Archive for Talia

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.

Want to Learn More? Watch a Recording or Attend a Live Webinar!

Updated! We’ve added a detailed recording and step-by-step help guide.

Attend a live session – click to view dates below.

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.

LibAnswers’ Reference Analytics Research Study

Now, more than ever, we’re helping people. Helping family, helping neighbors, and even helping strangers. To that end, Springshare is helping Casey Roberson with his research study on how Academic Libraries use LibAnswers’ Reference Analytics “Add a Transaction” form. So if you have 20 minutes to spare and you’re an Academic Librarian using LibAnswers’ Reference Analytics – fill out Casey’s survey.

We’ve asked Casey to introduce himself and explain his study and its goals. Take it away Casey! 🙂

I’m Casey Roberson, a research & instruction librarian at the University of Georgia. I am conducting a study on how Academic Libraries utilize Springshare’s LibAnswers’ Reference Analytics “Add a Transaction” form. My hope is to discover commonalities/differences across institutions as well as best practices, with a goal of publication in a peer-reviewed library science journal.

Participation in this study is voluntary, and you are in no way obligated to complete the linked survey. You could even stop reading this blog post right now, if you wanted! But please don’t.

The survey asks 30 questions about your library’s use of the LibAnswers’ Ref. Analytics transaction form, what information you capture about reference interactions, and how you decided to capture that information. The survey shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes to complete. But, hey, it’s not a race.

If you choose to complete the survey, your answers will be recorded anonymously, and your participation will be our little secret. If any of your answers do contain information that could identify you or your institution, none of the identifying information will be made known to anyone or published.

You may withdraw from participating in the survey at any time, and leave it uncompleted. You may decline to answer any questions in the survey and still submit it with those unanswered. If you really wanted to, you could submit it with just one question answered, but honestly I’d probably have to throw out your response. You could start the survey, do some of the questions, save your progress, and then come back. It’ll be up for a month, so you’ve got plenty of time!

If you have questions about this study, send them over to casey.roberson@uga.edu.

Thanks in advance for your time and — I hope — participation in this study!

Tips & Tricks for the Remote-First World

As more and more schools are closing, events are being canceled, buildings are shutting their doors, and people are remote-working where possible in order to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve… your organization is facing a critical and time-sensitive situation. How do you provide virtual services to your patrons?

Here at Springshare, we know you’re under a lot of pressure and we’re here to help you adjust quickly and ensure that your library can provide effective support to online learners and community members that cannot physically be in the library. But first things first, we want to assure you that your Springshare Service will continue uninterrupted during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Academic & K12 Institutions

With most, if not all, courses at your institution being taught online, it’s important for your library to be where your students are. Whether that means embedding library services and content in courseware or providing remote research consultations…. if they’re remote, you need to be remotely accessible too.

Courseware Integration – Adding LibGuides, LibAnswers Live Chat, and LibCal Scheduling Services

We’ve written this stellar FAQ on three different ways you can embed your LibAnswers and LibChat content in your Blackboard, Moodle, Canvas, Sakai, and other LTI-compliant courseware tools.

The first method outlines using LibGuides CMS’ LTI-integration which allows you to embed not only a LibAnswers FAQ search box and a live LibChat widget, but also links to related LibGuides, LibCal appointment scheduler for online/remote research consultations, content-specific library databases, and more.

LibGuides CMS LTI Tool – creating a Library Resources page in Canvas with LibGuides, LibAnswers, and LibCal.

If LibGuides CMS is not in the cards, don’t worry – the other two ways outlined in the FAQ provide detailed instructions for embedding LibAnswers and LibChat widgets using either Javascript or non-Javascript methods. Bottom-line, if you need to integrate the library’s virtual reference services into your courseware tools… we’ve got you covered.

LibAnswers Screensharing + LibCal = Booking Virtual Appointments

If classes have gone virtual, your students still need research consultations – albeit virtually. Use LibCal Appointments to setup, manage, and communicate online appointments and conduct those sessions using LibAnswers Screensharing. LibCal Admins, learn how you can setup the Appointment Scheduler for optimal usage. We even have a dedicated training session available to show you how you can use LibCal for booking virtual help.

