Archive for Laura Creech

Share Your #MyLibLifeReality

It’s still, definitely, winter, and our thoughts are with those in Texas and the rest of the United States dealing with the aftermath of last week’s extreme weather. We could all use a little laughter or a message of empathy right now to get us hopefully into a brighter spring/summer. And as we approach the one-year mark of when everything on our calendars went from “confirmed” to “canceled,” we would love to hear stories about #librarylife or classic or unexpected working from home (WFH) moments.

To that end, we came up with the My Library Life Reality” video series as a fun activity to hear from the library community and provide an opportunity to share work-life stories! And just generally feel a little closer to one another.

This week, we’re looking for 30-second videos that capture truly human moments people have experienced in their library work-life this past year. It could be:

  1. A funny WFH fail, “My child ran into the Zoom camera meeting with no diaper on.”
  2. A heartwarming experience, “I helped a patron going through a difficult time.”
  3. A learning moment, “This WFH hack saved me from going insane….”

And in the spirit of being there for each other and recognizing the importance of Black lives and Black History Month, we’re going to make a donation to Black Girls CODE for the first 25 video submissions.

How This Works:

  1. Create a 30-second video using a smartphone or video camera. You, your pet “coworker”, or your home workplace can be the star. Have fun with it!
  2. Submit the video no later than Friday, February 26, 2021.
  3. For every submission we receive, Springshare will donate $10 to Black Girls CODE (up to $250).
  4. The Springy team will select its favorite videos and highlight them on the March 2021 edition of SpringyNews.
  5. We’ll share as many videos as we can on Twitter and Facebook, too!
    1. Want to join the conversation? Use the hashtag #MyLibLifeReality
       

We want to get the word out – and max out donations – so please help spread the word on social media! Find us on Twitter and Facebook.

We hope you’ll share your #MyLibLifeReality with us and your fellow librarians and library workers!

A New Way to Read SpringyNews

This week we are excited to launch a new addition to the Springshare newsletter lineup: The Roundup. It’s just like it sounds – a monthly email digest that rounds up recent product updates and announcements, client stories, webinars, and timely Springy resources.

It landed in subscribers’ inboxes yesterday. And from here on out, SpringyNews readers can expect a digest or edition email the first week of every month!

Here’s a preview of the types of content readers will discover in The Roundup:

February's archive resources focused on celebrating Black History Month
  • Last month’s release features, recent client stories, and newly published Buzz guides
  • Upcoming Springshare Learning Labs and webinars
  • Newly relevant resources from the Springshare archives
  • A sneak peek at the month ahead, including not yet announced webinars, product features, and more!

In case you missed it, you can view this month’s issue of The Roundup in your browser.

Not a subscriber? Sign up below and indicate which types of Springshare emails you’d like to receive!

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Top 10 Springshare Blog Posts of 2020

The month has flown by and suddenly it’s the last workday of January 2021. 😅 At this point, our teams are waist-deep in strategic goal mapping and list checking, but it doesn’t hurt to take a moment to pause and reflect on the past year… as much as we may want to forget it.

Here is our annual recap of the best client stories, Springshare announcements, and tips and tricks from 2020!

1. Librarian Reserve Corps Fighting COVID-19’s Infodemic

May 15, 2020

We’re proud to have supported Library Journal’s 2021 Librarians of the Year Elaine Hicks, Stacy Brody, and Sara Loree, and the rest of the Librarian Reserve Corps. Read about how they responded to the overwhelming need to identify, select, and disseminate information about the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus. And how they used Springshare tools to help accomplish their goals. Thank you for your service!


2. Pickup Manager is Here!

October 14, 2020

It’s been a year of quick pivots and changing plans at Springy HQ, and Pickup Manager was one exciting result of our efforts to address the ‘new normal’ while making day-to-day tasks easier. The goals: streamlined item pickup scheduling, easy communication with chat and SMS/text, and ILS integration to help automate checkouts!

If you haven’t seen it, check out our post detailing how it works with screenshots and quick video clips. You can watch a recording of the webinar on our Buzz site!

3. ICYMI: Using LibGuides to Support Racial Justice & Create Inclusive Communities

August 7, 2020

July’s edition of SpringyNews included a special guest. Written by Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Librarian Twanna Hodge from the University of Florida, the LibGuides Tricks page addressed an important point – LibGuides are much more than resource webpages. They are part of how we represent our communities online. How can we engage our guide readers, cultivate inclusivity, support anti-racism, and move them to act?

4. How They Did It: Reopening at the University of Hull Library

August 19, 2020

As libraries were starting to reopen their doors over the summer, we checked in with The University of Hull Brynmor Jones Library – one of our first customers to go live with LibCal Seats – to share their reopening process. They provided a ton of helpful information about planning their library’s layout, figuring out booking and cleaning times, and enforcing social distancing!

5. Tips & Tricks for the Remote-First World

March 16, 2020

As libraries and universities were making the monumental switch to online reference and learning services, Springy Talia rounded up some LibGuides, LibAnswers, LibCal, and LibWizard tips and tricks to support librarians suddenly serving students and sharing information remotely.

6. Missed It? Watch it! SpringyCamp 2020 Recordings Available

August 11, 2020

Last year’s SpringyCamp was one for the books! We were thrilled so many from the Springy community joined us for camp. Over two days (for a total of four sessions), we got to see what others are up to, hear new ideas, and just generally find inspiration for how to expand services and explore ways to engage students and patrons.

You can still review the list and watch them all!

7. Introducing the New (and Improved!) Springshare Lounge

September 24, 2020

Last summer we wanted to make an improvement in an area that would empower Springshare users to collaborate, discuss, and help each other online. One of Springshare’s greatest strengths has always been our community, and we wanted to make an online space that reflects how innovative all of you are. So, without further ado, we introduced the revamped, and extra Springy, Springshare Lounge!

8. Supporting Staff & Students 24/7 with Local & Academic Chat Co-Ops

November 5, 2020

Virginia’s Community Colleges (VCCS) and California Community College Library Chat (CCCLC) group both frequently assist students who work and have other responsibilities during “regular business hours” – perhaps even more so during the pandemic. The individual colleges and libraries range in size and available staff, but together the two groups serve over 900,000 students.

