Archive for General

Springshare Support Closed for Holidays

It’s been said before, but it is worth repeating – 2020 has been a year. Springshare support is not only excited to say goodbye to this really tough year but also to take some (well-deserved) time off. ICYMI, in our recent newsletter – the Springshare Support team answered 35,000 support questions this year… up 19% from 2019. We also taught training sessions to 8,500 attendees, had 20 major product releases, and more. Phew, we’ve been busy! Therefore, our Springshare Support, Training Team, and our Facebook and Twitter accounts will be closed for a few days over the holidays.

Springshare Support Schedule
(Including Training & Social Media)

Closed

Will be monitoring for emergencies. All non-emergency questions will be answered when we reopen.

  • Thursday, Dec 24
  • Friday, Dec 25
  • Friday, Jan 1

Reduced support hours (9am-5pm U.S. EST):

  • Monday, Dec 28 – Thursday, Dec 31

Springshare 24/7/365 Global Reference Will Be Open!

Our Springshare 24/7 global reference service, which backs up your reference chat service with MLIS-degreed librarians, will be open! When we say 365 days a year, we mean it. 🙂

If you’re interested in adding 24/7/365 chat coverage to your reference outreach, contact us at sales@springshare.com.

If You’re Still Working… We Have Suggestions!

If you’re still working over this holiday season, we have some suggestions for you to help make the most of your time!

SpringyU – is all about self-paced learning via short videos. Choose to learn with Blocks or beef up your skills with Courses. If you’ve got 5 minutes or a lot more than that, you can attend SpringyU right from your chair. 

Pickup Manager Blocks on SpringyU

SpringyNews – Find yourself in the midst of a slow period? Peruse our latest newsletter, which just so happens to be our 50th edition!

Springshare Buzz – Been hearing the buzz about Pickup Manager, and want to check it out? Or perhaps you’ve been hearing a lot about the LibAnswers Co-Op but don’t know what it is? Does a 5-minute LibCal Seats overview video sound exactly like what you’re capable of handling today? Check out the Product Highlights page on the Springshare Buzz Site for quick looks and more.

Catch up on Updates – It’s really helpful to keep up with all the new features and fixes for Springshare tools that are now available to you. Plus, we also released a mini-update for LibCal last week!

Opt In – for the gift that keeps on giving. Or follow us on Facebook and Twitter so you can check out the stories we’re sharing all year long.

We want to thank you for continuing to be our awesome’sauce clients in what was most certainly a difficult and turbulent year. We are so grateful for the opportunity you’ve given us and the trust you have in us to help you and, ultimately, your patrons. Thank you for sharing your feedback, suggestions, and wishlists and for your never-ending example of true dedication. We’ll see you in the New Year and goodbye 2020!

Springshare Holiday Hours & Support Schedule

It’s that time of year again, the holidays are almost here and we’re seeing an end to 2020 (thank goodness!). To that end, our Springshare Support Team schedule will see some modifications during this holiday season. Have no fear, your support question will be answered. Additionally, we will be monitoring our support queue, Twitter, and Facebook for emergencies.

Support & Social Media

Closed (monitoring for emergencies):

  • Thursday, Nov 26
  • Friday, Nov 27
  • Thursday, Dec 24
  • Friday, Dec 25
  • Friday, Jan 1

Reduced support hours (9am-5pm U.S. EST):

  • Wednesday, Nov 25
  • Monday, Dec 28 – Thursday, Dec 31

Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season.

Introducing the New (and Improved!) Springshare Lounge

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

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

Earn Points & Level Up!

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

Earn points when you:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leveling Up Perks:

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

What types of posts will I see in the Lounge?

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

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

So, How Do I Sign-Up?

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

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

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

Creating a Profile & Community Guidelines

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

… And You’re Off & Running

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

How They Did It: Gwinnett Technical College Welcomes Fall 2020 with LibCal Seats

2020 has been a difficult year, for sure. Most of us are likely ready for it to end so we can flip a page of sorts. However, for the world of Academia, Fall is kind of a new beginning. This fall every student in the country is starting a new year – the academic year – some for the first time and some for their final year of college.

