Archive for Ginna Nicolas

Tips For A Successful Year of Managing Student Employees with LibStaffer

Very soon, the library will be abuzz. You will be standing before the bright, eager faces of your student employees. They will be looking to you and your colleagues to guide them through a year of what, everyone hopes, will be a productive, fun, learning experience as they assist you in the library. Some of them will be new. While others will be returning from last year. All of them will need your organizational skills to get the hive running smoothly.

We’ve come up with some excellent tips to help you use LibStaffer to tackle this influx of additional staff. Unless this is your first time having student assistants, you probably already have rules for managing student workers. What we’re offering is a short list of things to know about how LibStaffer is designed to make scheduling the staff as painless as possible as you get ready for the new school year.

#1 Sync Back and Relax

Perhaps you already knew that you can sync your LibStaffer with your Outlook/Exchange calendar. However, many students on campuses use Google Calendar — so why not sync LibStaffer up with it.  The Google Calendar sync will pull their LibStaffer schedule into their GCalendar so they can see their upcoming shifts without needing to log in to LibStaffer. Plus they can opt to sync busy times. Basically, a student will be marked as unavailable if s/he has time blocked off in the Google Calendar that overlaps with any given shifts. This way, they can add their class schedule, study times, family visits, club/sport meetings, and more to their GCalendar and have it push to LibStaffer so they won’t be booked for a shift when they’re unavailable. It’s always a good idea to connect to what the students are using every day as it yields a more complete picture of availability.

#2 Account for Changes

Student assistants are a great help but they do pose a specific set of challenges. Namely, their schedules can be very unpredictable. LibStaffer understands that a tool designed to organize people needs to be flexible or it just won’t work. Period. Fortunately, the system has options built-in that you can elect to enable or not based on your preferences. Consider allowing student workers to swap shifts, give up and pick up shifts and even split shifts. They’re all possibilities in LibStaffer. Changes to a schedule used to be one of the reasons staffing student workers was a maddening job. But once you not only account for changes but actually plan for them and put options in place that make it an organized piece of the puzzle, you’ll find it won’t require any ibuprofen after all.

#3 Streamline Your Communications

Communicating with your student workers is important. LibStaffer helps streamline the task by making it possible to email everyone assigned to a specific schedule. So, if you have a Reference Desk Schedule, you can send a note out to the whole team right from inside the system. Ask them to remember to put in their time off requests for the month or share a newly altered schedule with the team. You can do it from LibStaffer and you don’t have to email students who, for instance, don’t work the Reference Desk.

#4 Spell It Out

It’s really helpful for student assistants to know what is expected of them during a given shift. You may have tasks that you want to be performed that are particular to the opening or closing shifts. You may have projects that you want to be completed in the slow afternoons. Getting the most out of your student workers is possible when you keep everyone focused and informed.

#5 Make Things Easier On Yourself

You can always fill unfilled shifts, manually. There are all sorts of features in place to help you do that efficiently. However, don’t be afraid to take the even easier road by using the Auto Scheduler to assign student workers to shifts! You can select a date range. Perhaps you want to get the next 3 weeks scheduled because you are going to a conference and want it done before you go. You can set limits for the number of shifts per day that a staff member can work. You can ask the system to place all the favorited students first and, if you want, you can decide not to allow anyone to be scheduled in back-to-back shifts if that’s important to you. If you don’t know which shifts are preferred by student workers, you can allow them to favorite themselves. Then, click the submit button. The Auto Scheduler is going to do all the work for you taking into account all the information in the system. It won’t schedule a person who has the day off, has exceeded their maximum hours, or is scheduled at another desk already at that time. Voila!

#6 Reinvent Clocking In and Clocking Out

Springshare knows it’s essential for you to have a way for your student employees to be able to clock in and out for the day. We recommend that you set up a particular station designated for this. To help the Managers out, LibStaffer has a great little window where you can see — at a glance — who is currently clocked in. Imagine being able to have a quick look at any time of the day and being able to see that information. Plus, we all know that people slip up on occasion and forget to clock in or out. We’ve got you covered for those scenarios, too! You have an Admin button in that window that allows you to clock a student in or out on their behalf! LibStaffer is designed to make it so that you can manage your service point staffing with ease. And — with any luck — a productive, fun, learning experience can be had by all!

Learn More About LibStaffer

LibStaffer is chock-a-block full of features and has new exciting updates you should check out. To learn more about it, contact sales@springshare.com or drop into one of the special LibStaffer webinars we have scheduled soon. You’ll learn how LibStaffer makes organizing service point scheduling a breeze. Remember, if you can’t make it to the webinars, you can still go ahead and register and then click watch video to have a recording sent to you.

Tips for Promoting Internal Staff Communication, Collaboration, and Community

Are you engaged?

It’s funny to say, but people are always talking about communication. In every relationship dynamic, the secret…is always communication — with your child, with your clients, with pets, with other countries, with your barista. Are you communicating effectively? Even more to the point, how can you communicate better?

