Archive for April 30, 2020

LibCal and LibAnswers Major New Functionality Release

Quarantine or not, we’re always busy churning new features and functionality of our platform, based on suggestions and feedback from our customers. This upcoming code release for LibCal and LibAnswers is the best example of our responsiveness to customers’ needs. With librarians pivoting to different service models centered around remote-first teaching and learning, many of you told us that you’d love to be able to conduct research appointments and hold online events via LibCal. We heard you and, a few weeks later – we made it happen.

With LibAnswers/LibChat, many international libraries have taken strong interest in the platform as it’s the most well-rounded communication platform for libraries – but they need the admin/librarian interface to be in their local language. And – you guessed it – we made it happen! Read on for details.

Read about: LibCal | LibAnswers

LibCal – conduct online appointments and online events

LibCal servers in our regions around the world will start getting this new functionality on Monday evening and by Wednesday all regions will be live with this new Online appointments/Online events functionality.

Online Appointments

Up until now, the LibCal appointment booking engine has enabled booking of appointments with the assumption that the patron would go to the library (or the librarian would visit the classroom) to conduct the actual appointment. In the “new normal”, however, a number of these research appointments/consultations will likely be conducted remotely. Enter our LibCal Zoom integration (more integration options coming soon – let us know what other video/communication platforms you want us to integrate). 

Here’s how to enable Zoom integration for Online Appointments in LibCal:

  1. Head to Admin -> Integrations and enter your Zoom API/Key (don’t have institutional Zoom license? We may be able to help – email us at sales@springshare.com).
  2. Online appointments are thought of as happening at their own Location i.e. Online. Create one (or more) Locations to designate that these appointments will be held online. Head to Admin -> Appointments -> Locations to create the Online Location(s).
  3. Each user/librarian who wants to host online appointments must be associated with their Zoom account. Head to Admin -> Users and enable Zoom for each user that should have this enabled.

And voila… your LibCal appointment scheduler can now handle online appointments via Zoom. Note that the actual online appointment happens in Zoom but LibCal makes it super-easy to schedule it and it automatically includes relevant Zoom meeting URLs in the ICS/CAL calendar file, in the email notification to the patron, and in the admin interface for the librarian. So they all just need to click on the link and jump into the meeting.

Online Events

With this new feature you’ll be able to create online events in LibCal, and patrons browsing the event calendars will be able to filter/browse by event type (Onsite or Online).

What’s neat is that you don’t have to host the online event in Zoom – you can use Facebook Events, or WebEx, or… any platform that lets you hold an online group event. Here’s how to set it up.

  • If using Zoom, Head to Admin -> Integrations and enter your Zoom API/Key (don’t have institutional Zoom license? We may be able to help – email us at sales@springshare.com).
  • When you go to create an event, for “Location” you’ll see 3 options.
  • For Zoom events, the registration option is required and attendees will receive the event URL in their registration email.
  • For other online events (e.g. Facebook Live, etc.) the event URL will be shown on the event page but if there is an access password/pin to access the event – it will be emailed to attendees in the registration email.

Patrons are able to filter and search for online events from public calendars.

Bug Fixes, New Features, & Misc.

  • Customize the contents of your Appointments booking page. Make your own page title and page text for this all-important page. Make it look/feel like just another page on your website. Head to Admin -> System Settings -> Language Options > Appointments Page. Bonus – you can now enter HTML customization for page text, hooray.
  • Add a custom message to public pages for Equipment & Spaces when all items and/or spaces are set to inactive. Head to Admin > Equipment & Spaces > Settings, and look for the new panel titled Inactive Equipment/Spaces Display.
  • Copied Equipment & Space bookings will now check the Banned Email list when creating the new booking.
  • We fixed an issue that allowed regular users with no access to a specific Equipment & Space location to modify bookings.
  • Custom text in the “Today’s Hours” widget now displays only once.
  • We’ve standardized the time format for all Excel exports.
  • Centering text in any RTE located throughout LibCal will now correctly apply inline CSS.

Upcoming LibCal Training Sessions:

Also check out our recorded sessions!

Excited yet? So are we. We look forward to hearing your feedback and suggestions for further improvements.

[Back to Top]


LibAnswers multi-lingual admin interface + few more enhancements

LibAnswers servers in our regions around the world will start getting this new functionality this evening and by Monday, May 4, all regions will be live with this new functionality.

