Archive for September 24, 2020

Introducing the New (and Improved!) Springshare Lounge

In case you missed the big announcement in our July SpringyNews edition, we launched a new and improved Springshare Lounge! In this ‘new normal’, we wanted to improve opportunities for Springy users to communicate with each other, share how they’re using Springshare tools, and leverage localized expertise.

Since its official launch nine weeks ago on July 27, the Lounge now has over 950 users posting a total of 123 discussions and 257 comments! Posts cover a variety of Springy Tools and topics ranging from how-to type posts to best practices and advice sharing. So if you haven’t yet, join the new Springshare Lounge and get ready for some virtual networking.

Earn Points & Level Up!

Helping your fellow Springy users deserves a reward right? We thought so too! So we added a points system to the new Springshare Lounge.

Earn points when you:

  • Make and comment on posts 
  • Have other users react to your posts 
  • Earn badges 

As you earn points, your level will increase, and the number of stars on your profile will increase.

Here are the levels and the point totals to reach them: 

  1. Springy Initiate: Everyone starts here! 
  2. Springy Novice: 75 points 
  3. Solid Springy: 200 points 
  4. Springy Expert: 750 points 
  5. Springy Hero: 1750 points 

If you’re wondering, big deal – earning virtual points gets me what? Well, you’re wrong! Earning points actually translates to both virtual and real-world perks!

Not only will achieving higher levels unlock extra lounge features, but the highest levels also opens access to some extra discussion categories as well.

Leveling Up Perks:

  1. Springy Initiate: Start discussions, comment on discussions. Everyone’s got this!
  2. Springy Novice (75 points): You can create polls in your discussions now. Let other lounge users vote on your polls. 
  3. Solid Springy (200 points): Add a signature to your posts if you’d like. Edit your own posts for up to a day for convenience. 
  4. Springy Expert (750 points): Gain the ability to use the “promote” reaction to a post or comment! Doing this will add the comment to “best of”. You also get access to submit posts to the Lounge Help Wanted category to advertise openings at your library.
    • If you come by our booth at a conference, (* offer not valid in 2020, of course) we’ll give you some special Springy merch. 
  5. Springy Hero (1750 points): We are in awe of your contributions and helpful deeds in this community. You’ll get access to Springy Labs to see sneak peeks of things we’re working on, as well as the chance to offer feedback on new designs and development. We’ll also send a thank you card to you, hand-signed by one of the Springy crew to show our appreciation. 

What types of posts will I see in the Lounge?

The Lounge is designed for you, plain & simple! You’ll see posts related to Springy products and topics but that otherwise run the gamut – users asking for help, others posting their ideas and best practices, and even some others putting out a call for research volunteers. Plus, you have the ability to post something as a question, and mark it as answered! This helps future users who search too, because they can see “oh, I have the same question too and it’s got an answer!”

Below are just some of our most favorite posts to date:

So, How Do I Sign-Up?

Good news, you can sign-up to join the Springshare Lounge today! Right now even! Go ahead, we’ll wait. 🙂 Okay, are you back? Let’s continue. 🙂

Joining the Lounge is super-easy! And if you were a member of our old Lounge, you will have to rejoin the new Lounge. It’s really fast and easy, just follow these instructions.

Plus, if you mention that you were a member of the old Lounge when you rejoin, we’ll give you a special badge. Or click here to claim your Original Forum Survivor Badge.

Creating a Profile & Community Guidelines

Once you’ve joined and created your profile, you’ll want to review the Community Guidelines. Like all good online communities, there are some “dos and don’ts”. While we believe that our community of users has a good understanding of online etiquette, reviewing these guidelines is important to get an understanding of the behavior expected in the Springshare Lounge.

… And You’re Off & Running

Once you’ve done the aforementioned items, you’re off and running! Search the Lounge and read some existing posts. Write a comment to an existing post if you have any feedback or an answer you’d like to share. Feel free to post a new discussion or ask a question. If you post a question, don’t forget to mark the post as answered once those comments start rolling in. Customize your notification preferences so you’ll get an email alert when people comment on your discussions or when someone else posts a discussion to a category you’re keeping an eye on. To customize your notifications, go to the Bell Icon > Notification Preferences.

