an estimated arrival time of a librarian.

LibAnswers SMS

Uber Reference using LibAnswers SMS

 

Meet Me Under the My Scheduler

LibCal’s My Scheduler lets you set up your own personal schedule of availability so patrons can book time with you for one-on-one consultations. You can arrange My Schedulers by location, branch, or even by topic – so patrons don’t need to know who they’re meeting with, just that they need someone who’s great at setting up eReaders.

But what about patrons who can’t physically come to the library. It is the busy holiday season after all and in some parts of the northern hemisphere it’s brutally cold! How can you provide one-on-one tailored services to people who won’t, or physically can’t, come into the library for help?

Create a LibCal My Scheduler Category called ‘Online’ – and encourage patrons to make appointments with librarians, virtually! Using your library’s webinar technology tool or even something simple (and free!) like Join.Me.

Simply create a LibCal My Scheduler Group called ‘Online Appointments’ and assign librarians to it. Patrons can select that category when scheduling an appointment.

LibCal My Scheduler – Online Category for Providing Online-Only Assistance

 

Have fun exploring how these Springshare tools help you bring that homemade, tailored, library experience designed to make them feel like it’s all ‘just for them‘ into the library. If you can think of other ways your library can get Hygge with it, drop a note in the comments below!

That’s all for this edition of ‘Tis the Season for (spring)Sharing’ Tips! Come back next week for Tip #3!

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.