Archive for December 22, 2017

LibAnswers 2.17 – iFrame Chat is Here!

We have some exciting LibAnswers features to share, including a new chat option to make the patron chat experience seamless, even while browsing between pages!

iFrame Chat – Guided Chat Mode

Picture this: you’re in the middle of guiding a patron on how to use a particular resource and poof, the patron suddenly disappears. Odds are the patron has clicked on a new link in the page, navigating away from the page where the chat was embedded. Here at Springy HQ we’ve been giving a lot of thought to how this experience can be prevented, and in that spirit we’re thrilled to bring you the brand new iFrame Chat feature. Walking patrons through complicated research questions and database searches has never been easier!

Here’s how it works: Patrons will now see a new icon in the chat window to Launch iFrame Chat – when clicked, this will relaunch the page they’re currently viewing in an iFrame, with the current chat session overlaid on top. Patrons can browse to any URL in the underlying page (or any URL you share with them in Chat) – no matter where they go, the chat window remains overlaid on top. This greatly reduces the disappearing patron effect, and make it heaps easier to walk patrons through complicated web or database searches.

Once a patron launches iFrame chat, this is what they’ll see – the page they were viewing loads within a frame, with the chat window overlaid on top. Patrons can search, click links within the frame or in the chat window, etc. – the chat window remains floating on top of the frame:

Worried your patrons won’t discover this new feature on their own? Fear not – we’ve also included a new button in the chat operator window to Suggest iFrame Chat. This button sends a prompt to the patron to Launch iFrame Chat. You’ll see an in-chat notification when the patron switches into iFrame mode.

Good to know: some websites employ iFrame busting software, which causes the patron to see a blank white screen within the frame. If this happens, the patron can leave iFrame chat mode, either by returning to the first page they started from, or popping the chat window out of the frame.

Dashboard View & Ticket Improvements

Filterable ViewsViews are one of the unsung heroes of LibAnswers – they make it easy to customize the tickets you see on the dashboard, by filtering to just the queues, tags, owners, etc. you’re most interested in. Previously, when you switched to a particular view, the filters on the dashboard would disappear. Now, when you click on a view, the filters will continue to display, meaning you can use each view as a starting point and continue to refine your options. And to make views even handier, we’ve added a new “My Tickets” view to all views, so it’s easy to jump to just your new and pending tickets.

User History – In this release we’ve also made it a bit easier to see the full history of a conversation with a specific patron, right from the ticket answer page. We’ve updated the link so it’s easier to find, and we’ve improved the modal window that displays past ticket information, so it’s easier to see all open/pending/closed tickets from the same person at a glance.

New Typeahead Menu – We’ve revamped the formatting for the predictive search dropdown menu, shared by all search boxes throughout LibAnswers. The new menu is fully accessible/keyboard friendly, and we’ve added search term highlighting to the results, so it’s easy to spot how a result relates to a search query.

LibGuides Update: E-Reserves Item Search, Patron Login with LibAuth, LibAuth Setup Wizard, and a Ton More Updates!

E-Reserves Search

Check out this giant present for your holiday celebrations!

Or if you’re not into December holidays, Happy 2018 from Springy to you! 🙂

There are a ton of new features for you to explore in LibGuides this month.

Log into LibApps patron accounts with LibAuth

If you head over to LibApps > Admin > Manage Patron accounts = and if you see accounts listed there, those users can now sign into Discussion Boards and Blog Comments using your local authentication layer (LDAP, CAS, AD, etc.).  If you don’t see any accounts listed there, good news, you can batch import! This way, your users can actively participate and comment in your LibGuides system using their trusted and known local authentication layer and without having to remember yet another login. Here’s how to set it up:

  1. Go to LibApps > Admin > Manage Patron Accounts to create accounts via import, or to LibApps > Admin > Manage Patron Accounts > Settings to enable self-registration.
  2. Set up your LibAuth configuration.
  3. Be sure to set the “Allow logging into LibApps using this authentication?” option at the bottom of the screen to “Yes.”

LibAuth Setup Wizard

If your institution is a member of the InCommon Federation or UK Federation, you can now set up a LibAuth connection in just a few clicks. Just choose your institution name from the setup drop-down, and we’ll create a configuration for you, pasting in your metadata URL and filling in machine-readable attributes. If you’re not a member of either federation, or you wish to use a different protocol outside federation setup, no problem! Just choose to set up a configuration manually. We continue to support SAML / Shibboleth / ADFS, CAS, SIP2, LDAP, and a self-hosted script of your own creation.