How They Did It: Gwinnett Technical College Welcomes Fall 2020 with LibCal Seats

2020 has been a difficult year, for sure. Most of us are likely ready for it to end so we can flip a page of sorts. However, for the world of Academia, Fall is kind of a new beginning. This fall every student in the country is starting a new year – the academic year – some for the first time and some for their final year of college.

This fall term is brimming with excitement — mixed with anxiety. For the institutions that serve these students, faculty, and staff, there is hope bolstered by careful planning and thoughtful execution. And, while they tell you in school to keep your eyes on your own paper, these days, we need all the great examples we can get. Sharing knowledge in the days of COVID-19 is how we’re going to strategize against its spread and prudently move forward.

Gwinnett Technical College Prioritizes Health & Safety

Director of Library Services, Deborah George, and the library staff at Gwinnett Technical College share answers, valuable experiences, and tips in this LibCal Seats Q&A. You’ll learn how they worked together to welcome everyone back to campus with the knowledge that this fall, like no other, providing peace of mind had to be added to the to-do list.

Gwinnett Technical College Fall 2020 Opening Day

A New Look at Creating a Safe Space

When did you launch your LibCal Seats system? Please share, to date, how many reservations you’ve handled with it.

Gwinnett Technical College (GTC) is a long-time subscriber to Springshare’s LibGuides and other applications. We finalized access to LibCal Seats on August 7, 2020, and launched it to our students on the first day of our Fall, 2020 semester, August 10. As of September 15, we have had over 914 bookings!

What is the main goal you have for your library and what is its big message as you begin the 2020 Fall Term in the midst of this global pandemic?

We want the students to know that their health and safety is important to us. Using a reservation system such as LibCal Seats allows us to monitor the usage of library space and maintain compliance with college-wide, CDC-based safe use requirements. Being able to allow students to visit the library provides much-needed access to library staff and on-campus technology. Faculty refer students to the library for test-taking and library workshops. The email and reservation data can be shared with faculty as necessary.

What are the new challenges the library sees in supporting students and faculty this academic year? Share a bit about the problem-solving process that went into devising your re-opening plans.

GTC already provided remote services with phone, email, and chat. In response to the increased demand necessitated by the pandemic-related campus closures, we were able to greatly increase one-to-one remote services with our Learning Management System and Springshare’s Appointments features. Students can now schedule dedicated reference interviews from any location.

Even with these remote services, several of our students want or need to use the library in person. LibCal Seats allows us to provide access to computers/webcams, printers, and study rooms to those students requesting these services while giving us the ability to monitor overall capacity and adhere to social distancing requirements.

Setting Up Seats & Setting New Expectations

There’s a lot of change this academic year and not just for the incoming Freshmen. How are you sharing the information that appointments and reservations are now required? How is this being enforced?

We are using a multi-faceted approach to marketing our new services. We encourage our department heads to communicate via email with classroom instructors, and we promote access options through the library’s blog post, Facebook entries and signage within and outside of the library spaces. Students are greeted as they enter the library and are asked to confirm or make reservations. Staff roam the library regularly to confirm students are using reserved spaces and following safety measures (masks in place, not moving furniture, etc.) Compliance is near 100%.

QR Codes at the GTC Library

Which features in LibCal Seats are you finding the most useful as you encourage social distancing and monitor the occupancy of your spaces in real-time?

The Booking Explorer provides an overview of space availability for staff and allows us to adjust reservations as necessary throughout the day. The Single Seat viewing grid is displayed on a large monitor just inside the library, so staff and students can easily determine availability.

How did you decide what sorts of booking limits you wanted to impose and what’s the strategy or goal behind them? Are you using padding between reservations? If so, how and why?

Capacity of space was considered when setting booking limits, as well as anticipated foot traffic. Currently, we are adjusting our limits to meet the students’ needs. We started with a one-hour default session length but found that several students were taking online exams and needed longer periods of time. The library is not reaching full capacity, so we extended the default to two hours, to minimize the amount of time spent manually extending sessions. Additional adjusting is easy, and we can make modifications on the spot. We do use the padding between sessions, which allows for cleaning of the stations between use.