This fall term is brimming with excitement — mixed with anxiety. For the institutions that serve these students, faculty, and staff, there is hope bolstered by careful planning and thoughtful execution. And, while they tell you in school to keep your eyes on your own paper, these days, we need all the great examples we can get. Sharing knowledge in the days of COVID-19 is how we’re going to strategize against its spread and prudently move forward.

Gwinnett Technical College Prioritizes Health & Safety

Director of Library Services, Deborah George, and the library staff at Gwinnett Technical College share answers, valuable experiences, and tips in this LibCal Seats Q&A. You’ll learn how they worked together to welcome everyone back to campus with the knowledge that this fall, like no other, providing peace of mind had to be added to the to-do list.

Gwinnett Technical College Fall 2020 Opening Day

A New Look at Creating a Safe Space

When did you launch your LibCal Seats system? Please share, to date, how many reservations you’ve handled with it.

Gwinnett Technical College (GTC) is a long-time subscriber to Springshare’s LibGuides and other applications. We finalized access to LibCal Seats on August 7, 2020, and launched it to our students on the first day of our Fall, 2020 semester, August 10. As of September 15, we have had over 914 bookings!

What is the main goal you have for your library and what is its big message as you begin the 2020 Fall Term in the midst of this global pandemic?

We want the students to know that their health and safety is important to us. Using a reservation system such as LibCal Seats allows us to monitor the usage of library space and maintain compliance with college-wide, CDC-based safe use requirements. Being able to allow students to visit the library provides much-needed access to library staff and on-campus technology. Faculty refer students to the library for test-taking and library workshops. The email and reservation data can be shared with faculty as necessary.

What are the new challenges the library sees in supporting students and faculty this academic year? Share a bit about the problem-solving process that went into devising your re-opening plans.

GTC already provided remote services with phone, email, and chat. In response to the increased demand necessitated by the pandemic-related campus closures, we were able to greatly increase one-to-one remote services with our Learning Management System and Springshare’s Appointments features. Students can now schedule dedicated reference interviews from any location.

Even with these remote services, several of our students want or need to use the library in person. LibCal Seats allows us to provide access to computers/webcams, printers, and study rooms to those students requesting these services while giving us the ability to monitor overall capacity and adhere to social distancing requirements.

Setting Up Seats & Setting New Expectations

There’s a lot of change this academic year and not just for the incoming Freshmen. How are you sharing the information that appointments and reservations are now required? How is this being enforced?

We are using a multi-faceted approach to marketing our new services. We encourage our department heads to communicate via email with classroom instructors, and we promote access options through the library’s blog post, Facebook entries and signage within and outside of the library spaces. Students are greeted as they enter the library and are asked to confirm or make reservations. Staff roam the library regularly to confirm students are using reserved spaces and following safety measures (masks in place, not moving furniture, etc.) Compliance is near 100%.

QR Codes at the GTC Library

Which features in LibCal Seats are you finding the most useful as you encourage social distancing and monitor the occupancy of your spaces in real-time?

The Booking Explorer provides an overview of space availability for staff and allows us to adjust reservations as necessary throughout the day. The Single Seat viewing grid is displayed on a large monitor just inside the library, so staff and students can easily determine availability.

How did you decide what sorts of booking limits you wanted to impose and what’s the strategy or goal behind them? Are you using padding between reservations? If so, how and why?

Capacity of space was considered when setting booking limits, as well as anticipated foot traffic. Currently, we are adjusting our limits to meet the students’ needs. We started with a one-hour default session length but found that several students were taking online exams and needed longer periods of time. The library is not reaching full capacity, so we extended the default to two hours, to minimize the amount of time spent manually extending sessions. Additional adjusting is easy, and we can make modifications on the spot. We do use the padding between sessions, which allows for cleaning of the stations between use.

Which reports or dashboards are you keeping a close eye on and how are they informing your day-to-day/week-to-week decisions?

We consistently view the Booking Grid to keep an eye on availability and expected use. Occupancy data also gives us an idea of what times the library is being used the most. We expect to use more reporting data as we move through the semester, and really appreciate having the ability to track computer usage and foot traffic now.

