It might not come as a shock to you that your amazing efforts are being noticed by other departments on campus. We often hear from you with emails like, “Student Advising saw our LibCal Appointment Scheduler, and they want to use it for scheduling student one-on-ones.” Or, “Career Services saw our LibAnswers FAQ and LibChat, and they want a LibAnswers system for career advising”.
Librarians are innovators. Always on the forefront of trying some new service, software, or process to provide better and better customer service to their patrons. And even more so, librarians always want to help others achieve. As Malcolm Gladwell puts it in The Tipping Point, you all are Mavens.
Mavens are information specialists, or people we rely upon to connect us with new information. They accumulate knowledge and know how to share it with others. Gladwell cites Mark Alpert as a prototypical Maven who is “almost pathologically helpful” further adding, “he can’t help himself”. In this vein, Alpert himself concedes, “A Maven is someone who wants to solve other people’s problems, generally by solving his own”.
Which is why so many of you who bring other departments onboard with LibCal or LibAnswers – end up helping them setup their system. Your selflessness knows no bounds!
LibCal Seats Beyond the Library
To that end, last summer when we released LibCal Seats, we saw many of you signing up as a way to reopen your libraries safely while monitoring building occupancy and check-in/out features for track & trace. And your efforts did not go unnoticed. Not only did others see what you were doing, but saw it as a viable way to reopen entire campuses. University of Michigan uses LibCal seats for managing reservations for classrooms, computer labs, and even their dining halls.
The Fashion Institute of Technology used LibCal Seats for the 2020/2021 academic year to safely reopen their campus in the middle of one of the hardest COVID-19 impacted cities in the world.
Join Us For An EDUCAUSE Webinar Tomorrow
The New School launched LibCal Seats for labs across the entire campus, with only 3-weeks of prep time, before the start of the Fall semester. To that end, we’ve asked Kayla O’Daniel and Marcus Longmiur to share their experience launching a campus-wide reservation system, in such a short period of time, and what the future holds.
As Mavens, when you have a juicy bit of helpful information – you just can’t keep it to yourself. Your strong social motivations compel you to share, far and wide. If you think this webinar, or LibCal Seats, would be useful for other departments outside your Library or useful for campus or institution-wide deployment, spread the word! Share this handy help guide or forward this blog post along.
We took the opportunity to revisit three libraries that we had previously featured in Client Stories — three years ago. We discussed their handling of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the challenges it brought to their doors. While we were not at all surprised by their commitment to providing the best possible service under the ever-changing circumstances, we were thrilled to learn about the ways Springshare tools help them as they navigated those days, these days, and the days ahead.
Here are some highlights from each of the Client Stories in the series.
York County Community College Tackles It All
As she recalled the days when closing their doors was looking imminent, Amber Tatnall, the Associate Academic Dean who oversees the YCCC Library said,
During the beginning of March 2020, we had two weeks lead-time to go fully online. I knew Springshare was going to be our saving grace.
The library is a Springshare Suite client and has been building LibGuides since 2010. They, therefore, felt comfortable with the switch. Amber shared that “Library instruction sessions continued through that first online semester, using Zoom and featuring our ready-to-rock-and-roll library guides.”
New to their strategy was implementing LibChat.
Once they had it up and running, Academic Dean, Doreen Rogan shared the team’s sentiments, “We are very grateful we were able to pivot so quickly and really not miss a beat when it came to supporting students in the Library.”
The YCCC Library team found themselves with a lot of new projects on their plates brought about by the pandemic closure. They immediately started putting LibCal and LibWizard to use to check them all off the list. Amber shares just a few of the areas they addressed:
Counseling and Wellness – We were very mindful that mental health and wellness was going to be a challenge during this time, so we went full Springshare with intake forms and document submission through LibWizard, a new resources guide, and an appointment maker with our counselor through LibCal.
Disabilities Services – ditto went full Springshare with accommodations requests and document submission through LibWizard. Security settings on the Springshare back-end allowed us to protect and wipe sensitive student data for both of these areas.