Which reports or dashboards are you keeping a close eye on and how are they informing your day-to-day/week-to-week decisions?

We consistently view the Booking Grid to keep an eye on availability and expected use. Occupancy data also gives us an idea of what times the library is being used the most. We expect to use more reporting data as we move through the semester, and really appreciate having the ability to track computer usage and foot traffic now.

Response to LibCal Seats, Tweaks & Tips

What has been the response to LibCal Seats from the library team, the students, the faculty?

GTC Students Book “On the Fly”

Faculty are impressed with the ease of use and are comfortable sharing reservation information with students. Returning students, used to popping into the library and using space on a first-come, first-served basis, initially expressed some frustration with the reservation requirements and multi-step process. Most students use their phones to book, and the screens are not as easy to navigate on smaller devices. However, once the students have made a few reservations the process becomes less time-consuming.

As students understand the reservation process is required to keep our building open for student use, they gladly comply with the expectations. As they realize the process can be completely self-serve, they love being able to check-in by phone.

We simply ask, “Did you get your email?” and most give us a thumbs up and move on to the reserved space.

What sorts of tweaks and adjustments did you make in the first few weeks after implementing LibCal Seats to make it work better for you and your students?

We needed to adjust the default reservation session length since many students have ended up needing to come to campus to take tests since some were not able to use secure testing software on their home computers. Additionally, some student club interviews were scheduled in library study rooms, which allows students without webcams at home to participate in virtual face-to-face interviews.

What sorts of tips would you like to share for those libraries who are at the beginning of setting up LibCal Seats?

Keep in mind your closing time; you may not want to have students making reservations right up to when you lock the doors. Consider how often students can make reservations, and how far in advance. Get feedback and be flexible!


We are grateful for the opportunity to share this interview with Deborah George and her diligent, caring library staff. To say 2020 has been a hard year is an oversimplification to be sure. But sometimes the clearest language is the truest.

Reopening your institutions is a real challenge this year, one that no one is taking lightly. How do we keep your spaces at the library, and all over campus, from unsafely filling with people? Ask them to make a reservation, monitor the occupancy numbers, and make adjustments as necessary. The GTC library shared their experience that — students gladly cooperate because they know it means they can use the library.

They want to use the library. You want to welcome them back. LibCal Seats is instrumental in helping you stay (safely) booked in the days ahead.

Pickup Manager: Coming Early October!

We’ve been hinting, alluding, and finally we officially announced yesterday that we’re releasing the Pickup Manager for scheduling and communicating holds pickup!

This newest tool is coming early October, and is designed to streamline your holds pickup workflows and empower patrons to pick up their library items quickly and safely at their convenience – per COVID-19 guidelines and beyond, too!


Key Points about the Pickup Manager:

  1. Fully integrates with your ILS for streamlined hold workflows.
  2. Works great with LibCal’s Equipment Booking Module for equipment or museum/zoo pass lending.
  3. Provides great statistics and analytics helping you increase user satisfaction and improve your holds service.
  4. Just like all other Springy tools – it is affordable.

Bottomline, you and your patrons are going to love the awesome functionality that Pickup Manager offers and you’ll never want to do holds pickups “the old way” again. 😊

Communicate with ‘Arrived’ patrons via SMS/Texting (Coming: LibChat)

How Does it Work?

  • Patron requests a hold in your ILS.
  • When items are ready, your ILS sends an email with the link to our pickup scheduler in LibCal. (customized emails from Pickup Manager coming soon). 
    • Already a LibCal user? You’ll be able to designate locations in the Admin > Spaces area to connect to the Pickup Manager.
    • Not a LibCal user? No worries, just contact us!
  • Patron reserves their preferred time & location using our easy-to-use booking interface in LibCal.
  • ‘Today’s Scheduled Pickups’ on the Dashboard helps you prepare today’s items. 
  • When the patron arrives, they SMS/Text you with a customized keyword using your LibAnswers SMS number. The Pickup Manager recognizes the patron and alerts you of their hold details so you can easily grab and deliver their items.
    • Already a LibAnswers user? You’ll designate which SMS number should be connected to the Pickup Manager. You can designate multiple SMS numbers with your Pickup Manager!
    • Not a LibAnswers user? No worries, just contact us!
  • If needed, you can communicate back-and-forth with the patron about their pickup via SMS/Text – all from the Pickup Manager dashboard.
  • Coming Soon: When items are picked up, the Pickup Manager marks the item as picked up in the patron’s ILS record, too.
  • If patrons text that they’ve arrived outside of your hours of operation, Pickup Manager automatically texts them back with a customizable message letting them know that your service is closed for the day.

