It’s that time of year again, the holidays are almost here and we’re seeing an end to 2020 (thank goodness!). To that end, our Springshare Support Team schedule will see some modifications during this holiday season. Have no fear, your support question will be answered. Additionally, we will be monitoring our support queue, Twitter, and Facebook for emergencies.
Support & Social Media
Closed (monitoring for emergencies):
Thursday, Nov 26
Friday, Nov 27
Thursday, Dec 24
Friday, Dec 25
Friday, Jan 1
Reduced support hours (9am-5pm U.S. EST):
Wednesday, Nov 25
Monday, Dec 28 – Thursday, Dec 31
Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season.
In some parts of the world, lockdowns are taking place again. In others, the trend is heading that way. It’s looking like we’ll all be experiencing another shelter-in-place soon in order to stop the spread of this deadly virus. The good news, we know a lot more now than we did only eight short months ago. We’re not suddenly scrambling to a work-from-home environment or pivoting to online-only services in just a matter of days. To that end, we’d like to share our best tips for promoting contactless communication during yet another COVID-19 lockdown. Your patrons, students, customers might not be able to see you in person… but you can still ‘see’ them online.
Create Searchable COVID-19 FAQs in LibAnswers
Not only are we living through an unprecedented pandemic but an infodemic too. Your users are being inundated with conflicting and sometimes downright false “information”. It’s so hard to know where to go, online, to get credible information. Create COVID-19 searchable FAQs highlighting recent research, regional laws/regulations, and how the library’s hours/services are affected. This 35min training video covers how you can keep important information updated in your LibAnswers, including creating a COVOD-19 FAQ group.
Offer Live Chat with Screensharing/Webcam Functionality
You’ve spent time cultivating relationships with your patrons. They most likely know your face, your smile, and even your ‘funny’ jokes. (What building has the most stories? The Library! – cue the eyeroll). Those special bonds don’t need to end with remote services. LibChat’s screensharing allows you to engage in back-and-forth chat and you can even conduct ‘live’ sessions with patrons with optional webcam functionality, recording, and more!
And, if you’re thinking you don’t have the bandwidth to offer chat or offer it for the number of hours your patrons would need it – our 24/7 Chat Cooperative is here to back you up with MLIS-degreed librarians. Enable 24/7/365 chat services or custom coverage hours.
What is the Status of Your Buildings & Services?
Is your building open? What about the 3D printer? Is curbside delivery available? Your patrons have questions about the status of your building, services, and more. Create a LibAnswers System & Status Dashboard (with an embeddable widget) and keep them updated 24/7 on your status. Make use of social media integration so if the status of a service changes, broadcast it out on Facebook and Twitter right from the Systems Status Dashboard.
Keeping Staff Informed
It’s hard enough keeping staff updated and informed when you see them every day at the workplace. Updates to the manual go unnoticed. Post-it notes at the reference desk are overlooked. In our new work-from-home model, it’s even harder keeping staff informed especially if you’re relying on email and reply-all. We have some tips to help you use LibAnswers to create a powerful staff repository of information that is searchable, easily-updatable, and reduces your inbox clutter.
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! This 26min training video covers all the steps.
Use LibChat for internal conversations & meetings: LibChat isn’t just for chatting with patrons. Set your chat status to internal and be available for quick chats with coworkers. Use LibChat screensharing to conduct internal meetings with a coworker or a whole department.
Create Internal Posts on the Systems & Status Dashboard: Not every post on the Systems & Status Dashboard might be suitable for the public. Create internal posts to update staff on a new process, COVID-19 restrictions, or planned downtime to a product or service.
Pickup Manager for Curbside/Contactless Communication
Our newest tool, Pickup Manager, integrates with multiple ILSes, LibCal, and LibAnswers to create a scheduling and communication platform for holds pickup. This way, your patrons can reserve their library items, schedule a time to pick them up, and communicate with you via chat and SMS/texting when they’ve arrived… all with seamless ILS integration to boot.
