Archive for Talia

Pickup Manager is Here!

2020 has been a difficult year. COVID-19 has not only impacted health, but also family life, and work life. Here at Springshare, when the pandemic hit, we quickly pivoted all our development plans to release training, products, and features that you needed right now. First, we rolled out our tips for a remote first world followed shortly after with tips for staying motivated, transitioning to online teaching, and using LibCal to increase online engagement. On the product development side, we released functionality and tools designed to help you better service your users in this ‘new normal’. We released online appointments and events in LibCal with Zoom and MS Teams integration and launched the LibCal Seats module helping building managers reopen their building safely. But we’re not done yet!

In keeping with our commitment to release products, features, and services that help you during this difficult time – we’re proud to announce that Pickup Manager is now available. Pickup Manager helps you streamline the holds pickup process while adhering to your COVID-19 safety guidelines. Patrons can easily request their holds via their ILS, schedule a pickup, and enjoy 2-way SMS/text and chat communication when they’ve arrived. Pickup Manager has so many features to not only make your current day-to-day easier but when COVID-19 is a thing of the past, you’ll wonder how you ever did holds pickup ‘the old way’.

Patrons use LibCal to schedule their pickup which connects to your ILS to sync to their holds information

Want to learn more? Attend a webinar!

We’ve setup four webinars so you can learn more about Pickup Manager. All times are in U.S. Eastern Time. With our recent LibCal update, just click on the change option on the calendar to match your timezone!

Can’t attend?

Register for any session and select ‘Watch Recording’ on the sign-up form. We’ll send you the links to view the recordings as soon as they’re available.

Webinar schedule


How does Pickup Manager work?

  • Patron requests a hold in your ILS. When items are ready, your ILS sends an email with the link to our pickup scheduler.
  • Patron receives email from ILS system with LibCal booking link, they “log in” with their ILS barcode/pin to verify they are who they say they are and then book a spot.
    • Don’t want to integrate your ILS? No worries, we’ll have this covered in a future release.
  • Patron reserves their preferred time & location using LibCal’s easy-to-use booking interface.
    • Don’t want to allow patrons to reserve a spot? No worries, the scheduling component is optional.
  • ‘Today’s Scheduled Pickups’ on the Dashboard helps you prepare today’s items. 
  • When the patron arrives, they SMS/text you (LibChat coming soon!) with a customized keyword. The Pickup Manager recognizes the patron and alerts you of their hold details so you can easily grab and deliver their items. 
  • If needed, you can communicate back-and-forth with the patron about their pickup via SMS/text (LibChat coming soon!) – all from the Pickup Manager dashboard.
  • When the items are picked up, the Pickup Manager marks them as received by the patron in their ILS record, too.
  • Send automated reminder and follow-up satisfaction survey emails.

View patron information

Click to view patron details

Send and view messages

View today’s scheduled pickups and send messages to the patron

View detailed statistics

View detailed statistics of scheduled vs. picked up holds broken down by month, day, and hourly

…And there’s more!

We don’t want to give too much away in this blog post, but we think you’ll be really excited to see Pickup Manager in action! Be sure to sign-up for a webinar, even to receive the recording, to learn more!

Introducing the New (and Improved!) Springshare Lounge

In case you missed the big announcement in our July SpringyNews edition, we launched a new and improved Springshare Lounge! In this ‘new normal’, we wanted to improve opportunities for Springy users to communicate with each other, share how they’re using Springshare tools, and leverage localized expertise.

Since its official launch nine weeks ago on July 27, the Lounge now has over 950 users posting a total of 123 discussions and 257 comments! Posts cover a variety of Springy Tools and topics ranging from how-to type posts to best practices and advice sharing. So if you haven’t yet, join the new Springshare Lounge and get ready for some virtual networking.

Earn Points & Level Up!

Helping your fellow Springy users deserves a reward right? We thought so too! So we added a points system to the new Springshare Lounge.

Earn points when you:

  • Make and comment on posts 
  • Have other users react to your posts 
  • Earn badges 

As you earn points, your level will increase, and the number of stars on your profile will increase.

Here are the levels and the point totals to reach them: 

  1. Springy Initiate: Everyone starts here! 
  2. Springy Novice: 75 points 
  3. Solid Springy: 200 points 
  4. Springy Expert: 750 points 
  5. Springy Hero: 1750 points 

If you’re wondering, big deal – earning virtual points gets me what? Well, you’re wrong! Earning points actually translates to both virtual and real-world perks!

Not only will achieving higher levels unlock extra lounge features, but the highest levels also opens access to some extra discussion categories as well.