Want the Communication but Not Scheduling Part?

Like with all our Springshare Tools, we like to brainstorm all the potential possible implementations and come up with solutions for everyone. Our Pickup Manager is no different. So if you’re interested in the Communication side, but not the Scheduling component, we’ve got you covered.

Pickup Manager Streamlines Your Workflows, Too!

  • At-a-glance view of holds activity – what is being picked up today, tomorrow, and in the future.
  • Statistics on completed pickups and analytics on popular day/time pickups, late arrivals, etc.
  • Send reminders to patrons who haven’t picked up their items.
  • (Coming soon) customize the hold notification emails sent to patrons.

Manage Pickups for Everything You Circulate

Pickup Manager also integrates with LibCal’s Equipment Booking Module. Whether your patrons are picking up a book hold or a laptop, camera, museum/zoo pass or really anything from your library-of-things inventory via the Equipment Booking module, the Pickup Manager has you covered.

What More Information?

Early next month, we’ll announce sneak-peek webinars on Pickup Manager on our Sneak-Peek Calendar.

Want to be contacted when Pickup Manager is released? Email sales@springshare.com to be placed on the Early Access list. 

LibCal Mini-Release: Create Multiple-Hour Blocks to Facilitate Cleaning

This release is on its way to you this week, and will be live in all regions by the end of the day on Friday, September 18.

Spaces Locations: Multiple-Hour Blocks Help Facilitate Cleaning

Our pandemic new normal necessitates designated cleaning times to sanitize spaces and seats in between bookings. To facilitate this, we’ve added updates to the Weekly Hours Templates in Spaces/Seats & Equipment! You can now allow for multiple sets of opening/closing hours, with unavailable time in between.

Within these time slots, you can allow users to pick their own hours to reserve Spaces & Seats.  We’ll be adding functionality to make the entire period/block bookable in our upcoming release in early October.

Head to Admin > Spaces & Equipment > Hours Templates and select the ‘Custom Time’ option when creating or editing a weekly template to see the ability to enter multiple opening/closing hour blocks.

We have an upcoming training session that will help you get started! Join us on Tuesday, September 22 at 12:30 Eastern time to learn how to set up flexible or fixed booking times.

See LibCal release notes which will list out a few other changes coming in this release such as a customizable email template for the ‘Late Check In Cancellation’ email and more.

That’s it for this round of updates from Springy HQ for LibCal. We would like to thank you, our user community, for sharing all your great ideas with us! We love making them a reality and look forward to bringing you many more improvements in 2020 and beyond. We are always here for you if have any suggestions or questions.

[UPDATED] Important Browser Notices & Updates

In today’s post, we’re bringing you some important notices about your Internet browsers… specifically Internet Explorer 11 and Chrome. Since Springshare tools are hosted in the cloud and are accessed by web browsers, if you or your patrons are using either of the above browsers… it will affect your day-to-day usage of these tools.

Updated Sep 10, 2020 – we updated the section below on LibAnswers and IE11 compatibility.

Updated Oct 9, 2020 – we updated this post with a section on LibGuides and IE11 compatibility and updated the LibAnswers section to reflect the fact that the October 2020 code release is out.

Updated Oct 19, 2020 – we updated the LibGuides list after more extensive testing within IE11.

Internet Explorer 11 Will No Longer Be Supported as of November 20, 2020

Starting in November through till next year, Microsoft will stop supporting IE11 within their own applications.

Microsoft has since labeled Internet Explorer a “compatibility solution” rather than a browser and encouraged businesses to stop using the aging browser.