This has always been a trending topic and it’s even more of a challenge now. With so many ways to reach out and because the traditional work environment is morphing with flex hours and telecommuting, virtual possibilities, it helps to reboot the conversation.

The one thing you will learn quickly is that it’s all about engagement. You have to be engaged in the solutions you put forth or the team won’t be either. So, if you really care about boosting internal staff communication to improve collaboration and create a sense of community, then you’re already on the right track. You care. The sooner we stop talking about communication and make improving it a real priority, the sooner we will see the wonderful effect it has on team productivity and morale.

The leaders have to lead.

If you want to encourage active internal communication amongst the staff, you’ll want to get in the mix. There are teams all over the world who find themselves with new directives sprinkled with enthusiastic words about the new intranet tool that has been licensed — so the company can better connect. It improves efficiency, they’re told. And, while this may be true, so many of those sharing the new mandate will never be seen actively participating in the intranet. They say the best way to lead is by example. Well, whether you intend to or not, you’re always leading by example. So get in there and show them how it’s done!

LibGuides CMS has Groups functionality. Combine that with its Access Controls feature and you can create a locked down group and use it as a staff intranet! Many libraries are starting to do this as it’s super convenient.

  • Your internal group in LibGuides CMS can be a place where you get to know each other better. You can have each team member build a guide where s/he shares not just education and work experience, but also hobbies and interests, favorite TV shows and go-to Karaoke songs, photos of family or pets or a favorite vacation vista and more.
  • You can facilitate collaboration on projects that should be tackled next or get feedback on your latest instruction session idea by enabling Discussion Boards. You can engage with your team right in your site by encouraging open discussions or you can post specific questions. Remember, you can enable Discussion Boards on as many guides in your intranet group as you wish!

  • Cultivate a fun internal voice by using the blogging tool. Maybe your library organized a particularly successful event recently. Or, maybe you had excellent reviews on a recent class you offered. Have the folks in charge write a blog post about it. This gives staff a chance to share and shine!
  • It’s your intranet, what do you want to use it for? Ensuring an actively accessed intranet is about making it a “place” you’d want to hang out. Of course, you can build guides that hold documents and files and links and images pertaining to a current project. But alongside those, be creative about your guides. Perhaps the Director wants to build a guide about what’s on the horizon with tabs for each quarter? Give your retiring colleague an opportunity to build a farewell guide! Maybe you should start a staff book club or book review guide! Have fun! This is where communication leads to community.

The new water cooler.

Do offices even have the proverbial water cooler anymore? At Springshare, we’re chatting all the time, but from our desks or devices. Don’t curtail the chatting. Instead, foster it. It’s much faster than opening/sending/replying to emails. LibChat, a component of the LibAnswers Platform, not only helps you answer your patrons efficiently, it also allows you to chat amongst yourselves.

  • You can transfer questions from patrons to another operator. This is useful if there is someone better suited to answering the question online with you or in case you are about to go on your break and you need to start feeding questions to the next person on duty.
  • You can ask a colleague a question — behind the scenes — to help you answer the patron.
  • You can chat with all LibAnswers colleagues that are online at the time or initiate a chat with someone in particular.

A mixed bag is good. People will chat with each other about projects, ask for feedback, share an experience. But they’ll also send a birthday shout out and ask each other about playlists that move the day along. The important thing is that it’s a happy work environment. People who know and like each other want to collaborate.

Plus, the LibChat Operator Console was just updated with an entirely new interface making internal/staff-only chats that much easier.

Check in — so they don’t check out.

You can set up tools and you can implement strategies to improve communication in your workplace, but one of the best things you can do is frequently check in with the team. Use LibWizard to create an anonymous survey and ask folks if something is missing from the intranet. See if there’s a page they never use. Use the multi-select checkbox field to ask them which portions of the intranet they find most useful or interesting.

Not only will it help you improve by filling in the blanks or kicking out stuff that’s just taking up space, but it lets your team know you really do care about nurturing a productive and supportive and — dare we say — fun workplace.

How LibAnswers Helps You Provide Excellent Customer Service

It all begins with a question.

You’ve got someone inside your doors. (If you use your imagination, this exercise will work for brick and mortar or virtual examples.) Perhaps she’s looking around at your signage. Maybe he even walks up to the bulletin board to see the flyers you’ve designed, written and posted about your thoughtful programming. If you’re lucky, in a little while your patron will ask you a question.

We say lucky because it is a truly excellent thing to have that person engage you and your library team. To initiate interaction is not always something people feel encouraged to do. Patrons might come to your website, look around a bit, and then navigate elsewhere. Or, they might come and spend time in the library but never learn about all of the resources and events and instruction that exist there. This is why — when a patron asks a question, librarians are excited by the opportunity it presents.

