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LibStaffer 2.7 Release Out Now!

The LibStaffer 2.7 release is live and brings tons of great features, including a public view of schedules (and a widget, too!), plus Google Calendar sync, a new email digest for open shifts, and a whole lot more.

Public Views of Schedules (and Widgets too!)

Have you ever wanted to quickly check a schedule / your shifts without having to log into LibStaffer? Now you can with public schedules! These new public schedules offer a great way to share information about who’s working when, even with folks who don’t have a LibStaffer account. To set a schedule to have a public view, admins can head to Admin > Schedule Settings > Edit Schedule and assign the schedule a friendly URL. Then share that friendly URL however you’d like!

And of course, no public view would be complete without a widget version to easily embed in any website, so we’ve included those too. 🙂 Better yet, with the widget you can even choose the default initial view of the schedule, so it’s easy to start the page in Day, Week, Month, or Timeline view. To view the new widgets, admins can head to Admin > Schedule Settings > Widgets.

Google Calendar Sync

With this release we’re also upping LibStaffer’s integration points with all new Google Calendar Sync! This integration offers a 2-way sync, so shifts you’re assigned to in LibStaffer will automatically appear in your Google Calendar, and events in your Google Calendar will mark you as unavailable to work a shift in LibStaffer. To get sync’ing, head to Edit Profile > Google Calendar. Please note, this integration requires a Google Service account – check out our FAQ on Syncing your Schedule with Google Calendar for more help!

Available Shifts Email Digest

We’ve heard from several folks who’d like more streamlined and targeted emails from LibStaffer, so we’re making it happen! We’ve introduced a new batched email digest for available shifts in LibStaffer. Now, instead of getting multiple emails when someone gives up several shifts, we’ll batch these notifications into a single email, sent on the hour. We’ve also included a handy “claim shift” link right in that email, so available shifts can be claimed with just one click.

Edit Time Off Requests

We know how it is – sometimes when people request time off, you may need to edit or adjust the request before approving it. In this release, we’re addressing this pain point – admins can now edit time off requests prior to approval! To see this in action, head to the Time Off Approval tab – you’ll now seen an option to Edit Time Off alongside any new time off request:

Admin Shift Notes

We’ve added a handy new option to help communicate with other admins about interesting happenings that took place during a shift. Head to the Edit Schedules > Edit Shift modal window, and you’ll see a new area for Admin Shift Notes. Whether it’s that one of your staff members did an awesome job at a routine task, or you have an interesting story about a patron to share with other admins, you can use this field to share that information, and other schedule admins can view it via the reports tab.

Additional Updates

  • We’ve updated the look of all Schedule Settings Pages: We’ve moved all of the functionality that was previously found in modal windows into individual tabs, so it’s easier to manage a schedule’s settings.
  • We fixed a bug with splitting shifts that spanned days (i.e., shifts that run past midnight). In some cases this was throwing an error message, which we’ve corrected.
  • We’ve added more specific alert messages when overriding a shift conflict. If you find the need to override a shift clash, we’ll display more information about the clash, so you’ll know whether the conflict is that the person is scheduled to work on another schedule already, or they’re listed as busy in their Outlook or Google Calendar schedule, or the shift is outside of their working hours, etc.

LibCal 2.15 Release Coming Soon!

The LibCal 2.15 release is on its way to you this week, and will be rolled out to all regions by the end of the day Thursday May 17th. We have tons of goodies to share in this release, including a brand new Card View, plus new filter layouts for upcoming events, and several GDPR related updates. Read on to learn about all the great new features coming your way this week!

Card View and Flexible Filter Layouts

Searching for public calendar events is about to get a whole lot more flexible – Card View and flexible Filter layouts are here! We’re adding two new public side options to make your events stand out from the crowd:

Card View – We’re introducing a new “card” layout to show your upcoming events in style. In this new view, each event is represented as a card – the event’s date, time, and location are displayed at the top of each card for easy scanning, and each event’s title and description are displayed inside the card, with categories and audiences displayed at the bottom. This new layout is integrated into all public calendar views, so your patrons can switch to the view that works best for them with just a click.

Flexible Filter Layouts – With such a lovely new view of upcoming events, we realized it would be great to get even more flexible – we’re introducing a new display option so you can choose whether your calendar event filters display on the left side of the screen (as in the above screenshot) or across the top. This new top view for filters gives the various event layouts much more room, and works a treat for mobile users.

To choose the default view and filter layout that works best for you, admins can head to Admin > Calendars > Settings.

Good to Know: In order to make these new features possible, we had to centralize the Calendar Display templates at the system level vs. individual calendar-level. It used to be possible to customize the monthly view and list view templates for each calendar, via Calendars > Edit Calendar > Settings > Display Settings. Once the release is live, these templates will no longer be part of individual Calendar settings, and will be located under Admin > Calendar > Settings with only a single template for each view (Event Listing and Monthly), which will apply to all calendars in your system.

