Archive for Customer Service

Ideas for Re-engaging Patrons in LibAnswers

If you’ve been using LibAnswers for awhile, you might be looking for fun and new ways to reinvigorate and boost usage of your various LibAnswers services.It happens to all of us, we get into a groove and then coast along.

But, if you’re noticing your stats are staying consistently steady, or flatter than Wile E. Coyote after using a catapult (this pun brought to you by Springy Greg! 🙂 ), it might be time to consider implementing some of these tips to turn that plateaued bar chart into a steep spike!

Reimagining LibAnswers FAQs

In case you missed it, SpringyCamp – Springshare’s virtual user conference, occurred on July 31, 2019. Among the amazing lineup of presenters (all of which you can watch here), was a presentation by Mikki Smith from the Corning Museum of Glass on Reimagining LibAnswers FAQs.

Bit of Background

The Corning Museum of Glass has been using LibAnswers since 2014 and created most of their public FAQs from an old database of FAQs from a previous system. Many of the FAQs included attached .doc bibliographics.

Around 2016, they became a bit more selective about which questions should turn into public FAQs, but did not retroactively apply that criteria to existing FAQs.

In 2017, they began to add images to existing FAQs and to use FAQs to highlight exhibitions.

Then, in 2018, looking at data from Google Analytics, they decided to reimagine FAQs as a mobile-friendly experience. Why? Because they noticed that a large percentage of their visitors were from mobile-devices. Thankfully, LibAnswers comes mobile-first right out of the box. But with some small tweaks to their FAQ content, they were able to make their FAQs more user-friendly, more mobile-friendly, and saw their usage stats increase.

Corning Museum of Glass FAQ – On Desktop

Starting with 1,300 FAQs to revise, it was a big project to undertake. Here’s some of the tips from Mikki’s presentation on reimagining their FAQs as an up-to-date visually appealing set of questions:

Same FAQ – On Mobile

  • Visuals – The Corning Museum of Glass has gorgeous objects on display. They make full use of that by embedding images into their FAQs to enrich the user-experience.
  • Improving the Metadata – Improving the FAQ metadata (FAQ title, answer, keywords, topics) helps to improve the SEO and findability of their FAQs. From their Google Analytics data, they found that 80% of their FAQ-traffic came as the result of a Google Search. Meaning that most users weren’t starting at the Library website. They started at Google and then found one of the FAQs because of a Google search on their topic of interest.
  • Actively Linking to Content – The Library and Museum have a ton of content to share with users. Don’t reinvent that content in your FAQs. Link to it in your FAQs to improve SEO and reduce duplication of content and efforts. Mikki and the team try and have at least one link out to existing Library and Museum content on each FAQ so it’s more of an experience and an opportunity to explore.
  • Rich Digital Content – The Library & Museum have videos on their YouTube page. By embedding them in their FAQs, they’re actively promoting their digital content and improving the experience for the patron.
  • Establish a Workflow – Create a workflow to ensure FAQs are updated. Mikki’s team divided the FAQs so each librarian has a dedicated number to review each month.
  • Promote on Social – Proactively promote your FAQs on social media to improve findability and increase your digital outreach.
  • Highlight Exhibitions – Whether or not your library has exhibitions, you might do custom displays for books (i.e. Poetry Month) or a promotion of archives, or an event. Consider creating a LibGuide on that exhibition, event, or display and then embed FAQs right onto it. Corning Museum of Glass did this with their New Glass Now Exhibition LibGuide and then added a tab to their LibAnswers homepage to highlight those FAQs there too.

Highlighting Exhibition, Display, or Event FAQs right on your LibAnswers Homepage

 

Launching Proactive LibChat

If you’ve been offering virtual chat reference services for awhile now, your users might be accustomed to the service and your usage stats are steady, but not increasing.

If you’re looking for a way to increase usage stats of your LibChat reference service, without launching a whole new advertising campaign, consider implementing Proactive LibChat. Proactive LibChat simply turns your LibChat widget into a proactive one – popping out after a customizable period of time asking the user if they need help.

So, instead of waiting for them to ask for help, you can offer help first. Enabling Proactive LibChat is as easy clicking a check-box on your LibChat Widget Builder. We outline how to setup Proactive chat on this blog post.

Institutions that have enabled proactive LibChat saw varying increases in usage from 230% (CSU – Dominguez Hills) to 600% (University of San Diego’s Copley Library). While we can’t promise how your specific demographic will respond, recent research articles written by Michael Epstein from the University of San Diego’s Copley Library and another from Lydia Pyburn from The University of Texas at Arlington Library indicate that the answer is yes!

Upcoming Webinars – Guest Speakers

If you’d like to learn more about LibAnswers Proactive Chat, we have two upcoming guest speaker sessions from real libraries using Proactive LibChat. Sign-up below:

Optimized Session

If you’re in the European Union and you’d like to learn more about LibAnswers and proactive LibChat, we have an optimized time for you!