  • Training Session – Use LibCal Appointments to Book Virtual Help/Reference Sessions: Learn how to use LibCal to allow users to book Online Help Sessions with Appointments. We will look at using LibCal’s Appointments module to make it easy for your patrons to book one-on-one virtual appointments with you. Whatever your online hosting service is, from Skype to Zoom to Screensharing in LibAnswers, we will look at how to make this service more accessible to your patrons. Some settings that we discuss are Admin only, but all are encouraged to attend.
    • Thursday, March 19: 2:00pm – 2:45pm U.S. ET

Public / State Libraries

Though your buildings are closing their doors, there is a need now, more than ever, to effectively communicate and share extremely important public safety information with your community. We’ve seen an uptick in the creation of COVID-19 LibGuides, especially as it relates to sharing information on what public services are available, what’s closed, and more. Your LibGuides help shatter myths about the virus and communicate real facts and tips. Here are some of our favorites.

COVID-19 LibGuides:

 

All Libraries – Virtual Reference & Instruction Services

No matter what type of library you’re from, if your doors are closing for two weeks, a month, or longer, you might be exploring ways to provide virtual reference & instruction services to your patrons from the comfort and safety of your home to the comfort and safety of their home.

LibAnswers Virtual Reference Platform

If you need assistance with quickly pivoting to remote-only virtual reference service we can help with that. If you do not have an effective online chat platform with email reference capability, FAQ creator, live chat with screensharing & webinars functionality, and social media monitoring, or if you haven’t yet set some of these options up in your system, we can get you up and running on our LibAnswers platform quickly, including plenty of training / online help: live and recorded sessions, Springboards, and SpringyU courses on FAQ Groups (limit to LibAnswers).

  • Pro-tip Idea: You can use the LibAnswers Systems and Status Dashboard to share the status of various institution, city, or community services. Is the dining hall closed till further notice? Mark it as closed in your Status Dashboard. Is city hall accepting only pre-booked appointments? Note that in your Status Dashboard.

LibWizard Self-Grading Quizzes & Interactive Tutorials

Some of you are getting word out that your doors are closing and that you’ll switch to online services exclusively with just a few hours or maybe even a full day of notice…if you’re lucky. If you’re scrambling to develop lesson plans or instruction packets for K-12 students who are facing school closures for 2 – 5 weeks or college-level students who are going 100% virtual through the end of the semester, create LibWizard self-grading quizzes and/or interactive tutorials.

LibWizard quizzes and tutorials:

  • Work on all devices from tablet to computer;
  • Allow you to create an unlimited number of self-grading quizzes and tutorials;
  • Provide real-time formative assessment with correct/incorrect help text;

For public and K-12 libraries, consider liaising with your local K-12 schools to assist teachers in creation of tutorials and quizzes. Academic libraries, reach out to faculty and consider embedding a tutorial or quiz inside courseware. Public librarians, your patrons are self-quarantining and really want to download some ebooks. Create an interactive tutorial teaching them how to search, find, and download ebooks.

LibWizard Interactive Tutorial on Downloading eBooks

 

All Libraries – Bulk Canceling LibCal Appointments, Spaces & Equipment Reservations

If your building is closing suddenly, there’s a good chance that patrons have scheduled in-person appointments and reserved spaces/rooms & equipment via your LibCal Appointments, Spaces & Equipment modules. Now you have to cancel a lot of upcoming reservations and appointments…quickly. We’ve coded and released a new bulk delete feature for the LibCal Appointments, Spaces, and Equipment modules to help you with that process. This feature will be available to all regions by Tuesday, March 17.

LibAnswers 24/7 Global Cooperative

If you need extra (online) hands to staff and monitor chat to ensure after-hours, regular hours, or full 24/7 coverage, we can help with that, too. Our LibAnswers 24/7 Global Cooperative is the largest virtual reference cooperative in the world and our co-op librarians can lend a helping hand.

