Archive for Ginna Nicolas

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

We’re Launching a New Solution: LibTote and LibTote Platinum

Smart Technology You Can Take With You…
To Help Take Other Things

We’re holding nothing back with our latest contribution to the Library world and we’re happy to announce our newest tool, LibTote – The Smart Tote for Librarians. It’s chock-a-block full of the features you’ve come to expect from the makers of LibGuides and it comes with our signature free training and free support. Let’s get to the bottom of this bag of chips.

The Why

As big listeners with a fervent desire to keep up with the public’s needs, the development team began work on LibTote because of what they know in their bones. There are two kinds of Librarians in this world… and they both love Tote bags. In a time where compromise and self-restraint are for the ambidextrous, Springy techs decided to take on the Herculean task of solving this community’s age-old problem, How can I keep collecting, while managing my tote bags? And, beyond that, how do I optimize my tote use?

Questions led to coffee and coffee led to bathroom breaks and the lonely walk back to the drawing board led to innovation. So, dear librarians, you won’t have to think twice about whether you need another tote bag like you need another hole in the head. You won’t have to choose the slinky with the company logo or the sad, tiny tootsie roll from the faceted crystal dish. No, not on Springshare’s watch. You get that tote bag and you put it in your LibTote!

The What

What’s the best thing about you? You have more tote bags than anyone you know. What’s your biggest fear? That there’s one more out there… and it’s great! Fear is for fanny packs. LibTote takes your fear and turns it into lemonade.

LibTote features:

  • Smart Expansion – Too big? Too small? LibTote says, too-dles to that kind of thinking.
  • Socially Conscious – A Smart Tote ought to have a Sweet Heart.
  • Blue’tote Functionality – It has to be wireless and hands-free. LibTote is a shoulders game.
  • Tote-exa Customizable Voice Commands – Doubles as a vocal warm-up for your presentation.
  • All the Stats Your Tote Can Hold – Numbers, like the hips totes rest against, don’t lie.

The How Do I Get One

To learn the details about LibTote, see the Platinum edition with the patented Cat’abiner and Conference Mode, read client testimonials, and check out upcoming training sessions, visit LibTote website.

For more information, details on how to order, and client testimonials: https://buzz.springshare.com/libtote

Twitter_logo_blue_50pxIf you’re already a proud LibTote user, tweet us your #LibTote pictures and tag us @Springshare.

We’re going to be in the Public Eye — at PLA 2018 in Philly

We can already smell the cheesesteaks! Springshare is getting in on some of that brotherly love, March 20-24, as we head to Philadelphia for PLA 2018. You can expect an awesome lineup of presentations from yours truly and from your very own as we have some super guest speakers in the mix.

We’ve got love for the near…and far, so we’ll do more than send a — wish you were here. We’re Facebook Live recording the guest presentations. To check those out make your way to our Springshare Facebook page at the designated Philly time and enjoy! You can even participate by sending questions via Facebook comments. We’ll do our best to get them to the guest speaker so you can get your answers in a Springshare minute, give or take.

BiblioEvents + Springshare Integration Demo

There’s been a lot of buzz around this cool, new integration: BiblioEvents and LibCal’s Spaces bookings. What?! You heard correctly. Want to know more? Drop by the booth to check out a live demo to see just how it works.

Product Flash Presentations

Guest Presentations

We’re very excited to have 4 presentations from outstanding guest speakers. Make sure you get a seat to learn how they’re utilizing Springshare solutions to engage patrons and see how our library-centric tools work for Public libraries. Remember, we are recording all guest presentations live on our Facebook page.

Wednesday, March 21: View Entire Day’s Schedule

Gianna Gifford

Boston Public Library: Using LibGuides to Engage the Community

3:45pm-4:00pm

With more than 61 published guides and hits totaling in the thousands, Boston Public Library uses LibGuides for a variety of reasons from sharing information with the public, showcasing important events in Boston, to coordinating LibGuides with their instruction program.

Thursday, March 22: View Entire Day’s Schedule

Christina Ryan-Linder

Greenburgh Public Library: Learn From Us!

9:45am-10:00am

Greenburgh is using three different Springshare products. Learn from another library that has already gone through the process of creating buy-in with staff and incorporating that transition into daily routine.

Georgina Rivas

Freeport Memorial Library: Importance of LibGuides in Public Libraries

3:00pm-3:15pm

This presentation will focus on the importance of LibGuides in public libraries and will highlight the three most popular guides used by the community.

Friday, March 23: View Entire Day’s Schedule

Richard Kaplan

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh: Refining Our Data

10:15am-10:30am

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh uses LibAnalytics to gather a variety of data points beyond just Reference, and then uses the built-in Analyzing Data tool to mine that data and support decision making.