Archive for September 25, 2019

Using LibGuides, LibCal & Equipment Booking For Makerspaces

LibCal and Equipment Booking in makerspaces

Life Is What You Make Of It!

Makerspaces are gaining popularity in academic institutions and public libraries as they emphasize the importance of creativity, problem-solving, innovation, and most importantly — rolling up your sleeves to actually make something. Some didn’t quite fall for the idea right away, even asking, “What is the point of a makerspace?” 

For some, it’s a great way to test out equipment to see which one you should purchase. Sometimes reviews aren’t enough. Others want to learn a new trade or skill to meet the technology demands of the workplace. In pedagogy, it is part of a movement to activate curiosity, engage learners and to challenge them to make the leap from theory to practice. For the crafty, this is a glorious age where the rest of society is catching up to what they already knew, which is that it feels good to make something.

As makerspaces pop up all over the country, we see the benefits. These makerspaces provide:

  • access to equipment and tools from sewing machines to 3D printers, laser cutters to film and sound equipment, etc.
  • instruction on how to use the equipment
  • mentorship, collaboration, and the sharing of knowledge between people of all skill levels

Springshare tools can help you publicize your makerspace, organize your workshops, orientations, and instruction sessions, and even make booking time on the equipment a snap — so you can focus on building excitement!

Step One: Create a LibGuide To Inform Your Patrons About The Makerspace.

The Science Library Makerspace at the University of Georgia has a LibGuide where they delve into the equipment via the tabs at the top. They’ve included excellent images, pertinent videos, and specifications of the different models they have available, plus detailed policy information. 

 

Middle Tennessee State University has its makerspace information nestled in its Technology Services LibGuide. Here they spell out who is allowed to use the makerspace, they provide contact information, and specifics on charges. Plus, they actually define makerspace and provide a list of equipment as well as let patrons know what must be reserved.

Step Two: Use LibCal To Make Sure Patrons Get Trained.

Most academic libraries require the students, staff, and faculty to participate in workshops, orientations, or training before they can use the equipment in the makerspaces. LibCal is perfect for scheduling these instruction sessions. 

Santa Cruz Public Library uses LibCal to spread the word on The Make Lab @ Scotts Valley. This branch hosts makerspace events where patrons are encouraged to bring crafts or projects, test out tools and/or come to learn and explore. LibCal makes it easy to set up recurring events, allows you to designate the audience and categories, and you can attach your related makerspace LibGuide. Once you make an event, it’s easy to create a template from the event for future use. To amplify your reach, you can share the events on social media right from inside LibCal. Patrons can click show more dates in case they’re interested but can’t make it to this one.

LibCal is flexible. You can set your events up to require registration where you may define a limit to the number of people you can accommodate. Or, like a Drop-In Makerspace at Sonoma County Library, it can be open to all who are interested.

Step Three: Add Equipment Booking to LibCal to Book Time on The Equipment.

You can add the Equipment Booking module to your LibCal system to tackle a specific use case like makerspaces. Clients use the Equipment Booking module for everything from loaning out museum and zoo passes to chargers, tablets, and laptops to things like projectors and smartboards, podiums and microphones. You can book a room in LibCal and then add equipment to that booking or book items independently. For makerspace use, it’s perfect!

Simply add the equipment you have available. The module lets you add a description and the specs, plus important details like the serial number and warranty information, service history, the cost to replace it, and more. Set up the availability for the video camera or 3D printer, etc. along with the duration and restrictions. Patrons will see a beautiful tile layout of your available equipment organized by category. They can book time on the equipment as you allowed.

 

Houston Public Library uses Equipment Booking for their Tech Link. They have an embroidery machine listed, which includes a photo, suggested applications, and the days and time slots it can be booked. 

With Springshare tools, it’s easy to educate your patrons about what to expect from your makerspace. It’s even easier to schedule safety and orientation workshops and to let patrons book that screenprinting kit they’ve been eyeing! A makerspace encourages risk-taking, cultivates perseverance, inspires deeper dives. These spaces create communities and foster apprenticeship. We’re thrilled to be part of this movement that supports the highly-engaged, innovative, let’s make something enthusiasts.

Limited Series: Hear Librarians Discuss How They Use LibWizard

LibWizard Guest Speaker Series. Register Now!

One of the best ways to learn how to use a tool, or to see if a tool is right for you, is to see how others are using it. To that end, we’ve asked some amazing librarians to showcase how they’re using LibWizard in their institutions. This October limited webinar series has some amazing presentations that you won’t want to miss!

For those of you who don’t know, LibWizard is our form, survey, quiz, and interactive tutorial building tool. There’s no limit to the number of items you create or the number of responses you gather. It integrates natively with LibGuides, has embeddable widgets, and robust statistics and reporting. Plus, we just released a bunch of new features (including authentication integration!) and the ability to create pre-filled surveys/forms.

LibWizard is such a versatile tool. It can be used for servicing distance learners, creating student-centered tutorials, surveying a captive audience, promoting collections and tracking success, and even sending an SOS message out to get backup help when your virtual chat reference service is exploding… and so much more.

But teaching and communicating doesn’t always mean the librarian to patron dynamic. Teaching often occurs between coworkers, across departments, or even teaching new hires, pages, or student workers. And LibWizard can help you there too.

To that end, no matter what type of library you’re in – you’ll want to check-out the below guest presenters and see how they’re using LibWizard to communicate to patrons, and with each other.

If you need a LibWizard refresher and you’re in UTC +1 – +6 time zones, please join us for a LibWizard webinar on Creating Scalable, Self-Paced Learning for Distance Learners. Wed, October 2nd. 5:00am – 5:30am U.S. ET (UTC -4) / 10.00 WEST (UTC +1) / 11.00 CEST (UTC +2) / 12.00 EEST (UTC +3).

Guest Presenter Line-Up

All times listed below are in U.S. Eastern Time.

Training Student Workers Using LibWizard

Tuesday, October 8. 2:00pm – 2:30pm. 

Sue Hunter, University of Guelph-Humber

If you’re a public, K12, or special library… don’t be dissuaded by the use of ‘student workers’ in the title. Simply replace the term ‘student worker’ with pages, employees, staff, volunteers,  or parents. The concept applies to all library types!

 

The Wizarding World of LibWizard and Assessment

Friday, October 11. 2:00pm – 2:30pm.

Marianne Giltrud, Prince Georges Community College

Marianne will cover how they’re using LibWizard for student assessment. Public libraries, if you do any type of patron learning assessment… don’t miss out on this session.

 

 

Training Staff with LibWizard

Wednesday, October 16. 2:00pm – 2:30pm.

Melissa Jones, Wilmington University.

Staff training can take place when its most convenient for them, outside of meetings! Melissa will cover how they’re using LibWizard to keep staff up-to-date.

Share LibWizard Surveys With Some Fields…Pre-Filled For Ease

LibWizard. Yes! Send Surveys with Fields Already Pre-Filled

Getting Feedback Just Got A Whole Lot Easier!

Libraries mean it when they say they want patron feedback. The term gathering intelligence couldn’t be more appropriate than when considering feedback surveys. Expertly crafted instruction sessions are just the beginning of this essential relationship being built between the librarians and their patrons. How did they find out about the session? Did it deliver what was promised or marketed? What did it not cover that it should have? Would that participant recommend the session to a friend? Asking the right questions for your library is a critical piece of the puzzle. Post-instruction surveys are an invaluable source for anyone committed to customer service.


The full LibWizard system not only makes it easy to create unlimited surveys, forms, quizzes, and tutorials. Along with the many amazing new LibWizard features now, you can even elect to pre-fill some of the fields to further support ease of use.

Using The LibWizard Pre-Fill Feature in Your Surveys.

You can create surveys for website feedback, pre- and post-instruction, to gather feedback for events at your library, to learn more about what your patrons want to see more or less of in terms of services, etc. Chances are if you want to know what your users think, a survey will do the job. In many cases, it would be beneficial to both your team and the patrons themselves if some of the fields were pre-filled. It saves time. It assures a level of accuracy that might otherwise skew results or cause confusion. It allows your users to focus on the questions that serve the core purpose of the survey.

Here are some examples of fields that you might pre-fill. If you plan to send your survey to a specific subset of people, you can make things a bit easier by pre-filling, for instance, the course section.

You can pre-fill the name of the instructor, the semester, the type of event, location, etc. Some patrons hesitate to fill out surveys because they fear it will be time consuming.

In the interest of efficiency and to get as many participants as possible, make this pre-fill step part of your process. You need this information, but it can be handled nicely by this LibWizard feature.

Avoid survey fatigue! Only ask what you need to ask and pre-fill what you can.

How To Enable & Get Started With The LibWizard Pre-Fill Feature.

Our LibWizard FAQ states that,

You can pre-fill a survey’s fields by passing values in a URL, using either a custom URL string that you create, or an OpenURL link. When a user clicks on one of these links, they’ll be taken to your survey with the fields already filled out using the values passed from your URL.

The Custom URL option is just that. Values are contained inside parameters which are added to the end of the survey’s custom URL. Send that URL to your participants and the fields are pre-filled per your selections.

The OpenURL option lets you map survey fields to specific OpenURL parameters, subsequently passing citation information to your survey from, perhaps, your link resolver or catalog.

Our example here uses the Custom URL option. To get started, go to Survey Options > Advanced >Pre-Filled Survey via URL > Configure URL Settings.

Once inside the configuration screen, simply Enable the Pre-Filled Survey via URL option. Now you will see your survey questions and can proceed with deciding for which questions you want to go ahead and pre-select the answers. Make your choices. Click Generate custom URL string and voila! You can now send this URL to the ENG 101 class taught by Chester Copperpot with those fields already filled. 

To learn more about the Custom URL option, like how to swap the Field IDs used as the default identifier in the URL for the field short names, which can make it easier to know what’s in the URL string, or to look into the OpenURL option, which can be favorable for interlibrary loan request forms, for instance — make sure to read the LibWizard FAQ dedicated to this Pre-filled Fields feature.

You want patron feedback. It’s crucial to improving all your library’s efforts. Create surveys that are relevant to the patrons. Make them painless. And perhaps, more importantly, share with them the reasons their input is vital.