Prince Georges CC Uses LibWizard to Assess Student Success

An Easy Way To Get Important Data You Need.

Libraries are working very hard to provide excellent instruction, easy access to information, and responsive service relevant to the needs of their students, faculty, patrons, and staff.

If you know a little about LibWizard, you probably know that it allows you to make an unlimited number of custom tutorials, forms, and surveys. These are great for gathering feedback to help you know what you could be improving or doing away with, what patrons are enjoying and what they want even more of from the library.

However, Prince Georges Community College is also using LibWizard to build quizzes. Their library team has prioritized assessment and are taking a serious look at whether their students are learning. In the end, doesn’t all the work come down to this?

If You Know What Features You Need, It’s Easier To Find Your Solution.

Marianne Giltrud wears many hats as an Assistant Professor, Instruction Librarian, and Secretary in the Faculty Senate Academic Council at Prince Georges Community College. Assessment is one of her responsibilities. She relayed why she needed to find a new tool to address it.  They had quizzes built using some older technology. The person who created them left and neglected to hand over the admin rights so it was impossible to access the assessment data. Since Marianne was in a position to find a solution, she wanted one that could yield the data that she needed. Recalling her search, she said,

We used Google Forms for most of our surveys and forms. However, the google forms/spreadsheets do not provide robust enough data, for assessment. You can do pivot tables but not everyone can do them. LibWizard reports are easier to run and use.

I have used Survey Monkey for a variety of things, but it really isn’t designed for quizzes, per se. You can ask questions that are on a Likert scale but it doesn’t have the features like conditional logic, grading, feedback, timers, and more. LibWizard gives you a lot more options and ways to slice and dice the data.

Marianne chose to use LibWizard for a number of reasons. She said,

We already use Springshare products like LibGuides, LibAnswers, LibGuides CMS, so it made sense to go with LibWizard. However, it really was the reporting feature with Excel spreadsheets, the charts (pie, graph, bar, and table) and the quiz question features (conditional logic, grading, feedback, and timers) that was the deciding factor. Moreover, we had considered a proprietary InfoLit Tutorial but found that the assessment reports were very basic and it wasn’t customizable enough for what I needed.

The Goal Is To Assess Learning.

It can be taken for granted that the students are learning. Academic institutions are fully aware that this is a dangerous assumption. Marianne said,

Student success is a key metric for the college. Thus, assessment is very important to ensure that students are learning what they need to learn. We report student assessment in many ways.

The Library and Learning Resources Division strategic objectives tasked to me were:

• the creation of the interactive videos and with specific measurable outcomes.

• the creation of an information literacy instruction pre-test and post-test to assess learning in a one-shot face-to-face instruction.

Both of these required assessment data based on specific learning outcomes. I just reported the data in the FY 2017-2018 Strategic Plan. You’ll find more and more colleges and universities are looking at relevancy, assessment, student success, and ways to engage users.

Marianne had a plan and executed it. She said,

I created eight videos/tutorials and embedded the quiz at the end. I then embedded everything in a LibGuide Frame. In addition, we placed the Research Tutorial videos with a link to the quizzes on our YouTube channel.

Since I wanted to assess the learning, a quiz was the best option for me. I also wanted to use the grading feature, so that students would get the score once they completed each video/quiz.

You’ll find four quiz questions per video (32 questions in total). I created the learning outcomes and relevant quizzes based on the Association of College and Research Libraries Framework for Information Literacy as a guide to test the students’ knowledge. I created mostly multiple-choice questions but a few were true and false.

The End Of The Story? Done Correctly, It Never Ends.

The response to the work that the Prince Georges Community College Library has done with LibWizard is favorable. Marianne said,

The Library Director likes the data because it can be reported in the measured outcomes section of the Strategic Plan under the Unit Goals.

Faculty like how we have constructed a way for the students to get a copy of the grades directly or the students can take a screen capture of the grade at the end of the quiz and send that to their professor.

Even Marianne is happy. It’s funny how sometimes in order to begin to envision a good solution — you must first think about what you want to get out of it in the end. This was that kind of project for Marianne. She said,

The Statistics report gives a high-level overview including the mean, average and standard deviation. I like bar charts and tables for most of what I am conveying.

LibWizard is easy to use and the quizzes are can be built without a steep learning curve. It’s mostly a text editor.

Now, the students can keep viewing the library’s tutorials and they can keep taking quizzes afterward. The data will let the library know if learning is, in fact, happening — which is, of course, the best case scenario.

Arizona State Uses LibGuides for their March Mammal Madness

#2019MMM — Are You Playing?

If you’re on Twitter, even a little, you’ve probably seen someone enthusiastically cheering for a Bengal Tiger or proclaiming she’s Team Sea Lion, even pumped about a Bearcat for the win. You heard correctly, pumped.

It’s possible that at no other time of the year will you read so many academics use that word than during Arizona State University’s March Mammal Madness — a tournament that features mammals encountering other mammals in the wild and seeing who’d win.