The LibAnswers 2.34.0 release is on its way, and we’re thrilled to bring you international translations for the majority of the LibAnswers admin interface! With this release, the major pages in LibAnswers – which include the LibAnswers Dashboard, LibChat Operator Dashboard, the Ticket Create & Answer pages, Ticket Knowledge Base Explorer, and Chat Transcripts and Statistics – can now be viewed using any of our supported base language customizations. To date, in addition to English, we also support French, Spanish, Italian, Swedish, and Serbian (Cyrillic).

When the 2.34.0 release goes live, your LibAnswers system will be rendered in the default base language selection that your Admins have set up under Admin > System Settings > Base Language. All users with a LibAnswers login will also be able to change their personal language display on the fly, by using the dropdown option included in the footer of every LibAnswers administrative page.

New in LibChat and Shared Group Systems

In addition to our very exciting language customization updates, we have several new features rolling out in LibChat and for Shared Group Systems!

  • Create Follow-Up Tickets from the Co-Op > Transcripts View. This new view is especially helpful in cases where you’ve concluded a chat interaction while monitoring a Co-Op, but perhaps forgot to create the local follow-up ticket while you still had the chat in view. Just head to LibChat > Co-Op Dashboard > Transcripts to view the new icon for creating follow-up tickets.
  • Proactive Chat with Co-Op Fallback. We know how crucial it is to offer your patrons assistance at the point of need, so we’ve updated our approach to creating chat widgets. Now, it’s possible to create a proactive widget (i.e. a widget that prompts the user whether they need assistance via a pop-out) and include a Co-Op as a fallback option. In practice, when you create this type of widget, the widget will only behave proactively when your local librarians are online and monitoring chat; if your local librarians aren’t online, but your widget is displaying as online because it’s being monitored by Co-Op librarians, then the widget will not proactively prompt the patron. To set your widgets as proactive, head to LibChat > Chat Widgets > Choose a Button, Slide-out or Floating widget > Enter a time in seconds in the Autoload Delay field.
  • LibChat Wait Time Counter. We’ve added a new timer feature in the LibChat operator dashboard to indicate how long a new chat patron has been waiting for their chat to be answered. This new timer is displayed on all new chats.
  • Group Admin Updates for Shared Group Systems. We’ve added two new key permissions for the new Group Admin account level in Shared Group Systems: Group Admins can now edit the group policy FAQ(s) for their group and can leave feedback on transcripts that a Co-Op answered on chats that originated from widgets connected to their Group Member Library.

Bug Fixes & Performance Improvements

  • We’ve added a message to alert patrons when they attempt to upload an unsupported file type.
  • We’ve fixed a bug when creating Macros. Previously, if your site only had access to one queue, the modal window did not display the list of users required for assigning tickets to a specific user.
  • We’ve fixed a bug when setting LibChat Default Queues to Monitor. Sites with access to just one queue were not seeing an option under Edit Account > LibChat Settings > Default Queues to Monitor that would allow the user to not monitor that one Queue when first logging into LibChat.
  •  We’ve implemented a number of performance improvements in the Tickets Knowledge Base Explorer > Statistics pages and when creating new Tickets and FAQs. While these updates aren’t directly visible, you should now see speedier load times and an overall improved experience for these pages.

Upcoming LibAnswers Training Sessions:

Also check out our recorded sessions! [Back to Top]

That’s it for this round of updates from Springy HQ, but stay tuned for more mid-May when a few other things will be coming your way.

We want to give a shout-out to our entire community in these uncertain times. We see how you are retooling your libraries and educational offerings to meet users where they are (at home, like us!), and we are proud to be a part of the vibrant industry that is libraryland. Stay safe and well, out there, Springy fam! We are always here for you if have any suggestions or questions.

You’ve Switched to Remote Services… And the Numbers Show It

As libraries across the globe quickly pivoted to online services in response to the pandemic, we’ve been seeing some really interesting early numbers that illustrate the size of this sudden change in library services. We wanted to share these with you, along with some information about what we’ve been doing on our end to support you all during this time.