In November, they shared how the Springshare 24/7 Global Chat Cooperative and the LibAnswers platform has helped them support their staff and students, especially during last year’s distance learning!

9. You’ve Switched to Remote Services… And the Numbers Show It

April 28, 2020

About a month after the sudden shift to remote learning and library services, we shared some really interesting early LibAnswers and LibGuides stats that illustrated the size of the enormous change, along with information about what we were doing on our end to support you.

In case you’re interested in how these numbers turned out, we updated them in our December SpringyNews edition!

10. Our First Springshare Learning Lab!

December 1, 2020

In response to customer requests to integrate client use cases and how-tos, we launched a brand new training session series: The Springshare Learning Lab!

Ken Winter from VDOT Research Library kicked things off with a thoughtful discussion of his longtime remote working experience and how Springshare tools have helped his team support their patrons during the pandemic.

We’re excited to continue the series in 2021! Next week Gwen Jones at the University of Liverpool is going to share their experience contributing to the 24/7 Global Chat Cooperative (Register now for the last few spots!). And you can watch all Learning Lab recordings on our Buzz site.

New Year, New Springy Tips

While it’s hard to believe it’s already mid-January, we put away our party hats and noisemakers long ago (although our holiday decorations are still up 😉). Hopefully, there’s still a glimmer of that “brand new year” feeling left, and Springy HQ is here to help you start off 2021 on the right foot!

To that end, we’ve rounded up a bunch of quick Springshare tool tips to help you save time, streamline your workflow a bit, and perhaps remind you of that “Oh yeah, I need to do that every January!” task.

Under 10 Minute Tips for Every Springy App

Before and after profile example

1. Give Yourself a LibGuides Profile Refresh.

In the spirit of “new year, new you,” freshen up your profile with a new image, widget, or social media icon.

  • Double-check your contact information.
  • Use the multi-line address field to add your pronouns, time zone, and/or ORCID.
  • Update your profile image.
  • Add your work-related social media accounts.
  • Embed a chat and/or Appointments widget.

For more ideas on how to use profile boxes and pages, watch our related training video!

2. Set Your LibCal Spaces, Equipment, & Calendar Preferences.

In case you missed it, in November we added new user preference options so you can select default Spaces and Equipment locations and booking management tabs. By the end of this week, you’ll be able to pick your default calendar, too! To set your preferences, click on the Preferences tab on your LibCal account page. 

3. Streamline Ticket Views in LibAnswers.

Directing all student/patron questions and interactions into LibAnswers makes life easier (just ask Ken Winter from VDOT Research Library!). And if you find yourself applying the same dashboard filters to switch between Twitter DMs, reported database access issues, and open reference questions, you can make your life even easier by creating dashboard views!

Create a personal view for yourself – or if you’re an admin, create a view for all LibAnswers users. For detailed instructions, watch the SpringyU Setting up Dashboard Views Block.

Pickup Manager Macro example

4. Expand Pickup Manager Macro Usage.

After months of coordinating item holds, and the year-end stats resulting from them, you have a good sense of your patron/student pickup trends. Are they normally late? Or early? Do staff often forget to mark a pickup as complete? Now’s a great time to create or update Pickup Manager chat/SMS macros and set/modify pickup status changes where needed.

5. Review LibWizard User Access.

Did you know you can reassign content when deleting a LibWizard user’s access? If you haven’t reviewed your LibWizard accounts recently, now’s a great time to use the ‘transfer to a user’ feature to make sure form/survey/quiz/tutorial editing and report viewing privileges are up to date.

6. Check LibStaffer Calendar Syncing Status.

A well-planned schedule unfortunately never lasts, and as shift swapping and dropping begin in the new semester, start off the year by ensuring that everyone’s LibStaffer shifts and personal Outlook/Exchange or Google calendars are syncing. LibStaffer admins can do this by checking everyone’s integration status in one place!

Need to know when someone’s calendar syncing fails? Admins can also add an email notification address in your LibStaffer site’s System Settings.

7. Create Alert Reminders in LibInsight.

This time of year, folks are gathering year-end data, creating 2021 dashboards and datasets, and completing annual reports. It’s important to remind users where things are stored, recent changes, or new fields/datasets they will be using.

Alert boxes help reinforce your message by putting the information at the top of the LibInsight dashboard! Admins can even create separate reminders for admins and regular users.

8. Examine LibCRM User Roles & Permissions.

LibCRM Interactions permissions options

Have there been any staff reorganizations? Are you tracking projects, adding and editing People, Organizations, and Interactions in LibCRM differently now than you did at site launch? Take a look at your roles and how they’re assigned to LibCRM users!

Haven’t configured LibCRM roles and permissions yet? Read our related FAQ.

Bonus Tip: Update Your LibApps Password!

Using strong passwords – and keeping them in a safe place – is standard security practice. While there’s not a clear consensus on how often you should change your password, the start of the year is a good time to do an annual checkup if you haven’t done one recently

In LibApps, you use one account/password for all of your sites – LibGuides, LibCal, LibAnswers… you get the picture. So fortunately for you, there’s only one place to change it!

There are two ways to update your LibApps password:

  • *Recommended* While logged in: Jump to LibApps > My Account. In the Account Information box, enter your new password and confirm the change using your existing password.
  • While logged out: Head to your LibApps login page. You’ll know you’re in the right place when you see “LibApps Login @ [Your Institution]” at the top of the page.
    • Click on the “Reset Password?” link underneath the login form.
    • You will receive an email from do-not-reply@libapps.com to change your password. If it’s not there, be sure to check your spam folder.
    • Don’t see an email? Contact one of your LibApps admins. They can reset your password for you.

For detailed instructions on how to change your password, read the related FAQ. After updating your password, don’t forget to save the new one in your password manager!


Here at Springy HQ, we’re thinking of our customers near and far – especially those currently locked down or have family and friends affected by the rising COVID-19 case numbers across the globe. Please know we are always here to help if you have any questions!

ICYMI: Our First Springshare Learning Lab!

Just before the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, we were thrilled to host the first session of our new client story + how-to webinar series: The Springshare Learning Lab!

Ken Winter kicked things off with a thoughtful discussion of his longtime remote working experience and its recent challenges. And how LibGuides, LibAnswers, and LibWizard have helped him and his team support their patrons during the pandemic. Next Springy Michelle highlighted using LibChat for internal staff communication, setting chat departments as fallbacks, and configuring a LibWizard form with conditional logic.