Let’s Encrypt support

We are pleased to announce support for free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates. Similar to the certificates that we manage for Springy domains (e.g.,, these short-term certificates for your LibGuides domains will be installed and renewed by us at no cost or bother to you. Simply change your site’s domain to your desired custom domain, and we’ll do the rest!

Already have a custom domain? No problem! We’ll be requesting and installing Let’s Encrypt certificates for LibGuides custom domains  in the coming weeks. If you prefer to upload your own SSL certificate, you can still do that, no problem! Sites that have already uploaded their own certificates will not be changed, although you are welcome to switch from your own certificate to Let’s Encrypt. Please contact support to get started:

Let’s Encrypt certificates are currently only available for LibGuides sites with custom domains but will be coming to LibAnswers and LibCal custom domain sites in the near future.

As always, we manage the SSL certificates for your LibWizard, LibStaffer, and LibInsight sites.

E-Reserves item search

Now you can provide a deeper search of your e-reserves content! Go into E-Reserves > Settings > Search and enable item search to see new tabbed search results on your E-Reserves pages that includes all E-Reserves items. Search results include courses like they always have, but item search retrieves documents that are not assigned to a course as well as those that are. Visibility dates and access rules (passwords) for courses and items are also enforced.  The new enhanced display also shows you which Subjects courses are assigned to.

If you don’t want item level search, just head to E-Reserves > Settings > Search to disable the item level search.

Screenshot of e-reserves item search results

E-Reserves page URLs are “savable”

Want to send a link to your e-reserves courses by Instructor? By Subject? Now you can! Any URL that you navigate to on your public e-reserves pages is now savable and shareable. Bonus: this extends to search results, too! You can create a search retrieving exactly the desired subset of courses and documents and forward that on to the appropriate audience. Pssst, we heard you! We’ll be making this change for the LibGuides system and group home pages in a release coming up in a few short weeks.

AZ fixes and features

There are two new filters on the A-Z Databases management page: Asset Owner and Last Updated date. Use these to search for a subset of databases maintained by a certain person, or to make sure that updates have been done timely.

Screenshot of new filters on the AZ management page

Additional AZ Fixes and Features

  • Login credential updates save correctly
  • Column filters on AZ settings page work correctly
  • Counts of popular databases are correct on the Analyze Holdings page
  • Internal notes with quotation marks save correctly

Accessibility fixes

  • Added missing labels on public blog pages
  • Reference to non-existant imagemap removed
  • ALT text for Books from the Catalog

…and Even More Small Fixes!

  • Added a link back to domains page from certificate upload page
  • Image manager: replacing an image with a new image works correctly
  • Databases without a URL show properly as plain text in a guide
  • Guide Blog page RSS feed works if your site is forced to HTTPS
  • Accounts page: account type filter works correctly
  • Search:
    • EBSCO Discovery Service search results pagination works correctly
    • Punctuation inEBSCO Discovery Service search results works correctly
  • The default template for individual subject page is editable when E-Reserves module is enabled
  • Link checker
    • Exclusion list URLs with special characters filter correctly
    • All proxied assets are skipped
  • Blog widgets: new option to display post dates
  • Blog widgets display correctly for posts with more than one subject
  • Statistics: Content Summary visible when E-Reserves module is disabled
  • Updating single database asset with the API works correctly

And last but not least: we disabled the “Create Guide” button after you click on it once, so that it’s no longer possible to accidentally create more than one guide. 🙂


LibCal 2.12 – Hours Module Improvements and More now Live!

LibCal Hours Exceptions System-wide

We’ve been busy beavers here at Springy HQ, and we have several fun new features to share!

We’re making the hours module easier to manage and rolling out several great quality of life features, just in time for the holidays!

Hours Module Improvements

  • New Daily Hours Widget – We’ve added a new widget to the hours module to make sharing your open hours a breeze! The new Daily Hours Widget displays your library’s hours in a simple grid, and includes quick links to jump to the next day’s hours. To check out the new widget, head to Admin > Hours > Widgets > Daily Hours.
  • Universal Exceptions – We know how time consuming it can be to enter exceptions for each library and department that you manage in the Hours Module, so we’re making things easier! Now, when you create an exception for one department/library, you can choose to apply that exception either to all departments within a library, or all libraries and departments – no more duplication! Head to Admin > Hours > Exceptions and look for the new “Copy To” option.
  • Copy Hours Template – Another improvement aimed at simplifying hours management, you’ll now see an option to Copy Hours Template, instead of creating each hours template from scratch. This should make life much easier when you just have minor modifications to make to an existing template. Head to Admin > Hours > Weekly Templates to see the new option.