Spikes in LibAnswers and LibGuides = Librarians hard at work

Since March 2020, we recorded these numbers in LibAnswers activity compared to March-April 2019:

  • Incoming chats increased by 109%. To put this in perspective, that’s a total of 338,794 LibAnswers chats in less than two months.
  • Our 24/7 librarians fielded 5,677 chats on the new 24/7 LibAnswers Cooperative platform. Each of these represents a chat that would have gone unanswered.
  • Patron-submitted questions increased by 56%, which equals 303,273 queries sent via email, social, SMS, and question form since March.
  • FAQ creation increased by a whopping 217% as 13,017 FAQs were added to public and internal staff FAQ groups.

In LibGuides, library staff created more than 26,000 new guides — that’s roughly a 96% increase compared to last year!

First off, kudos to all of the librarians answering this multitude of questions and creating new content quickly for all of your users. Each one of these numbers represents a person you helped during this crisis. These statistics show how critical it is for librarians to be able to share essential information online while you’re unable to provide in-person assistance.

What we’ve been up to at Springy HQ

It’s been an all hands on deck effort for the Springy team. In addition to our official update on the pandemic, we’ve been working diligently to support you while you’re helping all of these patrons so you can answer questions, share updates, and meet with them from anywhere. This has translated some pretty big numbers on our end, too, and here’s how we’ve handled them.

  • As support tickets skyrocketed, the team adjusted its internal processes to ensure swift responses. Customer queries are up 27% since March 2020 compared to this time last year, and the majority of customer questions are fully answered and closed within one business day.
  • The team launched a new training series dedicated to libraries transitioning to online learning and reference and managing remote workplaces. In March, training attendance was up 198% and video viewership increased by 211% compared to March 2019.
  • We bolstered infrastructure to support increased usage to handle the extra load.

Speaking of training, we’ll be announcing May’s training schedule, which includes our new What is LibAnswers with LibChat? session on May 7th, in this week’s training newsletter. Don’t receive our newsletters yet? Sign up to get them in your inbox.

What’s ahead

  • We donated our platform to the Librarian Reserve Corps, an international volunteer network of over 120 medical, public health, and health science librarians supporting the World Health Organization (WHO) and the WHO Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) with their urgent information needs related to COVID-19. Their sites were installed in just over 24 hours. Read our interview with them next week on this blog!
  • In the coming weeks, we’ll be announcing several exciting (and major) product updates to further help our customers as they pivot to different service models.

We hope you are safe and well where you are, and thank you for being on board with us! We promise to continue to provide stellar tools and superior customer support to help you navigate this difficult period.

Using LibCal Appointments & Events to Stay Engaged Online

It’s National Library Week! Springshare applauds the hard work librarians everywhere are putting in during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep their libraries operating and serving patrons. It may seem like an impossible task to keep the library — especially those whose doors are closed — engaged with the community, but your ingenuity and resourceful natures have been making it happen!

We’ve collected some examples of how libraries are using LibCal to effectively continue to provide help and to “gather” online. When I’ll meet you there veers to become Meet up from anywhere — it’s a pretty creative pivot.

Virtual Events at Mesa County Libraries Keep Fun on the Menu

In Colorado, Mesa County Libraries comprises 9 branches, all of which are closed until further notice. But from home, the librarians have been busy making a lemonade stand to share all of their lemonade! By hosting a series of virtual events in place of their popular on-site programming, they can still engage their patrons via new channels.

Using LibCal, they share the pertinent details for their Virtual Creative Fiber Arts Club, which happens via Google Hangouts, a Virtual Story Time, which is carried out in their social media channels, a poetry reading aimed at adults is highlighted, and so much more. Instead of enabling registrations, they’re promoting a sign-up button that allows patrons to get notified of upcoming programs and classes.

The virtual events are shared via their YouTube channel, Facebook page, and Instagram TV as they navigate this time and combat closed doors with open minds.

Birmingham City University’s Library Staff Makes a Beeline…to Online Services

The Library and Learning Resources department at the United Kingdom’s Birmingham City University wants its students and faculty to be aware that the library staff is available online and is ready to help.

They’re answering questions via LibAnswers and they’re even geared up to meet! LibCal Appointments allows the BCU Library team to meet for tutoring sessions. They even have peer mentors available for student support to help with developing library skills to make searching a better experience.