In 2013, Dr. Katie Hinde, who as an Associate Professor at ASU investigates the food, medicine, and signal of mother’s milk, founded MMM — whose name is a play off of the NCAA March Madness Basketball tournament. Each year the madness spreads with more contributors, participants, and unabashed fans! You’ll find detailed instructions on how to play laid out in a special LibGuide they’ve built. The action is happening right now as they are currently mid-tournament with the Sweet Sixteen.

Using LibGuides to Organize the Madness.

March Mammal Madness is an educational opportunity to learn all about our planet’s species woven with a bracket and served as a thrilling competitive experience. Professors, scientists, researchers, students and classrooms of children from all over the world look forward to and passionately play MMM — and they play to win.

They might have started out making their picks based on mammals whose names they knew, like the Rock Wallaby or Beaver. But, after seeing how the encounters went down in the incredible narrations done by the tournament contributors, most realized it was important to do the research on the Bharal and Rakali!

Anali Perry, the Scholarly Communication Librarian at ASU, recalled that before using LibGuides, this tournament was all managed in Dr. Hinde’s blog. In 2017, as the tournament grew year over year, not just in popularity but in moving parts, Anali suggested they build a special guide for the tournament information in their LibGuides CMS system.

Anali said, “I spend a lot of time advocating for increased access to scholarly research. I think MMM is a fantastic example of how excited people of all ages can get about science and scholarship! It’s important to me to contribute to MMM each year because I can help point people to free and open sources of good information, as well as look for open access versions of articles cited.”

Anali said it wasn’t easy for people to find the information they needed on the blog so they built a LibGuide that wasn’t aimed toward the ASU community but was, rather, for participants all over the world.

  • In 2017, the LibGuide had 18,000 views over the 6-week tournament period.
  • 2018 saw 89,000 views over that same 6 weeks.
  • In 2019, the day the tournament dropped, the LibGuide had 100,000 views and is currently at 257,692 views at the midpoint.

 

The guide offers everything from an FAQ to the downloadable bracket. It features animal background information with free and open resources, resources for K-12, and academic information resources.  There are videos, mammal art, links to recaps and news. They even archive the MMM tournament back to its beginning and give information on ASUs researchers and current research topics.

The Power of a Great Idea

When people love what they’re working on, it shows and in the case of March Mammal Madness — it advances, running through the jungles, swimming against the currents, swinging to capture the imagination of mammal lovers everywhere.

It’s not just the players who are hooked.

Lara Durgavich, Lecturer at Tufts University recalls, “One of the saltiest battle outcomes I can remember was in 2018 when I narrated a battle between the common octopus and the green anaconda. Ironically, it ended poorly for the octopus precisely because the river where the battle took place wasn’t salty enough. Fans were not happy to see the octopus defeated by osmosis.”

MMM is fun and great for science. Mauna Dasari, PhD Candidate at the University of Notre Dame said, “In addition to all the fans (and associated trash talk), I really love how MMM is so often a marriage of old science with new communication. Papers (and whole PhD theses) documenting everyday behaviors get pulled from the annals of science and presented to the public in this completely new platform and style. In academia, we publish these very specific papers that can be hard to generate a lot of public interest in at the time (let alone 20 years later) but MMM bridges the gap beautifully.”

Finally, March Mammal Madness is rather brilliantly tailored to be interesting to children who often ask who would win in a fight between Superman and Batman? Marc Kissel, Visiting Assistant Professor at Appalachian State University said, “It is hard to imagine the scope of this project. Seeing tweets from kids who stayed up late to watch the battles and classrooms sharing their brackets is incredible. I’m honored to be a part of this.”

So, don’t be afraid of starting something outlandish! Educating people should be a bold adventure.

We would like to note that we did have a particular interest in this year’s round one battle between the Springhare (close enough) and the Jackrabbit. Yay, Springhare! Only to find ourselves crestfallen at the round two loss to the Bengal Tiger. Alas!

LibCRM Goals at UCSD Include Improved Patron Communication

Springshare had the pleasure of working with the awesome librarians at the University of California, San Diego, as beta-testing partners, of our newly released LibCRM Tool. In just a few short months, they’ve launched LibCRM with over 30,000 profiles imported. (wow!)

One of the best ways to learn about a tool is to see how other libraries are using it. To that end, we’ve interviewed Adele Barsh and Karen Heskett from UCSD to learn about their plans for LibCRM and what they hope to accomplish with it.

Adele Barsh

Karen Heskett


LibCRM to Improve Communication and Shared Information Between Librarians

By: Adele Barsh & Karen Heskett

We began wanting a CRM application as our library was going through a reorganization. We thought an application like LibCRM would improve our cross-team communications and allow us to take advantage of new report features that would help us evaluate and report out about our outreach programs and allow individual librarians to create meaningful activity reports on-demand.