In case you missed it, the full recording is available! You can watch it below and find Ken’s slides on the Buzz site!

Got an after-the-fact question for Ken? Lounge members can ask it in his discussion thread that he’ll be monitoring for the next week or so. Any Springy user can request a Lounge account, and we have getting started guidance in our July newsletter.

Inspired by Ken’s presentation, Springy Michelle also created a special training on how to build an internal staff communication guide similar to the one in his session with LibGuides, LibCal, and LibAnswers. You can watch the recording in our training video library.

Up Next! Library Reopening at Gwinnett Technical College with LibCal Seats

Back in September, Gwinnett Technical College shared their reopening experience and how they’re using LibCal Seats to help reopen safely. For our next Learning Lab, Deborah George, director of library services, is going to share their story, give us an update, and answer audience questions. Following, we’ll look at some of the specific features they’ve found most useful during this reopening process.

Register today! COVID-19 – Bringing Patrons Back to the Building
Tuesday, December 8, 2020
11:00am – 12:00pm ET

Just getting started with LibCal Seats? Since we won’t have time to cover every setting during the Learning Lab, we have a full training session scheduled for the next day.

Register today! LibCal Seats – Get Your Library Ready to Reopen Safely
Wednesday, December 9, 2020
2:00pm – 3:00pm ET

We hope to see you at one or both of the sessions! Wishing you all a happy and healthy holiday season. 🙂

Supporting Staff & Students 24/7 with Local & Academic Chat Co-Ops

You could say this week feels like ‘peak 2020’ and that’s not a good thing. It’s hard to stick to business as usual right now when anxiety is high and the future is uncertain around the globe. But the dates on the calendar keep ticking by, classes are continuing, and students are seeking help.

We’re working with an immense amount of stress, and we all need each other to get through this. And looking at and beyond our own workplaces, we could all benefit from a strong network of support. And gain some reassurance that staff and students will have the help they need when they need it.

A couple of weeks ago, we shared the experiences of two public library cooperative members – Denver Public Library and Arlington Heights Memorial Library. Today, we have word from two academic consortium library groups using local and academic chat cooperatives to support their staff members and their students alike!

Virginia’s Community Colleges (VCCS) and California Community College Library Chat (CCCLC) group both frequently assist students who work and have other responsibilities during “regular business hours” – perhaps even more so during the pandemic. The individual colleges and libraries range in size and available staff, but together the two groups serve over 900,000 students.

VCCS and CCCLC have two layers to their cooperative – first, their own network of local librarians that answer student questions within their consortium – plus additional help from the Springshare 24/7 Global Chat Cooperative’s (Co-Op) dedicated Academic Global Cooperative with its team of librarians.

The Co-Op is always there to help, especially during peak times, in the evenings, and on weekends. It ensures their students can get help 24/7/365 from a professional MLS-degreed librarian. And with LibAnswers, it’s easy for them to allow their librarians “first dibs” on each other’s chats, but then utilize the 24/7 global librarian network when they need it.

“Always Online” for Virginia’s Community College students

Virginia’s Community Colleges (VCCS) is composed of 23 community colleges in the state of Virginia, U.S., that serve over 200,000 students. And all of the libraries in its group use LibAnswers with LibChat to help students across their colleges – as well as provide help to students around the world and receive help from 24/7 Springshare librarians and other Co-Op librarians.

The below responses from its local and contributing cooperative librarians have been edited for brevity and clarity. 🙂

Are you noticing any trends in student questions and traffic numbers so far this fall? 

Certain campuses are seeing a drastic increase in chats during remote learning: 

  • “When NVCC went remote, we moved all our reference desks online, meaning that we cover the chat as if it is our reference desk during regular business hours.  Our chat numbers have increased drastically with remote learning. We love that we can help so many of our students and are grateful for the assistance we get from the VCCS and 24/7 Co-Op librarians in answering so many questions.” – Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA)

Others are seeing fewer chats, possibly due to everyone “just completely gobsmacked and shell-shocked” with the move to online. However, Germanna Community College sums it up nicely:

  • “This has been a real help to us! Going online during the pandemic has made us more aware of what students need from us to be successful. The chat can at least give students the sense that there really is someone else out there who cares and wants them to be successful.”

How has 24/7 chat supported your staff and students? What are some of the benefits of using LibAnswers/LibChat platform?

  • “24/7 chat gives students the flexibility to get help when it is most convenient for them. Providing live assistance gives them peace of mind during an already difficult time due to COVID-19 and the switch to online learning. It has been inconvenient for many students to not be able to physically come to the library, so at least this way they have easy access to help, which aids them in their virtual learning experience.” – Germanna Community College
  • “I appreciate how easy it is to submit a ticket for a chat in LibChat.  I feel like we are getting more LibAnswers tickets than we did previously, and I really appreciate that this feature is seeing increased usage as tickets allow me to offer students additional assistance.
    One of the features that I know everyone loves is screensharing. We use this feature a lot and find that it really helps when there are language barrier issues or when a visual demonstration will be more effective than a typed description.” – NOVA
  • “The great thing about LibChat/LibAnswers is it not only provides online support for students, but every chat engagement is an opportunity to glow up on your reference skills.” – Tidewater Community College

Providing 24/7 live assistance gives them peace of mind during an already difficult time due to COVID-19 and the switch to online learning. It has been inconvenient for many students to not be able to physically come to the library, so at least this way they have easy access to help, which aids them in their virtual learning experience.

How does the Academic Global Cooperative support the local VCCS cooperative? 

  • “We now have more online students than ever before, and LibChat makes it easier to reach them. The 24/7 Co-Op means that even as we’ve had to shorten library hours, our students can still get help at any time.” – Tidewater Community College
  • I’ve noticed that the Academic Global Cooperative and Springshare 24/7 librarian staffing levels appear to be in line with the number of questions received during the shifts that I cover. I don’t think we can underestimate the superior service that a 24/7 platform staffed by professional librarians offers students!” – VCCS Cooperative librarians

I don’t think we can underestimate the superior service that a 24/7 platform staffed by professional librarians offers students!

What do you think is a 24/7 chat support’s role in student success? How does it fit into your long-term library services strategy?