Letting people know this is a full-time job these days and BCU has taken to social media to get the word out. Many libraries tweet several times a day to reinforce the news that they are, in fact, operational.

Beyond social media, this outreach is supported with messaging on their website, LibGuides pages feature Book-a-Tutorial buttons, and you can even access the Appointments link on their LibAnswers home page. Let your students know they’re not alone. Use as many channels as you can to reach out.

Being There for Students — Salve Regina’s Library Gets the Word Out

The McKillop Library at Salve Regina University is making sure that students and faculty know that they’re ready and able to help with some clever cross-promotion of services.

The enterprising librarians also added a link to their appointments right below their LibAnswers chat widget so students can easily see it.

So — not only are they ensuring patrons that they can ask questions from anywhere — they also take the opportunity to offer appointments for those who’d prefer to have a block of one-on-one assistance. It’s true the doors are closed for now. But help is still available!

University of Pittsburgh Librarians Stay Connected

The Greensburg Campus librarians at the University of Pittsburgh are determined to stay engaged despite the distance. The best way to combat the isolation is to get together…albeit virtually. Staying connected, building relationships, assisting students and faculty is always a top priority but it can be challenging today.

This library staff decided to build a tabbed box in their LibGuides system to prominently share information about each of the team members. They’ve included photos and a button that connects students and faculty with the librarian’s LibCal Appointments availability or email.

There is no more accurate word for this time than unprecedented. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced academic, public, school, and special libraries around the world to move services entirely online. While it is a daunting task to provide excellent service to patrons virtually, librarians have answered the call. The innovation, out of the box (and onto the screen) thinking, and the absolute willingness to successfully shift to stay engaged that librarians are displaying is inspiring to us all here at Springshare.

Supporting Patrons During the Pandemic Using Springshare Tools

Before we dive into today’s blog post, we want to take a moment to thank all librarians and library workers on National Librarian Day (one day late). Thank you! The world is made better by librarians, and we certainly would not be here without you. 😄 If we could virtually hug each and every one of you, we would!

Librarians are problem solvers. Librarians are information seekers. Most importantly, when librarians see a need, they step up. Springshare tools were created with their unique needs in mind, and we’ve been excited to see the impressive and creative ways our customers have been using them to address their communities’ needs during this pandemic.

Today we’re bringing you three examples out of the many libraries doing just that. When their physical doors closed and resource sharing needs quickly shifted, they sprang into action with Springshare tools at their side.

Creating a Responsive COVID-19 Resource Hub for Health Care Workers


Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) Library Services

The need: “As Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA), our provincial health authority, formally stood up its response to COVID-19, content creation rolled into high gear. We had a high volume of information being produced, particularly in the realm of clinical guidance documents, as well as communications/SOPs on infection prevention and control. NSHA’s operational efforts in responding to the pandemic required a vast array of just in time information. This required content management specialists, but also the appropriate tool to get this information to the front line as quickly as possible, knowing that the front line for NSHA means clinics that were standing up in rural areas, busy urban ICUs, physician offices and everything in between. It needed to be outside the firewall, and yet separate from the patient focused communications.”

The solution: In late March, NSHA Library Services purchased a second LibGuides site to serve as their COVID-19 Hub for NSHA health care workers. It launched in just one week!

“After an analysis of our existing tools, we decided to combine Springshare LibGuides (leaning heavily on the Database asset feature) with a legacy document management tool. We host documents in our existing document management system, which provides an archiving function, version control, and permalinks.”

The hub provides a way for the NSHA team to quickly access the information they need. On the backend, the library can add new content that will automatically publish everywhere it needs to be used thanks to Database widgets embedded on guide pages.

The outcome: While it’s still early, the site is already generating approximately 3,000 visits a day.

“[LibGuides] made the Hub possible. When faced with an emergent and quickly developing situation, the Springshare platform offered us the ease of development and the user responsiveness required to meet the competing demands of the situation…. Having this tool at our fingertips and being able to impose some organization on the information coming out (and making it accessible to those who need it) may truly make a difference in a life-or-death situation.”

Engaging Students and Supporting Parents Across an Entire School System


Lincoln Public Schools (LPS) Media Services

The need: “In Lincoln Public Schools, our libraries serve over 42,000 students who were suddenly home for undetermined amount of time. We recognized that our Library Services could offer unique and engaging learning opportunities to keep kids reading, writing, and creating while staying safe at home. We know that parents are anxious to provide structure and meaningful learning for their children, but the flood of resources and random activities that overwhelmed our social media streams are not necessarily helpful.”