Internal Tags

In addition to the great new event views mentioned above, we’re also adding a new classification option to help manage and view your events – Internal Tags are here! These optional tags provide a way to classify your events for internal statistics and data gathering purposes, and are never shown to the public. When events have been tagged with these new internal tags, you’ll be able to filter all statistical reports and booking explorer pages by this parameter, which makes it easy to view ex all of the events tagged with “New Ideas” or “Funded by STEM Grants”.

To create Internal Tags, admins can head to Admin > Calendars > Internal Tags. Once these have been created, they will display on the Add/Edit Event page, in the Booking Explorer for each calendar, and in our super cool new Calendar Statistics pages.

GDPR & Privacy Related Updates

We’ve also worked on a number of issues to help get ready for the impending GDPR changes. In case you missed it, you can check out our full GDPR post here: https://blog.springshare.com/2018/04/25/gdpr-your-data-new-privacy-tools-so-much-good-stuff/. Here are a few additional tools we’re rolling out in this update:

  • Public Cookie Notice and Privacy Statement – We’re adding an optional, dismissible notice to alert users about the use of cookies and IP address collection on LibCal public pages. To turn on this notice and customize its text, admins can head to Admin > System Settings > Privacy Settings.
  • Data Submission Notices – We’re also adding an optional data submission notification, to help you alert your patrons to what personal information you collect in order to create a booking. This gives you an opportunity to let your patrons know why you collect particular data on registration forms, what that data is used for, etc. To turn on this notice and customize its text, admins can head to Admin > System Settings > Privacy Settings.
  • Expanded Privacy Scrub – We’re expanding our current privacy scrub options so that now, in addition to scrubbing patron name and email address, you can also choose to scrub patron responses to all registration form questions. When the privacy scrub has been enabled, we still retain an overall usage statistic – so for example, if a space booking is being scrubbed, we retain the booking’s start and end time, but remove all identifying information about the person who created the booking. To enable the privacy scrub for your site, get in touch with our awesome support team and let them know which module(s) you’d like to scrub, whether to scrub just name and email or include registration form questions too, and the number of months for which you’d like to retain data (choose from 1-12 months).

Additional Calendar Updates

  • We’ve added an easy way to Migrate from Calendar level Categories to the new System-wide Categories and Audiences. We’ve added a new option to Transfer a Calendar-Level Category to the system level Category and Audience pages, so switching to the new system-wide options is a breeze – head to Admin > Calendars > Audiences/Categories to see it in action. In addition, if you delete a calendar level category (via Calendars > Edit Calendar > Settings > Categories), you’ll see an option to migrate existing events to the system level Categories and Audiences.
  • We’ve updated the Add/Edit Event Page so all of the menu selectors have the same look and feel, and and all of the help text has been updated as well.
  • We’ve updated the Mini Calendar Widget so that, if there are no events happening in the current month, the widget will display events from the next month.

Additional Spaces and Equipment Updates

  • We’ve fixed a bug with editing a patron’s equipment or space booking – previously, if you were changing an existing reservation to a different date (both before and after the original booking date), the alert messages that check for booking clashes weren’t updating to the newly selected date, which could create incorrect booking clash notices.
  • We’ve added the ability to Export Equipment and Spaces Statistics.
  • We’ve updated the Equipment and Spaces public pages to better alert patrons when they attempt to create a booking that exceeds the amount of time they’re permitted to book. Previously we only alerted users to these issues after they had begun to fill out the registration form; now, we’ll alert issues as soon as they attempt to select timeslots that exceed what a person can reserve in a single booking, before they reach the registration form.
  • We’ve fixed a bug that prevented selecting “User Showed Up” when a space reservation spanned days.

Additional MyScheduler Updates

  • We’ve made a number of accessibility improvements to the public MyScheduler Appointments page, so it’s easier for users with assistive devices to navigate the page and know that something has changed when they select a librarian, date, and time.
  • We’ve fixed a bug with MyScheduler Appointment Categories that contained padding – previously, patron email confirmations weren’t taking this padding into account, but now they do.

And speaking of MyScheduler, we are working on a major overhaul and tons of new MyScheduler functionality in the next couple of months. If you have ideas or suggestions about what you’d like to see in MyScheduler, please let our support crew know and they will relay the message to the LibCal product team.

LibStaffer 2.6 Update Coming Soon!

Continuing with our bevy of updates, the LibStaffer 2.6 update will be rolled out to all regions by end of day Thursday, March 15th. This update brings:

  • LibCal/LibStaffer Integration
  • Split Shift Feature
  • Expanded Working Hours
  • App Performance Improvements
  • Additional Quality of Life Improvements

Want to see these new features in action? Join us Thursday, March 22nd at 12:30pm ET for our Brunch & Learn series!