New in Equipment and Spaces

  • Email Digest for Mediated Bookings – We’ve added 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 named mediators, ie those with approve/deny rights. 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.
  • Email Notification for Admin Cancelled Bookings – If for some reason you need to cancel a patron’s existing equipment or space reservation, you’ll now see an option to send an email alert to that patron and alert them of the change.
  • Setting: User Must Cancel By: We’ve added a setting in Spaces to control when a user must give up their reservation. This is particularly handy if you have cagey students who try to get around any booking limits you may have in place by canceling their booking just before it’s set to end. To enable this setting, head to Edit Space Category > Booking Limits.
  • Setting: Limit to X number of reservations at one time –  We’ve also added a new limiter to control how many reservations a user can have at one time. This works similarly to our existing limiters but isn’t limited by time – so instead of only being able to have x number of reservations in a week, they can only have x number of upcoming registrations at one time. For your patron, this means that as soon as an existing reservation ends, they’ll then be able to create a new reservation. To enable this setting, head to Edit Space Category > Booking Limits.

Additional Improvements

  • Optimized Explorer Pages – We discovered that running reports in the Spaces and Event Explorers could take a very long time to load, so we optimized things – now running reports in the Explorer pages should be zippy!
  • Time Pickers Default to Hour-on-the-Hour – We’ve updated all of the time pickers throughout the system to default to hours on the hour. Ex say your event starts at 3pm, and you’re creating the event at 2:14pm – previously when you clicked on “3” in the time picker, the start time was entered as 3:14pm, and you had to go back and click “00” to get the event started on the hour. Now when you select a time, we’ll default to each hour on the hour, so you won’t need to explicitly click “00” to have an event start on the hour.
  • Export all Event Registration Info – For you data lovers out there, you can now export all event registration info for multiple events at one time! To see this in action, head to any Calendar’s Event Explorer page; limit your search to a specific booking form and make sure “Show Registration Responses” is set to Yes, then run the report and select Export. The resulting excel file will include registration info for each event registrant, including booking form responses!

Tis the Season for (spring)Sharing – Tip #3: Is Your Library Holi’Ready?

Avoid Holiday Stress

A big part of holiday planning is knowing where to be, and when. You’ve got dinner plans at your friend Tina’s house on the 24th at 6pm and latkes at your cousin Tim’s abode on the last day of Hannukkah. Coordinating all of those invitations and appearances requires a lot of planning and forethought. Will the train be packed at 5pm causing you to be late? Should you take 95N instead of 93N so you can swing by your favorite wine shop for a hostess gift? Can you fit your workplace New Year’s Eve party AND your family’s party on the same night?

Planning, Planning, Planning. Stress, Stress, Stress.

And just imagine, your library guests are under the same amount of pressure as you – plus they’re trying to find time to swing by the library as well! Maybe they’re trying to pick up some light reads to enjoy during the break, or studying for exams, or even attending your super awesome’sauce events! Whatever their reason for swinging by, you want to make sure you’re alleviating and not adding to their stress.

So the question is, is your library Holi’Ready?

Tip #3: Getting Your Library Holi’Ready

Getting your library Holi’ready doesn’t mean elaborate decorations, traveling snack-carts, or tons of holiday events. Good on you if you are (seriously, awesome job!), but even the smallest things can have a big impact and help to reduce the stress your library guests are already under.

Are Your Holiday Hours…. Everywhere?


LibCal Hours Module: Today’s Hours Widget.

Your library hours are probably available on a hundred different webpages. And if you’re updating them to reflect your special holiday schedule, there’s a good chance you’ll miss a few places. And inevitably, a library patron will find that one webpage where the hours haven’t been updated and they’ll show up at your doors at 9pm – well past closed. They’re going to be peeved, upset, and frustrated.

And rightfully so! Most likely, their entire day is planned down to the minute – so if they found a webpage that says you’re going to be open, and then you’re not, that throws their entire day (and probably subsequent days) into the lurch.

A great way to ensure that you’re updating all your webpages to reflect your current library hours is to use the LibCal Hours ModuleThe Hours module let’s you define your standard hours, special holiday hours, and even one-off exceptions like “Aaaccck, we have to close early because a Snowa’caine is coming!”. Simply define all your hours, for all future dates and then grab an hours widget and embed that widget into those aforementioned webpages. As your hours update, day-by-day, the hours module will automagically update.