Leveling Up Perks:

  1. Springy Initiate: Start discussions, comment on discussions. Everyone’s got this!
  2. Springy Novice (75 points): You can create polls in your discussions now. Let other lounge users vote on your polls. 
  3. Solid Springy (200 points): Add a signature to your posts if you’d like. Edit your own posts for up to a day for convenience. 
  4. Springy Expert (750 points): Gain the ability to use the “promote” reaction to a post or comment! Doing this will add the comment to “best of”. You also get access to submit posts to the Lounge Help Wanted category to advertise openings at your library.
    • If you come by our booth at a conference, (* offer not valid in 2020, of course) we’ll give you some special Springy merch. 
  5. Springy Hero (1750 points): We are in awe of your contributions and helpful deeds in this community. You’ll get access to Springy Labs to see sneak peeks of things we’re working on, as well as the chance to offer feedback on new designs and development. We’ll also send a thank you card to you, hand-signed by one of the Springy crew to show our appreciation. 

What types of posts will I see in the Lounge?

The Lounge is designed for you, plain & simple! You’ll see posts related to Springy products and topics but that otherwise run the gamut – users asking for help, others posting their ideas and best practices, and even some others putting out a call for research volunteers. Plus, you have the ability to post something as a question, and mark it as answered! This helps future users who search too, because they can see “oh, I have the same question too and it’s got an answer!”

Below are just some of our most favorite posts to date:

So, How Do I Sign-Up?

Good news, you can sign-up to join the Springshare Lounge today! Right now even! Go ahead, we’ll wait. 🙂 Okay, are you back? Let’s continue. 🙂

Joining the Lounge is super-easy! And if you were a member of our old Lounge, you will have to rejoin the new Lounge. It’s really fast and easy, just follow these instructions.

Plus, if you mention that you were a member of the old Lounge when you rejoin, we’ll give you a special badge. Or click here to claim your Original Forum Survivor Badge.

Creating a Profile & Community Guidelines

Once you’ve joined and created your profile, you’ll want to review the Community Guidelines. Like all good online communities, there are some “dos and don’ts”. While we believe that our community of users has a good understanding of online etiquette, reviewing these guidelines is important to get an understanding of the behavior expected in the Springshare Lounge.

… And You’re Off & Running

Once you’ve done the aforementioned items, you’re off and running! Search the Lounge and read some existing posts. Write a comment to an existing post if you have any feedback or an answer you’d like to share. Feel free to post a new discussion or ask a question. If you post a question, don’t forget to mark the post as answered once those comments start rolling in. Customize your notification preferences so you’ll get an email alert when people comment on your discussions or when someone else posts a discussion to a category you’re keeping an eye on. To customize your notifications, go to the Bell Icon > Notification Preferences.

Pickup Manager: Coming Early October!

We’ve been hinting, alluding, and finally we officially announced yesterday that we’re releasing the Pickup Manager for scheduling and communicating holds pickup!

This newest tool is coming early October, and is designed to streamline your holds pickup workflows and empower patrons to pick up their library items quickly and safely at their convenience – per COVID-19 guidelines and beyond, too!


Key Points about the Pickup Manager:

  1. Fully integrates with your ILS for streamlined hold workflows.
  2. Works great with LibCal’s Equipment Booking Module for equipment or museum/zoo pass lending.
  3. Provides great statistics and analytics helping you increase user satisfaction and improve your holds service.
  4. Just like all other Springy tools – it is affordable.

Bottomline, you and your patrons are going to love the awesome functionality that Pickup Manager offers and you’ll never want to do holds pickups “the old way” again. 😊

Communicate with ‘Arrived’ patrons via SMS/Texting (Coming: LibChat)

How Does it Work?

  • Patron requests a hold in your ILS.
  • When items are ready, your ILS sends an email with the link to our pickup scheduler in LibCal. (customized emails from Pickup Manager coming soon). 
    • Already a LibCal user? You’ll be able to designate locations in the Admin > Spaces area to connect to the Pickup Manager.
    • Not a LibCal user? No worries, just contact us!
  • Patron reserves their preferred time & location using our easy-to-use booking interface in LibCal.
  • ‘Today’s Scheduled Pickups’ on the Dashboard helps you prepare today’s items. 
  • When the patron arrives, they SMS/Text you with a customized keyword using your LibAnswers SMS number. The Pickup Manager recognizes the patron and alerts you of their hold details so you can easily grab and deliver their items.
    • Already a LibAnswers user? You’ll designate which SMS number should be connected to the Pickup Manager. You can designate multiple SMS numbers with your Pickup Manager!
    • Not a LibAnswers user? No worries, just contact us!
  • If needed, you can communicate back-and-forth with the patron about their pickup via SMS/Text – all from the Pickup Manager dashboard.
  • Coming Soon: When items are picked up, the Pickup Manager marks the item as picked up in the patron’s ILS record, too.
  • If patrons text that they’ve arrived outside of your hours of operation, Pickup Manager automatically texts them back with a customizable message letting them know that your service is closed for the day.

Want the Communication but Not Scheduling Part?

Like with all our Springshare Tools, we like to brainstorm all the potential possible implementations and come up with solutions for everyone. Our Pickup Manager is no different. So if you’re interested in the Communication side, but not the Scheduling component, we’ve got you covered.