LibCal/LibStaffer Integration

Don’t you love it when the tools you use every day talk to each other seamlessly? Us too, which is why we’re thrilled to introduce the new LibCal/LibStaffer integration. With this release, you can now sync your “busy” times – ie times when you’re scheduled for a shift in LibStaffer, and/or times when you have an appointment booked via MyScheduler – between the two platforms, so scheduling conflicts are prevented from the get-go! Here’s how it works:

In LibStaffer: To bring your busy MyScheduler times from LibCal into LibStaffer, head to Edit My Account > Enable LibCal MyScheduler Sync. Once enabled, any appointments that are booked with you via MyScheduler will be reflected in LibStaffer, so admins will be alerted to the existing appointment as they assign staff to shifts, and the auto-scheduler will not assign you to shifts that occur at that same time.

In Libcal: To bring your scheduled shifts from LibStaffer into MyScheduler, in Libcal, head to MyScheduler > Appointment Scheduler Settings > Enable LibStaffer Shift Sync. Once enabled, your assigned shifts from LibStaffer will automatically block out your availability in MyScheduler, so patrons can’t book time with you when you’re scheduled for a shift. Your assigned shifts will also display as “Busy” in your MyScheduler availability grid on the admin side, similar to “Busy in Outlook” or “Busy in Google Calendar”.

Split Shifts

Huge news for folks who’d like to allow staff members to give up or swap a portion of an assigned shift – we’re adding a new schedule-level setting to “split” an assigned shift into 2 shifts. Now, instead of needing to give up or swap that entire shift, a staff member can split their shift in two, so they can give up or swap just the portion that needs coverage. On the admin side, the shift will then be represented as 2 separate blocks in the schedule, so it’s easy to keep track of who’s working which portion of the shift. To enable this setting for your schedules, head to Admin > Schedule Settings > Modify Schedule > Allow Staff to Split Shifts.

Expanded Working Hours

Working hours are what allow your staff members to input their own availability time into LibStaffer, so ex you’re available to work between 9am-12pm and then again from 1pm-5pm. Previously, we’ve capped working hours at 2 “blocks”, but we’ve heard your feedback that this can be too restrictive. In this release we’re expanding working hours to support up to 5 blocks, to give your staff the flexibility to define the hours that are right for them. To edit your working hours, head to Edit Account > Manage Working Hours.

App Performance Improvements

We’ve been hard at work on LibStaffer’s performance behind the scenes, and in this release we’re implementing a number of improvements designed to ensure LibStaffer is responsive and snappy, even in the largest systems.

Additional Quality of Life Updates

More protections when deleting/clearing shifts – We’ve updated the delete/clear shift modal windows, so it’s more clear exactly what will change once the delete action occurs. Now, when you choose to delete or clear a shift, we’ll display a full list of all of the impacted shifts and shift assignments for you to review before fully committing to the action.

Mobile Optimization for the Dashboard – We’ve also updated the tables in the LibStaffer Dashboard, so users logging in with a mobile device can view their upcoming shift assignments and claim/swap shifts with ease.

LibCal 2.14 Release Coming Soon!

The LibCal 2.14 release is coming to all server regions by end of day Thursday, March 15th, 2018. This release brings possibly the most important/biggest new features in the past 12 months. To wit:

  • System-wide Categories for Event Calendars, including 2-level deep category structure
  • Age/Audience filter when browsing/searching for Events
  • Revamped Calendar & Event Statistics with loads of useful indicators
  • Improved Spaces & Equipment Statistics with updated occupancy ratios, and more
  • Fully accessible version of Spaces bookings page
  • Qualify-of-life improvements throughout the system

Want to see these new features in action? Join us Thursday, March 22nd at 12:30pm ET for our Brunch & Learn series!

System-wide Categories for Calendars & 2-level Deep Structure

Now you can define Categories on the system level and make them apply to every Calendar you define. With these System-wide categories you can also run category statistics for events spanning multiple calendars. Head to Admin > Calendars > Categories to define the list of system-wide categories. On the statistics reports, the system-wide category statistics will collect event stats across all relevant calendars. Tres cool and incredibly useful!

2-level Categories – For example, you can now create a top-level category for “Languages” with sub-categories for “French”, “Spanish”, “Italian”, etc. In the public UI, system-wide categories are seamlessly integrated with your existing categories, so patrons can target exactly the events they’d like to attend, across all calendars in your system. And of course, these new categories can be used to filter data in the new Calendar & Event Statistics mentioned above, so you can view information on total number of events and event registrations by category, in one calendar or across all calendars in your system.

Age/Audience Calendar Filters

In addition to our new 2 level categories, we’re also adding a new system-wide Age/Audience category, to help target your events for a particular age group or audience (like children vs teens vs adults, or faculty vs first-year students vs all students, etc). Age/Audience categories can be applied to events in public calendars across your site, and are also included as part of the stats update, so you can filter statistics on total events and event registrations for a particular Age/Audience category.