We’re In This Together
We know that this has been, and continues to be, an incredibly difficult and stressful time. Not only are you a library employee with all that entails but you’re also a friend, caretaker, child, or parent… trying to make sense of all the confusion, fear, and complexities that COVID-19 has brought both into your work-life and your personal life. And whether you’re working at the library or working from home, your work-lives and personal lives are now more intertwined than ever. How do we know this, well – because we’re going through this with you. Our Springy employees work-from-home and are now full-time teachers, caretakers, and more. And supporting loved ones who are working, and who are also dealing with the isolation that comes with the pandemic. So we know what you’re going through, because we’re going through it right alongside you. And we’re here to help. So, don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions, feedback, requests, recipes, or tips on keeping a 7 year old engaged in their Zoom class! We’re here to help and we’ll get through this in our typical Springy fashion… together.
The leaves are off the trees, we are eyeing our (single household only!) Thanksgiving menus here Springy HQ, and we have some awesome new features for you. These releases are on their way to you next week, and will be live in all regions by the end of the day on Friday, November 20.
We have heard from quite a number of you that creating copies of all assets when you copy a guide has created some asset clutter, so we’re changing this a bit! Now, by default, when you copy a guide, all assets in that guide are mapped to the original guide. If you would still like to create new copies of all assets in a guide that you are copying, you can check the box labeled “Create copies of the guide’s assets rather than mapping to the original,” as pictured below.
This change will quickly allow you to create content from blueprint guides without cluttering up your Asset Repository. You’ll still be able to delete unwanted assets, boxes, or pages, and add new ones if you wish, but you’ll be making better use of existing content by mapping.
Please note that copying a guide from the Community has not changed. And a gentle reminder! Librarians for sure love to share, but please get permission from the guide owner before copying any guide. 🙂
Other Improvements and Fixes
Added aria-hidden=”true” to the Font Awesome icons in the orange command bar to improve its accessibility.
Fixed an issue causing the default guide to always show as the Content Match in the LTI Instance Details table, rather than true, single guide match. No data was lost; we were simply not displaying it correctly.
We fixed an issue that occasionally caused the E-Reserves Request form to fail to submit.
We have two new improvements to LibWizard: the ability to transfer a deleted user’s forms to another user, and an additional Referent Author’s full name (rft.au) OpenURL parameter mapping for the pre-filled form URLs.
Transfer existing forms to a new user when deleting a user
Managing a deleted user’s forms is easier now that you can transfer the users’s existing forms when deleting their account. Simply select the new owner of the forms when you delete the account from the Accounts management page.
Additional rft OpenURL parameter
We’ve added the rft.au (Referent Author’s full name) OpenURL parameter to field mapping when configuring pre-filled forms / surveys / quizzes / tutorials. Head to Form Options > Advanced > Configure URL settings to see this new parameter.
Other Improvements and Fixes
Fixed a display issue for individual feedback on multi-select checkbox fields.
Fixed field rule causing for File Upload “has file” to work improperly.
Fixed an issue causing embedded LibWizard forms to sometimes have the wrong height.
Various (and sundry!) accessibility updates:
Fixed keyboard accessibility for the URL and Tooltip, when displaying these for sites that will not display in an iFrame.
Added aria-hidden=”true” to Font Awesome icons to make these decorative elements hidden from screen readers.
Added aria-live=”assertive” to make “This field is required” messages accessible to screen readers.
Eliminated role=”tab-group” where it appeared throughout, since it’s not a valid role.
Added “Next Slide” and “Prev Slide” to language settings.
That’s it for this round of updates from Springy HQ. 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–very soon–in 2021. We are always here for you if have any suggestions or questions.
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, November 13.