The LibAnswers Platform is designed to help you handle all the questions that come into your library, no matter which avenue your patrons prefer to use to ask them! Whether they choose to call, email, tweet or maybe they like the immediacy of chat or prefer face-to-face interactions or — it’s highly likely they are all about texting, LibAnswers helps you answer them. Plus, you can build an FAQ that works 24/7 and you get incredibly useful statistics and data.

Baltimore County Public Library puts their patrons first.

Academic libraries have been using the LibAnswers Platform to help their students, faculty, and library staff get the answers they need since we launched LibAnswers. Public libraries have begun doing some really inventive things with the system in order to prioritize internal efficiency and provide exemplary customer service.

Cynthia Dennis is the Information Specialist in the Virtual Services and Media Creation Department at Baltimore County Public Library. She and the staff in her department came up with the brilliant idea to add 19 additional LibAnswers queues — one for each of their branches — to their system so they could create what amounts to a communication nerve center for BCPL.

This is what Cynthia said about the project:

We used a lot of your Springy help pages to do the training so not too much time was spent on reinventing the wheel! Now we use LibAnswers instead of traditional email to manage email questions from customers. We also use it to quickly communicate with each other about questions and/or to transfer questions to the best group or person to answer the customer. This has solved a lot of our communication problems that revolve around getting our customers served quickly and efficiently since we often need to either consult with or transfer to another department or branch. Of course, we had used the phone and regular email for this but phone calls can wind up in telephone tag and email can fill up quickly with things of lesser importance. So, using LibAnswers keeps the customer front and center and it keeps stats for us so – It’s a win, win!

 

Springshare loves Baltimore County Public Library’s commitment to their patrons. Moreover, we think it’s fantastic that they — driven by the goal to answer their customers efficiently — examined the internal day-to-day behind the scenes operations that go into answering a question. By doing that, they created a dynamic 19-branch internal hub that facilitates communication so well that they’re answering patron questions with ease. It’s inspiring!

Learn more about using the LibAnswers Platform to maximize staff efficiencies.

Join us for some special webinars. Remember, if you can’t attend these, just register and select the option to “watch video.” We will send the recording as soon as it’s available. For more information about the LibAnswers Platform, contact sales@springshare.com.

LibAnswers Webinar: Productivity Tactics for Enhancing Customer Service

Wednesday, July 18, 2018, at 11:30am ET

Thursday, July 26, 2018, at 3:30pm ET

See How Libraries Use LibInsight Datasets

Getting a handle on your data is a big deal.

More and more people are having conversations about the next steps for their data. People have been collecting it for years and years. This was the major focus for some time. It was the pressing priority. We have to track things. This led to — let’s just track everything…in case we need that data. This exchange surrounding data is an ever-evolving one and at Springshare we are dedicated to propelling our libraries beyond recording to real reporting. LibInsight allows your data the ability to matter, to perform.

We’re highlighting the inspiring dig into the data attitudes of two terrific clients. Check out the types of datasets they’ve made, what they’re able to see with their data all in one place, and in what way the data can be used. It’s off the charts exciting!

Datasets to love.

Buffalo State started out using Springshare’s LibInsight Lite (formerly LibAnalytics) in 2012. They upgraded to the full LibInsight system in 2016. Before our tools, they were primarily using spreadsheets for their data. Joe Riggie, the Information Systems Librarian said that the deciding factor in moving forward with the upgrade was the fact that LibInsight has “cross-dataset analysis, SUSHI support, and enhancements (cost data, file uploads, etc.).”

The first datasets they made were for Gate Counts, ILL Lending, Circulation, etc. As they worked on, they learned valuable things that can benefit others. Joe said, “Our original database metric dataset only used SUSHI and so we ended up with usage data at the vendor (Gale, ProQuest, etc) level. We wanted more granular results so we set up a new dataset that used uploaded COUNTER reports to get usage data at the platform level (Academic Search Complete, ARTSTOR, etc).” Now, the most popular datasets are ones for Database usage, Circulation and EBook usage.

Today, capturing the right data and being able to generate the reports you need is the most efficient way to get the most out of your efforts to analyze. Joe said, “We have produced reporting for accreditation…” This is thrilling for us at Springshare. Joe says the Butler Library at Buffalo State uses LibInsight to “compare the changing patterns of book/ebook usage. We can compare traffic (gatecount) to the use of library services (circulation). We can easily obtain cost per download data for ejournals and databases. We have used LibInsight for collection development and weeding.”

And they’re generous enough to offer a tip to everyone. “We have noticed that many vendors add hidden columns into COUNTER reports and the uploads will fail until you find and remove them.”

We’re so excited about how Buffalo State has raised their dataset game in just the last 2 years with the full LibInsight system.

Unlimited datasets = unlimited experimenting.

Also having started out with LibInsight Lite (back in 2014), Greta Valentine, the Research and Data Analyst of the University of Kansas Libraries said they upgraded to the full LibInsight in 2016. Greta said, “We liked that it allowed for cross-dataset comparisons, and that it included the ability to upload large batches of data ourselves. We also liked that we could create unlimited datasets so we could test various collection use cases on an experimental basis. We also found the automatic import of data via SUSHI harvesting appealing, and are now in the beginning stages of implementing this since the tool we were using to ingest COUNTER data previously is no longer supported.”

Greta explains that they first began to use LibInsight Lite to create datasets necessary for their ARL (Association of Research Libraries) Annual Statistics report. These stats have been collected and published annually since 1907. Now, they’re using LibInsight to get some of the pertinent numbers. Greta said, “These included our Service Desk Statistics dataset (all transactions at our circulation/reference desk plus chat questions), Instruction (information about instruction sessions), and Consultations (information about research consultations performed off the reference desk.) When we transferred to [Lib]Insight we added more datasets that included a much higher volume of data, such as data from our Voyager ILS about Interlibrary Loan and Circulation transactions.”

Springshare knows it’s not just Reference Service these days, it’s Customer Service. Serving their patrons is one of the highest ranking priorities at the University of Kansas. This is exhibited in their dataset popularity. Greta notes, “The most-used dataset continues to be our Service Desk Statistics dataset, which includes all interactions at our combined reference/circulation desk, as well as reference questions/referrals answered via chat. Late in 2016, we began using LibAnswers to record chat questions since it provided the interface to capture both walk-up and chat questions directly, as well as the ability to create tickets for questions received via e-mail. This also allows us to track referrals. We use [Lib]Insight primarily as a repository to hold this data (we upload it from LibAnswers quarterly) so we can view the number of transactions longitudinally along with older data.”

What else are the KU Libraries doing with LibInsight? Greta answered that “In addition to providing the numbers for our ARL Annual Statistics, the Libraries is participating in a longitudinal study with the Greater Western Library Association (GWLA) to see how library instruction affects student success.

And, this is exactly what makes the data discussion important. What is not up for debate here is how collecting the data is the first step. Libraries are doing that — have been doing that. But it would be amazing if you could make data-driven decisions! It’s exciting to be able to use LibInsight to analyze the data in a meaningful way so that you can see how library instruction affects student success. This is what you need today and going forward — to have the ability to examine relationships and test possible correlations, and to cut through that data to what you want to extract quickly so you can get to the answers.

Upcoming Webinars

LibInsight: Empower Staff to Make Data-Driven Decisions

Monday, July 16 — 11:30 am – 12:00 pm

Tuesday, July 24 — 3:30 pm – 4:00 pm

If you can’t attend these dates and times, register so you can opt to receive the recording. To get more information on LibInsight, contact sales@springshare.com.

Winning…with Springshare!

Cheers to you!

We know we have the greatest clients in the world. You and your teams work hard to provide excellent service to your patrons and — when you have a breather, you use it to make things more efficient internally, too. That’s why we want to take some of our time to acknowledge the incredible work being done. You’re winning awards and when you achieve goals using Springshare tools, we couldn’t be happier.

Say, “Cheese!”

The American Cheese Society has probably heard that joke dozens of times before. But, it’s likely they don’t mind because they’re hearing all kinds of praise, too, these days. This year, PR News announced the winners of the 2018 CSR & Nonprofit Awards. Top campaigns — that make a positive, lasting impact on the world — were honored at a lunch in Washington, D.C.

The American Cheese Society, a Springshare client since 2016, was named the 2018 Nonprofit Winner for Web Site for The Safe Cheesemaking Hub. We’re excited for them and are so proud that this site is built with LibGuides CMS. While there are many LibGuides CMS features that folks are interested in, using it to power a website is one of the most popular reasons people love it. It’s super flexible, truly customizable and easy to use.

The Safe Cheesemaking Hub provides food safety resources for cheesemakers. It highlights useful websites like the Cheese Science Toolkit. It links to a LibGuide built by the American Cheese Society called Best Practices Guide for Cheesemakers. The hub points to food safety publications, includes factsheets, and more.

The PR News winners included brands like Disney, Honeywell, and Aflac to name a few. We are elated that The American Cheese Society and their hardworking team has been recognized for their efforts!

The Employee of the Year is…The Library!

Yes. You heard that correctly. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Research Library was recently recognized as Employee of the Year! How did the library, collectively, earn this honor? The accolade was for the implementation of a new, public-facing Library Website. Linda Cullop, the IT Technology Specialist, also shared the honor with the staff of the library. The site is powered by LibGuides CMS.

VDOT’s Research Library has been a Springshare client since 2015 and was featured in a Client Story where Ken Winters shared his experiences using Springy Tools, including the LibAnswers Platform and LibWizard Lite. We’re thrilled that the staffers are getting website kudos for Excellence in Productivity and Customer Service.

However, what you won’t see on the surface is the fact that they have worked just as hard on creating a private internal site that they refer to as the Library Staff Lounge. They use this lounge for professional development. More and more clients are looking at using the LibGuides CMS system for a staff intranet. The Groups feature combined with the Access Rules exclusive to this advanced version of LibGuides — are quintessential for creating an intranet. They even use the system’s blogging functionality for their Quarterly Report. The VDOT Research Library is working to serve its patrons both public and internal — and the powers that be are noticing!

We see you, too, VDOT Research Librarians… and we’re so proud.

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Tennessee is on the SCORE Board!

The State Collaborative on Reforming Education, known as SCORE, just selected a group of 38 for its 2018-19 Tennessee Educator Fellowship. Springshare is so proud that Amanda Smithfield, the Librarian at Hume-Fogg Magnet High School, has been named one of the Fellows and will participate in a yearlong professional development program.

Amanda has been an educator for 23 years and has been a LibGuides user since 2011. She has built an impressive number of LibGuides ranging in topic from Art with 1136 views, to AP Government boasting 819 views, to Honors Biology, which has a whopping 1906 views! Amanda loves LibGuides and is thrilled that her students can access her guides 24/7.

The Tennessee Educator Fellowship celebrates the talented, passionate advocates who work tirelessly to support student success and advance the field of education. Springshare congratulates Amanda and wishes her well as she embarks upon a year of working with a diverse group of dedicated school counselors, teachers, and librarians who’ll all be learning about education policy.

 

Days with Beignets! Springshare is jazzed about ALA 2018 in NOLA

Forget the mumbo jumbo… we’re all about the mumbo gumbo in New Orleans — June 21-26 where ALA Annual 2018 brings librarians to The Big Easy. Before you get too wrapped up in the excitement, make a note that Springshare will be in Booth 3920. Come by, say hello, and check out our brilliant Flash Presentations given by us and… “bayou.” We’re thrilled about our guest speakers and can’t wait for you to see how they use our tools in their libraries.

If coming to NOLA is not in the tarot cards for you this year, you can still catch the Flashes on Facebook Live as we will be recording the guest sessions. Make your way to the Springshare Facebook Page at the scheduled local New Orleans time and it will be like you were there. In fact, you can even ask questions in the comments section. We’ll be sure to get those over to the speaker so we can get you your answers.

BiblioEvents and Springshare Integration Demo

Back by popular demand, we have teamed up with the BiblioCommons folks to show the special integration between LibCal spaces booking and BiblioEvents. Curious? Come to Booth 3920 and see exactly how it works.

Product Flash Presentations

Guest Presentations

We know you’ll be out catching beads in the French Quarter! Make sure to catch these inspiring presentations, too. Springshare clients will take the stage and share the innovative ways they’ve been using our solutions in their institutions. It’s always amazing to see how a different use can come into the world and how imagination and fearless librarians can push tools beyond even our original vision. Don’t forget, we will be recording all the guest presentations live on our Facebook page.

Friday, June 22: View Entire Day’s Schedule

 

Kelly Wilson

Rachel Hooper

Troy Univ. Library: LibGuides Outside the Classroom

6:00pm-6:15pm

The Troy University Librarians use LibGuides to help train library student workers, provide access to Government Documents, and help professors for specific classes by using both bibliographic and subject-specific styles. This presentation will showcase the various ways Troy University has utilized LibGuides as well as ways we intend to use them in the future.

 
 

Ashley Creek

Ashley Creek

Univ. of Saint Mary: Active Learning in the Library

6:30pm-6:45pm

As part of our campus active learning initiative, the library now checks out equipment for audiovisual projects using the LibCal Equipment Manager. In order to provide training and support for both students and faculty, the Emerging Technologies Librarian also creates tutorials, technology overviews, and customized project instructions using LibGuides. By combining the two platforms, students are supported from project assignment to completion, and faculty can collaborate with librarians to develop projects, assessment tools, and experiment with flipped classroom and other learning technologies.
  

Saturday, June 23: View Entire Day’s Schedule

 

Mary Weppler

San Joaquin Delta College: Adding Emaze to LibGuides

9:30am-9:45am

This LibGuide presentation covers how to incorporate a virtual environment into your LibGuide. When used effectively within the LibGuide homepage, Emaze presentations can provide a visually engaging user experience, one that may enhance and reiterate the content within the LibGuide.

 

 

Lisa Campbell

Univ. of Florida: LibGuides Remix

12:00pm-12:15pm

Learn how Lisa remixed their LibGuide with LibWizard (and other cool embedded tools) to coordinate, teach, and assess library instruction for first-year writing students.

 

 

 

Kristin Conlin

Sean Hogan

Univ. of Baltimore: Developing Finding Aids w/ LibGuides

2:30pm-2:45pm

Learn how the University of Baltimore Langsdale Library student staff from Access Services, Achievement and Learning Center, Integrated Digital Services, and Acquisition & Discovery Services departments collaborated to develop a mobile-friendly finding aid in basic LibGuides for use at a single service point.
 
 
 
 

Sunday, June 24: View Entire Day’s Schedule

 

Sally Stieglitz

Adelphi Univ. Libraries: #TrendingNow: LibGuides to Promote Current Events

9:30am-9:45am

This presentation will share the development of three Adelphi University LibGuides on trending topics and how they impacted outreach and instruction. Best practices for developing similar guides will also be discussed.

 

 

JoAnn Krzeminski

Henry Ford Hospital: Using LibGuides CMS to Create a Library Website

11:30am-11:45am

This presentation will describe the use of the Springshare product LibGuides CMS to create a hospital library website. In the spring of 2017 our Web Services department began the final stages of migrating institutional webpages, including the library website, to a new web content management system (CMS). When the new web CMS template failed to meet the needs of the library, we were given special permission by Web Services to use our existing LibGuides CMS instance to create the library website.

 

Jeanette Sewell

Rice University: LIS is for Everyone

3:30pm-3:45pm

As the new LIS Subject Specialist at Rice University’s Fondren Library, I decided to create my first ever LibGuide. To be honest, it’s actually something that’s been on my librarian bucket list. My goal in designing this LibGuide was to promote Fondren’s collection of LIS books and journals as well as to provide resources that are freely available and of interest to LIS students and practitioners in general.

Springshare’s Opt-In Options

Compliance with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

You’ve no doubt been hearing a lot about the GDPR lately. ICYMI, it’s very important. IMHO the GDPR could use an FAQ.  We are going to keep it simple and emphasis just three important points.

  • * Springshare is GDPR ready! We’ve released a new privacy policy.
  • * The changes we have made via our system updates are not just for our customers in the EU but apply to all our customers worldwide.

* There is no change in your ability to receive operational emails. You will still get emails generated by Springshare tools, for instance:

  1. New account emails
  2. Support ticket notifications
  3. Important administrative notices, etc.

The Choose Your Own Adventure(s) Part

Let’s have a look at the super fun choices you can now opt-in to receive going forward.

Springshare Newsletter – This is chock-a-block full of Tips and Tricks designed to help you get the most out of all our solutions. There are featured stories written about current Springy product highlights like this one on Creating Digital Library Storefronts with LibCal’s new Equipment Booking module. You’ll get the inside scoop on Recent and Future Updates like these UnBOOlieveable ones from a Halloween issue. Each issue is essential and exciting…like a map at an amusement park!

Promotions, New Products & Special Offers – Never miss out on learning what’s new at Springshare. Whether it’s excellent features that have been added to our existing solutions or being one of the first to hear about a brand new product that’s ready for launch. Plus, promotions and special offers are like real icing on the proverbial cake. Opt-in today!

Upcoming Webinars, Online Training & Events –  All our clients know that we provide free training and free support. However, it’s not a limited time thing that you have access to for a few weeks after you subscribe to a tool. We create new training sessions often and provide not just basics classes but admin and advanced classes, too. We also promote special webinars targeted to specific user groups like LibCal for Publics or LibAnswers for Academics, etc. And, we love to talk about Events we’re attending or ones we’re hosting like the Brunch & Learn series or our popular SpringyCamp, virtual user conference. Opt-in so you can attend, attend, attend to your mind’s delight.

So, before I say TTYL about the GDPR, if you want to continue to LOL or have a case of FOMO, make sure to opt-in to all the Springy Stuff you want, which is timely, super helpful and FUNfessional development.

Are you a Social Butterfly?

What are you saying? And how?

The minute you get out of bed, you have a new day and with it the opportunity to be social, if you choose to be. Though, perhaps, even your choice to keep to yourself all day and not interact with people is still communicating something. Previous generations tried to hammer home the recommendation that you should think before you speak.

Today, there are so many ways to speak to each other that we should be thinking all the time about what we’re saying and how. We can go even further to suggest that when and where should also be current considerations.

What about why? Well, the why seems to be the same reason throughout time. The why…is to connect.

Social Media — Sounds fun, right?

The idea behind social media is a really great one when you think about it. You read a good book and you fall in love with it. You tell everyone you run into about it. Excellent. But, now, you also have the option of tweeting about it, posting it on Facebook, shooting out the cover on Instagram, putting it on a Pinterest board, etc. You can share the love far and wide. It’s fun to share. But, what we’re talking about is a bit different — more about cultivating a social media voice. Coming up with a cool game plan and having an entertaining voice. We have some clients doing exactly that.

According to a Pew Research Social Media Fact Sheet, all age groups studied from March of 2005 to January of 2018 have shown a substantial increase in social media use. In the 18 – 29-year-old category, the numbers went from just 7% to 88%. So, it stands to reason that Academic Libraries would step up their social game. The English Faculty Library at the University of Cambridge sent out a tweet pointing their followers to a LibGuide they created on Shakespeare resources. They’re not the first to build such a guide, nor the first to publicize a guide’s existence via tweet. However, they took a great approach.

How much do we want to check out that guide?! Even more, how much do we want to go to that library and interact with those librarians? And, that’s the ticket. This whole action plan makes perfect sense, too. You’ve built these excellent LibGuides and crafted amazing LibAnswers FAQs. You’ve put together LibWizard tutorials and set up Events and Spaces in LibCal. Using Social Media to spread the news about them is a marketing strategy that boosts the usage of the stuff you’ve built and the resources you’ve included within them. Next, the challenge is to be creative.