  • “We offer multiple channels for students to gain assistance with library services and resources – whichever channel is most appropriate or comfortable to them. By placing the library where the students are with chat, they have immediate access to professional assistance and quality service, setting them up for success.” – Danville Community College
  • “The cooperative’s role in providing 24/7 research support for students is an important service to community college students… In addition, non-traditional college students may lack basic research skills, technological skills to navigate library resources. The chat service enables librarians to provide assistance and basic instruction that critically impact student success.” – VCCS Cooperative librarians

CCCLC: There for their students – and each other – across 44 California colleges

The California Community College Library Chat (CCCLC) group is made up of 44 community colleges’ libraries across California serving approximately 720,000 students. According to Technical Services Librarian Glorian Sipman, the libraries are a pretty tight-knit group!

And when CCCLC librarians have to be offline during evenings and weekends, or even due to staffing changes, the Academic Global Co-Op is there to pick up chats from night owl and nontraditional students asking any questions.

Again, the below responses from CCCLC libraries have been edited for brevity and clarity. 🙂

How does the Academic Global Cooperative support the local CCCLC cooperative?

All responding libraries receive help in the evenings and on weekends. For the group in general, the Academic Global Cooperative & 24/7 librarians really help us out late in the evenings and on Fri/Sat/Sun. They do backstop us at other times if we’re busy.

  • “Cerro Coso really appreciates the Academic Global Cooperative, especially when most of the CCCLC participants are working day jobs in a California time zone and students are writing term papers at 3am. The global support helps us expand our services to reach our night owl students without requiring us to find local staff willing to work those times.”
  • “Grossmont College has no adjunct budget since July 2020. We also have full-time librarians on leave, so our chat monitoring hours are very limited. The Academic Global Cooperative (and local CCCLC cooperative) have been lifesavers for our students. We truly would not be able to get along without the backup chat reference service the cooperative provides.”
  • “College of the Desert currently has limited staffing when it comes to librarians and we are grateful for the backup and support we receive from the CCCLC cooperative, especially on Fridays, nights, and weekends when a COD librarian is not available.”
  • “College of the Canyons librarians monitor the CCC queue at all hours that we staff LibChat, also providing six hours of Global coverage per week.  We find that we respond to more questions from students from other colleges than our own!”

If there’s any silver lining to this pandemic scenario, it’s that our chat service is getting more promotion and use. We are very grateful that the Academic Global Cooperative is able to help us provide anywhere, anytime service to our students at their convenience, considering many of them may be trying to juggle work and kids at home, doing their own schoolwork after hours.”

Are you noticing any trends in student questions and traffic numbers so far this fall?

Libraries are seeing slight increases to huge increases while all classes are online this semester – and will likely be online in the spring.

  • “MiraCosta is seeing a lot more chats during the day than before. We are completely online this semester (as we were last semester and will likely be next); chat is one of the main ways we are serving our students’ reference and instruction needs.”
  • “Los Angeles Pierce College has seen a huge increase in chat use this fall. With no in-person services available, all of our reference services have been taking place through LibChat.”

How have the local CCCLC and Academic Global Co-Ops added value to your existing chat services? Any surprising benefits of using LibAnswers/LibChat?

  • “The Cerro Coso Library is quite small and can only staff our chat 1-2 hours a week… Having a chat function not only provides another method for our students to interact with librarians but it also drastically increases the number of hours in which students can get personalized help immediately, regardless of our own opening times or staffing issues.”
  • “I don’t think it is a surprising benefit because we have been experiencing it for many years, but having other CCC librarians available really helps as they understand exactly who our Solano students are and are familiar with many of the resources because we share a database consortium as well. So they bring an added benefit which makes helping students more seamless and apt.”
  • The screensharing functionality of LibChat is a game changer. Its simple integration makes it easy to set up Zoom sessions when students need it most. This has come in handy for many unique issues – connectivity, database walk-through, and citation help. When I think about citation assistance, specifically, it’s the perfect option to teach a student “to fish” rather than doing the tedious work of copyediting.” -MiraCosta Library

The Cerro Coso Library is quite small and can only staff our chat 1-2 hours a week… Having a chat function not only provides another method for our students to interact with librarians but it also drastically increases the number of hours in which students can get personalized help immediately, regardless of our own opening times or staffing issues.

What do you think is a 24/7 chat service’s role in student success?

  • “Clovis Community College is very thankful to the Academic Global Cooperative because those librarians make it possible for our students to have access when we are offline and the CCCLC librarians are not available. That is important now more than ever. Our students have used these middle of the night services, so having that access makes a difference.”
  • “By being part of the cooperative, San Bernardino Valley College truly offers 24/7 reference. Especially in this time of COVID-19, we appreciate the service.”
  • “Students need help in the moment and 24/7 chat provides that. Real-time chat (and potential Zoom) with a librarian at the point of need is invaluable. Grossmont College truly relies on this service to round out reference and instruction services–especially right now, while the library is closed to students.”

Thank you, Tara Cassidy at VCCS and Glorian Sipman at CCCLC! We appreciate you taking the time to share the experiences of your libraries. And we agree with you all — having a librarian there for students 24/7 can really set them up for success. Especially for students who work and have other responsibilities during the day and wouldn’t be able to reach professional support otherwise.

Interested in learning more about the Springshare 24/7 Global Chat Cooperative?

Global Public Chat Cooperative: Helping Your Community 24/7

As librarians, you’re there to help your communities improve their access to information and resources, no matter their life circumstances. But “pandemic life” has stretched on for over seven months now, and while public libraries have adapted quickly, increases in new cases could mean sudden closures or service changes again. Curbside delivery tools like Pickup Manager provide an important link to patrons, and online reference tools like email, and even better, live chat, are becoming the most visible way to show you’re open and there to help them. Libraries are also finding that if there’s a chat option on their website, patrons will use it!

We also can’t forget that typically when times are tough, usage of the library goes up as people need help with resumes, job seeking, government assistance applications, small business resources, and free services and sources of entertainment they can’t otherwise afford. So while the library building may be closed, have shorter hours, or limited capacity – its community may need it more than ever.