Response to LibCal Seats, Tweaks & Tips

What has been the response to LibCal Seats from the library team, the students, the faculty?

GTC Students Book “On the Fly”

Faculty are impressed with the ease of use and are comfortable sharing reservation information with students. Returning students, used to popping into the library and using space on a first-come, first-served basis, initially expressed some frustration with the reservation requirements and multi-step process. Most students use their phones to book, and the screens are not as easy to navigate on smaller devices. However, once the students have made a few reservations the process becomes less time-consuming.

As students understand the reservation process is required to keep our building open for student use, they gladly comply with the expectations. As they realize the process can be completely self-serve, they love being able to check-in by phone.

We simply ask, “Did you get your email?” and most give us a thumbs up and move on to the reserved space.

What sorts of tweaks and adjustments did you make in the first few weeks after implementing LibCal Seats to make it work better for you and your students?

We needed to adjust the default reservation session length since many students have ended up needing to come to campus to take tests since some were not able to use secure testing software on their home computers. Additionally, some student club interviews were scheduled in library study rooms, which allows students without webcams at home to participate in virtual face-to-face interviews.

What sorts of tips would you like to share for those libraries who are at the beginning of setting up LibCal Seats?

Keep in mind your closing time; you may not want to have students making reservations right up to when you lock the doors. Consider how often students can make reservations, and how far in advance. Get feedback and be flexible!


We are grateful for the opportunity to share this interview with Deborah George and her diligent, caring library staff. To say 2020 has been a hard year is an oversimplification to be sure. But sometimes the clearest language is the truest.

Reopening your institutions is a real challenge this year, one that no one is taking lightly. How do we keep your spaces at the library, and all over campus, from unsafely filling with people? Ask them to make a reservation, monitor the occupancy numbers, and make adjustments as necessary. The GTC library shared their experience that — students gladly cooperate because they know it means they can use the library.

They want to use the library. You want to welcome them back. LibCal Seats is instrumental in helping you stay (safely) booked in the days ahead.

LibCal Mini-Release: Create Multiple-Hour Blocks to Facilitate Cleaning

This release is on its way to you this week, and will be live in all regions by the end of the day on Friday, September 18.

Spaces Locations: Multiple-Hour Blocks Help Facilitate Cleaning

Our pandemic new normal necessitates designated cleaning times to sanitize spaces and seats in between bookings. To facilitate this, we’ve added updates to the Weekly Hours Templates in Spaces/Seats & Equipment! You can now allow for multiple sets of opening/closing hours, with unavailable time in between.

Within these time slots, you can allow users to pick their own hours to reserve Spaces & Seats.  We’ll be adding functionality to make the entire period/block bookable in our upcoming release in early October.

Head to Admin > Spaces & Equipment > Hours Templates and select the ‘Custom Time’ option when creating or editing a weekly template to see the ability to enter multiple opening/closing hour blocks.

We have an upcoming training session that will help you get started! Join us on Tuesday, September 22 at 12:30 Eastern time to learn how to set up flexible or fixed booking times.

See LibCal release notes which will list out a few other changes coming in this release such as a customizable email template for the ‘Late Check In Cancellation’ email and more.

That’s it for this round of updates from Springy HQ for LibCal. We would like to thank you, our user community, for sharing all your great ideas with us! We love making them a reality and look forward to bringing you many more improvements in 2020 and beyond. We are always here for you if have any suggestions or questions.

We’re Hiring!

Springshare is hiring!

We’re ready – and excited – to hire some new Springys for our Customer Support, Tech, and Sales teams! 🙂

Have you ever thought about joining the Springshare crew? Know someone who would make a great Springy? We’re looking to hire some customer-focused folks who enjoy learning and sharing, are clear communicators, and thrive in a remote, work-from-home environment.

Customer Support Specialist (entry-level)
(Closed to accepting new resumes at this time.)

As part of our Customer Experience team, a Customer Support Specialist is often the first point of contact for the company, embodying our core commitment to outstanding customer service. This position answers inquiries from clients worldwide on our suite of products. In addition to functionality questions, support troubleshoots things technical in nature, including HTML, CSS, authentication, LTI integrations, and more. Other duties may include helping in other areas related to support, such as documentation. This is an entry-level position with opportunities for professional growth within the company.