For those libraries who are already members of the LibAnswers 24/7 Global Cooperative, you might be noticing an increase in your virtual reference traffic due to campus closures, event cancellations, etc. We want to assure you that we are prepared to handle increases in chat traffic due to COVID-19. Our service philosophy, irrespective of COVID-19, is that we monitor incoming chat traffic trends and adjust staffing accordingly. This is to ensure that your patrons will enjoy shorter wait times and receive high-quality chat reference assistance 24/7/365.

COVID-19 Dedicated Training Series

Quickly pivoting to working from home might be new territory for you, so we’ve created several training sessions that cover: ways you can communicate important information to your community, building a LibGuide for a class that’s gone completely digital, and more. Can’t attend any of the below sessions? Don’t worry, all sessions are recorded and available online shortly after the session is held.

  • Keeping Important Info Up-to-Date with LibAnswers Widgets – manage important information about your library, school, university or business, etc, in relation to the current crisis. By creating a COVID-19 FAQ Group in LibAnswers embedding and updating important information will be easier. With widgets you will only need to update information in one location and it will automatically be updated everywhere your widgets have been used.

    •  Monday, March 16: 1:00pm – 1:45pm U.S. ET

  • Build-a-LibGuide for a Class That’s Just Gone Digital – with changes to how classes are being conducted, we need to adapt our methods for sharing information and resources. Join us for a 40 minute session where we will look at creating a guide to support a course that has just gone online.  This session assumes a base knowledge of LibGuides. If you are new to LibGuides we recommend that you watch or attend the Building a Guides Session prior to this one.
    • Wednesday, March 18: 2:00pm – 2:40pm U.S. ET
  • Use LibCal Appointments to Book Virtual Help/Reference Sessions –  learn how to use LibCal to allow users to book Online Help Sessions with Appointments. We will look at using LibCal’s Appointments module to make it easy for your patrons to book one-on-one virtual appointments with you. Whatever your online hosting service is, from Skype to Zoom to Screensharing in LibAnswers, we will look at how to make this service more accessible to your patrons. Some settings that we discuss are Admin only, but all are encouraged to attend.
    • Thursday, March 19: 2:00pm – 2:45pm U.S. ET
  • Engaging Online Learners with Quizzes & Tutorials – with the move to online instruction across the world, learn how you can create online quizzes and tutorials using LibWizard to supplement your instruction programs.

    • Tuesday, March 24: 2:00pm – 3:00pm U.S. ET

Bottom-line: we know that this is a very stressful and unnerving time-period. Both you and your patrons are going through a drastic shift, and we want you to know that we’re with you each and every step of the way. Springshare has you covered.

Update Regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Your Springshare Service will Continue Uninterrupted

We at Springshare see our mission as twofold: First, as a software company we provide web-based SaaS solutions to help libraries with their communication, outreach and user engagement efforts. Second, we strive to provide you with amazing support to help you accomplish your goals of assisting patrons with their research and information needs through our software. With the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, many institutions are canceling programs, classes, and events, while at the same time putting more emphasis on online teaching and learning (online-only classes and the like). Subsequently, the demand for your online & virtual services, online outreach, and online communication in general will certainly increase, too.


To that end, you have questions about how Springshare will be able to support you during this time. Rest assured we are ready to help and we’ll do what it takes to get you the assistance you need.

The Springshare Team – No Disruption of Service

UC San Diego’s LibGuide on the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Springshare is a remote-first workplace and we do not anticipate any disruptions in our operations due to the COVID-19 outbreak, as most employees work from their home offices. We also have ample staff resources available, so if some staff members were to contract the virus and are unable to work, other staff members would take over their duties to ensure no interruptions to the Springshare service or our company workflows.

Our cloud-based server infrastructure is located in various data centers around the world, hosted by AWS (Amazon Web Services), and we have no reason to believe that there would be server outages and/or connectivity problems due to COVID-19.