Denver Public Library, a large multi-branch system in Denver, Colorado, and Arlington Heights Memorial Library, a single branch library located in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, have both dealt with closures and unexpected shifts in services during the pandemic. And with established 24/7 chat services plus backup Springshare 24/7 Global Chat Cooperative support, we asked them to share how 24/7 chat has impacted their ability to help patrons during the pandemic, and what they’re seeing so far with chat trends and community needs.

Serving public library staff and patrons 24/7 with live chat + cooperative support

Before we dive into their experiences, let’s introduce the Springshare 24/7 Global Chat Cooperative (Co-Op) for those who may be unfamilar with it! It’s how you can show patrons you’re there for them, even during the late hours after their kids are finally in bed, they’re done with work, and/or they’ve finished taking care of a loved one. With true global coverage, it can ensure your patrons can get help 24/7/365 from a professional MLS-degreed librarian. We even have a dedicated Public Library Cooperative made up of librarians with extensive experience helping public library patrons!

Springshare also provides different contribution options, so you can choose to help out in the Co-Op and receive backup assistance when you need it — or choose to only benefit from Co-Op support! The Co-Op uses the same widgets as local library LibChat, so there’s minimal extra setup when it’s added on.

A few weeks ago we shared just how busy chat traffic – and our Springshare 24/7 librarians – have been this fall. But while we can talk trends and numbers all day, it’s our customers’ experiences that bring home how a service is helping their library, staff, and communities during these difficult and uncertain times.

Helping anyone, any time of day, at Denver Public Library

A bit about Denver Public Library from Frank Wilmot, Senior Librarian, Reference Services:

  • Denver Public Library (DPL) is a busy 26 branch library system and has been providing chat support since 2013 with OCLC’s QuestionPoint. We transitioned to the Springshare 24/7 Global Chat Cooperative in May 2020 after Springshare acquired QuestionPoint.
  • Our chat and email service are primarily staffed by the Reference Services department (Central Library) along with a handful of other departmental and branch librarians who provide one or two hours per week.
  • The Global Public Cooperative supports DPL constantly! The cooperative helps its customers 24/7/365 but primarily when DPL librarians are not staffing. When the chat service gets extra busy, when staff are in meetings, or even if and when there’s a fire drill, the public cooperative continues to support us and our customers.

Are you noticing any recent trends in patron questions and traffic numbers?

Chat traffic is up! At the end of September 2020, chats are up 41.7% over 2019. Obviously, 2020 has been an unusual year and when comparing Q1 2020 to Q2/Q3 when our buildings were closed, the monthly average still increased by 25.6%.

How have the cooperative added value to your existing chat services? Any surprising benefits?

We have been part of QuestionPoint’s 24/7 cooperative and now Springshare’s Public Co-Op since 2013. The cooperative has added value to our chat service since the beginning!! When chat traffic is too busy or if it’s late at night or early in the morning, we know that our customers will still get one-on-one assistance from a trained librarian with lots of information about our services and access to our resources. Since we joined LibAnswers, 22.5% of our chats have been answered by cooperative librarians. These are questions that may otherwise have been unanswered.

The LibAnswers software also makes it extremely easy for DPL staff to follow up with Denver customers and to strengthen the connections between the library and our customers.

When chat traffic is too busy or if it’s late at night or early in the morning, we know that our customers will still get one-on-one assistance from a trained librarian with lots of information about our services and access to our resources.

How has 24/7 chat support helped your library system transition services during the pandemic?

For a few weeks in March and April, when buildings were closed and before we started curbside services, the only way to communicate directly with library staff was via email and through our Ask Us chat service. Building closure was complete and abrupt, but because of the Global Public Cooperative, there wasn’t a single moment of interruption in at least one channel of communication and connection between the DPL and our customers. On a Sunday in March, DPL Reference staff were only able to provide chat service to our customers until 5pm, and while we were figuring out how to staff the service again Monday morning at 9am, the cooperative librarians were there to help answer questions from our customers overnight.

Building closure was complete and abrupt, but because of the Global Public Cooperative, there wasn’t a single moment of interruption in at least one channel of communication and connection between the Denver Public Library and our customers.

What do you think is the cooperative’s role in helping the Denver community? How does it fit into your long-term library services strategy?

DPL’s Vision is “A strong community where everyone thrives” and our mission states “Together, we create welcoming spaces where all are free to explore and connect.” Our Ask Us chat service is easily accessible and discoverable throughout our website and in our catalog. It’s available to anyone and everyone, whether you are in Denver or in another state or country with a question about Denver, Colorado, or the West. It’s available with or without a library card. Chatting with a real person any time of day or night helps us to create and build the connections between the library and our customers.

Maintaining 24/7 support during the pandemic at Arlington Heights Memorial Library

A bit about Arlington Heights Memorial Library from Jolie Duncan, Info Services Manager:

  • Arlington Heights Memorial Library is a single branch library serving a community of 75,000 people northwest of Chicago. We’re also a long-time Global Public Library Cooperative member.
  • We’ve relied on the cooperative to provide back up during all hours, but we primarily need assistance in the evenings and on the weekends after we close. We’ve had to shorten our opening hours by two hours to 8:00pm, and the cooperative now answers chats that come in during that time for our staff.
  • During the pandemic, we continue to have staff cover chat remotely. LibAnswers also provides an easy way to chat with co-workers internally if they need assistance on a chat or need to transfer a chat. 

Are you noticing any recent trends in patron questions and traffic numbers?

It has been interesting to analyze the chat stats and the LibAnswers platform makes it easy to view statistics and identify trends. In the months we were closed, we saw a steep rise in the number of chats, peaking with 1500 chats in June (over 3 times the normal amount)! Clearly, customers are moving to ask us questions virtually. The topics of the chats vary, but we have seen an increase in troubleshooting questions such as ebook help. Since so many librarians use similar databases, they can help troubleshoot for customers.

How has the cooperative added value to your chat services? Any surprising benefits?

The ability to assist customers 24/7 is such a value to our customers. The cooperative librarians can answer so many more questions than you might think. Participating in the cooperative allows us to also learn about other libraries and discover regional differences and similarities. Not only does it provide a great service to our customers, but for our librarians that participate in covering the cooperative queue, it provides them with a more well-rounded experience.  It is a great opportunity to be aware of other libraries’ offerings and keep our skills sharp.