Senior Full Stack Software Engineer

Our Tech team builds the great functionality in our suite of apps and ensures that our servers run efficiently. This position develops and maintains code for a product, working with a smaller team of app developers and in collaboration / communication with the whole Tech team. They partner with our Product Managers and QA team to deliver products that align with customer needs and expectations.

Regional Sales Manager – Europe

Our Sales team connects libraries, universities, schools, and non-profits with the products they need, developing partnerships throughout the evaluation and purchase process. This position works with top management to formulate sales strategies for the European region and works closely with current and prospective customers as a trusted advisor, developing a deep understanding of customers’ unique challenges and goals.

Become a Springy!

Are you ready to join our amazing crew? Head on over to our Careers page to get more details, then let us know what makes you a Springy!

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.

Browsers Continue to Increase Security…Springshare’s On Board

Here at Springshare we want to make sure all of you are aware of updates that impact your apps and users, whether those are updates that we initiate or that are initiated by others, like Google’s Chrome updates we’ve made you aware of over the years (with other browsers following suit). (Here’s a post on HTTPS, which links to previous HTTPS-related posts, and additional notifications about security updates in our January and February release posts.)

Security and privacy are very important to us here in Springy-land, and these changes fall in line with our own efforts to help secure your webpages. Having HTTPS-secured webpages is what is best for both you and your users! It ensures both your institution data and your user data are safe and allows your patrons to be confident in browsing / using your site. In turn, this makes them even more likely to come back, because they know you have their security in mind and well in hand.

Google recently announced some upcoming changes to continue their journey towards a more secure browsing experience for users. These changes will gradually roll out starting in Chrome 82 (April 2020), with warning messages on downloads of unsecure files (HTTP-based URLs to files) that are on secure (HTTPS) pages. These are called “Mixed Content Downloads”. As the year goes on, Chrome will start blocking these files vs. just warning users about them. Here’s the timeline for various file types that will get warnings, then eventually be blocked:

  • Chrome 82 (April 2020): HTTP-based Executable files on HTTPS pages will display warnings.
  • Chrome 83 (June 2020): HTTP-based Executable files on HTTPS pages will be blocked; warning messages begin for archives (.zip) and disk images (.iso).
  • Chrome 84 (August 2020): Archives and disk image HTTP-based URLs on HTTPS pages will be blocked.
  • Chrome 85 (September 2020): Warning messages begin for image, audio, video, and text files.
  • Chrome 86 (October 2020) and beyond: Chrome blocks all mixed content downloads (HTTP URLs for downloads that are placed on HTTPS pages).

As with past security updates led by Google with Chrome, we expect that other browsers will follow suit in blocking mixed downloads in their future releases.

Many of you will only start to be affected by these changes when it comes time to put out warnings for image, audio, video, and / or text files, so you have plenty of time to get ready for this transition in September and October 2020.

Here’s what you can do now in your Springshare apps to prepare for these changes, if you haven’t done so already:

  1. Check for Mixed Content in Your Sites
  2. Ensure You Are Forcing HTTPS for Your Sites

1. Check for Mixed Content on Your Sites

Mixed content is anything (like an image or search widget) on an HTTPS-loaded webpage that has an HTTP-based URL as the source. This content is blocked in most modern browsers if displayed on a secured (HTTPS) page. For example, if you have an image embedded in your HTTPS-loaded page, you need to make sure the URL in the “src” for the image is also loading over HTTPS.

While we plan to assist in this process by automatically upgrading http:// listed content to https://, that doesn’t mean that all of that content will work once it’s listed as https. Whether or not it works all depends on the owner of that content / page. If the vendor or website owner does not support HTTPS for that page, widget, etc., then the content will not appear on the page.

Until we roll this automatic process out, and even after we do, you can plan for updating this content yourself!

  • If/when you find something that is loading over HTTP, you can try simply updating the source URL to HTTPS and see if that works.
  • If it does not work, you’ll need to contact the provider of that content (i.e., the vendor or website owner) to see if they provide HTTPS-compatible code / website, or when they will. If they do not have an option and aren’t planning to offer an option in the near future, you’ll need to remove that content from your page until you can find a secure alternative. Unfortunately, this is not something our support team can help with, since we do not control other vendors’ / institutions’ products or websites.