We see a very obvious need for improving communications and shared information between our subject liaison librarians and others within the library who also are working with those very same faculty, staff, and students. For example, subject librarians will be able to see when format specialists worked with one of our faculty members (e.g., on data curation, digital collections, scholarly communication, or with our Data Librarian or our GIS Librarian), or interactions between other specialists at other service points, such as our Digital Media Lab and Special Collections.

Our first objective is to improve patron quality-of-service by communicating well with each other internally about specific patron needs; secondarily, we want to capture more statistics about what we do. We are excited about the potential for  LibCRM to let us run reports showing data about how thoroughly we are reaching our end users across many disciplines, for example, instead of relying solely on our anecdotal knowledge and bare bones statistics.

We’ve been a beta tester of LibCRM, and still are fine-tuning our set up. We plan for a roll out to our subject specialist librarians, format specialists and selected service point professional staff, followed by checking in with other librarians and staff members who are more peripherally-engaged in public services, to see their level of interest or if they come up with new ideas on how LibCRM could help them meet their service goals.

Karen adds (and Adele agrees!): One specific thing I am looking forward to using is the LibCRM BCC email option. As someone who does a significant amount of work via email, having an easy way to capture that as a data point is very attractive for me. Additionally, in keeping with our desire for better internal communication and as my activities become increasingly interdisciplinary, this allows me to keep others informed about these cross-disciplinary communications.

Adding the LibCRM System Email auto-routes the email interaction directly into LibCRM Customer Profiles

LibCRM to Aid in Pattern-Recognition and Metrics

We want to gather more statistics about individual transactions than we presently do, and we’re hoping there are enough useful features to the end-user librarian to entice them into becoming regular users.

We also want to see if there are larger patterns within the interaction that we haven’t noticed before, such as gaps of outreach to specific disciplines, or testing targeted outreach for what effect that has on subsequent engagement with a broader range of library services.

LibCRM Reporting Area in UCSD System. Run Reports on Graduate Students asking questions via email that are tagged ‘Digital Scholarship’ and ‘New Book/Journal Request’. Reporting area returns matching customer profiles so you can identify who is, and isn’t, interacting with the library.

Projects & Task Management Area Considered Experimental… For Now. 😉

We’re feeling experimental so far about the projects and tasks areas. We think they might be great for tagging follow up needs (e.g., a subject librarian uncovers a scholarly communications or data curation need, or vice versa, and wants to alert the other librarian).

We’re initiating small group testing with a goal of introducing the features, and then seeing what ideas our librarians and professional staff come up with. We love “process” here, so we think some exciting applications can emerge.

Springshare Client Stories: Usage Examples From Your Peers

It’s Great To Have An Idea. It’s Even Better To Have Examples.

Making improvements is the name of the game. You’ve listened to the feedback on the services you offer… and have made a point to get started on providing those that you don’t. The priority is making sure your library is as useful to your patrons as possible. There have been meetings and plans. The projects are assigned. You have a vision for what you can do with the solutions you own. But, it’s helpful and practical to see what other libraries are doing. Reading about how your peers have come up with additional uses or found innovative ways to use features — this exchange is invaluable as you tailor your library to meet patron needs.

Springshare understands how beneficial it is for our clients to see how other libraries solve problems, implement new services and, what’s more — learn how people have responded to the work they’re doing. We’ve had the Springshare Lounge since the very beginning. We share client usage examples in this blog. Plus, we have dedicated a section of the Springshare Buzz site to in-depth Client Stories. Examples are essential in life. If you were tiling your bathroom for the first time, you’d probably watch a video. If you were bungee jumping, you’d want someone else to go first!

Get In The Mix.

The Client Stories in the Buzz Site feature many types of libraries. You’ll find stories about Academic, Public, Government, Hospital and, soon, we’ll feature a School library. They all highlight ways your peers are using Springshare tools.

Sometimes, we explore a singular accomplishment. For instance, the story on Penn State University covers how they have a library presence across 30,000 online courses using the LTI integration tool in LibGuides CMS. Other times, you’ll discover a story that shares how a library, like the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Public Library, uses the Springshare Suite of tools.

Don’t box yourself in. Get in there are read about how all kinds of librarians are working toward providing outstanding service.

Great Minds Prioritize Alike.

Client Stories align with your current and future projects because they’re all about your peers. Don’t be surprised to see segments that look a lot like your to-do lists or your recent meeting agenda talking points. Great librarians. Great minds. Great community.

Are you thinking about using the LibGuides Blogging tool for a newsletter?

  • In the VDOT Research Library Client Story, it says, “For years, the Associate Director Ken Winter and the librarians wanted to have a weekly E-Newsletter. Their motivation was to use the LibGuides CMS blog feature to share new resources and publicize cool guides they had built, write about general library information and highlight research news.”

Have you been considering using the LibAnswers Platform but would love to hear how it’s working for libraries?