The solution: The library quickly created their Daily Learning Challenges guide — an all hands on deck effort to encourage creative learning, engage children and teens, and support their parents at home. Using LibGuides, they collaborated district-wide to create a platform that initially filled a much-needed gap while their school district organized its remote learning effort. Now that it’s in place, the guide continues to positively engage its students.

The outcome: “We have had a tremendous response to the resources we have been providing.  Parents genuinely appreciate the structure our Daily Challenge LibGuides provide to their child’s day and the creative learning that happens as a result. We have had between 5000-6000 visitors to our Daily Challenges LibGuide each day.”

“This has been a huge, ongoing effort by all our district school librarians. They’ve pulled out all the stops to design challenges that will inspire and excite students every single day. The collaborative nature of LibGuides gives us the structure and organization we need to keep this initiative going for as long as we are out of school.”

Supporting Patrons Social Distancing & Connecting them to Library Services


The Westport Library

The need: “We realized early on that folks in our community were going to still need our library, even if we were not open physically. We tried to think of how we could turn our physical resources into virtual from programming, to readers advisory, to reference help.”

The solution: After brainstorming how they could create a virtual library as robust as their physical library, the reference team was “LibGuideing like fiends” to quickly launch the Stuck at Home series. This visually engaging guide was so popular that it created two spin-offs: Navigating Virtual Living and Sports, Sports, Sports!

The outcome: They’re continuing to publish content important to their patrons. Meanwhile, their views have skyrocketed. In the first 35 days after they closed, they have had 69,334 views across all of our guides. In the previous 35 days, they had 32,858 views. That’s more than double!

“Every time we post one of our guides on social, the community response has been positive… On a side note, we have never received so many requests from other libraries to borrow our Libguide designs! For those reading this, we are always thrilled to share!”

“We have used Libguides for several years now, and we have loved it for as long as we have used it. Now, when we don’t have the option of a physical gathering space and a physical reference desk, we are able to produce a Libguide for our community on topics that are important to them.”

Transitioning to Online Learning with LibGuides & LibWizard at the Kent School

As librarians are figuring out how to reach their communities in new ways, we’ve loved seeing the flurry of resources and tips shared online, new guides, and all kinds of creative solutions. While we’ve created new training sessions and provided project ideas on the Springshare end, it’s often most helpful and reassuring to hear from someone who’s right there in the trenches with you.

Today we’ve brought in special guest Nancy Florio to discuss her experience as a research librarian at the Kent School as they quickly shifted to online learning, and how they used LibGuides CMS and LibWizard Lite to meet their students’ changing needs. She’s written a wonderful post. Take it away, Nancy!

LibGuides for Online Learning

Research Librarian Nancy Florio

For most educators and librarians, the COVID-19 pandemic became a demarcation line, on one side a “before”—when offering blended or online classes was optional—and on the other side an “after”—when schools closed world-wide and there was no option but to move to remote learning. The most current statistics compiled by UNESCO on April 8, 2020, list 91.3% of the world’s students are impacted by 188 country-wide school closings. This means that 1,576,021,818 students are currently without access to education or are learning in online classes.

I see these closings as a call to action for academic and school librarians, who in the “before” Covid-19 world were already curators of electronic resources and ed tech tools, creators of digital content, and educational collaborators. If you are one of the close to half a million librarians currently using LibGuides, then you know you’re in a perfect position to support your institution’s transition to online learning. Don’t miss this opportunity to prove your relevance in the age of freely available information found through any basic Google search.

Curate and Create Resources to Meet Your Specific Need

As my school community left for spring break March 6th, schools in Hong Kong, China, and Japan were closed and teaching was moved online. By March 11th, many public and independent schools—including ours—made the decision to close, at least for several weeks to assess the situation. Our plan was to begin with remote training starting at the end of March for our faculty, followed by online teaching on April 6th.

Educators, news organizations, ed-tech companies, and even parents are posting a wealth of information on how to do online learning. Whether you are involved in helping plan the transition, or hear about it through an email, this is a prime opportunity to use your institutional knowledge to create guides to support this effort.