Tom Warren, TheVerge.com

To that end, Springshare will stop supporting IE11 for all Springshare Tools (LibGuides, LibCal, LibAnswers, LibInsight, LibCRM, LibWizard, and LibStaffer) during the week of November 16 across all regions.

This does *not* mean every webpage of your whole Springshare tool will suddenly stop working when using IE11. It *does* mean that you and your users may experience additional issues of non-compatibility when using IE11 after the November 16 code release.

LibGuides Users & IE11 [Updated Oct 19, 2020]

There are a few areas in LibGuides that do not fully function in IE11. Additionally, future updates will also affect page display issues in IE11.

  • Guide lists on system and group homepages;
  • Some LibGuides widgets intermittently do not display;
  • Gallery boxes;
  • Search results;
  • System blog and public discussion boards; and
  • A-Z Database pages.

LibAnswers Users & IE11 [Updated Oct 12, 2020]

There are already a few areas of LibAnswers admin interface (not public-facing pages) that don’t fully function in IE11. Additionally, future updates will also affect page display issues in IE11.

  • Currently not working in  IE11: the ability to view chat transcripts; Queue settings tabs and ticket browse page will not work.
  • Upcoming November 2020 release: Current LibChat Operator Console will *not* be able to load in IE11 by the end of the Nov 16 week. We’re launching some awesome new functionality to LibChat, including a new emoji-picker (:wow emoji:), that is not compatible with IE11.

Chrome 86 Security Update

The upcoming Chrome 86 update, slated for release in October, will offer more secure protections for users submitting data on insecure forms. More on this in a moment. First, a reminder!

All Springshare Tools are HTTPS-Required

As a refresher, all Springshare Tools are required to load over HTTPS. If your Springshare Tool ends in a .libguides.com, .libcal.com, .libanswers.com, .libcrm.com, .libinsight.com, libwizard.com, or .libstaffer.com – the ‘S’ in HTTPS is covered by our security certificates.

If your Springshare Tool ends in a custom domain, like .bookings.edu or guides.org, you can use our ‘Let’s Encrypt’ service where we obtain a security certificate for you or obtain your own security certificate.

Bottom line, your Springshare Tools will always load an HTTPS secure connection…. which is great for your staff and end-users because HTTPS helps to thwart intruders from tampering with the communications between your websites and your users’ browsers.

Embedding Unsecure (HTTP) Forms into Your Secure (HTTPS) Springshare Tools

So now that you know that all Springshare Tools are loaded as HTTPS, you’re probably thinking – “Heck, we’re all set… our sites are secure!“. And you’re right, for the basic tool itself. But it depends on what you’ve added to your systems, too! We give you a lot of flexibility in your Springshare tools… especially in ways we encourage you to embed widgets/content from other websites. In LibGuides, you can embed a widget into your guide. In LibCal, you can add a widget to a countdown timer in Calendar Events. In LibAnswers, embed media right into your FAQs.

These options give you awesome flexibility in adding multimedia resources to your Springshare Tools! But it is also possible to embed HTTP (unsecure) content inside your HTTPS (secure) Springshare Tool.

Chrome 86 Update Will Display Warning for Mixed Forms

So now we come back to the Chrome 86 update! If you embed an HTTP (unsecure) form in your HTTPS (secure) webpages, your patrons using Chrome 86 will see a full-page warning about submitting content to an unsecure form.

Chrome Version 86 Will Display Warning of Unsecure Forms

Identifying & Resolving Mixed Content

We recommend that you review your LibGuides, LibCal, LibAnswers, and LibWizard systems to identify widgets/forms that you’ve embedded that could be HTTP insecure. This FAQ outlines some helpful instructions, including how to find HTTP content in LibGuides, as well as a video explaining why HTTPS is important.

As a reminder, Springshare Tools themselves are HTTPS secure. So if you’ve created a LibGuides widget, a LibAnswers/LibChat widget, a LibCal widget, a LibInsight widget, or a LibWizard widget, these widgets are already HTTPS secure. It is better to focus your time and energies on widgets/forms from other vendors.

If you’ve identified forms/widgets that are HTTP unsecure, it is recommended that you contact that vendor directly to obtain an HTTPS secure form/widget. While we’d love to help, we cannot create HTTPS secure widgets/forms for other vendors.