Please Note: If you’ve previously customized your calendar and event templates, you’ll need to update your customized template to include the new Age/Audience filters and tags, or they won’t display on the public side of the system. To do this, head to Calendar > Settings > Display Options > Public Calendar Settings and add the following code in the template where you’d like the Audience tag/filter to appear (or just click “Restore Default Template”):

Event Listing/Search Results Template:

{{#audiences.0}} <dt>Audience:</dt> <dd>{{#audiences}} <span class=”label” style=”background-color:{{color}}”> <a href=”{{calendar_url}}&t=d&cal%5B%5D={{calendar_id}}&audience%5B%5D={{id}}”>{{name}}</a> </span>   {{/audiences}} </dd> {{/audiences.0}}

Monthly Calendar Template:

{{#audiences.0}} <dt>Audience</dt> <dd>{{#audiences}}<span class=’label’ style=’background-color:{{color}}’>{{name}}</span> {{/audiences}}</dd> {{/audiences.0}}

Revamped Calendar & Event Statistics

We’ve completely revamped the event and calendar statistics areas and added new reports and additional charts and tables to give you an in-depth view of your event attendance, registrations, and interest levels. There are extensive charts and graphs to display things like number of events per month, by day of the week, and by hour of the day, as well as event registrations per month, by day of the week, and by hour of the day, etc. We’ve also added distribution data for site-wide data points, including things like Category, Audience, and Campus/location distribution, so you can see high level information about all of your events at a glance. We’re also including robust filters as part of these new stats pages, so you can drill down and view the above statistics by date range, or for a specific category, audience, campus, presenter, etc. To check out the all new stats once the update goes live, head to Stats > Calendars & Events.

Improved Equipment & Spaces Statistics

We’ve retooled the statistics for Equipment and Spaces, making them easier to navigate and adding new reports to boot. We’ve expanded reporting for Occupancy statistics (Spaces) and Availability statistics (Equipment), to give the full picture of resource usage vs availability – and even better, these are no longer limited to just the past 2 weeks of data, so you can view Occupancy and Availability statistics for any date range. To check out the new stats, head to Stats > Equipment/Spaces.

Other Improvements/New Features

Updated Equipment/Space Booking Forms – We’re updating the way in which we handle creating an equipment or space booking form. We realized that the previous priority ranking-based method of question ordering caused a fair bit of cognitive overload to determine the order of questions. So we’ve simplified things – we’ve removed the notion of priority ranking and moved toward a more GUI approach, so the order of questions is determined by the order they appear on the edit booking form page. We still support adding questions that should be shown only if a particular item or space is booked (like ex, if someone reserves the proton laser, then include the question “Have you been trained on how to use the proton laser?”), but these will now display in a more defined order, ie we’ll show location level questions first, then questions associated with the category, then questions associated with an item or space.

Accessible Version of Spaces page – For users navigating your site using screen readers, navigating the graphic interface of the availability grid can present a challenge. To help make things easier, we’ve added a new accessible-friendly version of the Spaces availability page, so users can book a space without needing to navigate through each cell in the availability grid to determine what’s available. Users accessing your site with a screenreader will see a link displayed at the top of the page for an Alternate Page for Screenreader Users. This page will present your space availability in a format that’s easier to navigate – instead of the availability grid, the patron will see a series of dropdown filters and then a list view of available times

Updated Hours Management for Equipment/Spaces – We’ve updated the Location level hours page, to make the process of assigning custom hours (aka hours that differ from the overall Location level hours) more streamlined, so all hours within a Location can be managed from one place. To see this in action, head to Admin > Equipment and Spaces > Manage Hours.

Smarter caching for the hours module – Now, if you edit the hours for a library or department, those changes will be reflected in the hours widgets right away, instead of needing to wait for the cache to expire.

Upcoming Events Widgets: Events will now expire/disappear from upcoming events widgets based on the time that the event ends, instead of at the event start time

Preview for Events in Draft Mode, so you can view what an event page will look like prior to fully publishing the event. To view the event preview, head to Calendars > Click the event to bring up the event modal > Select the eye icon.

LibAnswers 2.18 Release – Patron Contact Cards and More

The Springy release-a-palooza continues – the LibAnswers 2.18 is on its way and will be released to all regions by the end of the day on Friday, February 2nd.  This release contains two big new features – the Patron Contact Card, and better email search indexing!

Patron Contact Card

The Patron Contact Card builds on the User History feature. Previously, User History connected tickets from the same source in a single channel – e.g. for an SMS question we connected all of the previous tickets from that SMS number. For emails, we connected all tickets from that same email. The Patron Contact Card combines different channels a single patron might use – this includes up to 2 unique email addresses, an SMS number, a Twitter handle, and a Facebook profile. With this, you can connect the communication dots for a unified view of how a single patron is communicating with your library, whether by email, SMS, chat, Twitter or Facebook. You’ll now have the full context of a patron’s conversations with your librarians, on any channel.

Whenever possible, we’ll attempt to automatically match a patron’s contact info from an existing Patron Contact Card. When auto matching isn’t possible, you can manually connect the patron’s different types of contact info via the User History screen.

How it works: SMS, Twitter, Facebook and Email

For tickets that patrons send in via SMS, Twitter, Facebook and Email, you can match these tickets to the Patron Contact Card via the User History link on the ticket answer page. Click on the User History link in the SMS ticket, select the new option to “Associate this contact with a known patron”, search for the patron’s email address, or enter a new address and click Associate. This connects their SMS number with prior questions from that email address, and you can now view the user history from both of these streams!