Pickup Manager Streamlines Your Workflows, Too!

  • At-a-glance view of holds activity – what is being picked up today, tomorrow, and in the future.
  • Statistics on completed pickups and analytics on popular day/time pickups, late arrivals, etc.
  • Send reminders to patrons who haven’t picked up their items.
  • (Coming soon) customize the hold notification emails sent to patrons.

Manage Pickups for Everything You Circulate

Pickup Manager also integrates with LibCal’s Equipment Booking Module. Whether your patrons are picking up a book hold or a laptop, camera, museum/zoo pass or really anything from your library-of-things inventory via the Equipment Booking module, the Pickup Manager has you covered.

What More Information?

Early next month, we’ll announce sneak-peek webinars on Pickup Manager on our Sneak-Peek Calendar.

Want to be contacted when Pickup Manager is released? Email sales@springshare.com to be placed on the Early Access list. 

[UPDATED] Important Browser Notices & Updates

In today’s post, we’re bringing you some important notices about your Internet browsers… specifically Internet Explorer 11 and Chrome. Since Springshare tools are hosted in the cloud and are accessed by web browsers, if you or your patrons are using either of the above browsers… it will affect your day-to-day usage of these tools.

Updated Sep 10, 2020 – we updated the section below on LibAnswers and IE11 compatibility.

Updated Oct 9, 2020 – we updated this post with a section on LibGuides and IE11 compatibility and updated the LibAnswers section to reflect the fact that the October 2020 code release is out.

Updated Oct 19, 2020 – we updated the LibGuides list after more extensive testing within IE11.

Internet Explorer 11 Will No Longer Be Supported as of November 20, 2020

Starting in November through till next year, Microsoft will stop supporting IE11 within their own applications.

Microsoft has since labeled Internet Explorer a “compatibility solution” rather than a browser and encouraged businesses to stop using the aging browser.

Tom Warren, TheVerge.com

To that end, Springshare will stop supporting IE11 for all Springshare Tools (LibGuides, LibCal, LibAnswers, LibInsight, LibCRM, LibWizard, and LibStaffer) during the week of November 16 across all regions.

This does *not* mean every webpage of your whole Springshare tool will suddenly stop working when using IE11. It *does* mean that you and your users may experience additional issues of non-compatibility when using IE11 after the November 16 code release.

LibGuides Users & IE11 [Updated Oct 19, 2020]

There are a few areas in LibGuides that do not fully function in IE11. Additionally, future updates will also affect page display issues in IE11.

  • Guide lists on system and group homepages;
  • Some LibGuides widgets intermittently do not display;
  • Gallery boxes;
  • Search results;
  • System blog and public discussion boards; and
  • A-Z Database pages.

LibAnswers Users & IE11 [Updated Oct 12, 2020]

There are already a few areas of LibAnswers admin interface (not public-facing pages) that don’t fully function in IE11. Additionally, future updates will also affect page display issues in IE11.

  • Currently not working in  IE11: the ability to view chat transcripts; Queue settings tabs and ticket browse page will not work.
  • Upcoming November 2020 release: Current LibChat Operator Console will *not* be able to load in IE11 by the end of the Nov 16 week. We’re launching some awesome new functionality to LibChat, including a new emoji-picker (:wow emoji:), that is not compatible with IE11.

Chrome 86 Security Update

The upcoming Chrome 86 update, slated for release in October, will offer more secure protections for users submitting data on insecure forms. More on this in a moment. First, a reminder!

All Springshare Tools are HTTPS-Required

As a refresher, all Springshare Tools are required to load over HTTPS. If your Springshare Tool ends in a .libguides.com, .libcal.com, .libanswers.com, .libcrm.com, .libinsight.com, libwizard.com, or .libstaffer.com – the ‘S’ in HTTPS is covered by our security certificates.

If your Springshare Tool ends in a custom domain, like .bookings.edu or guides.org, you can use our ‘Let’s Encrypt’ service where we obtain a security certificate for you or obtain your own security certificate.

Bottom line, your Springshare Tools will always load an HTTPS secure connection…. which is great for your staff and end-users because HTTPS helps to thwart intruders from tampering with the communications between your websites and your users’ browsers.

Embedding Unsecure (HTTP) Forms into Your Secure (HTTPS) Springshare Tools

So now that you know that all Springshare Tools are loaded as HTTPS, you’re probably thinking – “Heck, we’re all set… our sites are secure!“. And you’re right, for the basic tool itself. But it depends on what you’ve added to your systems, too! We give you a lot of flexibility in your Springshare tools… especially in ways we encourage you to embed widgets/content from other websites. In LibGuides, you can embed a widget into your guide. In LibCal, you can add a widget to a countdown timer in Calendar Events. In LibAnswers, embed media right into your FAQs.