Now let’s talk about several places you’ll want to check for that mixed content…

Images

Check any images you have in your page content (guides, FAQs, etc.) to ensure they’re using HTTPS URLs. If they are using HTTP URLs, they will not display on HTTPS-secured pages.

Check that any images you are using in customized headers / footers are using HTTPS URLs. If they are using HTTP URLs, they will not display on HTTPS-secured pages. (If you are using our “upload banner image” option vs. custom HTML, those images will load over HTTPS.)

Images uploaded to your Image Manager automatically include an HTTPS URL.

Embedded Documents

If you are displaying a document in a page via an iframe, verify that iframe is using an HTTPS URL. If it is using an HTTP URL, it will not display on an HTTPS-secured page.

Embedded Pages or Widgets Inside of iFrames (Including LibWizard Tutorials)

If your embedded page does not require a login: Ensuring the URL used is an HTTPS URL will allow these pages to continue displaying. This is separate from the SameSite Cookie update, where login-required pages no longer display in iFrames.

If the site in question does not support HTTPS, you will need to either link out to that page instead or simply stop embedding that page until / unless they do. You will need to contact that website owner to find out if / when they plan to provide HTTPS access.*

If your embedded page does require a login, you will need to start linking out to those pages instead of attempting to embed them. Embedding them is no longer possible due to the SameSite Cookie update.*

Embedded Widgets (e.g. videos, catalog search boxes, etc.)

Ensure all URLs used for embedded widgets are using HTTPS. If it is using an HTTP URL, it will not display on an HTTPS-secured page.

If the vendor providing the widget code does not yet support HTTPS, you will need to remove that widget from your page and contact that vendor to see when they will start providing HTTPS support, or find another widget to use that does support HTTPS.*

External Stylesheets & JavaScript Files

These are calls you may have added to your site’s Custom JS / CSS code boxes in your various Springshare apps.

It is especially important to check these, as some users have stylesheets / JavaScript files from external sources (such as their institution’s servers) and it is likely to cause display issues if these files are marked as mixed content by browsers.

If simply changing the URL from http:// to https:// does not work, please contact the appropriate support group for where the content is saved to see when they will be supporting HTTPS access to those files. This might be your IT department or other department in charge of your institution’s website.*

2. Ensure You Are Forcing HTTPS for Your Site

Once you’ve checked your sites for mixed content and updated everything you can / removed the things that will not load over HTTPS, your LibApps Admins should make sure all of your Springy apps are always loading over HTTPS. HTTPS is currently supported on all Springy apps, but is not currently forced for all.

We will start forcing all apps / pages to load over HTTPS this summer.

Update June 2020: We have removed the page that allowed you to require HTTPS on your own and are automatically setting all sites to required by July 15, 2020. There is nothing more for you to do in this regard – we will take care of updating that setting over the coming weeks!

LibGuides, LibAnswers, and LibCal sites that have been around for a few years may be supporting HTTPS, but may not be requiring it. You’ll want to make sure the Force HTTPS option is set to Required (or check that it already is) before the Chrome changes take place. This ensures your users are always visiting your site over a secure connection, which will prevent those “unsecure” warning messages in browsers!

Since Springshare automatically adds Let’s Encrypt security certificates for domains, you don’t even need to worry about purchasing / installing your own security certificate. We’ve taken care of all of that for you!**

Curious to know if your sites already Require HTTPS? LibApps Admins can go to LibApps > Admin > Domains and Certificates and look at the list.

  • If there’s a checkmark in the “Force HTTPS” column, your site is already set to require HTTPS.
  • If there isn’t a checkmark in that column, Springhare will automatically update your site, with all sites set to require HTTPS by July 15, 2020.

LibApps screen displaying domains and status of HTTPS.

HTTPS is the new baseline for website security and secure browsing on the Internet in 2020. Updating mixed content items and requiring that your Springy apps always load over HTTPS is ensuring that your users have a secure, seamless experience – and they’ll thank you for it! Thanks for partnering with us to ensure a smooth transition for everyone.