For Twitter, Facebook, and second Email connections, the procedure works the same way – once the patron shares their relevant contact info, head to the ticket screen, click on the User History link, and choose Associate this contact with a known person. Search for their email address, and if the patron’s email is found from prior conversations, just click Associate to connect the dots!

How it works: LibChat

If you ask for patron’s email in a pre-chat form the given LibChat transcript is automatically connected to  a Patron’s Contact Card happens automatically! If during the course of chat, the patron provides their email in the contact info field, we’ll automatically associate that transcript with the Patron Contact Card, so the full history of chats and email tickets can be viewed in one place.

A Word on Patron Privacy

The Patron Contact Card will be a powerful tool in connecting patron communication across contact streams. We also know how important preserving patron privacy is, so now may be a good time to mention the various patron privacy protections available in your system. We already take steps to ensure that patron identifying data is encrypted in our databases. But for sites that prefer an additional layer of privacy protection, you have the option to sign up for our monthly privacy scrub. You can choose to remove patron identifying information, including patron email address, phone number, IP address, and/or name. You can also choose how many months to keep data before it’s scrubbed from the server. Once this data is scrubbed from the server, scrubbed tickets will no longer display in the User History thread (as they’re no longer associated with the patron’s contact info), but the ticket itself will remain in the system (so it still counts toward aggregate stats, etc.). To sign up for a privacy scrub, contact our awesome support team and let them know how long you’d like to retain the data prior to scrubbing from the system.

Improved Email Search

You may have noticed that, when searching for prior tickets based on a patron’s email address, you have to search for an exact email address to see results. This happens because, for privacy reasons, we encrypt the email field in our database, so search indexing works a bit differently for that field. In this release, we’re introducing a new index just for email domains – now, you can run a search based on a patron’s email domain (ie everyone from mail.myschool.edu, or everyone from gmail.com) to see all users who’ve sent in tickets from that domain.

LibCal 2.13 Release Coming Soon!

New LibCal Spaces User Interface

The LibCal 2.13 release is on its way, and will be live in all regions by end of the day Wednesday, January 31st (so if you don’t see the changes in your system yet, you will soon).

We’re bringing you a host of quality-of-life improvements to Equipment and Spaces, Exchange two-way sync, gCal sync, and several other improvements, too.

Read on for all the details…

Equipment and Spaces Quality of Life Improvements

We’ve improved the Equipment and Spaces screens to make pages easier to navigate and understand. More on-screen help, reduced clutter and improved navigation – these are the major themes that will make managing your equipment and spaces easier than ever. You’ll see the changes when you go to Space or Equipment links from the orange command bar. Here’s the rundown of the big changes:

Equpment Page Screenshot

 

  • Location and Category Selections “Stick” Between Tabs – We’ve moved the Location and Category selectors up into the header area of the Equipment and Spaces pages so the selections “stick” as you navigate between tabs. You’ll no longer have to select your location/category every time you switch to a different tab!
  • Streamlined Availability Tab – Cleaner look of the Availability tab for bookings makes it easier to see the existing bookings and create new ones, from this admin screen. The availability grid is now the focus of the page. The Booking Details area is also updated making it easier to view the details of the upcoming reservation(s).
  • Simplified Look for Check In / Out – We reduced the number of icons (yeah, we went a bit crazy with the icons in the past – they were so cute, we couldn’t resist!). But, they created a lot of visual noise so we streamlined all relevant tabs and tables for a cleaner presentation of the information. Some (necessary) icons are still there but many were replaced with hotlinks on relevant info.
  • Improved Onscreen Help – In the past, we overdid it with the icons but under-did it with on-screen help and instructions. This balance is changing and it’s a good thing for you, our user. We added relevant on-screen help and labels to help you figure out how to get things done quickly and efficiently on Equipment and Spaces screens.

 

GCal and Exchange Sync for Spaces

Smaller news first – in the old Room Bookings module (now replaced with Spaces) there was 1-way GCal sync but we somehow missed porting this to Spaces. This has now been fixed to achieve true parity between Spaces and old Room Bookings, i.e. Spaces now has GCal sync so now you can see all Spaces reservations in your GCal calendars.

Now the big news… Picture this – a 2-way sync between Exchange calendars and LibCal spaces – so reservations you make via Exchange will automatically block off availability in the Spaces module, and reservations made via Spaces are automatically pushed to Exchange!  Yup, we went there! This is a huge win for libraries with spaces that can be reserved both by the public (via LibCal) and by staff (via meeting requests in Exchange) – our new integration will keep your reservations in sync, no matter where a booking request originates. And your LibCal platform will become a go-to place to get awesome statistics on the usage of your spaces and equipment, no matter where the reservations are made. High-five for this big win!