  • The story on City, University of London quotes Lucy Clifford, the Library Systems Manager/Analyst/Programmer who says, “We’ve had great feedback from our users about the booking system and chat services in particular. We’re involved in an externally scrutinised customer service award scheme (the WOW! Awards) and a substantial number of the nominations received by library staff for these have resulted from LibChat enquiries.”

Wondering if you’re using LibWizard to its full potential?

  • The Southern New Hampshire University story shares an innovative use for LibWizard. Their reference librarian built a simple LibWizard Reference S.O.S. form, which they’ve embedded in the LibAnswers Admin Alert Box. Jennifer explains that, “We needed some way for them to really quickly call for help because an email takes too long and a phone call also. Basically, as long as they have the dashboard up, with 2 clicks they can get help. It will email all the reference librarians at once and just asks for help.”

There’s a wealth of knowledge and experience out there. Librarians are innovators with some of the same goals as you and, often, the same challenges. It’s constructive and efficient to learn how some addressed their dilemmas.

Hot Off The Presses!

The newest Client Story was just published this week. Check out the work being done by the team at Geisinger Health. Library Director, Tricia Ulmer discusses their journey with Springshare tools, the problems they were trying to solve and illuminates us on why “…medical libraries are the place to be.”

Springshare loves learning about the excellent ideas our clients have imagined and implemented using our tools, so what else would we do but listen and praise and share them with you! Happy reading.

 

ALA Midwinter 2019 Guest Presentations Now Available Online

If you missed the 2019 ALA Midwinter in Seattle, you not only missed beautiful weather (it was actually sunny, no rain, every single day!) but also our amazing line-up of guest speakers. But have no fear and put away that sad trombone music, because we have something great in store for you!

Watch all guest presentations and download presenter materials on our ALA Midwinter 2019 Guest Presentations Buzz Guide. Huzzah! Cue happy trombone music!

But, that’s not all. We also have recordings of three Springy Trainer-led sessions that we did at ALA Midwinter as well! From Springy Carrie presenting on the brand-new Screensharing functionality in LibAnswers to Springy Michelle highlighting the new LibStaffer Workflow forms, these are awesome (and short!) videos to consume.

While you’re there, you might notice that all videos are hosted on our Facebook Page*. That’s because we use Facebook Live to stream these guest presentations… 100% live. So please bear with us if they’re not 100% polished and sparkling, the beauty of live video streaming is that we’re all on this journey together – and the hiccups are what make it interesting. And hey, while you’re looking at this videos on our Facebook page …why not take a minute and LIKE our page? This way, the next time we stream amazing guest speakers, you won’t miss out on seeing them. And remember, if you want to receive notifications in your Facebook Feed, you’ll also need to adjust your notifications to ON. This way, you won’t miss out on product updates, video presentations, Facebook Live streaming, and more.

These 15-minute guest presentations by Springshare users will get you thinking about the new and interesting ways you can use your Springshare tools.

Guest Presentations

(times vary between 17min – 12min in length)

Fort Vancouver Regional Library: LibAnswers Queues and FAQs in a Public Library Setting

While LibAnswers can be used to answer patron questions, the sky is really the limit in how you use it to manage patron communication. Learn how Fort Vancouver Regional Library customized queues for Reading Suggestions, Proctoring, and Technology Assistance services, and see how they use FAQs to proactively address trends in patron questions.

East Central University: Strength-Share: How the Linscheid Library Used Springshare’s Discussion Board for Librarian Team-Building

The librarians at East Central University underwent a project in 2018 to improve employee communication and relationships. Watch Patrick Baumann present on the project origins and more. Learn creative ways to use Springshare products to improve their work environment.

Troy University – The Library Has That?: Using LibGuides to Promote Library Services.

The Troy University Librarians provide services to students, staff, and faculty at four Alabama campuses and around the world. LibGuides were used to provide a centralized point of reference to answer recurring questions. Watch librarians Kelly Wilson and Rachel Hooper as they discuss these guides and how they have impacted their librarians and services to their patrons.

Texas Tech University: Using LibGuides Across Subjects: A Science Librarian Perspective

Science Librarian Jessica Simpson discusses how she’s customized guides to meet the needs of students across disciplines. Watch and take away great tips for making your guides more useful.

Springshare Trainer-Led Sessions

(sessions are no longer than 10min in duration)

*Note: You do not need a Facebook account to watch our videos, simply ignore the login/sign-up information and proceed.

Get Creative. Let Your LibGuides Imagination Run Wild.

LibGuides Is Your Efficient & Effective Multi-Tool.

While the cake pop maker you got as a gift sits in your pantry with many other one-purpose small appliances, you probably think about regifting it at least four times a year. You already know that LibGuides can help you build subject guides, course-specific guides, guides you use to outline your orientation sessions and — for public libraries — guides for everything from Taxes to Genealogy to Job Searching and beyond.

LibGuides is so flexible because we didn’t design it to do those things. We designed it to communicate. LibGuides can also be your megaphone, your bulletin board, your invitation, and your checklist. It can be your newsletter, your blog, your virtual book club… you see where we’re going with this. It can be your go-to way of starting any conversation with your multiple audiences and — while you’re at it — it is a scrapbook of all the cool things you’re doing and sharing! If you have LibGuides CMS, it can be your intranet, your sandbox and more! Check out some really great ways people are using LibGuides to say — anything.

Keep Everyone In The Loop.

LibGuides are easy to build and, just as important, they’re easy to keep updated. They’re a perfect fit for building guides that are important to everyone. The University of South Carolina Upstate Library turned to LibGuides to keep everyone updated on the Library renovations. They designed a visually striking image and put it in the top box that spans the columns. They included images and have a tabbed box they’re using as a monthly blog to detail progress and share timelines. They’ve even got a top-level tab that contains Conceptual Drawings and Plans. It’s a stellar example of keeping their community engaged and in the loop.

 

Conferences, Vendor Days, Annual Meetings and Events. Check!

Organizing a big event takes creativity, organization, attention to detail… and then you have to market it and make sure your audience has all the pertinent details. If you’re a frequent attendee, you know how helpful a good event site can be. The West Virginia University Law Library built a guide for the SEAALL Annual Meeting. It features side-navigation tabs that share information about

  • Registration
  • The Schedule
  • Accommodations
  • Networking activities and more.

The best part? Since they also have LibWizard, if they wanted to get feedback, they could add a survey to the guide and ask attendees to fill it out after the event.

Publicize a Contest.

Bulletin boards are great… if you’re looking for a drummer. But if you need to share more information, you should head to LibGuides. The B.D. Owens Library at Northwest Missouri State University is asking for submissions of a paper or project for their Undergraduate Library Research Awards. They have conveyed the deadline, listed the prizes, shared the date and time for the ceremony. Plus, they utilized the tabs to define the eligibility, the criteria and even have a section noting previous winners. LibGuides is designed with promotion in mind. During the publication stage, they can share this guide via Twitter and Facebook. Plus, friendly URLs are great for sharing the link. When you want to get the word out — but there are definitely more than two words, (i.e. “roommate needed!”) we’ve got you covered.

Foster A Sense of Community with a Book Club.

Libraries are using the Blogging feature in LibGuides to announce exciting additions to the collection, to introduce a new member of the team, to share a new service being offered, and — in the case of Boston Children’s Hospital — to post information about their Book Group. People can subscribe to the blog. They can view recent posts and even check out the archive. Engagement is encouraged with integrated commenting. Behind the scenes, the bloggers can manage subscribers, create a blog widget and, to really up the broadcast game, they can easily share a published blog on social media.

Possible Future Projects

If you want to nurture your creativity in 2019, we’re here to encourage more limitless thinking. We’ve got excellent videos on-hand for you to peruse and new live sessions to keep you discovering (sign-up to get Training email alerts!).

Building LibGuides for Current Events

In our most recent newsletter, we talked about creating #TrendingNow content. To summarize, the most successful teaching sessions are based around an assignment, project, or task.

Context is key. And contextual learning leads to long-term learning.

That same concept applies when you connect learning resources with #TrendingNow current events.

Patrons are far more likely to deep-dive into a topic when the subject matter is topical, trending, and “hot right now”.

 

U.S. Mid-Term Elections Are Six Days Away!

The U.S. mid-term elections are only six days away! The news cycle is 24/7 continuous coverage on this hot-button event. What better way to position the library as a leader in information-sharing that creating a topical LibGuide on the Mid-Term Elections.

  • Think Local – Share local, district, state-level races as well as ballot proposal questions.
  • Distill Information – Share ways to register to vote, how to find your local polling place, and suggestions for best times to visit the polls.
  • Inform – There are a lot of fake news resources choking people’s inbox, their social feed… and their brains. Use your Elections / Voting LibGuide to break myths, communicate accurate information, and explain how to be an informed citizen.

 

Pikes Peak Library District – Voting & Elections LibGuide

Stevens Institute of Technology – Vote New Jersey LibGuide

What Other Kinds of Guides Can I Make?

#TrendingNow content doesn’t just have to be about the upcoming elections. Unfortunately, hurricane season is upon us and North America is seeing an uptick in the severity and frequency of hurricanes. Other areas have natural disasters to contend with too, like earthquakes, blizzards, and more.

If you’re in an area with hurricanes or other natural disasters, a Disaster Preparedness LibGuide is an effective way to communicate important information.

To illustrate, the East Baton Rouge Parish Library is the largest library system in Louisiana covering the capital city of Baton Rouge and the surrounding parish. EBRPL services a large community with nearly 350,000 card holders, 14 branches, and an annual circulation of 2.5million items. EBPL has 160+ active LibGuides and they receive roughly 150,000 hits to those guides annually. In 2016, their LibGuides were instrumental in providing resources for a struggling community. From their Disaster Assistance LibGuide to Coping with Traumatic Events LibGuide – these resources were invaluable to citizens. Watch EBPRL Librarian Andrew Tadman present at our 2016 virtual SpringyCamp conference on how their InfoGuides helped citizens during these trying times.

As Andrew stated,

“During the 2016 flood, information was coming out over social media from different news outlets, kind of all over the place. And sometimes, it was contradictory information. So, we knew immediately we had to get a guide setup to create a one-stop resource of curated information. We didn’t want to overwhelm people by just putting every link possible that we could find out there. So we just to focus it on just what people need right now, what’s the most important things. There was lots of gossip and rumor about what you’re supposed to do, where you’re supposed to go, what you’re not supposed to do, including bad information about shelters, and incorrect information on documenting damage for FEMA. Additionally, information from the official city offices wasn’t getting out quickly enough. And that’s where the speed of LibGuides came in. We were able to get information up quickly, link to it on our library website, share it on social media, and disperse it. The mobile-accessibility was important to be able to access this information.”

Arizona State University – Hurricane Florence LibGuide

Add #TrendingNow Tag

Whatever LibGuide you decide to build, whether it’s on a patron’s chance of winning the 2018 $1.5billion combined lottery or on how the European Union’s Parliament works with Angela Merkel’s recent retirement announcement, add a #TrendingNow tag to your LibGuide.

Big thanks to Sally Stieglitz from Adelphi University for this idea! Sally’s created awesome LibGuides on #ThanksForTyping: Women’s Invisible Labor in Academia and Publishing, Fake News and Alternative Facts, and the 20th Anniversary of Harry Potter.

#TrendingNow guides can have a short shelf life, so use tags to organize them. Then, when they’re considered ‘old news’ simply remove the tag or consider unpublishing them to keep your guide list manageable.

To advertise your #TrendingNow content, create a widget connected to your #TrendingNow tag, embed that widget on your homepage, and voila – you’re creating a quick & easy shortcut for patrons to view your #TrendingNow content. Every guide you build or take down will auto-update that widget.

Beyond The Library: LibCal Usage

Lately, we’ve been discovering more and more examples of non-library folks showing an interest and later purchasing LibCal for use by their teams and the customers they serve. While it may have started in the libraries, it’s clear that many are catching on to the fact that LibCal — with its awesome features and, yet, simple interface — works beautifully in so many different settings.

As Heather Westerlund, IT Manager at Walden University Libraries, stated in an in-depth interview on how Springy Tools have expanded beyond the Walden Uni. Libraries,

Just because it has the word ‘Lib’ in it, doesn’t mean that only the Library can use it!

If you need calendars, appointments, have spaces, perhaps equipment and want to share your hours, LibCal can work for you, too — no matter what it says on your office door.

The essential LibCal.

LibCal is made up of 4 components with an optional 5th that is an add-on module. They work together to form a complete integrated calendaring solution that is flexible enough to be used beyond the library.

It’s cloud-based, mobile-first, affordable, boasts in-depth statistics to help you make data-driven decisions and comes with Springshare’s free training and support.

Libraries have been recommending more than books.

In some institutions, LibCal use is really spreading. Emory University in Atlanta now has 6 LibCal systems, 4 of which are being used outside the library in offices like the Scholarly Communications Office, Tutoring, Student Digital Life, and Campus and Community Relations. There are a number of excellent examples of other departments on academic campuses who are successfully using LibCal for their needs.

 

At Florida Atlantic University, the Office of Instructional Technologies has a LibCal system that they use for upcoming events, room booking and appointment scheduling.

Recently the Human Resources office at FAU also purchased a LibCal system.

 

 

 

 

 


Arizona State University has a Digital Creative Studio that is using LibCal Calendars for events.

They use the Equipment Booking Add-on Module for reserving computer workstations, and the Spaces booking for reserving event space and video studios.

Appointment Scheduling: It should be nice (and easy) to meet you.

LibCal saves you the troublesome back and forth of emails where you keep trying to nail down a time that works for both parties.

Add your availability, create a custom form for people to fill out, and even set up different types of appointments that have appropriate durations.

While students do meet with librarians, imagine all the other departments on campus that have personnel that also meet with students or faculty, etc.. The Southern Methodist University Advisory Group uses LibCal to allow people to schedule appointments with

  • Academic Counseling
  • Academic Services
  • Pre-Health Advising
  • Student Athlete Academic Services
  • Simmons Student Academic Advising
  • the University Advising Center
  • and the Student Transfer Admission department

Booking spaces, rooms and more!

We’ve heard just about everything when it comes to how people are handling the booking of spaces and rooms. With all the conference rooms and performance spaces, computer labs, classrooms, auditoriums, etc. on site, having a simple way to make them available and manage them is in order. The Spaces component is one of the main draws to LibCal. People are really creative in how they use it — because it’s flexible enough to suit many needs.

The Oklahoma State School of Business is using LibCal Spaces for their breakout rooms.