* Unfortunately, our support team cannot help in these situations, though we wish we could! We do not control other vendors’ / institutions’ sites or products, so we cannot tell when they will support HTTPS options, nor can we code around these security measures.

** In some rare cases, the Let’s Encrypt security certificate installation will fail due to CAA record restrictions put in place by institution IT departments. It’s an easy fix of adding Let’s Encrypt to the CAA record or purchasing & uploading your own security certificate! Please see our FAQs on CAA records and/or obtaining security certificates to learn more.

Using LibGuides to Swiftly Address Current Events

LibGuides for current events

Librarians Don’t Miss a Beat!

Librarians in 96 countries have built more than 719,000 LibGuides. They build subject guides and course-specific guides. Some guides serve as the library’s website. There are how-to guides and guides that reach out to specific demographics. Using LibGuides to share knowledge is easy and that is never handier than when librarians must build guides to respond to current events. When you have to address the matters that your patrons find most pressing and which are, in a way, imminent like tax season or a holiday, a census, a hurricane or a particularly dangerous outbreak, it’s critical that the tool you’re using doesn’t get in the way.

When There’s an Outbreak…Break Out the Information!

The word “epidemic” hits the airwaves and the soundbites travel so fast, it’s a wonder that librarians can keep up. But that’s exactly what they do. We’ve seen LibGuides built on SARS and the H1N1 Swine Flu. You’ll find guides on MERS, which is caused by a coronavirus and some built on the Zika virus, transmitted by mosquitos. Whether the guides and pages were built right at the beginning in response to the need for information or after the fact in order to help people study and learn about the epidemics, LibGuides allows librarians to add:

  • Images of maps showing the affected countries
  • Links to the Center for Disease Control
  • Videos of how to wash your hands
  • Infographics with tips on how to put on a mask
  • Access to useful articles, websites, and recommended databases to learn more

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus is in the news today. Springshare has already found LibGuides popping up, many of them with notes stating they are works-in-progress because the librarians are currently assembling the information. The patron focused New York University Health Sciences Library has an excellent example whose subheading reads,

In recognition that people are interested in learning what is currently known about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus outbreak, we have gathered the following information

The Western Academy of Beijing Red Scroll Library has a Middle School Parents LibGuide to which they’ve added a brilliant page on the 2019 Coronavirus. Along with a lot of useful information, it features an infographic with symptoms, another with ways to reduce your risk, and even includes a video of questions being answered by Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove of the World Health Organization.

The Cleveland Clinic has labeled this an evolving situation and added a page on the 2019-nCoV to its Infectious Disease guide that includes a downloadable toolkit. The American Embassy School in New Delhi, India has added a Wuhan Coronavirus page to their Current Events and Fake News LibGuide built by the school librarian. It shares articles about how the virus is reported, recommended databases and subscription magazines for news, government/NGO information sites about the virus, and more. Being able to pull a LibGuide together quickly to share vital information and curate ways to further delve into epidemics and pandemics is invaluable. These guides can continue to be updated keeping them, and their patrons, current.

Building LibGuides for the Census.

The upcoming census is something you can certainly shed some light on for your patrons, even if your patrons are…libraries. The Southeastern New York Library Resources Council built a LibGuide called Census 2020 for New York Libraries.

  • It shares key roles for libraries and contains information that is specifically tailored for Public, Academic, and School libraries.
  • There is also information on how to be a census site.
  • You’ll find a page on training sessions

Loyola University Chicago has a guide on the census that features an infographic called Census 101: What You Need to Know. It also contains census history and information on why the census is necessary, which may sound like the most basic question of all — but it needs to be answered.

If the 2020 Census hasn’t come up yet, it will and libraries have a vested interest in making sure people understand how important it is and aren’t afraid of it. LibGuides can help you share information about how the census impacts the community and many libraries are sharing what sorts of questions will be asked and even what won’t be. Like any survey you might share with LibWizard, more people tend to participate if they know what the information they provide will be used for and roughly how many questions there will be. They like to know it will make a difference if they take the time to do it. You can even add a discussion board to your guide or embed a LibChat widget so patrons know you are there to help with further questions.