Therefore we believe that Springshare services and the availability of our apps will not be impacted by this outbreak.

Attendance at Upcoming Conferences & Shows

There are several upcoming conferences where Springshare has planned to attend. We currently intend to go to all upcoming conferences, unless they are canceled.

  • SCELCapalooza Vendor Day: March 12
  • Computers in Libraries (Booth #315): March 31 – April 2
    • UPDATE: This event has been canceled. Official statement from CIL.
  • ELUNA Annual Meeting: May 5 – 8
  • ALA Annual Conference: June 26 – 29

LibAnswers 24/7 Chat Cooperative – We are Prepared for Potential Increases in Chat Traffic

On February 28, the LibAnswers 24/7 Global Chat Cooperative launched! For those of you noticing an increase in your virtual reference traffic due to campus closures, event cancellations, etc…we want to assure you that we are prepared to handle increases in chat traffic due to COVID-19. Our service philosophy, irrespective of COVID-19, is that we monitor incoming chat traffic trends and adjust staffing accordingly. This is to ensure that your patrons will enjoy shorter wait times and receive high-quality chat reference assistance 24/7/365.

Our mission is to help you succeed – by providing great service to your users. To that end, since the Cooperative is staffed not only by Springshare 24/7 Librarians but also by libraries around the world who contribute hours to the Cooperative, we ask that you send any contribution hours changes here. We also request that you honor your contribution schedule during these uncertain times. We will continue to monitor the chat activity across the Global Cooperative and make adjustments, and communicate information, as appropriate.

PLA Conference Recap Including Guest Presenter Recordings

PLA-Recap

What’s not to love about Nashville? Great food? Check. Energetic vibe? Check. Amazing live music everywhere you turn? Check and check. We had a great time at the Public Library Association’s Annual Conference last week in Nashville. Springshare’s booth, not unlike the Grand Ole Opry, was absolutely jamming – we got to experience several amazing guest presentations, chat with clients and answer their questions, and munch on a few of those mini-tacos opening night (okay, maybe more like 15 – but who’s counting?!). In case you were #PLAleftbehind, we recorded our amazing guest speakers and a few of our own Springshare-led presentations. So kick back, relax, grab a mini-taco (or 15), and enjoy our post-conference wrap-up!

While we had a great time during PLA in Nashville, our thoughts go out to this vibrant city that suffered a devastating tornado just days after the conference ended. Many lives were lost and we are saddened by the destruction this wonderful city experienced. You’re in our thoughts.

Guest Speakers (15 minutes or less)

Sara-Nielsen

Ask Us: Using LibAnswers for Online Reference in a Multi-Branch Library

Sara discusses how they use LibAnswers for supporting online reference at the St. Charles City-County Library system.

Watch Presentation & View Resources



Managing Public Library Room Reservations with LibCal

Brigid and Katie explore how they use LibCal to manage the public room reservations at the John P. Hold Brentwood Library.

Watch Presentation & View Resources


LibCal is the Foundation for my Programming

Victor showcases how he is using LibCal as the foundation for his different programming activities. Using examples from his work with graduate students, he shows how LibCal can be used to develop, coordinate, and manage programming at any type of library, and across various locations/campuses.

Watch Presentation & View Resources


Scheduling Staff at a Large Public Library with LibStaffer

Gianna showcases how the Boston Public Library system schedules 300+ staffers across 20+ branches inside one LibStaffer system.

Watch Presentation & View Resources


Springshare-Led Presentations (15 minutes or less)

These amazing presentations are led by Springys! Not only do they contain really helpful info but also sneak-peeks at coming-soon functionality! Be on the cutting edge by checking them out below.

Want to Be a Springy Presenter?

If you’re looking at Victor’s, Gianna’s, or Sara’s presentations and thinking to yourself, “I have cool stuff to share, too!”… then you’re in luck! We’re looking for guest speakers for the ALA Annual Conference (June 26 – 29)! Take a minute and fill out our Springy Rockstars Wanted form.