Pickup Manager Release
This release brings key features needed for Pickup Manager, and we’re thrilled to announce that Pickup Manager is now available! Pickup Manager streamlines the holds pickup process while adhering to your COVID-19 safety guidelines. Patrons can easily request their holds via their ILS, schedule a pickup, and enjoy 2-way SMS/text and chat communication once they’ve arrived. Staff will love the easy 2-way communication with patrons via SMS and Chat in Pickup Manager’s live-updating “Today’s Pickups” dashboard. Pickup Manager has so many features to not only make your current day-to-day easier but when COVID-19 is a thing of the past, you’ll wonder how you ever did holds pickup ‘the old way’.
We’ve added a new option when set that will require your patrons/students to authenticate via LibAuth BEFORE accessing the new reservation page and seat/space availability. Head to Admin > Spaces & Equipment > LibAuth to check out this new feature!
Power Filter/Indication for Seat/Spaces
You can now flag a Seat or Space to indicate that there is a power source available. When creating or editing a Seat or Space record, there is now a new flag named ‘Powered’ that can be set. The ability to filter booking searches by this new flag has been added to the new reservation page. Also, any Seat or Space that is flagged as having a power source available will display on the availability grid next to the Seat or Space name.
By popular request we have added a new setting to free up the remaining time of a booking if a patron/student checks out early. Head to Admin > Spaces > Edit Location and set the “Early Check-Out Booking End Time Update” to make use of this new feature.
The ability to create recurring Seat bookings on the booking grid view is now available!
We have added API support for creating Seat bookings to the /space/reserve endpoint as well as returning location, category, seat, space and item names in all Spaces & Equipment booking endpoints.
A new “Preferences” tab has been added for admin side users to set a default location and tab when clicking on the Spaces or Equipment options from the main menu. Head to Admin > Accounts > Edit Account > Preferences or click on your email on the top right of the main menu and head to the “Preferences” tab to set your defaults!
That’s it for this round of updates from Springy HQ. 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 more improvements in 2020 and beyond. We are always here for you if have any suggestions or questions.
You could say this week feels like ‘peak 2020’ and that’s not a good thing. It’s hard to stick to business as usual right now when anxiety is high and the future is uncertain around the globe. But the dates on the calendar keep ticking by, classes are continuing, and students are seeking help.
We’re working with an immense amount of stress, and we all need each other to get through this. And looking at and beyond our own workplaces, we could all benefit from a strong network of support. And gain some reassurance that staff and students will have the help they need when they need it.
A couple of weeks ago, we shared the experiences of two public library cooperative members – Denver Public Library and Arlington Heights Memorial Library. Today, we have word from two academic consortium library groups using local and academic chat cooperatives to support their staff members and their students alike!
VCCS and CCCLC have two layers to their cooperative – first, their own network of local librarians that answer student questions within their consortium – plus additional help from the Springshare 24/7 Global Chat Cooperative’s (Co-Op) dedicated Academic Global Cooperative with its team of librarians.
The Co-Op is always there to help, especially during peak times, in the evenings, and on weekends. It ensures their students can get help 24/7/365 from a professional MLS-degreed librarian. And with LibAnswers, it’s easy for them to allow their librarians “first dibs” on each other’s chats, but then utilize the 24/7 global librarian network when they need it.
“Always Online” for Virginia’s Community College students
Virginia’s Community Colleges (VCCS) is composed of 23 community colleges in the state of Virginia, U.S., that serve over 200,000 students. And all of the libraries in its group use LibAnswers with LibChat to help students across their colleges – as well as provide help to students around the world and receive help from 24/7 Springshare librarians and other Co-Op librarians.
The below responses from its local and contributing cooperative librarians have been edited for brevity and clarity. 🙂
Are you noticing any trends in student questions and traffic numbers so far this fall?