These options give you awesome flexibility in adding multimedia resources to your Springshare Tools! But it is also possible to embed HTTP (unsecure) content inside your HTTPS (secure) Springshare Tool.

Chrome 86 Update Will Display Warning for Mixed Forms

So now we come back to the Chrome 86 update! If you embed an HTTP (unsecure) form in your HTTPS (secure) webpages, your patrons using Chrome 86 will see a full-page warning about submitting content to an unsecure form.

Chrome Version 86 Will Display Warning of Unsecure Forms

Identifying & Resolving Mixed Content

We recommend that you review your LibGuides, LibCal, LibAnswers, and LibWizard systems to identify widgets/forms that you’ve embedded that could be HTTP insecure. This FAQ outlines some helpful instructions, including how to find HTTP content in LibGuides, as well as a video explaining why HTTPS is important.

As a reminder, Springshare Tools themselves are HTTPS secure. So if you’ve created a LibGuides widget, a LibAnswers/LibChat widget, a LibCal widget, a LibInsight widget, or a LibWizard widget, these widgets are already HTTPS secure. It is better to focus your time and energies on widgets/forms from other vendors.

If you’ve identified forms/widgets that are HTTP unsecure, it is recommended that you contact that vendor directly to obtain an HTTPS secure form/widget. While we’d love to help, we cannot create HTTPS secure widgets/forms for other vendors.

More Seats for LibCal Seats!

More Webinars Added

When we announced that LibCal Seats was right around the corner with six webinars to view this add-on module, we fully expected that all six webinars would sell out. What we didn’t expect is that all six webinars would sell out in less than a week, with hundreds more registrations on our waiting lists.

So, we’ve added more webinars to our schedule! You have four two more chances to view the LibCal Seats module this month.

Can’t attend any of the webinars? Don’t worry – pick one webinar, even if it’s sold-out, and register anyway. We’ll send along the recording to everyone.


Four Two More Chances to View LibCal Seats Module

We recommend you sign-up quickly, as these sessions are filling up fast!

All sessions below are listed in U.S. Eastern Time. Convert to your time zone.

  1. Thursday, July 23. 1:00pm – 1:30pm. (event registration full)
  2. Monday, July 27. 11am – 11:30am. (event registration full)
  3. Wednesday, July 29. 2pm – 2:30pm.
  4. Friday, July 31. 10am – 10:30am.

Preparing for a Virtual Semester

Are you ready for a virtual semester?

Academic and School librarians, if you’re feeling uncertain as to what is going to happen this upcoming 2020-2021 academic year… imagine how your students feel. Anxiety and uncertainty are emotions that are part of this ‘new normal’. Will there be f2f classes? Will classrooms be fully or partially virtual? How will assignments be submitted and graded? How will group projects be handled? Where are the classroom, and library, resources? Like you, students have a ton of questions – most of which just can’t be answered right now… except one. Using Springshare’s LTI Tool – you can natively integrate library resources right inside student’s online courses. So the question, “Where do I find the library’s resources?” The answer is, “Right inside your online course!”


Last month we held a virtual webinar showcasing how you can natively integrate library content right inside your Blackboard, Moodle, Canvas, Sakai, Desire2Learn, or other LTI-compliant courseware tool. Reducing the amount of clicks a student has to take to find the relevant library resources can not only help to reduce their cognitive load but also their stress and anxiety. And if there’s anything that we all need right now, is one less stressor in our lives.

Library Resources Page inside of Canvas using Springshare LTI Tool

With Springshare’s LTI Tool, natively integrate:

  • Course-specific LibGuides
  • Subject-specific LibGuides Databases
  • Course-related reading materials with LibGuides E-Reserves
  • Subject-expert LibGuides Profiles
  • Live chat widget from LibAnswers (with optional 24/7/365 chat coverage)
  • Book a virtual librarian appointment using LibCal
  • Search library FAQs using LibAnswers
  • … and more.

Is there a recording?

There sure is! This 30 minute recording shows how you can integrate library resources right inside the courseware tool. And the best part, minus a few things your Office of Online Learning needs to setup, all of the controls of what displays are controlled by you! Yes, you get to choose which LibGuides display, which E-Reserves, which subject-databases, and more!

Are you ready for a virtual fall semester webinar

But wait, does this scale across hundreds/thousands of online courses?

Yes it does! If you’re looking at hundreds or thousands of online courses this upcoming semester and wondering, am I going to have to click ‘Add library resources’ thousands of times? The answer is no. Our automagic tool matches on metadata making it easier to integrate library resources across thousands of classes. Don’t believe us – Penn State University uses the Springshare LTI Tool across 30,000 online courses each semester.

Want to learn more?

If you’re interested in learning more, we have loads of resources for you!