Get Up to Speed with LibGuides on Current or Upcoming Events.

Whether you want to build a guide on the approaching Election complete with ways to see if you’re registered and important dates,  information on what a caucus is, candidates, and anything else you choose to add, or if you want to build a page on the Academy Awards, or create a guide for a visiting author or whatever you have on the horizon, Springshare can help you strategize the best ways to do it.

Here are some upcoming free training sessions. All the times listed are U.S. ET.

We also have some recorded sessions you can watch at your convenience.

Check out all our live training sessions.

 

The LibAnswers 24/7 Chat Cooperative Your Patrons Will Love!

Launching Soon! Going Live Feb 28, 2020 Add 24 7 or custom coverage hours

The 24/7 Chat Cooperative is Near-Ready for Take Off!

It’s an exciting time for us here at Springshare as we prepare to launch the LibAnswers 24/7 Chat Cooperative. It’s going live on February 28, 2020. To answer the demand for a look at how the Cooperative will work, we’ve set up more sneak-peek webinar dates in case you missed the first round because they were booked solid or the times didn’t work out for you.

Since our acquisition of QuestionPoint in May of 2019, we’ve been diligently working to build the infrastructure for the Global Chat Cooperative. We wouldn’t be Springshare if we didn’t add some super fun features. Plus, we’ve created opportunities for you to participate in the ways that make the most sense for your particular library needs.

The best part? Your patrons are the real winners as they get the help they need — when they need it. That’s a mission statement at its simplest and we’re geared up to help you make that a reality.

Just Now Hearing About the 24/7 Global Cooperative?

First things first! If you’re not a LibAnswers user yet, here’s a short overview video that gives you a tour and includes a deep dive into the LibChat features.

The LibAnswers Global Reference Cooperative can be added to an existing LibAnswers system and includes hundreds of participating librarians and 20+ Springshare MLS librarians, delivering the highest quality co-op reference coverage for libraries.

  • The LibAnswers 24/7 Cooperative allows librarians across multiple LibAnswers systems to provide collaborative chat reference.
  • Librarians answer patron chats on behalf of all member libraries within the cooperative.
  • This means, all of your patrons can get library help, even when your physical doors are closed.

The Flexibility to Serve Your Patrons.

Having options is the key to this 24/7 Cooperative unlocking possibilities for your patrons. There will be two global cooperatives to start, one for academic libraries and one for public libraries. We plan to add more down the line, for instance for law libraries, medical libraries, etc. You can also exercise the option to create your own local cooperative for your consortium, state, etc.

  • You will have the option to decide your coverage levels. You may want coverage 24/7, you may not. You can decide which hours you need a hand with based on your library and patrons.
  • You can participate in the Co-op or just get the backup coverage without participating.
  • You can get help with more than just chat services if you need it.

Prioritizing the patron experience is critical to creating a library that your community turns to and needs and loves. Anticipating the needs of patrons is a challenge because people are the ultimate variable. The LibAnswers 24/7 Cooperative helps you provide answers to questions

  • for the students who are in class all day and then work jobs to help pay for school and subsequently must do their research at odd hours.
  • for patrons who work evenings or the graveyard shift or start their days pre-dawn.
  • for library users who need to reach you during holidays or snow days or when they’re up late with a young baby and need recommendations for books on sleep training.

It’s hard to know when someone is going to need your help with research — because their teen just remembered an assignment on Ancient Rome is due tomorrow. Nor can we know when someone is going to suddenly find a need to see sample resumes and cover letters. We can’t anticipate what they’ll ask.

But there’s a chance they might want to talk with a librarian… after your doors are closed. Springshare’s 24/7 Global Cooperative can help you be prepared for that — and get them the answers they need. Come to a sneak-peek session and learn how it all works.

New Sneak-Peek Sessions Added!

All times listed below are in U.S. Eastern Time.

Can’t attend? Don’t worry. Just go ahead and register for any session and select ‘Watch the Recording’ on the sign-up form. We’ll send you the link to view the recording as soon as it’s available. To ask questions now or to get more information, contact us.

Webinar Schedule: