Archive for Ginna Nicolas

Get Creative. Let Your LibGuides Imagination Run Wild.

LibGuides Is Your Efficient & Effective Multi-Tool.

While the cake pop maker you got as a gift sits in your pantry with many other one-purpose small appliances, you probably think about regifting it at least four times a year. You already know that LibGuides can help you build subject guides, course-specific guides, guides you use to outline your orientation sessions and — for public libraries — guides for everything from Taxes to Genealogy to Job Searching and beyond.

LibGuides is so flexible because we didn’t design it to do those things. We designed it to communicate. LibGuides can also be your megaphone, your bulletin board, your invitation, and your checklist. It can be your newsletter, your blog, your virtual book club… you see where we’re going with this. It can be your go-to way of starting any conversation with your multiple audiences and — while you’re at it — it is a scrapbook of all the cool things you’re doing and sharing! If you have LibGuides CMS, it can be your intranet, your sandbox and more! Check out some really great ways people are using LibGuides to say — anything.

Keep Everyone In The Loop.

LibGuides are easy to build and, just as important, they’re easy to keep updated. They’re a perfect fit for building guides that are important to everyone. The University of South Carolina Upstate Library turned to LibGuides to keep everyone updated on the Library renovations. They designed a visually striking image and put it in the top box that spans the columns. They included images and have a tabbed box they’re using as a monthly blog to detail progress and share timelines. They’ve even got a top-level tab that contains Conceptual Drawings and Plans. It’s a stellar example of keeping their community engaged and in the loop.

 

Conferences, Vendor Days, Annual Meetings and Events. Check!

Organizing a big event takes creativity, organization, attention to detail… and then you have to market it and make sure your audience has all the pertinent details. If you’re a frequent attendee, you know how helpful a good event site can be. The West Virginia University Law Library built a guide for the SEAALL Annual Meeting. It features side-navigation tabs that share information about

  • Registration
  • The Schedule
  • Accommodations
  • Networking activities and more.

The best part? Since they also have LibWizard, if they wanted to get feedback, they could add a survey to the guide and ask attendees to fill it out after the event.

Publicize a Contest.

Bulletin boards are great… if you’re looking for a drummer. But if you need to share more information, you should head to LibGuides. The B.D. Owens Library at Northwest Missouri State University is asking for submissions of a paper or project for their Undergraduate Library Research Awards. They have conveyed the deadline, listed the prizes, shared the date and time for the ceremony. Plus, they utilized the tabs to define the eligibility, the criteria and even have a section noting previous winners. LibGuides is designed with promotion in mind. During the publication stage, they can share this guide via Twitter and Facebook. Plus, friendly URLs are great for sharing the link. When you want to get the word out — but there are definitely more than two words, (i.e. “roommate needed!”) we’ve got you covered.

Foster A Sense of Community with a Book Club.

Libraries are using the Blogging feature in LibGuides to announce exciting additions to the collection, to introduce a new member of the team, to share a new service being offered, and — in the case of Boston Children’s Hospital — to post information about their Book Group. People can subscribe to the blog. They can view recent posts and even check out the archive. Engagement is encouraged with integrated commenting. Behind the scenes, the bloggers can manage subscribers, create a blog widget and, to really up the broadcast game, they can easily share a published blog on social media.

Possible Future Projects

If you want to nurture your creativity in 2019, we’re here to encourage more limitless thinking. We’ve got excellent videos on-hand for you to peruse and new live sessions to keep you discovering (sign-up to get Training email alerts!).

ALA Mid-Winter, Coffees & Books… Springshare is Seattle Bound!

How excited are we?! Any day of the year, Seattle is a dream destination. It has a lovely skyline, is home to bookstore after bookstore filled with new, used & collectible books gathered in super charming shops. Coffee is at the top of the food pyramid. All that spells, let’s do this. But, add to that — an invasion of Librarians upon the city, January 25-29, and our Springys will wake up extra early to fight you for the window seat!

While you’re at ALA Mid-Winter, come see us in Booth #1004. Although we won’t be throwing any giant fresh fish at you, you can catch our incredible presentation lineup!

For those of you who are home minding the library. Stay tuned! We’ll be live streaming some of these amazing sessions. Head over to our Springshare Facebook Page at the scheduled local Seattle time and you’ll be right there with us. You can even ask questions in the comments area. We’ll make sure the speaker sees them so you can get answers.

Training Tidbits

LibStaffer Workflows Forms: handle all your job applications, hiring, and scheduling in one tool!

LibChat: “Let me show you how…” Screensharing in Real Time

Payment Required: Using the Billing and Payments with LibCal for Events & Spaces

LibCRM: A CRM for Outreach & Liaison Librarians

Access Denied! Using LibAuth to restrict LibGuides CMS

Best Practices for Images in LibGuides

LibGuides Gallery Boxes

Guest Presentations

Troy University – The Library Has That?: Using LibGuides to Promote Library Services.

  • Saturday – 10:00am to 10:15am Streaming Live on Facebook

The Troy University Librarians provide services to students, staff, and faculty at four Alabama campuses and around the world. LibGuides were used to provide a centralized point of reference to answer recurring questions. Join Elizabeth Dill, Kelly Wilson and Rachel Hooper as they discuss these guides and how they have impacted their librarians and services to their patrons.

East Central University: Strength-Share: How the Linscheid Library Used Springshare’s Discussion Board for Librarian Team-building

  • Sunday – 10:00am to 10:15am Streaming Live on Facebook

The librarians at East Central University underwent a project in 2018 to improve employee communication and relationships. Join Patrick Baumann to learn about the project origins and more. Attendees can expect to take away creative ways to use Springshare products to improve their work environment.

Texas Tech University: Using LibGuides Across Subjects: A Science Librarian Perspective

  • Sunday – 12:30pm to 12:45pm Streaming Live on Facebook

Jessica Simpson will discuss how she’s customized guides to meet the needs of students across disciplines. Attendees can expect to take away great tips for making their guides more useful.

Fort Vancouver Regional Library: LibAnswers Queues and FAQs in a Public Library Setting

  • Monday – 11:00am to 11:15am Streaming Live on Facebook

While LibAnswers can be used to answer patron questions, the sky is really the limit in how you use it to manage patron communication. Learn how Fort Vancouver Regional Library customized queues for Reading Suggestions, Proctoring, and Technology Assistance services, and see how they use FAQs to proactively address trends in patron questions.

 

Always Stay Tuned: Springshare Has Lots For You To Love.

Fall Back — In Love With Learning More!

For those of you who changed your clocks, what will you do with your extra hour? As the calendar year comes to a close, one might think that it’s time to wind things down.

However, here at Springshare, we do no such thing. For a lot of libraries, this time of year actually poses an opportunity. Perhaps you finally have some time to evaluate current processes, look into new solutions and/or catch up on the latest feature updates to the Springy tools you’ve already got.

So, instead of slowing down, we’re just as ramped up as ever to help you take advantage of this time.

Springy Live Sessions Are Always A Best Bet.

Our classic free training sessions are a staple around here as they are a delightful mix of thorough and lively — mostly because our trainers love interacting with clients and our clients ask excellent questions that benefit everyone in attendance. Don’t miss these upcoming sessions. For a complete list of what’s to come, please check the training calendar.

New to the lineup is the Brunch & Learn series. These are live sessions centered around specific topics. Often they highlight ways that people are using our tools. We have one more scheduled for this year. Make sure to catch it. But, you can also have fun watching the recordings of some of our recent installments!

For those who have a little time and want to learn a little more, we recently introduced Training Tidbits. If you have 15 minutes and want to walk away after them just stunned by how much you could learn in so little time, then keep an eye out for these quick sessions. Be sure to catch these upcoming LIVE sessions.

A New Watchlist to Add to Your Rotation.

If you read our most recent SpringyNews edition, you probably saw that we added a new section called the Watchlist. It’s our version of staff recommendations but it’s focused on our recorded webinars, presentations from clients at conferences, SpringyCamp sessions, and more. In these next few weeks, go ahead and hunker down with some of these cherry-picked videos. It’s certainly a fun way to gather tips and tricks.

Updates on the Horizon.

The developers here at Springshare are as busy as ever working on bringing to life new features and enhancements to make sure Springy solutions are as up-to-date as possible with the current needs — and, sometimes, we even get a step or two ahead. To always keep up with the tech, make sure to read our Blog. Plus, you’ll find a section of the newsletter devoted to the soon-to-be-released updates. Read up on what’s in store, now.

Don’t want to miss a thing?

Did you see the latest Client Story in our Buzz Site on the Boston Public Library? Perhaps you haven’t. Maybe the new Brunch & Learn sessions and the latest SpringyNews newsletter and the Client Stories are all news to you as you. If you don’t want to miss any of the fun, informative, classic or new content we are actively putting together for you — then make sure you opt-in to the good times.

Always stay tuned in to the Springshare channels. We are regularly working on coming up with interesting topics for training webinars and writing stories about how librarians all over the world are creatively using Springy solutions. We want you to have access to all of it!

Beyond The Library: LibCal Usage

Lately, we’ve been discovering more and more examples of non-library folks showing an interest and later purchasing LibCal for use by their teams and the customers they serve. While it may have started in the libraries, it’s clear that many are catching on to the fact that LibCal — with its awesome features and, yet, simple interface — works beautifully in so many different settings.

As Heather Westerlund, IT Manager at Walden University Libraries, stated in an in-depth interview on how Springy Tools have expanded beyond the Walden Uni. Libraries,

Just because it has the word ‘Lib’ in it, doesn’t mean that only the Library can use it!

If you need calendars, appointments, have spaces, perhaps equipment and want to share your hours, LibCal can work for you, too — no matter what it says on your office door.

The essential LibCal.

LibCal is made up of 4 components with an optional 5th that is an add-on module. They work together to form a complete integrated calendaring solution that is flexible enough to be used beyond the library.

It’s cloud-based, mobile-first, affordable, boasts in-depth statistics to help you make data-driven decisions and comes with Springshare’s free training and support.

Libraries have been recommending more than books.

In some institutions, LibCal use is really spreading. Emory University in Atlanta now has 6 LibCal systems, 4 of which are being used outside the library in offices like the Scholarly Communications Office, Tutoring, Student Digital Life, and Campus and Community Relations. There are a number of excellent examples of other departments on academic campuses who are successfully using LibCal for their needs.

 

At Florida Atlantic University, the Office of Instructional Technologies has a LibCal system that they use for upcoming events, room booking and appointment scheduling.

Recently the Human Resources office at FAU also purchased a LibCal system.

 

 

 

 

 


Arizona State University has a Digital Creative Studio that is using LibCal Calendars for events.

They use the Equipment Booking Add-on Module for reserving computer workstations, and the Spaces booking for reserving event space and video studios.

Appointment Scheduling: It should be nice (and easy) to meet you.

LibCal saves you the troublesome back and forth of emails where you keep trying to nail down a time that works for both parties.

Add your availability, create a custom form for people to fill out, and even set up different types of appointments that have appropriate durations.

While students do meet with librarians, imagine all the other departments on campus that have personnel that also meet with students or faculty, etc.. The Southern Methodist University Advisory Group uses LibCal to allow people to schedule appointments with

  • Academic Counseling
  • Academic Services
  • Pre-Health Advising
  • Student Athlete Academic Services
  • Simmons Student Academic Advising
  • the University Advising Center
  • and the Student Transfer Admission department

Booking spaces, rooms and more!

We’ve heard just about everything when it comes to how people are handling the booking of spaces and rooms. With all the conference rooms and performance spaces, computer labs, classrooms, auditoriums, etc. on site, having a simple way to make them available and manage them is in order. The Spaces component is one of the main draws to LibCal. People are really creative in how they use it — because it’s flexible enough to suit many needs.

The Oklahoma State School of Business is using LibCal Spaces for their breakout rooms.

 

An innovative use comes to us from the Thompson Rivers University Sustainability Department which is using it to allow people to book cars as a way of car sharing.

Equip yourself with tools for success.

Maker spaces are popping up all over. We’ve seen a rise in interest from them in recent years and they use LibCal to highlight workshops and classes. They let people book appointments with artists and experts and techs. They use the Equipment Booking Add-on Module to make their devices, machinery, tools, and equipment available. It’s proving to be a great pairing.

The Innevation Center at the University of Nevada, Reno is doing awesome things with LibCal. Here’s the Equipment Module in action there.

 

So, here’s to the same energy that prompts a person to tell another about a really great book or movie or restaurant. Word of mouth is powerful, even in the tech world — but only if the solutions really work. LibCal is an excellent tool that helps you seamlessly allow your students, faculty, staff, and patrons to take advantage of the services, classes, workshops you offer, to meet with you, to reserve your spaces and equipment — to engage with you. And, if they are doing that — you’ll all be a wild success.

LibGuides CMS: Getting The Most From Groups Functionality

There are many excellent reasons why people choose (or upgrade to) LibGuides CMS. It has access controls, the LTI integration tool, comes with LibWizard Lite and so much more. However, the way the system allows you to create separate customizable groups is, to this day, one of the most popular draws.

LibGuides is so easy to use that our clients began to start imagining other ways they could use it. They’ve taken advantage of the flexibility and used it for their websites. Sometimes departments within the library, like Special Collections or Reference, would ask their system admins if they could build guides but they wanted to have their own banner. LibGuides CMS makes this possible along with a variety of other thoughtful uses.

Build an Intranet the Team Will Really Use.

Using LibGuides CMS for your Intranet platform makes sense on so many levels. Why divert them to, yet, another interface? The staff already knows how to build LibGuides. Now, they can build guides on Professional Development Days and on Vacation and Sick Day Policies. Imagine encouraging the team to build not just a profile box but a whole guide that includes more than what you’d see on a resume. It could include hobbies, photos of favorite trips, books on their must-read lists, work playlists and more. Your intranet would connect people and help them truly get to know one another. Plus, you could embed LibCal calendars to keep everyone on the same page and LibAnswers FAQs to help with onboarding new hires. You could embed LibWizard forms or surveys to get team feedback on new projects up for consideration. Your Intranet group could be a real hang out spot.

Everyone Loves to Play in a Sandbox.

If you’ve been thinking about updating your look and feel but you are not sure if your ideas are executable or if it will look too sparse or, conversely, too crowded, etc., then you’re probably wishing you had a staging area to play around in and test. With LibGuides CMS, you can create a sandbox group. Then using access controls, you can lock it down with password protection or IP address restriction. You can build and modify and adjust as you wish without disrupting the guides your patrons are currently using.

Organize Your Guides in a New Way.

Some clients are using the groups functionality in LibGuides CMS to make finding what you need more efficient and clear-cut. They have a group for Subject guides and another group for Course guides and they can keep going. You could put all the General Library Information guides in a group and/or build a group for Events and Instruction. On the public-facing side, it would be an organized person’s dream.

It’s Not Old, It’s Archived.

We’re hearing from more and more libraries that a digital archive solution is something that’s becoming a real priority. The University of Oklahoma’s Jason Henderson presented Digital Archives on a Dime at our virtual conference, SpringyCamp, regarding his experience building, hosting and publishing a digital archive using Internet Archive and the LibGuides CMS groups functionality. He emphasized that he was mindful of their budget, wanted it to be easy to use for their patrons, and that it was critical for the team that it be easy to set up and maintain.

Don’t Be Afraid to Branch Out.

Public libraries make immensely helpful LibGuides on taxes and genealogy and National Poetry Month. However, what public libraries do best is hone in on the needs of the people they serve and those needs are often particular to the branches. LibGuides CMS allows you to make individual groups for each branch. They can have their own banner, header, footer and they can have their own looks and feels or they can have a consistent look that threads them together. Best of all, if a branch has a large senior population or, perhaps, another branch has a lot of veterans or young families, the librarians can build guides in the confines of their own group to cater to them.

Speak the Same Language.

LibGuides CMS allows groups to have a fair amount of independence. They can have their own URLs and home pages with a choice of navigation layout. What’s more, they can be customized in different languages, too! We have clients that, legally, must provide their guides in both French and English, for instance. LibGuides CMS works for them because they can build a group for each language and then they can add a link to the other in case a user wants to switch from the English to the French. Et voila! Let your imagination drive for a stretch and make a targeted list of all the ways — internal and public-facing — you can envision using LibGuides CMS groups at your library. Nothing else will be so easy…or end up looking so good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Essential LibGuides and Ones You Didn’t Know You Needed

LibGuides icon

For Academic libraries, this time of year is exciting as the physical and virtual campuses are brimming with students and faculty. Your Library Orientations are in full swing. Your Social Media efforts are kicked into high gear as you promote your services. You’ve got to remind everyone that you’re there! As you do this, it’s a good time to have a look at your LibGuides.

If you’ve had LibGuides for a while now, it’s highly likely you have the essential guides built and they’re ready for your users. But there’s a chance that even your library could add some guides to your “to-build” list when you see what some other institutions are showcasing.

What Are Some Essential LibGuides?

Springshare has a bird’s eye view of the guides that exist in the community and we have consistently seen some staple topics.

It’s always a great idea to have guides addressing:

 

As you see these topics, they probably make absolute sense to you. If you are new to LibGuides, remember we have free training and free support, if you have questions. Plus, you have access to the LibGuides community where you can see examples of such guides.

Put Your Best Guide Forward.

If you have these guides already built, why not check the stats on them? It’s a great way to keep the guides fresh and exciting. What should you be looking for?

  • Which guides are most popular? Perhaps your patrons like the way it flows/looks. Make future guides with this in mind.
  • During which time of year are they visiting the guides? Maybe the timing coincides with orientation, exams, large projects or your instruction sessions with classes.
  • Are there books or links or any content that show a lot of clicks? Perhaps they’re being recommended or they have good descriptions, etc.
  • Are there content items that have little or no clicks? Could these benefit from different placement on the page or better descriptions? Or, maybe it’s a good idea to replace them with new items that you have because people aren’t interested in them.

It’s a perfect time of year for refreshing your LibGuides with new resources you may have acquired since you first built them or to hone what’s there based on what you glean from the historical data.

Must-Have Guides That May Surprise You.

So what kind of content is out there that you may not have thought to make, yet? Here are some examples that might inspire you and your team.

You can build guides focused on serving specific subsets like International Students or Graduate Students.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many libraries are creating LibGuides for Professional Development on topics like integrating intersectionality into library instruction and programming or on how to make PowerPoint presentions more captivating.

Focusing on faculty, there are guides on keeping your research current and on boosting your scholarly impact. Another excellent idea for internal purposes is to use LibGuides to provide a place to recognize each other.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you’re building LibGuides for your students, think about specific resources that are available to them like the Student Learning Center or Archives and Special Collections and let LibGuides be the vehicle you use to introduce them to what they can find there.

 

 

Finally, put yourself in their shoes. What are the skills they’re trying to advance? What are the challenges they’re gearing up to face? Check out these examples on using images and prepping for exams. You can build LibGuides on any subject. Be creative, devise a way for your students and faculty to submit suggestions or requests — and have fun!

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.