  • Training Videos – If you already subscribe to LibGuides CMS or E-Reserves and want to learn how to setup the LTI Tool, these training videos have you covered.
  • Help Documentation – Whether you’re using Blackboard, Canvas, or another LTI-compliant courseware tool… our help documentation has you covered.
  • Get Pricing & Free Trial – If you don’t already subscribe to LibGuides CMS, LibGuides E-Reserves module, or other Springy Tools that integrate with the LTI Tool… contact us for pricing or a free 30-day trial.

Curbside Pickup/Contactless Checkout Options (Blog Series: Part Two)

LibCal and LibAnswers Scheduling and Communication Module for Holds Pickup

Last week’s post on LibCal Seats module generated a great response – thank you all. Our libraries are looking for solutions to help them reopen safely, and we’re excited to be helping with this process. Several current LibCal customers are helping us with the Seats module, so we are confident many of you will find the upcoming module very helpful as you navigate the use of library facilities in a post-COVID-19 world.

We hope you’ll like our curbside pickup/contactless checkout solution just as much. Depending on the particular needs for your library, you can already start utilizing what we have or wait for the upgrade release in the coming 4-5 weeks.


Three Options for Curbside/Contactless Holds Pickups

There will be three options available in LibApps regarding the curbside pickup – which one you will utilize depends on your library’s workflows. You can also start using the first option that’s already available and then expand/move to the other two options as they become available over the summer.

Option 1 – Scheduling of Pickups Only

Libraries using LibCal Spaces module can allocate dedicated spaces for curbside/contactless pickup and customize the setup to serve the need for scheduling of pickups. This functionality is already available in LibCal and you can/should start using it immediately.

We published a blog post on using LibCal Spaces for scheduling contactless/curbside pickup of library holds, and our training sessions on this have been among the most attended this year.

The setup works great and it’s free with your LibCal subscription! If you need to add a few additional Spaces to your LibCal subscription, contact us at sales@springshare.com and we’ll make it happen. If you don’t have LibCal but need a scheduling tool for curbside pickup/contactless checkout, contact us and we’ll work with you on a flexible pricing structure.

For those libraries that also want to add the communication component to holds pickups, we’ve got you covered! We’re building a new module in the coming weeks to help you meet this need.

Option 2 – Scheduling and Communication (or Communication Only) Regarding Pickups

Some of you have asked us come up with the communication process for holds pickups, too! While many libraries are happy with a tool for scheduling of holds pickups, some want to add the communication piece to the worfklows – or only focus on communication piece for holds pickups.

Great idea, we thought, so we’re busy working on an end-to-end solution for holds pickups/contactless checkouts. We are leveraging our expertise with SMS communication, email, and chat functionality from LibAnswers, to come up with a brand-new LibApps module to help libraries schedule and communicate with patrons about curbside pickups/contactless checkouts. This helps avoid miscommunication or missed pickups while also minimizing unnecessary contact with staff. Safety first!

Holds pickup workflow in the new module

  1. The library customizes the ILS holds arrival email template to include the link to LibCal’s curbside pickup scheduler.
  2. The patron receives the “your materials have arrived” email and schedules their pickup time using LibCal’s mobile-first web scheduler. The library controls how many pickup timeslots are available each day and when, to control the flow of users arriving to the library.
  3. LibCal sends a pickup confirmation email with instructions to patron how to communicate with the library when they’ve arrived for their holds.
  4. Upon arrival, the patron sends an SMS text or initiates chat to let the library know they’re here.
  5. The module automatically matches the message with the LibCal scheduled pickup so the librarian knows exactly who is picking up which materials.
  6. The librarian on duty receives the SMS or chat with the LibCal booking information and the patron info, and they drop off the materials at a pre-determined spot (parking space, outside table, front door, etc), as described in their pickup confirmation email.
  7. The system automatically records when the patron has arrived and gathers valuable statistics on patron interactions for follow ups, to help identify any pain points, and ideas for further workflow improvements.

Once you and the patrons try out this new workflow for holds pickups everyone will ask themselves why were holds pickups done any other way in the past? 🙂 We’re really excited about this new module because it will marry the best of Springshare’s technology for the purpose of truly improving the library’s workflows – not just during COVID-19 pandemic but in general, too. This new system will significantly enhance the value proposition and make it more convenient for your users to schedule and communicate with you about their holds.

We’re planning to release this new module in the first week of August, but in the meantime you can/should start using Option 1 (outlined above) because it will be an integral part of this new module, too. In other words, you will not waste any effort or lose work/customizations by starting on Option 1 now while we spend the next 4-5 weeks finalizing this exciting new module. Just like with the LibCal Seats module we’re working with several existing customers on this and if you have ideas and suggestions – please let us know, we’d love to hear from you.

Option 3 – ILS Integration (aka the Holy Grail)

This will not be ready for the early August release but rest assured that we’re not stopping our development on this module by then. We are planning the ultimate enhancement to the Curbside pickup/contactless checkout module – full ILS integration so the module will read the information about the holds directly from your ILS and write to the patron’s ILS record when the patron picks up the hold.

This upcoming ILS integration will make this new module an indispensable tool for libraries looking for a true end-to-end solution for curbside pickups/contactless checkouts. Your holds workflows will never be the same, and we’re not kidding about it, either. 🙂 We’re planning to release the ILS integration in September and if you’d like to work with us on it please contact us and let us know which ILS you use and we’ll put it on the todo list. One of the things we enjoy the most about our development process is working closely with our libraries so we cherish every opportunity we get to do this!

Learn More – Contact Us

Stay tuned to this blog, and subscribe to receive email alerts (enter your email address in the right column —>) to stay updated on when this functionality will be arriving in the coming weeks. Interested in being added to our contacts list? Email us at sales@springshare.com and we’ll be in touch as soon as this LibCal/LibAnswers module is released with pricing.

LibCal Seats Module – Safely Reopen Your Building (Blog Series: Part One)

Introducing LibCal Seats

We’re very excited to announce a new LibCal module designed to help our customers reopen buildings safely all while adhering to social distancing guidelines and prioritizing the health and safety of patrons and staff. This new tool can extend beyond the library, too! Academic campuses can use it for computer labs, media centers, student housing (e.g. washers/dryers), etc. Public libraries can collaborate with other public service departments needing an effective and affordable seat reservation system.

This is part one, of a two-part blog series, outlining new functionality we’re adding to our tools to help you reopen safely while prioritizing health and safety of everyone. There’s lots of good stuff to share so let’s get right to it…


Coming Early July – LibCal Seats

The LibCal Seats functionality is an optional module complementing the current LibCal Spaces reservations. It introduces bookable Seats inside Spaces that patrons can reserve and check-in/out of – all by using their smartphones thus reducing unnecessary contact with staff.  The new functionality also lays the groundwork for our forthcoming interactive mapping functionality for Spaces & Seats inside the library – wohoo! Here’s how the new Seats booking will work.

Seating and Spaces Setup

We’re introducing two new hierarchical layers that will help determine capacity and occupancy – Zones and Seats. With this, there will be a total of 4 layers for managing Seating and Spaces capacity in LibCal:

  1. Building/Location Capacity ->
  2. Zones within the Building/Location (new with July release!) ->
  3. Spaces Capacity ->
  4. Individual Seats (new with July release!
Quickly view Zones, Spaces, Seats – and Equipment – at each Location

Based on social distancing guidelines and the occupancy target (30%, 50%, etc.) admins can make certain Spaces and Seats active (bookable) or  inactive (non-bookable).  Each bookable Space and Seat has relevant information to help the patron reserving it (e.g. is it accessible, the description, a photo, etc.). Optionally, each Seat/Space comes with a unique QR code which can be printed and taped next to it, creating a contactless check-in/out process.

Define bookable seats within each Space. Allow users to book all seats in a Space or only one Seat at a time.

Realtime Occupancy Dashboard

The new Bookings dashboard gives admins an overview of Spaces & Seats occupancy and pending reservations. At any point in time the admin can see how many seats and spaces are occupied/booked and where these seats are – by Space, by Zone, or by Location.

Padding Between Bookings for Cleaning

Admins can setup booking rules for any group of Seats & Spaces, and adding padding around each reservation to allow staff time to clean & disinfect the Seats/Spaces (e.g. computer workstations, tables, chairs, etc.) 

Each Space is assigned to a category that details the type of Space it is (Study Room, Computer Lab, Carrels, etc.). At the Category-level, define the booking rules that apply to all Spaces/Seats assigned to the Category.

How It Works for Patrons

Patrons will browse and reserve the desired Seats/Spaces via a mobile-first interface on their smartphones. Once they’ve selected the Seat/Space and date/time, the patron fills out a booking form that the library can fully customize for its needs. LibCal admins can create as many booking forms as needed and even route bookings through a local authentication layer (CAS, Shibboleth, LDAP, Azure AD, etc.) .

Upon reserving a Seat or a Space the patron will get an email confirmation with a unique 3 character code in the email that they will use to check-in (and later, check-out), to identify their reservation. Once they reach their booked seat in the library, the patron checks-in by either scanning the QR code (if the library enables this option) or by loading a special URL on their smartphone. Libraries should encourage patrons to check-out as well, but if they do not, the user will be automatically checked-out at the end of the reservation.

This check-in/out process helps with contact tracing if needed. It’s also totally optional, and libraries can choose to disable it for privacy reasons. We’ve taken great care during development to enable libraries to abide by the privacy policies specific to their institution(s).

Each Space/Seat comes with a printable QR code for contactless check-in/out.

Excited? We Are Too!

Reopening your building in this “new normal” is a stressful and anxiety-inducing task, no doubt. With LibCal Seats, our goal is to take even just a little bit off your overburdened shoulders and help out with what we can. Contact us and we’ll work with you to make reopening a success and help ensure a safe and healthy experience for everyone!

Safe Reopening Part Two – Coming Later This Week!