Academic Affairs used LibCal to register faculty into just-in-time workshops to learn how to teach online, with follow-up evaluations in LibWizard. The platforms are so easy to use and so professional-looking. No one would have guessed at the mild panic behind the scenes as we worked to prepare over 100 instructors to teach online in two weeks!LibGuides for faculty were a great place to house online how-tos, video tutorials, best practices, and other useful documents.
To learn more about all the terrific work the YCCC library did to ensure a successful school year for their students and faculty, read their Client Story.
City, University of London Closed Doors But Kept Communication Open
We published a Q&A style Client Story with Derek MacKenzie, Head of User Services at City Library sharing details about their library’s experiences during the COVID-19 lockdown in London. Excerpts follow:
Q: Can you share your story about when your library learned it would have to close its doors?
A: It was becoming clear from late February into early March 2020 that things were moving fast and that the Summer term was going to be quite different. But the University’s decision to close (just ahead of the government shutdown) was still a bit of a sudden one.
As we’d been using LibChat for six years, we had every confidence that we could continue to run that service remotely. LibAnswers was a bigger leap of faith though – we had several different shared email accounts being used by various teams to engage with users and respond to their queries. At the start of 2020, we set ourselves a target of flipping this over to LibAnswers by the summer and getting all our incoming emails routed there to improve how we handle enquiries and give us a more efficient way of passing these on to colleagues and monitoring progress.
Derek elaborated , “We had just started mapping out how we would do this – in a gradual and cautious way, as librarians tend to do. Then with lockdown looming, we decided we had to jump quickly so within a few days our User Services team and our amazing Systems Librarian managed to get queues set up and instructions pulled together.”
LibAnswers turned out to be just the ticket for a special recovery mission. Derek told us City Library used a solution they already had to face a new problem. Derek recalled, “One of our other big post-lockdown challenges was around trying to recover all the library books out on loan to students who had suddenly moved away from London – either with or without the books they had borrowed from the library.”
It was great for us to be able to manage our liaison with these students, often over several months, through LibAnswers tickets as this meant different members of our team could quickly and easily see the dialogue we’d had and keep them updated.
Today they have an FAQ to address returns, but for this recovery project, Derek said, “We set up a Freepost returns service to recover library books and we were able to disseminate labels for this through LibAnswers tickets.”
Read about their big jump in LibAnswers/LibChat usage and in the uptick in user engagement with the feedback element in LibChat here in their Client Story.
Southern New Hampshire University: In Their Own Words
Heather Walker-White, the Manager of Library Information Services at SNHU’s Shapiro Library wraps up our 3-part Client Story series. With a piece she wrote herself about how the global pandemic hit home for their library and its students, many of whom were not strangers to the online learning model, Heather lets us in on their spike in utilization and what they learned during this demanding time.
We were already very well positioned to serve our students in an online environment because we have a rich online presence, built on the Springshare platform.
In the period between mid-March of 2020 to mid-March of 2021, we saw a 38.2% increase in our LibChat reference transactions over the same period from 2019-2020.
Heather notes, “This number does not include our 24/7 chat transactions; I’m strictly speaking about the transactions handled by the Shapiro Library Reference team.”
She continues, “All of this has brought our team closer together. There has been increased communication and contact, and though everyone is perhaps a bit tired of meeting via a computer screen, it has been nice being able to interact with team members whom we might not normally have the opportunity to see.”
Later Heather continues,
That’s one thing I hope that we can carry forward…being intentional about creating opportunities for team connection that aren’t simply focused on working through an agenda, and instead address the holistic needs of Shapiro Library personnel.
To learn about the changes the Shapiro Library made to their LibGuides CMS-powered website homepage and how prepared they were, in general, for a switch to entirely online services, read Heather’s story.
Our new and improved Appointment Booking Forms are here! Our new booking forms streamline the process of setting up appointment forms across your site, and bring better consistency and flexibility for all of your appointment booking needs. Previously, each user in your site was responsible for setting up their own appointment form, and each user was limited to just one form. Now, we’ve turned this process on it’s head – site admins can now create booking forms and apply them at multiple organizational levels, so you can now have a booking form that applies to certain categories, groups, and/or locations in your site.