Say goodbye to outdated webpages showing inaccurate hours and say hello to happy patrons!

Text ‘Holidays’ to Get Library-Related Information

Back in 2011, about 73% of American adults and nearly almost all young adults (95%) send and receive text-messages according to a Pew Research Report. Fast-forward 6 years, and those numbers can only have increased. In fact, Forbes reported in 2015 that Millennials text more and talk less because they see phone calls “as overly intrusive, even presumptuous”.

Bottomline, if they want to communicate with your library – they’d prefer to do it as efficiently as possible and preferably over text-message.

If your library is using LibAnswers, be sure to take advantage of SMS Automatic Keywords. This way, your patrons can text a keyword, like ‘Holiday’, to your library’s SMS number and receive an auto-response with all the relevant information. Navigate to Admin > Queues > Select Your Queue > SMS Tab > SMS Automatic Keywords to set those up.

It’s fast and easy for them, and no staff monitoring of your library’s SMS service to boot. This 2010 interview with Johnson & Wales University Providence shows how their using SMS keywords in the library – it’s an oldie, but goodie!

Be sure to advertise your keywords inside the library and on your webpages too.

Pro-Tip: Update the automatic response periodically to entice your users to text again, and again – always getting new information with each one.

LibAnswers SMS Automatic Responses: Each Keyword gets up to two auto-responses = 300 characters.

Do Librarians Know All Relevant Holiday Information?

If you’re anything like most Americans, you suffer from inbox fatigue. You’re inundated with emails – whether it’s newsletters, marketing emails, SPAM, or internal communication that could have been done f2f, your inbox is exploding. In fact, 205 billion emails are sent every day. Yup, that’s billion…. with a B. 

Can you remember the last time you achieved inbox zero? For some folks, that day is yet to come.

So, if you’re trying to communicate important holiday information – try and give your colleagues a break and take it outside of email. Getting your library Holi’ready means getting your staff ready too.

1. Use Your Admin Alert Boxes!

Inside your LibGuides, LibAnswers, LibCal, and LibStaffer tools – you have access to an Admin Alert box. Head over to Admin > Admin Alert Box or System-Settings (depending on the tool).

This way, your colleagues can see custom alerts letting them know about important holiday information like hours, food drives, events, etc.

LibAnswers Admin Alert Box right on the Dashboard.


2. Discussion Boards in LibGuides (CMS Only)

For LibGuides CMS users, you have access to an internal discussion board. This is great for housing and storing internal discussions related to this holiday season – such as staffing schedules, holiday staff parties, and what types of events to throw at the library.

LibGuides CMS discussion boards are searchable and can be keyword tagged for sorting/filtering. So if you’re trying to remember, “What were our holiday hours last year?” you can simply login, filter on your keyword ‘Holiday’ and see the entire discussion thread and final resolution.

Remember, email was never intended to be a permanent archive – so if you’ve got saved emails in your inbox from 2008, it might be time to consider an alternative approach. 😛

LibGuides CMS Discussion Boards to Create an Internal/Searchable Staff Intranet


If you have any additional suggestions for getting your library holi’ready, comment below!

That’s all for this edition of ‘Tis the Season for (spring)Sharing tips’! Hopefully you enjoyed Tips #1 and #2 and tune in next year when we do it again!

Happy Holidays to you and yours!

New in LibInsight – Custom Chart Colors!

Screenshot of system settings

Customize your LibInsight charts to match your organization’s official color palette, or customize Dashboards per review period or project.

Define your custom colors at the system-wide level and you’ll see them in your dataset analysis charts, cross-dataset analysis, and dashboards.

Head on over to System Settings to set your system colors. If a chart requires more colors than you’ve specified, random colors will be chosen.

If the Randomize box is checked, the colors will be used in random order for charts in Analysis, Cross-Dataset Analysis, and Dashboards.

Here is what custom colors look like in charts for Electronic Journal / Database:

Screenshot of two pie charts with custom colors

You can customize Dashboards further by using the System Colors palette or choosing custom colors in the Dashboard. You can even use a different set of custom colors for each chart in a Dashboard row. Use your power for good! 😃

Here’s a screenshot of a Dashboard row with custom colors specified for each chart.

Screenshot of a dashboard row

Specify custom colors for all charts in a row on the Settings tab (check the box to apply to all charts), or specify custom colors on the other chart tabs.

Screenshot of chart settings

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


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


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 (;)
  • 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!


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.


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.