Not only does [the public cooperative] provide a great service to our customers, but for our librarians that participate in covering the cooperative queue, it provides them with a more well-rounded experience.  It is a great opportunity to be aware of other libraries’ offerings and keep our skills sharp.

How has 24/7 chat support helped your library system transition to mainly online services during the pandemic?

24/7 chat has played a crucial role in maintaining customer support during the pandemic. When we closed our doors suddenly in March, chat was the only service we kept going for quite some time. By keeping chat up and running, we were able to provide access to customers so we could troubleshoot, and answer questions, and provide essential information about the library’s closure and level of services.

What do you think is the cooperative’s role in helping the Arlington Heights community? How does it fit into your long-term library services strategy?

Two of our core values are customer service and free and equal access to information and the cooperative supports both values. The ability to provide answers to customers’ questions when they need it vs. when the library is open is a real added benefit. 

When we closed our doors suddenly in March, chat was the only service we kept going for quite some time. By keeping chat up and running, we were able to provide access to customers so we could troubleshoot, and answer questions, and provide essential information about the library’s closure and level of services.


Thank you, Frank and Jolie, for your insightful feedback! We appreciate you being on board with us and sharing your experiences. Having 24/7 patron chat support has enabled you to pivot quickly – and continue to adjust – library services without disconnecting from your communities. And when it comes time to communicating the value of the library at the end of the fiscal year, you’ll have the data to show just how many people you were able to help during this difficult time.

Interested in learning more about the Springshare 24/7 Global Chat Cooperative? Check out our recent blog post and contact us with any questions!

Always Online! Library Chat + Global Cooperative = True 24/7 Service

It’s clear that online learning is becoming a larger part of the student experience so it’s important for the library to keep pace with this trend. It’s been shown that access to the library increases the likelihood of student success. So when patrons need to chat with a librarian online, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to engage with them! It’s great for the patron and great for the library, too. But let’s be realistic – you can’t be there, online, monitoring your chat departments 24/7/365.

Good news though… We can, and we do! Springshare 24/7 Global Chat Cooperative has thousands of member libraries and librarians, representing the largest professional reference librarian network in the world. We have true global coverage, and we can ensure your patrons can get help 24/7/365 with a professional MLS-degreed librarian available to help them. Check out our interview below with the team at the University of Liverpool library and how the cooperative helps them serve their patrons successfully on a 24/7 basis.

But first, allow us to share some interesting chat reference statistics from the start of this academic year (for the month of September). These stats show a tremendous increase in reference chat traffic compared to the start of the previous academic year in 2019, demonstrating how much patrons do rely on the library to help them with their studies – especially in the times of COVID-19 when most learning happens online:

  • The LibChat platform handled 379,510 incoming chats in September 2020 – a 182% increase over September 2019.
  • More than 23,000 of these chats were answered on the Springshare 24/7 Global Cooperative platform (i.e. by the Co-Op). Each one of these chats represents a question that would have gone unanswered because the local librarians were busy or offline.
    • 34% of September Co-Op chats were asked over the weekend, showing just how important it is to have seven-day coverage.
  • Our Springshare 24/7 librarians have been busy! They handled more than 60% of all questions that fall back to the cooperative. So if your staff cannot contribute to the Co-Op that’s okay too – we’ve got you covered

Providing Seamless 24/7 Chat Service at the University of Liverpool Library

These statistics provide us with a birdseye view, but what does this mean for an individual library? The University of Liverpool has been a 24/7 library for the last five or so years, and back in March, their physical help desks went virtual, and their staff moved to online chat reference. They were early adopters of the Springshare 24/7 Global Chat Cooperative, so we checked in with them to see how things were going.

Joe Hilton and Gwen Jones from the University Library were so kind to give us a little insight into how they have their chat services structured so that their students can benefit from “the human touch” of a one-on-one library interaction, any time of the day.

Tell us a bit about your local chat services. How many library staff typically monitor your chat widgets? What days and times are staff available to answer questions before they fall back to LibAnswers 24/7 Cooperative chat?

Since the Covid-19 pandemic we have anywhere up to 10 staff monitoring our chat widgets between 9am – 9:30pm Monday to Friday and between midday – 5pm Saturday and Sunday. Before March, we usually had at least two librarians monitoring our chat widgets. Effectively, all of our physical help desk staff went virtual so having LibChat already established as part of our service was a winner in many ways.

What went into deciding when you needed 24/7 cooperative support?

We subscribed to backup chat with QuestionPoint when we became a 24-hour library, and we moved early on to the new LibAnswers Cooperative platform after it was acquired by Springshare. We have a very comprehensive LibAnswers FAQ public knowledge base that works brilliantly but, for true 24/7 support, we believe the human touch is necessary. Deciding what days and times we needed cooperative support was easy. Whatever times we don’t staff it ourselves, we have the co-op step in. Since they use the same widgets, it’s one complete, seamless service.

[B]ut, for true 24/7 support, we believe the human touch is necessary.

Tell us a bit about the students asking questions of Springshare 24/7 Global Chat Cooperative librarians and the types of help they’re seeking. Are you noticing any trends in traffic and questions so far?

The kind of queries our students are submitting to the cooperative are not really any different to what we get to our own librarians. I guess the trends depend on what is happening at the time, and the trick is to be fluid and flexible to meet the needs of your audience – and the co-op certainly moves in sync with our audience.

Cooperative librarians do a great job of providing answers for our customers and the customer feedback on the queries they’ve dealt with is overwhelmingly positive. We’ve seen some really excellent answers from the global librarians; we couldn’t have done a better job if we’d picked those up ourselves. Sometimes they’re a little less successful, but there’s always going to be some variation and they can’t do a great deal when it’s something that really requires access to our circulation system or to our IT support systems. But what’s great is that the customer is able to talk to someone 24/7 and it’s really helpful that when global staff can’t deal with it, those queries do get referred to us and customers are given some idea of when we’ll be available again to deal with their query, so they’re not left hanging.

Cooperative librarians do a great job of providing answers for our customers and the customer feedback on the queries they’ve dealt with is overwhelmingly positive. We’ve seen some really excellent answers from the global librarians; we couldn’t have done a better job if we’d picked those up ourselves.

How are you able to provide the information Springshare 24/7 Global Chat Cooperative librarians need so they can answer student questions?