Our library director, Amy Voorhees, was an integral part of the planning committee. We started by working our way through available resources and made our choices based on simplicity and the value they would add to the transition plan. These resources became the framework for the new LibGuide created specifically for online learning. The guide included resources and tutorials highlighting the tools faculty were required to use: PowerSchool (our LMS), Zoom (for synchronous classes and meetings), and Screencastify (to create tutorials for asynchronous learning).

I started to build out the guide by curating how-to videos along with pro tips, Twitter feeds for each specific tool, and infographics or other helpful information. Tabbed boxes were my go-to for the videos, as there were so many for each specific tool. Using a 3-column layout, I was able to put the videos front and center with supporting information on either side. This design was consistent for each page, which simplified navigation for the faculty. On the home page, our Remote Learning Plan was easily accessible as well as a Spark page that pulled together the principles of online learning. This interactive element was given a featured central position, while links to static documents were positioned on either side. In this way, the page not only provided valuable information, but also modeled instructional design principles for our teachers.

Our Director of Information Technology, Michael Siepmann, summed up his thoughts on the Online Learning guide: “Moving to remote learning during these unprecedented times was a large undertaking with just a few weeks to complete the task. With the school moving to multiple new platforms, we quickly realized we needed a central place to post essential instructional guides for our faculty and staff. LibGuides has been a key part of our success in rolling out our required tools for remote learning. The pages provide a modern, sleek design that gets users excited to learn.”

Don’t Expect Too Much from One Guide

Learning online can be a very isolating experience. Coupled with the current COVID-19 social distancing recommendations, your students may be struggling to feel fully engaged with school. I felt it was important to include tools that encouraged student engagement and connections with both classmates and teachers. Our second guide, Educational Technology Tools, was organized by specific tasks: assessment tools, student connection tools, and student-centered tools for content curation and subject-specific learning. I included educators and ed tech companies and organizations to follow on Twitter.

LibGuides’ flexibility allows us to present curated information in a way that is neither too much nor too little. Separating the guides based on their intended purpose means you don’t have to approach one guide as an “all you can eat buffet” by trying to cram too much and too varied information. Instructional design theory tells us this can lead to cognitive overload, leaving your user fatigued by too much information to process. Because the guides were related, I chose to put a redirect tab on each one leading to the other. This kept them together, yet separate.

In addition to these academically focused guides, Laura Zibro, our Instructional and Outreach Librarian, created a fun survival guide for our teachers and their families, which includes videos and links for exercise, webcams, storytime, and even virtual museum tours. 

Add Help at the Point of Need

If you’re like us, I imagine your community will be spending most of their time accessing content for courses through your school’s LMS, library website, and LibGuides. Common sense—and usability studies—tell us that help, like information, should be offered when and where it’s needed, in the format that’s most helpful to the user. Both of our new guides provide our teachers with the tools and information they need to create content and teach in ways that may be foreign or difficult. This transition is stressful enough; offering help on those guides was another small change we could make that just made sense.

LibWizard Magic

Enter LibWizard Lite, a LibGuides module that comes free with LibGuides CMS. Although it’s not as robust as the subscription level LibWizard Full, it allows you to create forms and surveys, which are a perfect way to increase your visibility and make it easy for your users to contact you at their point of need. Although I have been a LibGuides enthusiast for close to 15 years, I have never fully explored or mastered LibWizard. At a time when we are asking everyone to move out of their comfort zone and try something new, it made sense for me to do the same. So I watched a few tutorials, made a few test forms, and finally came up with a help desk tab that was added to both of the new online teaching guides, in addition to our library website and course guides with current research projects. The tab was styled bright red with all caps reading HELP DESK in white font. We tried different wording but ultimately felt everyone was familiar with that term. When clicked, the pop-up window contained information on who to reach out to for specific questions and included links to our Calendly pages for scheduling appointments and email for simpler questions. Again, help was there where it was needed.

Small Changes, Big Results

I absolutely love this one small change we made to our guides which made a big difference for our users. The tab is anchored, visible on each page of the guide, and moves as the user scrolls. Excuse me while I geek out—but what is not to love about my new favorite tech tool? Below you can see some of the ways we customized the help desk pop-up depending on the purpose and audience for the guide.