Here’s another really cool thing about the Exchange support – it will make it even easier to integrate with touchscreen panels. LibCal Spaces offers full read/write APIs for integration with these types of panels, and many of these panels already support integration with Exchange – which means you can potentially integrate LibCal Spaces with these types of panels, without custom coding. This new integration means that availability stays synchronized across all possible booking points, with minimal setup effort – totally amazing!!

For this 2-way Exchange we are releasing the code to everyone but not enabling it on all systems yet – if you’d like to assist us with the final stages of testing Exchange integration (because we want to make sure we cover all different Exchange versions/scenarios) please emails us at support@springshare.com. Once we are confident that Exchange sync is working for these early testers, we’ll release it for everyone i.e. every LibCal system will have 2-way Exchange sync enabled.

Additional Updates

  • New “All Locations” View for Spaces – We’ve added a new “All Locations” view for Spaces, so patrons can browse availability at all locations in your LibCal system at a glance. To see it in action, head to the public Spaces booking page and select Location: All Locations.
  • Mediated Bookings by LibCal Users set to Confirmed: We heard from several folks that, when librarians (ie LibCal account holders) make a reservation for a mediated space/item, those reservations shouldn’t need to be approved. We’ve made this change, so now when a logged-in user reserves a space/equipment, those requests will be confirmed automatically.
  • Event Search for Logged In Users – We addressed an issue with searching for events from the Edit Calendar screen (accessed via Calendar Tab > Edit Calendar) – this should now work as expected.
  • Clarified Multi-user Registrations – We’ve improved registration management for sites that allow multiple registrations in a single form (so dad can register himself plus two children for storytime, without filling out multiple forms). Now, these multiple registrations are displayed individually on the Manage Registrations tab, and editing/deleting an individual registration doesn’t automatically edit/delete all associated registrations, so you can manage those registrations individually.

LibAnswers 2.17 – iFrame Chat is Here!

We have some exciting LibAnswers features to share, including a new chat option to make the patron chat experience seamless, even while browsing between pages!

iFrame Chat – Guided Chat Mode

Picture this: you’re in the middle of guiding a patron on how to use a particular resource and poof, the patron suddenly disappears. Odds are the patron has clicked on a new link in the page, navigating away from the page where the chat was embedded. Here at Springy HQ we’ve been giving a lot of thought to how this experience can be prevented, and in that spirit we’re thrilled to bring you the brand new iFrame Chat feature. Walking patrons through complicated research questions and database searches has never been easier!

Here’s how it works: Patrons will now see a new icon in the chat window to Launch iFrame Chat – when clicked, this will relaunch the page they’re currently viewing in an iFrame, with the current chat session overlaid on top. Patrons can browse to any URL in the underlying page (or any URL you share with them in Chat) – no matter where they go, the chat window remains overlaid on top. This greatly reduces the disappearing patron effect, and make it heaps easier to walk patrons through complicated web or database searches.

Once a patron launches iFrame chat, this is what they’ll see – the page they were viewing loads within a frame, with the chat window overlaid on top. Patrons can search, click links within the frame or in the chat window, etc. – the chat window remains floating on top of the frame:

Worried your patrons won’t discover this new feature on their own? Fear not – we’ve also included a new button in the chat operator window to Suggest iFrame Chat. This button sends a prompt to the patron to Launch iFrame Chat. You’ll see an in-chat notification when the patron switches into iFrame mode.

Good to know: some websites employ iFrame busting software, which causes the patron to see a blank white screen within the frame. If this happens, the patron can leave iFrame chat mode, either by returning to the first page they started from, or popping the chat window out of the frame.

Dashboard View & Ticket Improvements

Filterable ViewsViews are one of the unsung heroes of LibAnswers – they make it easy to customize the tickets you see on the dashboard, by filtering to just the queues, tags, owners, etc. you’re most interested in. Previously, when you switched to a particular view, the filters on the dashboard would disappear. Now, when you click on a view, the filters will continue to display, meaning you can use each view as a starting point and continue to refine your options. And to make views even handier, we’ve added a new “My Tickets” view to all views, so it’s easy to jump to just your new and pending tickets.

User History – In this release we’ve also made it a bit easier to see the full history of a conversation with a specific patron, right from the ticket answer page. We’ve updated the link so it’s easier to find, and we’ve improved the modal window that displays past ticket information, so it’s easier to see all open/pending/closed tickets from the same person at a glance.

New Typeahead Menu – We’ve revamped the formatting for the predictive search dropdown menu, shared by all search boxes throughout LibAnswers. The new menu is fully accessible/keyboard friendly, and we’ve added search term highlighting to the results, so it’s easy to spot how a result relates to a search query.

LibCal 2.12 – Hours Module Improvements and More now Live!

LibCal Hours Exceptions System-wide

We’ve been busy beavers here at Springy HQ, and we have several fun new features to share!

We’re making the hours module easier to manage and rolling out several great quality of life features, just in time for the holidays!