We’ve worked hard to create a very comprehensive FAQ knowledge base which we strive to continuously keep the content current. It’s this updating and monitoring that is one of the keys to the service. Irrelevant and/or out of date information is no help to anyone. It’s not rocket science or a dark art or anything. The global cooperative librarians can only work with what you make available to them. As we mentioned, cooperative librarians provide as good a service as our librarians and that is testament to their abilities and what we provide! It is, after all, a partnership and it makes for a seamless service for the students.

How has the Springshare 24/7 Global Chat Cooperative added value to your existing chat services? Any surprising benefits?

What’s changed is we’re now providing coverage to the Academic Cooperative and I think that has been very successful so far. It’s certainly getting busier there and the numbers have been increasing every month since we started: from getting just 9 cooperative chats in April to 159 in August. Our staff are very happy supporting it, too, and say that it’s helped them develop their skills and that they find the questions from customers of other institutions varied and interesting, so that’s another win in terms of job satisfaction.

How does the Springshare 24/7 Global Chat Cooperative fit into your long-term library services strategy?

The current climate has highlighted and emphasised the need for robust, high-quality virtual support and LibChat/Co-Op chat has been absolutely vital to us before and especially during the current conditions. If there were any lingering doubts to its value and effectiveness then these have been well and truly squashed. We are looking forward to expanding & developing the service as much as possible, hopefully working with other libraries & Springshare to share ideas and improve the functionality.

The current climate has highlighted and emphasised the need for robust, high-quality virtual support and LibChat/Co-Op chat has been absolutely vital to us before and especially during the current conditions.


Thank you, Joe and Gwen! We appreciate you taking the time to answer our questions. And we agree with you — there’s really no substitute for one-on-one personal interactions, especially during moments of user confusion or frustration. When a chat widget is there and online, people will use it!

Interested in learning more about the Springshare 24/7 Global Chat Cooperative?

More than ever, 24/7 online library support can ensure your students can get the answers they need when they need them! Let us be there to help. 🙂

How They Did It: Reopening at the University of Hull Library

Recent news and everyday events are showing us over and over again that this week’s plan may no longer be next week’s plan. This makes life… difficult. More than difficult! Especially for those directly in charge of not only keeping themselves and their loved ones healthy and safe but also hundreds or thousands of others as well.

While no two reopening plans will look the same, many of the folks we’re talking to are preparing for in-person services at some point in the future. And some have welcomed people back to the building already. For those still working through their plans or wondering how things are going for those who have opened, they have questions. We have questions! And since this feels like one of those situations where there are never too many (good) questions, we asked them.

An interview with the University of Hull Brynmor Jones Library

Starting in early July, the University of Hull Brynmor Jones Library has slowly been reopening its doors, starting with scheduled Click and Collect pickup services using LibCal Appointments. As they prepared for the fall semester, they needed a way to provide for in-person library visits. LibCal Seats arrived at just the right time, and they launched their Book a Seat service on July 27, 2020! Over the past few weeks, they’ve handled more than 2,000 reservations… so you could say they’re Seats experts by now. 😉

As one of the first institutions we knew that reopened their doors, and as one of our first customers to go live with Seats, we saw this as a good opportunity to check in with them and ask them to share their reopening process, hoping others would find it helpful as well. We sent them over a long list of questions, and they were so kind as to answer them for us! 😀 You can find their answers below – covering everything from space and seat setup to implementation to future expansion.

Preparing for their reopening

Libraries around the world are figuring out their reopening plans. Can you tell us a bit about yours? How often is your library allowing students in the building, and how many at a time?

Our entire team has been working remotely since the end of March, so we were excited to start planning our safe return to physical Library services for early July. Initially, we started with scheduled returns and ‘click and collect’ services using LibCal Appointments, which were fully booked [Springy edit: Spaces can be used for pickup, too!]. We were one of the first libraries to purchase the Seats extension on LibCal Spaces, and we have successfully launched our ‘book a seat’ service three weeks ago, again, fully booked. Now our returns and ‘click and collect’ services are available without appointments and during our opening hours. At the moment we are operating in our physical space Monday through Friday with reduced hours of 9:30 am to 4:30 pm.

It’s been essential for us to try and provide all our usual library services with as little disruption as possible to the customer experience while implementing measures to keep everyone safe. We decided to space all our bookable seats at least two meters apart, and this has allowed us to open our study spaces at 30% capacity. The Brynmor Jones Library is large, eight floors in all, so we’ve taken a cautious approach by initially opening up three floors. At the moment, that’s just over 100 customers, but this will more than double when we open up all floors to the Library at the start of the next semester.

People want to know — how did you organize your Seats and Spaces for your library? How long can students visit? Which booking restrictions did you enable in LibCal, if any? Why?

Our University’s Health & Safety Team walked our Library spaces with us and we had a discussion about what variety of spaces we needed accessible, and then we measured and mapped out how that would look. With our bookable seats available on three floors and in different rooms, we allocated a letter to each section of the floor and numbered each seat, including those that would not be initially bookable. This allows us to expand the number of bookable seats in the future, should distancing rules change. When students book a seat online, they can see a map of the space and understand where, for instance, B1 might be located. We printed large versions of the maps for our check-in desk at the Library entrance, which helps us to direct customers to their bookings.

To make the process easy for staff and customers we have limited each space to one booking per day, meaning the customer can book from 9:30 am-4:30 pm continuously, or any abbreviated time within. We achieved this by adding 6 hours of padding to each booking so no matter what time students book a seat, they get it for the day. We still let them choose an arrival time in the system so we know when to expect them. It has also enabled us to activate the auto-cancellation feature for Seats. This means that any customers who have not arrived and checked-in to their seat will have their reservation cancelled after 30 minutes. This will allow us to keep the Seats available and useable throughout the day. Having experienced the popularity of our ‘book a seat’ service, we will likely limit the number of times a customer can book in one calendar week and also implement two split bookings each day, with a cleaning of the space in-between.

Checking in, checking out, and social distancing

Are you enforcing Seats checking in and out? Using QR codes? How have you set up each seat/station so they can quickly find it?

We are using checking in for all of our seats and spaces. While we have put the QR codes on every desk, at this time our team is manually checking customers in. As the booking is for the entire day, there is currently no need to check out. Our team is creating a bite-size video about how to ‘book a seat’ and check-in using QR codes, ready for the start of the trimester. We’ll likely test this out a few weeks prior to make sure it works as expected.