User-friendly Design

Like LibGuides, the LibWizard module is pretty user-friendly on the backend. There are drag and drop options with fields that allow you to customize your form, as well as a question bank to save and reuse common fields. You’re able to gather the information that will allow you to better meet the needs of your user. Simple to use, easy to duplicate, multi-use functions make using LibWizard a winning situation for our users and for us. Now excuse me while I find another guide that could use a help desk tab…

Thank you, Nancy!

We love hearing your approach, and it’s amazing how one or two small changes can really make a difference. Kudos to you for taking this opportunity to learn a tool and create something impactful for your users.

Staying Motivated: Springy Projects & Professional Development

In the U.S., we’re about two weeks into social distancing and/or working exclusively from home, and we’ve started to settle into the new daily routine… at least for now. If we’re lucky enough to have flour, we’re stress-baking. We’re watching every TED Talk. We’re enjoying nightly Shakespearean sonnet readings. We’re video chatting with friends near and far.

For those who’ve also found themselves figuring out new responsibilities while they’re at home or the library is empty (or they simply can’t sit still), now may feel like a good time to start on items lingering at the bottom of the to-do list. It may also feel like a great time to find ways to avoid that to-do list. 😉

In this spirit, we’ve created an “It’d be great if I…” list of Springy-related projects to help you capture that motivation, take advantage of your product’s features, learn a new skill, or pass the time! While we’ve separated it by product, some of these ideas and skills could be applied to more than one.


LibGuides

Watch all of our training videos!

  • Strategize SEO: Review and update your site’s content to improve your search engine optimization. (newsletter tip)
  • Prep for summer: Create attractive reading lists to support your online summer reading program. (training video)
  • Fix JQuery: Find it before you realize it’s causing a code conflict. (newsletter tip)
  • [CMS & optionally LibAnswers] Create a virtual workplace / staff intranet. (training video)
  • Learn HTML and CSS.
    • Take an online class through sites like LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com) accessed through your local library, Codecademy, freeCodeCamp, or Udacity.
      • Some courses provide a live space to practice coding. Please use these and not your LibGuides site. 🙂 We are unable to fix custom code or create it for you.
    • Pro tips for adding custom HTML/CSS/JS into your site:
      • Use media/widget assets for all custom code added to guides so you can troubleshoot your code. We can’t stress this enough!
      • [CMS only] Create a new group to use as your sandbox and add code to its look and feel area.

Did you know that our newsletter includes LibGuides tips and tricks? The early March edition included Springy site cleaning ideas. Sign up to receive the next issue, slated for sometime this summer. 😀

LibAnswers

  • Create a robust internal staff knowledge base: Break out policies, login details, and staff-only information into individual restricted FAQs. It’s easy to search, browse, embed, and link them! (SpringyU FAQ groups and individual FAQ courses)
  • Start a virtual scavenger hunt using SMS. (training video)
  • Perform a full site cleaning. (training video)

Take the SpringyU course.

LibCal: Migrate from Room Bookings to Spaces

We haven’t set a sunset date yet, but it will eventually happen. Over the last few years, our development team has been busy adding new features to Spaces, the new room bookings module. Now is the time to complete the migration process, while your physical library doors are closed or your study rooms have reduced bookings.

Spaces features:

  • Easily set and change the opening hours rooms by campus/branch, location, or type.
  • Create and manage recurring bookings.
  • Set regular account permissions to limit who can create and edit bookings, mark who showed up, and adjust opening hours.
  • Create calendar events from the Spaces booking.

Take the SpringyU course pictured above and check out our FAQ that spells out this process from start to end.

LibWizard

  • Collect stories from students and patrons to build an online archive of your community’s experiences. (forms Springboard)
  • Survey your patrons to discover what types of online services they’d like to see. (surveys Springboard)
  • [Full subscribers] Create tutorials on how to access library resources, add LibGuides content to Blackboard/Canvas, or anything else that comes to mind! Extra credit if you create custom videos and images. 🙂 (standalone and embedded tutorials Springboards)

It can be difficult to stay motivated during this time, but we hope this list will provide you with some inspiration. For even more learning opportunities, register for an upcoming training session.

Thank you to everyone who has checked in these past few weeks. Wishing you all safety, good health, and even a few moments of peace during this crisis.