Part two of our blog series, coming later this week, will knock your socks off with an awesome integration of LibCal and LibAnswers for curbside/holds pickup scheduling and communication.

If you’re looking for an end-to-end solution for hold pickups/contactless checkouts, you are going to love what we’re cooking up in our development labs – a true powerhouse combo for both the scheduling of curbside holds pickup and the communicating with patrons about it. Stay tuned for a big announcement later this week, right here on the Springy blog.

Shout Out to Our Community

These enhancements would not have happened without feedback/guidance/advice from our awesome current LibCal and LibAnswers customers who have helped us during development. We’re thankful to have such a great community of users, and we’re very excited to share the fruits of the collective efforts and collaborations with you all, to help our entire community reopen safely.

Onwards and upwards, to safe reopenings we go! Contact us anytime, for any reason – we’re here for you.

Using LibCal to Schedule Curbside Pickup

You might have heard of LibCal or perhaps you’re already an avid user. If you’ve never heard of it at all, LibCal is our web-based calendar & event management tool helping you:


But…. have you thought about using LibCal Spaces for scheduling and managing curbside pickup of library holds? Yes! LibCal Spaces is so flexible, it can be used to schedule any type of space whether it’s a parking space, a table outside the library, or any area you’d like to designate for contactless/curbside delivery.

Plus, by creating a booking schedule that you control – you can help to protect the safety of patrons by limiting and staggering when patrons pick up their holds. This ensures that there’s only one patron pickup request per designated time-period… eliminating crowds, lines, and potential ways for patrons to spread COVID-19 to each other, and to you and your staff. Protecting patrons and staff health and safety? It’s a win, win. Read on as we give a brief overview of how you can use LibCal Spaces to schedule and communicate curbside pickup of library holds.

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Setting Up a Holds Pickup Location

It all starts by creating a Location, “Holds Pickup” or “Curbside Pickup” under Admin > Equipment & Spaces > Create Location. Within your location, navigate to Spaces Tab > add a Category.

Create different categories for different areas that you’d like to designate for curbside pickup. Create categories for:

  • Parking Spaces
  • Tables Outside the Library
  • Entrances

Each category has unique spaces and you can define rules within each category relating to booking duration, booking window, and more.

Timeslot Settings

Within each Spaces Category, you can customize booking duration, booking lead time, padding between bookings. We recommend the following settings:

  • Booking Maximum Duration, Booking Minimum Duration, Booking Default Duration – should all be the same value, 10-15 minute timeslots.
  • Add Padding Between Bookings – give yourself a bit of a breather so you’re not running back and forth into the building.
  • Single Booking Multiple Rooms and Single Booking Same Room Multiple Times – set these options to not allowed.
  • Duration Limit – how many minutes a day a patron is allowed to book for? If you’ve setup 10min timeslots and you only want to allow patrons 1 curbside pickup/day > set this value to 10 / day.
  • Frequency Limit – How many bookings do you want to allow in a week? Can patrons come every day for a pickup?
  • Window Limit – How far in Advance can they book? We suggest 10 days or less

Defining Spaces

Upload pictures of each space and define where that space is in the directions area. This way patrons know exactly where they’re supposed to go to pickup their holds. When patrons receive confirmation of their curbside booking, the space’s directions {{{ROOM_DIRECTIONS}}} are included.

Customize the email confirmation to include instructions for curbside pickup, what happens if they miss their timeslot, and instructions on how to reschedule.

Create a Customized Booking Form

Setup a Custom Booking Form (Locations > Booking Forms) – to gather information about the user so you can be better prepared for their pickup. Examples include Car Make/Model/Color, Library Barcode Number so you can check out the items to them once they’ve arrived, and information on how to checkout items for other family members.

Creating a Booking Schedule

Does each Spaces category have a different schedule? Are parking spaces pickup only available from 10am-2pm Monday – Friday? Outdoor table pickups available weekends only from 9am-1pm? Each Spaces Category can have a different schedule of booking availability.

Routing Patrons to Curbside Pickup Scheduling

Add a link to scheduling curbside pickup to your ILS Holds Confirmation Email. Once patrons’ holds have arrived in the library, instruct them through the process of scheduling contactless pickup.

Tip: Add friendly URLs to your Curbside Delivery Location! This makes the URL much more accessible in the ILS Holds Confirmation Email.

Communication During Curbside Pickup

Is your patron running late? Are they in a different car than the one they specified on the form? Have they been waiting outside for 15 minutes and you haven’t seen them? Here are ways you can communicate with them during their curbside pickup.

Add Instructions for Texting the Library

If you’re a LibAnswers user, you might be using the SMS/Text-a-Librarian option therein. Your LibAnswers system has the ability to have a custom SMS number and you can even create SMS automatic keywords. When patrons text ‘PICKUP’ to your SMS number, it sends them an automated response with instructions. When they reply back, you’ll know that they’re outside, in which vehicle, and picking up holds for confirmation #123. Don’t have LibAnswers and want to learn more? Contact us!