The best way to connect is to listen.

The University of St. Andrews Library is fearless and inventive in the way they interact with students. Like many institutions, they have a way for people to write out comments or provide feedback. What’s super is that they scan those comment cards and then create a LibAnswers FAQ out of it. Going the extra mile, they create a tweet with the original comment and then include a link to the FAQ with the complete answer.

Additionally, this helps to close the feedback loop. How often have you been solicited for your feedback, only to see it disappear into the ether and go…nowhere. Posting the actual comment cards, with the link to the FAQ demonstrates that solicited feedback was received, discussed, and responded to – even if that response is no. Points for being thorough!

Every interaction is an opportunity to show who you are.

In a Sprout Social report, it was discovered that — no surprise — people don’t like being ignored. What was surprising was how “…90% of people surveyed have used social in some way to communicate directly with a brand.” Apparently, “social surpasses phone and email as the first place most people turn when they have a problem or issue with a product or service”, according to Sprout’s consumer survey. The University of St. Andrews Library is clearly one step ahead as it takes paper comments and shares the questions and answers with its followers to reach as many people as possible. They’re being proactive in the Social Media world. No matter which channel your patrons choose to use to communicate with you, it’s always a good idea to be responsive.

The University of Liverpool Library saw a tweet, that by the admission of the sender, seemed to be a complaint that might not have needed such a public forum. But by using social listening, the library took the opportunity to connect and in doing so, showed not just that one person but all their followers how engaging their librarians are…even when the library wasn’t directly included in the tweet.

The library shows it’s listening, even if the outcome isn’t resolved, proactive listening goes a long way to alleviate customer issues. Then they present a LibAnswers FAQ that details the food and drink policy in the library and which identifies where the water fountains are. A spectacular example of the LibAnswers Platform’s ability to have staff entered FAQs come in handy. And to keep their presence light, they add in the bit about hydration – sure to put a smile on the face of their frustrated patron.

So, let LibGuides and LibAnswers do the heavy lifting for you. You’ve most likely created excellent content in there. Then pay attention to your Social Media channels for opportunities to interact with your patrons, link to the guides and FAQs that give them all the particulars they need.

Consider using LibAnswers Social Media Management with built-in Social Listening to create richer patron experiences, instill a company culture of social listening, and closing the feedback loop.

Then enjoy your followers. Have fun with them. Be yourself. Make a connection.

Become a LibAnswers Groupie

LibAnswers Groups Functionality is taking hold.

LibAnswers is the complete multi-channel communication solution. It’s brimming with features. There’s a knowledge base FAQ, SMS/Texting, LibChat, a Systems and Services Management tool, Social Media Management, Query Spy, super robust statistics, the Reference Analytics module, Twitter integration, Widgets, a powerful Ticketing System, Public-facing Groups and more.

Show us your good side.

In a LibAnswers Platform system, you can create an unlimited number of public-facing groups. These groups can either be public or hidden/internal. This allows you to organize FAQs topically. You could have a group called Writing & Citing like they do in the American Public University System. Or, a group called Digital Media, like the one at Gwinnett County Public Library. You can create internal groups that colleagues use as an intranet, professional development, or work manual. These restricted internal groups are only visible to those who are logged in to your LibAnswers system. If you don’t want to restrict access to a group of FAQs by login, create a hidden group instead. Hidden groups are visible to those with whom you share the URL. This is often for use by faculty at a university, for instance.

Using public FAQ groups, your patrons can find the answers they need more efficiently because you’re presenting them with a collection of FAQs that address their specific matter. We are familiar with this because it’s how so much of our searching today is made more productive. You can shop on a website and more easily find what you’re looking for by being able to narrow your search within a group like electronics. Your library handles so many questions and devising a way for them to be conveniently found is a great strategy. Once in those groups, people can discover so many more questions– to which they would also like the answers to — that they may not have thought of on their own.

Do you like groups? Check (outside) this box.

Springshare clients never cease to amaze when it comes to innovative uses of the features in our solutions. We give you groups functionality and you give us something completely outside the box. The United Nations – Dag Hammarskjold Library is one such client. Their Ask Dag LibAnswers system is not only immensely popular with 885 public answers available, it has employed the groups in a way that serves their particular users.

If you’re not aware, the United Nations has six official languages that they support. They have changed the label from By Group to By Language where they have English, Espanol, and Francais as the choices. In a word that is nearly universal, Bravo!

Southern New Hampshire University, which serves 3,000 on-campus students and 90,000 online students, has an SNHU LibAnswers system that is firing on all cylinders.

They are using their groups to serve as library website web pages. This allows them to create a webpage that has the thumbs up / thumbs down feedback feature that LibAnswers provides. It helps them keep their fingers on the pulse of what the students think of what they’re presenting.

Beautiful, inside and out!