Need to ask specific questions any time someone books an instruction session? No problem, our new forms have you covered – just create a custom form, apply it to the “instruction session” appointment category, and you’re good to go! Need to ask specific questions any time someone books an appointment in a particular location? Easy peasy, just create your form, apply it to that location, and users will see those questions any time they book an appointment in that location.
To create new booking forms, Admins can head to Admin > Appointments > Booking Forms and create a new form. Once these have been created, you can then assign that booking form to the Appointment location, group and/or category level by heading to the relevant “edit” area (ie edit location, edit category, etc.).
But what happens if an individual user in your site wants to use a different form than the one you’ve specified? No worries, we’ve also included an individual user option to override the system-level location, group or category form with a separate form of their choosing. This option is available from our new Booking Forms page at Appointments > Booking Forms. Users can also create new booking forms from this area, so if your individual users would like to create and manage more than one personal booking form, they can create as many as they need.
When determining which form to show in both admin and public pages, we use the following hierarchy (so we will show the first form that we can find, according to the order listed below):
User Category Override > User Group Override > User Location Override > User Default (All Bookings) > Category Default > Group Default > Location Default
Good to know: As part of the transition to the new booking forms, all existing user booking forms will be assigned as a “User Default (All Bookings)” individual user override – this is to help ensure that nothing changes during the transition. In order to see your new site-wide location, group, and category forms applied, you’ll need to disable these individual user overrides. To make this easier, we’ve include a new User Forms Overview list, which admins can view from Admin > Appointments > Booking Forms. This will show you the current user settings for all of your users, and it offers a quick way to jump to the user settings for each user so you can adjust their personal overrides as needed.
NOTE: All existing individual user booking forms will automatically migrate to the new booking form format. Migrated forms will have the booking form name ‘User Default (First Name Last Name)’ (but don’t worry, this won’t appear in public forms – this is just a reference so admins can see all of the existing forms and know what they are :). After these forms are migrated, appointment bookings will still work the way they do now, ie. nothing will change as far as the forms used for admin & public bookings. Admins can then start setting up different booking forms for Appointment Locations, Groups and/or Categories.
You can now set the time of day to reset the booking window limit for Seats/Spaces categories. No more waiting until midnight until the next day’s worth of bookings become available! Head to Admin > Spaces & Equipment > Spaces & Categories > Edit Category > Booking Limits to set the new Rollover Time value.
We’ve added a new ‘Check Out’ drop-down selection to set how long after the booking end time a user is allowed to check out of a booking. Navigate to Admin > Spaces & Equipment > Edit Location > Seat Space Check In to set the Check Out value.
An additional check in grace period has been added if a slot is booked after the start time AND after the late cancellation window (if set).
Honeypot logic has been added to the public booking pages for additional security.
Rescheduled Appointments with a different user improvements to original booking where the details will now display in the Booking Explorer as to who the Appointment was rescheduled with in the Internal Notes column.
The Billing module is now available for all sites! To learn more about the Billing module, check out the following Billing FAQ Springboard.
In a great move for streamlining and reliability, we’ve added the User ID field to our LibAuth Authentication LDAP, CAS, SAML, OAuth2, SIP2, and Self-Hosted (JSON) protocols, which you can use to define your authentication system’s unique User ID field. By choosing to release this information to us, this will pass the unique User ID information into Springshare’s systems that support LibAuth (particularly LibCal). This reduces our reliance on user email address as the primary user identifier, and is particularly helpful in sites where users can have more than one email address.
We’ve added the ability to create a Multi-Schedule widget! You can now display multiple schedules for public viewing in a single widget, making it easy to embed information about multiple staffing calendars in an external site. Please note, widgets can display data from up to 5 schedules. Head to Admin > Widgets & API > Widgets to set up your Multi-Schedule widgets!
We’ve increased the font size when printing schedules, to help keep things legible and easy to read. To see this in action head to Schedules from the main menu, select your schedule, click on the Cog/Settings icon and select the Print Page option.