How are you enforcing social distancing among students and staff? Are you using tape or barriers? Any clever library signage to share? We’d love to see pictures!

The entire Library has been kitted-out with directional signage, making it clear how to enter, exit and move about the floors safely. Hand sanitising units are installed in any space where you are entering, exiting or touching a door or equipment. Spaces that are not accessible are barriered or taped off (we’ve used a combination of both). To make things extra clear, we’ve removed chairs, keyboards and mice from the PCs that are not in use. The current plan is to use these cordoned-off PCs for student remote desktop access, enabling access to specialist software.

Our staff used to work on a roving support model, but have now been assigned to specific work stations or areas for their shift, so there is less moving around now. We have cleaning supplies at every station and staff are encouraged to wipe everything down at the start and end of their shift.

How have you implemented seat cleaning protocol? What workflows are in place so staff know students have arrived and left their seats?

We partnered with our University Cleaning Team to ensure the spaces are thoroughly cleaned before and after each customer uses them. As we move towards two-block bookings, members of the Cleaning Team will come during that lull to clean the spaces, ready for the next customer.

What’s the one Seats feature you’ve found most helpful? Why?

They’re all so helpful! But specifically, I think the auto-cancellation feature will be a massive help for us. As this automatically re-opens a seat for booking if a user does not show up and check it, it will help us make use of every bookable study seat for the majority of our opening hours.

We are just so pleased Seats came along at the right time for us to help quickly and safely provide bookable study spaces to our customers.

Not everyone has opened their doors yet, and they may be reopening soon. They’d like to know, how are things going? What’s working well so far and where have you made adjustments since opening? How has Seats helped with managing and monitoring library activity?

Things are going really well and this is all due to our Customer Experience Team who have been part of the planning for returning physical services to our Library. We are reviewing all our services again before the start of the next semester to see how we can make things safer and easier to manage. This group is also focused on helping us better understand both our customers and our team. I think we all have settled into a routine now with our returns, ‘click and collect’ and ‘book a seat’ services, and we’re now looking at how we can layer on walk-in use of our printers and face-to-face appointments for Library support. This is already on top of our live chat, email support portal, and collections services, many of which we continue to provide remotely. We are just so pleased Seats came along at the right time for us to help quickly and safely provide bookable study spaces to our customers.

Expanding building availability & future plans

Looking at your LibCal site, I see that you’re planning for the future – your inactive 3rd-6th floors are already added! Can you let us know what your plans are for those floors and how you’re going to make them active over time? What factored into your decision?

As soon as we signed-up for Seats we undertook a full building audit and realised we could offer around 250 desk-based seats while facilitating 2m social distancing. As we’ve opened up over the summer period, which is quieter, we decided to launch approximately 80 seats on our first three floors. This allowed us to trial our new service, made it easier for our staff to manage and ensured we had sufficient cleaning in place. The system was so popular we made another 30 seats available within our second week. As we approach semester time, we are working to onboard the rest of our seats in the building. As things progress, we will re-open our study rooms for booking (through spaces) and further investigate the possibility of making our non-desk based seating (armchairs, sofas and so on) available.

The system was so popular we made another 30 seats available within our second week.

We’ve been working with a large range of library sizes — and even non-library folks, like IT departments — looking to implement a campus-wide solution. Was your meeting with the University’s Health & Safety Team part of a larger coordinated effort? How did the library work with, and will continue to work with, the larger university system on reopening plans and how Seats fits into this strategy?

Our University Library is a much-loved space on our campus, and it was one of our University’s number one priorities for facilitating in-person access. The University has a Covid Response Team who are driving the good work behind the wider reopening plans on campus. Health & Safety participate in this discussion and decision making. They are currently in the process of reviewing all areas of the campus to make decisions on how each space can adapt and safety open to our team and customers. We were one of the first buildings to reopen on campus, and the efforts are still taking place with other spaces. Our Health & Safety advisors listened carefully to what we wanted to achieve and helped us build safe systems around those services.

We are certainly going to be looking at how we can use Seats to its full capacity within the Library and I imagine we’ll be sharing the merits of this system with our colleagues across the University as planning progresses.


Many thanks to Rachel Welch, Lee Fallin, and Lisa Bolt for providing an in-depth look into their reopening process and how visits are going! We hope things continue to go smoothly for them and their students (and please share your Book a Seat video with us once it’s complete — we all want to see it 😀 )!

To check out their Spaces and Seats site in action, head to: https://libcal.hull.ac.uk/r. You can also learn more about their Book a Seat program by heading to their library website.

For more general information about Seats, take a look at our webinar and get in touch from our LibCal Buzz guide. If you have any questions, please drop us a line!

Missed It? Watch it! SpringyCamp 2020 Recordings Available

Last week’s SpringyCamp was one for the books! We were thrilled so many from the Springy community joined us for camp. Over two days (for a total of four sessions), we got to see what others are up to, hear new ideas, and just generally find inspiration for how to expand services and explore ways to engage students and patrons in this “new normal.” All of our presenters deserve a huge round of applause for their time and efforts!

In case you missed it, it’s not too late to make a batch of s’mores, settle into a comfy chair, and watch the presentation videos. Have questions for the presenters? Want to give kudos? Head on over to our Getting Ready for Camp guide to find instructions on how to join the conversation.

You can even claim an official SpringyCamp 2020 Attendee badge for your Lounge profile! Just head to that badge’s page (make sure you’ve logged in) and use the Request Badge button!

A few Springy favorites:

We had so many well organized, thoughtfully created presentations this year, that we were impressed with each and every one. Here are a few fan favorites, picked because of the timeliness of the topic, engagement it generated during and after the session, and positive feedback we received!

You can watch recordings from all of our excellent presenters, download their slides, and jump to their additional resources from the SpringyCamp 2020 guide. Check them out below!

Using Springshare Tools to Manage & Record COVID-19 Information

New Partnerships: Using Springshare Tools Outside of the Library

Connections: Your Library & Social Justice – Amplify Black Voices with Springshare Tools

We’re All Distance Learners Now: Using Springshare Tools to Share Information with Staff and Patrons