 

An innovative use comes to us from the Thompson Rivers University Sustainability Department which is using it to allow people to book cars as a way of car sharing.

Equip yourself with tools for success.

Maker spaces are popping up all over. We’ve seen a rise in interest from them in recent years and they use LibCal to highlight workshops and classes. They let people book appointments with artists and experts and techs. They use the Equipment Booking Add-on Module to make their devices, machinery, tools, and equipment available. It’s proving to be a great pairing.

The Innevation Center at the University of Nevada, Reno is doing awesome things with LibCal. Here’s the Equipment Module in action there.

 

So, here’s to the same energy that prompts a person to tell another about a really great book or movie or restaurant. Word of mouth is powerful, even in the tech world — but only if the solutions really work. LibCal is an excellent tool that helps you seamlessly allow your students, faculty, staff, and patrons to take advantage of the services, classes, workshops you offer, to meet with you, to reserve your spaces and equipment — to engage with you. And, if they are doing that — you’ll all be a wild success.

Springshare Integration with Discovery Layers

In a recent interview with Springshare, LibApps power user Amber Tatnall, Director of Library Learning and Resources at York County Community College in Maine stated,

I think if folks don’t integrate everything, they’re missing an opportunity to reach someone.

From the moment we wake up, we make thousands of decisions a day. Opportunity Cost, or the cost of doing X at the expense of Y, is an often used mechanism for decision making. However, an often missing piece of these mental algorithms is the cost of doing nothing. Within libraryland, the cost of doing nothing can manifest itself as lower user engagement or reduced web traffic hits.

If your library subscribes to a discovery layer product like EBSCO Discovery Service, Ex Libris Summon, or Ex Libris Primo, there are multiple ways you can integrate your Springshare tools into your Discovery layers.

These integrations allow you more virtual touch points to ‘reach’ your users with a minimum of effort.

What can you integrate?

When it comes to discovery layer integration, your mind might immediately jump to LibGuides integration. And that’s great! LibGuides is a great fit for integration with your discovery layers. However, if you subscribe to multiple Springshare tools – you can (and should!) integrate them all. Let’s explore!

  • LibCal – integrate your LibCal events so when users search on “MLA”, your upcoming Citation workshops display prominently.
  • LibAnswers LibChat – embed a LibChat sidebar widget so no matter where a user ends up in your discovery layer, there’s always a way for them to ‘ask for help’.
    • Pro Tip: Create a proactive chat widget timed to pop out around the 3 – 4 minutes mark. If a user is on a discovery layer page for at least 3 minutes (that’s a long time!), your LibChat widget can slide out and ask the user if they need help. In a recent College & Research Libraries News article, librarian Michael Epstein found that proactive chat led to a 600% increase in user engagement.
  • LibAnswers Systems & Services Management Tool – Make use of the Systems & Services Management Tool to create a discovery layer-specific widget that integrates LibChat, relevant FAQs, and a feedback mechanism for patrons to submit an idea, report a problem, or share praise.

The New School embeds the Systems & Services Management Tool Widget right into their Primo Discovery Layer.

  • LibGuides E-Reserves – when students see a search box, they assume it works like Google. Enter anything in it, and you’ll get some results. If you subscribe to our LibGuides E-Reserves module, you can integrate your course reserves in Dublin Core format right into your discovery layer via OAI-PMH. This way, when a student inevitably types “Professor Smith” into your search box, they’ll actually get relevant results.
    • Pro Tip: We support custom Dublin Core metadata fields so you can customize how your E-Reserves display in your OAI-PMH compliant discovery layer.
  • LibAnswers Ask Us Form – Northeastern University used the LibAnswers API to create a custom ‘Report a Problem’ form in their discovery layer. Submissions get routed to LibAnswers with the discovery layer URL automatically added.

LibAnswers Form auto-populates the URL of where the user was in the discovery layer

Integrated a ‘Report a Problem’ LibAnswers Form

  • LibCal Equipment Booking Add-on Module – integrate your ‘library of things’ into your discovery layer using the robust LibCal Equipment Booking API. This way, when users search on 3D printers, or makerspace labs, they can actually view and reserve time using your equipment!

Where can I learn more about Discovery Layer integration?

Ask, and you shall receive! On September 19, Springshare conducted an in-depth training session on integrating Springy tools with EBSCO EDS, Ex Libris Summon, Ex Libris Primo / Primo VE. We even had a guest speaker from EBSCO, David Podboy, as well as Laura Guy, recent retiree from Colorado School of Mines, to showcase Springy integrations complete with examples and instructions.

The good news? You can watch this recording and download the presenter slides, which include detailed examples and instructions.

We hope you’ll take some time to watch the video and learn how you can avoid the cost of doing nothing by integrating your Springy Tools into as many virtual touch points as possible. As Amber stated, “… if folks don’t integrate everything, they’re missing an opportunity to reach someone.

Click to access our discovery layer training session, including examples and presenter notes and files.