Certain campuses are seeing a drastic increase in chats during remote learning:
“When NVCC went remote, we moved all our reference desks online, meaning that we cover the chat as if it is our reference desk during regular business hours. Our chat numbers have increased drastically with remote learning. We love that we can help so many of our students and are grateful for the assistance we get from the VCCS and 24/7 Co-Op librarians in answering so many questions.” – Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA)
Others are seeing fewer chats, possibly due to everyone “just completely gobsmacked and shell-shocked” with the move to online. However, Germanna Community College sums it up nicely:
“This has been a real help to us! Going online during the pandemic has made us more aware of what students need from us to be successful. The chat can at least give students the sense that there really is someone else out there who cares and wants them to be successful.”
How has 24/7 chat supported your staff and students? What are some of the benefits of using LibAnswers/LibChat platform?
“24/7 chat gives students the flexibility to get help when it is most convenient for them. Providing live assistance gives them peace of mind during an already difficult time due to COVID-19 and the switch to online learning. It has been inconvenient for many students to not be able to physically come to the library, so at least this way they have easy access to help, which aids them in their virtual learning experience.” – Germanna Community College
“I appreciate how easy it is to submit a ticket for a chat in LibChat. I feel like we are getting more LibAnswers tickets than we did previously, and I really appreciate that this feature is seeing increased usage as tickets allow me to offer students additional assistance. “One of the features that I know everyone loves is screensharing. We use this feature a lot and find that it really helps when there are language barrier issues or when a visual demonstration will be more effective than a typed description.” – NOVA
“The great thing about LibChat/LibAnswers is it not only provides online support for students, but every chat engagement is an opportunity to glow up on your reference skills.” – Tidewater Community College
Providing 24/7 live assistance gives them peace of mind during an already difficult time due to COVID-19 and the switch to online learning. It has been inconvenient for many students to not be able to physically come to the library, so at least this way they have easy access to help, which aids them in their virtual learning experience.
How does the Academic GlobalCooperative support the local VCCS cooperative?
“We now have more online students than ever before, and LibChat makes it easier to reach them. The 24/7 Co-Op means that even as we’ve had to shorten library hours, our students can still get help at any time.” – Tidewater Community College
I’ve noticed that the Academic Global Cooperative and Springshare 24/7 librarian staffing levels appear to be in line with the number of questions received during the shifts that I cover. I don’t think we can underestimate the superior service that a 24/7 platform staffed by professional librarians offers students!” – VCCS Cooperative librarians
I don’t think we can underestimate the superior service that a 24/7 platform staffed by professional librarians offers students!
What do you think is a 24/7 chat support’s role in student success? How does it fit into your long-term library services strategy?
“We offer multiple channels for students to gain assistance with library services and resources – whichever channel is most appropriate or comfortable to them. By placing the library where the students are with chat, they have immediate access to professional assistance and quality service, setting them up for success.” – Danville Community College
“The cooperative’s role in providing 24/7 research support for students is an important service to community college students… In addition, non-traditional college students may lack basic research skills, technological skills to navigate library resources. The chat service enables librarians to provide assistance and basic instruction that critically impact student success.” – VCCS Cooperative librarians
CCCLC: There for their students – and each other – across 44 California colleges
The California Community College Library Chat (CCCLC) group is made up of 44 community colleges’ libraries across California serving approximately 720,000 students. According to Technical Services Librarian Glorian Sipman, the libraries are a pretty tight-knit group!
And when CCCLC librarians have to be offline during evenings and weekends, or even due to staffing changes, the Academic Global Co-Op is there to pick up chats from night owl and nontraditional students asking any questions.
Again, the below responses from CCCLC libraries have been edited for brevity and clarity. 🙂
How does the AcademicGlobal Cooperative support the local CCCLC cooperative?
All responding libraries receive help in the evenings and on weekends. For the group in general, the Academic Global Cooperative & 24/7 librarians really help us out late in the evenings and on Fri/Sat/Sun. They do backstop us at other times if we’re busy.