We know how much work you put into creating excellent answers. The LibAnswers Platform allows you to include links and images, even upload documents or videos to make your answer pages dynamic and engaging. But, a little attention to outer beauty never hurts. Groups are independently customizable to have their own look and feel. Each has a set of pages you can tailor-make: a home page, FAQ page, and search results page. You can customize the header/footer, banner, add custom javascript and CSS code. All of this can be done in your group’s Look and Feel options.

Turns out, it’s not hard to be a fan of groups! They’re designed to help your users swiftly get the answers they need. They are flexible enough to use in a number of public and private ways. And, you can even pick the color! Learn more about being a LibAnswers Groupie, contact Sales, if you don’t already have LibAnswers or need to upgrade to the Platform.

LibAnswers webinars and training sessions:

Join us for this special LibAnswers session in April

Register to attend these LibAnswers training sessions in May

 

Want to Plant Some Smart Seeds? LibStaffer is your Perennial Solution.

It’s nice outside. We should do something!

Springtime brings with it long-lost sunshine, longer days and — with all the light bouncing off the pastels — we are forced to see the long-standing issues that we filed in the formerly dark corner. What’s there has likely been there for months, maybe even a couple of years? But, the thing about Spring is it fills us with new optimism. We want to start a good checklist. We have energy. We, even, have the time to do it right.

Fortunately, we live in a beautiful age where Smart is the new black. Thomas Edison would be proud that his already amazing light bulb is even smarter today. If Smart is where you’re headed, LibStaffer is a solution that will let you tackle a perpetual headache… scheduling the staff. Do this right now and it will continue to work for you week after week, semester after semester.

First things first. Let’s get the information into LibStaffer.

As with all great things, the cornerstone is the people.

  • You begin, by creating accounts for the people you want to schedule.
  • You can assign them default schedules to view and put in their maximum hours per week and per month.
  • For real precision, you can then put in their working hours. This is super flexible as it allows for up to 5 levels of distinction so you can simultaneously define when a person can’t work by creating ranges for when they can.

In no time at all, you can also add in

  • Your holidays and reasons for time off (sick days, personal days, etc.).
  • Your staff can put in their time off, as well, for an upcoming conference or to attend a wedding.
  • There’s also the option for recurring time off, for instance, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9am-11am.

Schedules make the world go around.

The next step toward greatness and freedom from the chaos is to create your schedules and assign people to them.

  • The schedules can have shifts configured in various ways.
  • In those shifts, you can determine the hours and how many people you need.
  • Assign particular tasks you want to be completed.
  • You can even decide how many times you want a person to have to be assigned to that shift.

You’ve planted the seeds, now stand back.

Once the key pieces are in LibStaffer — who is working and what needs to be worked — filling those shifts is like the act of watering the new garden. However often you do it, weekly, bi-monthly, etc., you will simply choose to do this manually or via the Auto-scheduler. Watering can or drip system.

If you do it manually, you can select a shift you want to fill and a pop up will appear with a list of people who are assigned to that schedule. You will be able to see

  • How many people you need for a filled shift
  • If anyone has been favorited for that shift
  • If someone is not available and the reason why (already working at a different desk, on vacation, has been booked for an appointment in LibCal’s My scheduler, already reached their maximum hours, etc.)

All of this vital information that you need is right there. You don’t have to sort through sticky notes people have left for you. You don’t have to try to remember and find that email where someone asked for a day off. You don’t have to worry that you’ll make the schedule only to find that someone left you a voicemail last week asking for a day off. You’ll simply instruct everyone to get these things into the system and then it will be right there when you’re making the schedule.

Or, you can use the auto scheduler and define the time period you want to be scheduled and click a button. The system will crawl through the information and it will schedule people knowing, who is off, who has already reached their max and who is away at a conference.

Come rain or come shine.

Of course, the reason making the schedule has often been considered the perpetual headache is not just because of the sifting through all the papers and emails and messages that it takes to get it sorted. But, also because of the fact that once you make it, right away, someone has a conflict s/he forgot to tell you about. Suddenly, you have to revise and while you’re doing it, you just know that it won’t be the only request for a change.

LibStaffer has incredible flexibility built into the system because it knows that anything largely dependent on people’s time is going to change. In LibStaffer, you can allow or not allow

  • Shift swapping
  • The giving up and picking up of shifts
  • Shift splitting
  • Plus, when you’re scheduling people manually, you can override rules, if necessary.

People can ask for time off and you can approve or deny it easily. LibStaffer will even show you if that person who requested time off has already been scheduled to work on the day s/he asked for.

So, here’s to sunshine. Here’s to the blossoming of ideas and to reaping what you sow. Why should lightbulbs and phones be the only things getting smarter? LibStaffer can lead to a smarter use of your Springtime and the days beyond that.

To learn more about LibStaffer

Join us for special 30-minute LibStaffer for Public Libraries sessions

There is also an upcoming training session called LibStaffer: Setting up your System