Include this information in:

  1. In the ILS Holds Confirmation Email
  2. In the LibCal confirmation email they receive once they’ve booked their Spaces curbside timeslot
  3. On the LibCal Spaces webpage > description area

Don’t Have SMS/Text-a-Librarian Service?

Follow the same instructions above but include other ways they can contact you, from calling the library to let you know that they’re outside, to your email address, or all of the above.

We hope these steps provide you with some helpful guidance! Difficult decisions are being made at every level of library service, and COVID-19 has changed the way you can safely interact with your patrons. We’re working on adding functionality to help you service patrons remotely, create a schedule of curbside pickup for the safety of patrons and staff, and more. Stay tuned, this is just the beginning – we’ll have new features announce in the coming months!

Librarian Reserve Corps Fighting COVID-19’s Infodemic

At this point, you’ve likely heard that we’re battling an ‘infodemic’ in addition to a pandemic. Misinformation abounds and some of it is costing people their health and, unfortunately, their lives. But what you might not know, is that even the world’s top researchers, scientists, doctors, and specialists are also battling the infodemic. Sifting through the massive amount of data that is being published almost daily, identifying valuable and credible research studies from others, and trying to make hay out of the mountain of straw laid at their feet.

So, who did they call on to help them manage the 400+ new COVID-19 informational records being published each day? You guessed it, librarians. As Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes once said, “Data, data, data. I can’t make bricks without clay”. And the World Health Organization (WHO) needed librarians to separate the clay from the dirt so that researchers can get busy making those bricks.

It all started when Dr. Lina Moses, an epidemiologist and disease ecologist at Tulane University, was deployed to the WHO’s Geneva headquarters as part of their Global Outreach Alert & Response Network (GOARN) in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Lina began sifting through all of the COVID-19 resources and identifying and sharing the information most reliable and helpful to response teams. With hundreds and hundreds of new COVID-19 records being published each day, how you do identify, select, and disseminate the right information to doctors and researchers on the front-lines? Lina quickly realized she needed help and called on Elaine Hicks, Tulane University’s Health Sciences librarian, for her expertise.

Elaine Hicks quickly formed the Librarian Reserve Corps and put out a call for volunteers on the Medical Library Association’s (MLA) MEDLIB-L listserv. And boy, did she get them! A group of 130 librarians from around the world offered to pitch in.

For more details on how the effort began, take a look at Library Journal’s May 11, 2020, article “Librarian Volunteers Help WHO Make Sense of COVID Information.”

The original need revolved around a daily publication list she receives, reviews, and disseminates to WHO Operational Pillar leads. The list grew from a mere 8 articles to regularly including 400 or more. Our services have since expanded to include literature searching and facilitating collaborations among information providers. The sheer volume of literature hinders the response effort. Low quality evidence and a flood of commentary make it difficult to identify the most important, impactful literature. Our responders need help in this infodemic-pandemic. As librarians we have the skills to locate and curate information to help responders fight the pandemic.

Librarian Reserve Corps, Stacy Brody & Sara Loree

LRC volunteers Sara Loree and Stacy Brody reached out to us here at Springshare to see if we could help the Librarian Reserve Corps with their charge, and we sure did – in less than 48 hours – by installing free LibGuides CMS, LibAnswers Platform, LibCRM, and LibWizard systems for the LRC to accomplish their charge.

Sara Loree
Stacy Brody

We are using LibAnswers to receive and respond to requests for information from WHO and GOARN partner organizations. We also use it to post search strategies and results. We are using LibGuides CMS as a website and to build instructional guides for our volunteers. And, we are starting to explore additional opportunities to use this tool, e.g. sharing daily publication lists with GOARN-Research. We may use LibWizard to share surveys with and collect information from other information providers. By collecting the data in one place, we hope to be able to identify opportunities for partnerships and collaboration. We are new to LibCRM, but are hoping to use it for volunteer management. We are in need of a hosted, relational database that our leadership team can access to help engage our many fantastic librarian volunteers! Our current state of spreadsheets and surveys has been a significant challenge preventing us from staying connected to those interested in participating.

Stacy Brody & Sara Loree

We asked Sara and Stacy why they reached out to us here at Springshare for this very important responsibility.

Because so many of us use Springshare products in our daily work to share information and track reference requests, it was an obvious choice. It is a familiar, user-friendly, and trusted product that aligns with our services and is supported by a great team and training materials. Because your products are so flexible and intuitive, it is a platform that can grow and change as the organization evolves.

Stacy Brody & Sara Loree

Sara, Stacy, Elaine, and all the Librarian Reserve Corps volunteers, we are so honored to be part of the immeasurable and invaluable efforts that the LRC is undertaking. We’re all doing what we can to help each other during this crisis and we’re grateful to play a small part in the life-saving work you’re doing. You can never truly know when your expertise can help make a difference.