Hours Module Improvements

  • New Daily Hours Widget – We’ve added a new widget to the hours module to make sharing your open hours a breeze! The new Daily Hours Widget displays your library’s hours in a simple grid, and includes quick links to jump to the next day’s hours. To check out the new widget, head to Admin > Hours > Widgets > Daily Hours.
  • Universal Exceptions – We know how time consuming it can be to enter exceptions for each library and department that you manage in the Hours Module, so we’re making things easier! Now, when you create an exception for one department/library, you can choose to apply that exception either to all departments within a library, or all libraries and departments – no more duplication! Head to Admin > Hours > Exceptions and look for the new “Copy To” option.
  • Copy Hours Template – Another improvement aimed at simplifying hours management, you’ll now see an option to Copy Hours Template, instead of creating each hours template from scratch. This should make life much easier when you just have minor modifications to make to an existing template. Head to Admin > Hours > Weekly Templates to see the new option.

New in Equipment and Spaces

  • Email Digest for Mediated Bookings – We’ve added a new email digest to alert you when there are pending Equipment or Space reservations that are waiting on mediation. These emails are a “digest” of all pending requests, and are sent once an hour to all named mediators, ie those with approve/deny rights. Even better, we’re also including quick approve/deny links right in the email text, so mediators can approve/deny these requests right from their inbox! It’s a super handy way to make managing mediated Equipment & Space bookings a snap.
  • Email Notification for Admin Cancelled Bookings – If for some reason you need to cancel a patron’s existing equipment or space reservation, you’ll now see an option to send an email alert to that patron and alert them of the change.
  • Setting: User Must Cancel By: We’ve added a setting in Spaces to control when a user must give up their reservation. This is particularly handy if you have cagey students who try to get around any booking limits you may have in place by canceling their booking just before it’s set to end. To enable this setting, head to Edit Space Category > Booking Limits.
  • Setting: Limit to X number of reservations at one time –  We’ve also added a new limiter to control how many reservations a user can have at one time. This works similarly to our existing limiters but isn’t limited by time – so instead of only being able to have x number of reservations in a week, they can only have x number of upcoming registrations at one time. For your patron, this means that as soon as an existing reservation ends, they’ll then be able to create a new reservation. To enable this setting, head to Edit Space Category > Booking Limits.

Additional Improvements

  • Optimized Explorer Pages – We discovered that running reports in the Spaces and Event Explorers could take a very long time to load, so we optimized things – now running reports in the Explorer pages should be zippy!
  • Time Pickers Default to Hour-on-the-Hour – We’ve updated all of the time pickers throughout the system to default to hours on the hour. Ex say your event starts at 3pm, and you’re creating the event at 2:14pm – previously when you clicked on “3” in the time picker, the start time was entered as 3:14pm, and you had to go back and click “00” to get the event started on the hour. Now when you select a time, we’ll default to each hour on the hour, so you won’t need to explicitly click “00” to have an event start on the hour.
  • Export all Event Registration Info – For you data lovers out there, you can now export all event registration info for multiple events at one time! To see this in action, head to any Calendar’s Event Explorer page; limit your search to a specific booking form and make sure “Show Registration Responses” is set to Yes, then run the report and select Export. The resulting excel file will include registration info for each event registrant, including booking form responses!

LibCal 2.11 – Event Updates and More are Live!

The LibCal 2.11 release is live, and we have loads to tell you about! We’ve redesigned the Manage Event Screens to bring you many new event management features, plus Event Templates are here! Read on for all the details.

New Manage Event Screens

So many of you have asked us for additional features and functionality for managing events – marking attendance, more email flexibility, etc. When we coded all this we realized that the modal for the event editing was too small for all this additional functionality, so we created a separate page for event management. This gives us (and you) a lot more breathing room and the ability to add several great new management features. To see the new pages, from any Calendar, click on an event and select Manage Event. There you’ll find great new features, including…

  • Event Notes – We’ve added an easy way to share internal information about an event with colleagues – event notes are here! These notes appear in the event modal and on the event overview tab, but never appear to the public. They’re perfect for sharing information about event setup information, like technology setup information or who’s bringing refreshments. To add a note to an event, head to Manage Event > Overview and add a new note.
  • Confirm Attendance – A hugely popular request, we’ve added a method to track which event registrants actually attended an event! Head to Manage Event > Registrations > Confirm Attendance column, and check off the actual attendees as they arrive. This setting will also make it easy to email only the registrants who actually attended your event after the event takes place – just select “Add Attendees” from the Email Attendees tab to insert the email addresses of just the folks who attended your event. This is especially handy for sending a satisfaction/follow up email after an event takes place!
  • View User History – We’ve added a new report to show all of the events a user has registered for, so it’s easy to see which of your users are power users! Just head to Manage Registrations/Waitlist and select View User History to see a list of all events a user has registered for – and even better, if you’re using the Confirm Attendance option, we’ll show you all of the events they actually attended as well!
  • Search Registrations – We’ve added a simple search box to the Registrations and Waitlist tabs, so it’s easier to find a specific person’s registration info.
  • View Cancelled Attendees – We’ve added a new tab that shows all attendees whose registration was cancelled – plus, you’ll be able to see whether the registration was cancelled by the patron, or by an admin. This is especially useful for outreach and user satisfaction efforts – if someone cancelled, consider following up with them to see why, in order to tailor your services to patron needs. Head to Manage Event > Cancelled to see the list of cancelled attendees.
  • Send Rich Text Emails – We’ve also update the Email Attendees tab to include a Rich Text Editor, so it’s easier than ever to send patrons emails that contain basic text formatting and images, without having to muck around with HTML. 🙂 Head to the Email Attendees tab to find the new options.