“Cerro Coso really appreciates the Academic Global Cooperative, especially when most of the CCCLC participants are working day jobs in a California time zone and students are writing term papers at 3am. The global support helps us expand our services to reach our night owl students without requiring us to find local staff willing to work those times.”
“Grossmont College has no adjunct budget since July 2020. We also have full-time librarians on leave, so our chat monitoring hours are very limited. The Academic GlobalCooperative (and local CCCLC cooperative) have been lifesavers for our students. We truly would not be able to get along without the backup chat reference service the cooperative provides.”
“College of the Desert currently has limited staffing when it comes to librarians and we are grateful for the backup and support we receive from the CCCLC cooperative, especially on Fridays, nights, and weekends when a COD librarian is not available.”
“College of the Canyons librarians monitor the CCC queue at all hours that we staff LibChat, also providing six hours of Global coverage per week. We find that we respond to more questions from students from other colleges than our own!”
If there’s any silver lining to this pandemic scenario, it’s that our chat service is getting more promotion and use. We are very grateful that the Academic Global Cooperative is able to help us provide anywhere, anytime service to our students at their convenience, considering many of them may be trying to juggle work and kids at home, doing their own schoolwork after hours.”
Are you noticing any trends in student questions and traffic numbers so far this fall?
Libraries are seeing slight increases to huge increases while all classes are online this semester – and will likely be online in the spring.
“MiraCosta is seeing a lot more chats during the day than before. We are completely online this semester (as we were last semester and will likely be next); chat is one of the main ways we are serving our students’ reference and instruction needs.”
“Los Angeles Pierce College has seen a huge increase in chat use this fall. With no in-person services available, all of our reference services have been taking place through LibChat.”
How have the local CCCLC and Academic GlobalCo-Ops added value to your existing chat services? Any surprising benefits of using LibAnswers/LibChat?
“The Cerro Coso Library is quite small and can only staff our chat 1-2 hours a week… Having a chat function not only provides another method for our students to interact with librarians but it also drastically increases the number of hours in which students can get personalized help immediately, regardless of our own opening times or staffing issues.”
“I don’t think it is a surprising benefit because we have been experiencing it for many years, but havingother CCC librarians available really helps as they understand exactly who our Solano students are and are familiar with many of the resources because we share a database consortium as well. So they bring an added benefit which makes helping students more seamless and apt.”
“The screensharing functionality of LibChat is a game changer. Its simple integration makes it easy to set up Zoom sessions when students need it most. This has come in handy for many unique issues – connectivity, database walk-through, and citation help. When I think about citation assistance, specifically, it’s the perfect option to teach a student “to fish” rather than doing the tedious work of copyediting.” -MiraCosta Library
The Cerro Coso Library is quite small and can only staff our chat 1-2 hours a week… Having a chat function not only provides another method for our students to interact with librarians but it also drastically increases the number of hours in which students can get personalized help immediately, regardless of our own opening times or staffing issues.
What do you think is a 24/7 chat service’s role in student success?
“Clovis Community College is very thankful to the Academic Global Cooperative because those librarians make it possible for our students to have access when we are offline and the CCCLC librarians are not available. That is important now more than ever. Our students have used these middle of the night services, so having that access makes a difference.”
“By being part of the cooperative, San Bernardino Valley College truly offers 24/7 reference. Especially in this time of COVID-19, we appreciate the service.”
“Students need help in the moment and 24/7 chat provides that. Real-time chat (and potential Zoom) with a librarian at the point of need is invaluable. Grossmont College truly relies on this service to round out reference and instruction services–especially right now, while the library is closed to students.”
Thank you, Tara Cassidy at VCCS and Glorian Sipman at CCCLC! We appreciate you taking the time to share the experiences of your libraries. And we agree with you all — having a librarian there for students 24/7 can really set them up for success. Especially for students who work and have other responsibilities during the day and wouldn’t be able to reach professional support otherwise.
Interested in learning more about the Springshare 24/7 Global Chat Cooperative?