We’ve added the ability to include a visibility date range when adding a note to a schedule. When you choose to include a date range, the note you create will only display during the date(s) you indicate, which is helpful for announcements and reminders that only need to be included during a specific time period. To create a note that spans multiple days, navigate to Admin > Notes > +Create Note and set a date range.
We’ve improved the ‘Given Up Shift’ email to display which admin user has given up a shift on behalf of another user if the original user who was assigned the shift does not give it up themselves.
Time-Based Sums/Averages for Numeric Fields up to 60 Days
If your custom and shared datasets include numeric fields, good news – the time-based analysis tab can now calculate the hourly sums and averages for these fields for up to 60 days! Previously it was possible to run these averages for up to 7 days, but with this release we’re expanding to support calculating averages and sums for up to 2 months. 🙂 To see this in action, head to a Custom or Shared datasets and select Analyze > Generate Report (use a date range filter up to 60 days) > Time-Based Analysis tab > Select Numeric Field + Hourly Filter and Click “Draw Chart”
This long standing Post-Submission feature was actually “posting” results using the GET method rather than the POST method. We have updated this feature to finally use the correct POST method. We’ve also removed the following POST Formats: Key-value pairs and Comma separated values (CSV). Submissions are now posted using the default JSON object format.
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 2021. We are always here for you if have any suggestions or questions.
For many of you, you’ve been using LibCal Seats in your libraries for months now. It helped you reopen your buildings, with occupancy restrictions to control how many people were inside at any given time, and it helped you with track & trace protocols with detailed check-in/out functionality.
But what you might not know, is that LibCal Seats is being used beyond the library. Many campus IT departments saw what the library was doing, and said, hey that could work for us! So kudos to your innovation which helps inspire others! FIT uses LibCal Seats to safely reopen their campus labs and studios with a system called Book It. The University of Michigan uses LibCal Seats across their campuses, including for their dining hall – so students can even reserve a seat in the cafeteria.
EDUCAUSE Webinar with The New School
To that end, we touched based with The New School who used LibCal Seats to reopen computer labs, equipment rental spaces, and maker centers. They launched LibCal Seats, campus-wide, in just three weeks. If you’d like to learn how they did it, join us for this free EDUCAUSE webinar, and learn how Kayla and Marcus implemented LibCal Seats campus-wide.
Librarians are not only resourceful, but also inspiring. So many of your workarounds, implementations, and projects inspire others within your institution to do the same. You won’t believe how many emails we get from non-libraries saying things like, “We noticed our library on campus was using…. and we’d like to use it too!”
If you think LibCal Seats would be useful for other departments outside your Library or useful for campus or institution-wide deployment, spread the word! Share this handy help guide or forward this blog post along.
What another amazing Learning Lab! Last week, Sara Loree and Victoria Messana, volunteer librarians from the Librarian Reserve Corps, delivered an amazing presentation on how they used Springshare tools to put out a call for volunteers, organize those volunteers by location and speciality, and communicate important information with volunteers, researchers, and more. All to help stop the flood of misinformation that was taking place due to the pandemic.
Using LibWizard and LibCRM to put out a call for volunteers and then organizing those volunteers by speciality, location, etc… to create a really easily searchable database.
Creating a LibGuides CMS powered website and then having to revise it as time passed and scope became more defined.
Using LibGuides CMS Groups to create public-facing content and internal/private/restricted groups for volunteer intranet information.
Using LibAnswers ticketing queues to streamline questions and assigning team leads to specific queues.
Helpful tips and takeaways such as creating a style guide, organizational talking points, etc.
Upcoming Learning Lab
We’re huge 30 Rock fans and we were immediately drawn to this amazing CR&L article, Ain’t No Party Like a LibGuides Party, Because a LibGuides Party Is Mandatory, because not only is the content amazing but they reference a Liz Lemon quote. I mean, we could not resist. So we contacted the authors and asked them to deliver a Learning Lab in June, and they agreed! So mark your calendars for our next learning lab with UNC Charlotte’s guest speakers Natalie Ornat, Beth Auten, and Reese Manceaux.