Event Templates

Awesome news for sites that manage large numbers of events! We’re adding a new Event Template management area, so you can create templates that contain the basic information – things like Title, Description, Start/End Time, padding, registration details… everything you might need to create a new event in a flash! To start creating event templates, Admins can head to Admin > Calendars > Event Templates.

And even better, if you have an existing event that you’d like to turn into a template, Admins can select that event from the Calendar screen and use the dropdown to select “Create Template from Event”. We hope this makes it that much easier to transition to the new Event Template options – managing large numbers of events has never been easier!

Equipment and Spaces Updates

  • Spaces Widgets in LTI Tool – If you’ve integrated the LibApps LTI tool in your LMS system, good news – Spaces widgets are now fully integrated, so you can easily add a widget for booking a space to any page in your LMS! This makes it easy for students to reserve spaces in the library without having to leave the LMS environment, and integrates the booking process right at point of need.
  • Copy Space – We’re always looking for ways to make the site setup process easier, so we’re happy to introduce a new Copy Space function for the Spaces module. As you’re setting up Spaces, you’ll see a new option to Copy Space – this pulls all the key information about a space (including Description, Terms & Conditions, Room Capacity, Booking Form, Image, etc.) into a new Space record, making setup a snap!
  • Spaces Filter in Event Explorer – The Event Explorer contains an option to filter by location – previously, only system locations and Rooms were appearing. We’ve updated this filter to include Spaces, so now you can search all 3 possible locations at once.
  • Consolidate Sequential Bookings – For some folks migrating from Room Booking to Spaces, we’ve discovered that there are some patrons who are still booking multiple timeslots back to back instead of using the dropdown menu to select their preferred duration. We’re now consolidating those individual bookings into one continuous booking.
  • Admin Recurring Booking: Error Message Update – Previously, when admins created recurring bookings and there was a conflict with one of those bookings on certain dates, the error messages weren’t making it clear that some of the bookings would not go through. We’ve updated this behavior so it’s clearer that some bookings will not go through.

MyScheduler Updates

  • View Past & Cancelled Bookings via API – We’ve lifted some prior restrictions on the MyScheduler API, so you can now access bookings which happened in the past, and cancelled bookings. To view the available APIs, head to Admin > API > MyScheduler.
  • We squashed a bug in MyScheduler Widgets, where the first group’s appointment availability options were being applied to all groups. Now, as you change group selection in the widget, the availability options will update as expected.

Accessibility Updates

  • We’ve fixed an accessibility issue with the “close” link in MyScheduler widgets by updating the link reference so it’s no longer empty.
  • We’ve addressed several accessibility issues with the Today’s Hours widget – they now include <th> elements and have the proper role=’presentation’ attribute, so they’re now fully accessible!

Coming Soon: Mediated Equipment & Space Email Digest

Looking for email alerts when patrons make a request for mediated items and spaces? Coming in the next few days, we’re adding a new email digest to alert you when there are pending Equipment or Space reservations that are waiting on mediation. These emails are a “digest” of all pending requests, and are sent once an hour to all mediators who can approve a booking. Even better, we’re also including quick approve/deny links right in the email text, so mediators can approve/deny these requests right from their inbox! It’s a super handy way to make managing mediated Equipment & Space bookings a snap. 🙂

LibAnswers 2.16 Update – Sharing Images is Here!

The LibAnswers 2.16 update rolled out this morning, and we’re thrilled to bring you some fresh updates to Social Media Management!

Get Social – Now With Images!

Exciting news – the LibAnswers Social Media Management tool is about to get even more social!  You can now send and receive images via Twitter and Facebook. It’s never been easier to share content and provide best-of-the-best customer service to your patrons. You’ll find this new functionality both in the Social Media Stream, as well as on ticket answer pages when replying to Tweets and Facebook Messages. Sharing and receiving images makes it that much easier to engage your patrons and catch their attention – whether it’s pics of the latest library events or your arsenal of shocked response gifs, LibAnswers is ready!

To upload an image to a new Twitter or Facebook post, just head to the create post screen and use the handy dandy image uploader to select the image you want to share. Replying to social tickets is just as easy – just head to the ticket screen and use the image uploader to start sharing!

A note re: Twitter Direct Messages: Twitter’s Direct Message (DM) APIs are a little different than their public tweet APIs, so images sending and receiving works a little differently for DMs. It’s possible to receive images via DM, but it’s not currently possible to send images via DM (though we’re hoping to support this soon). In addition, you must be logged in to Twitter and have an active login cookie in order to view received images in LibAnswers.