Archive for General

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.

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!**

Check that your sites are set to Require HTTPS: LibApps Admins can go to LibApps > Admin > Domains and Certificates and look at the list.

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:

Get Tips, Ideas & Early Looks at Springshare’s ALA MW Booth!

We’ll Be There with Bells On!

The Springshare team is gettin’ Philly with it — packing bags, researching places to eat, and gearing up to meet you in Philadelphia, January 24-28 for ALA Midwinter. Our guest presenters are ready to rock. We’re focused on all the exciting tips, ideas, and strategies we’ve been prepping to share. Plus, you’ll get a special look at the new LibAnswers 24/7 Chat Cooperative. So make a plan to stop by Booth 1056. Our goal is to have you walk away with ideas you look forward to sharing… with the very next person you see!

If you’re not at liberty to make your way to Philly this year…you can be more than in our thoughts. You can be in tune and involved via our Facebook Page. We’re streaming select presentations LIVE. They will also be archived and available after the events on our Facebook Video Page.

Good to know:

  • You do not need to have a Facebook account to view the videos… just ignore the login/sign-up information and continue.
  • If you LIKE our page, you won’t miss out on future streams of guest speakers, etc.
  • If you adjust your Springshare notifications to ON, you’ll receive notifications in your Facebook feed for product updates, videos we share, and more!

Guest Speakers – Streaming LIVE on Facebook.

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

 

Taking LibGuides Beyond the Library

Presenter: Jen Hasse, University of the Sciences

Friday, January 24 – 5:45pm to 6:00pm

Jen will discuss using LibGuides as a tool for cross-campus partnership and community building. From guides created to promote and facilitate authors visits, book clubs, and film screenings to resources guides that support advising, student health and wellness, and other student support departments, LibGuides can go beyond the library!

 

 

March Mammal Madness & LibGuides: The Bracket for Animal Lovers

Presenter: René Tanner, Arizona State University

Friday, January 24 – 6:15pm to 6:30pm

When you think of March, you automatically think of March Madness. At ASU, they’re doing things a bit differently. March Mammal Madness is an educational opportunity to learn all about our planet’s species interwoven with a ‘sporting’ bracket to serve as a thrilling competitive experience. The entire tournament is housed in a LibGuide with a downloadable bracket and Rounds are narrated on Wakelet.

This flash presentation will discuss March Mammal Madness and hopefully get you inspired to get in the game at your Library this coming March.

 

Reaching Them Where They Are: Put the Library Where Students are Learning with LibGuides / LMS Integration

Presenter: Olivia Given Castello

Sunday, January 26, 2020 – 11:00am to 11:15am

Temple University recently established a “Library” button in the navigation menu of all courses in Canvas that shows an automatically matched guide from TU Libraries LibGuides system. By bringing library resources and services to students at their point of need, the Library button gives them easier access to these supports.

This flash presentation will show Temple’s Library button in Canvas, discuss takeaways from a pilot study on Library button usage, and highlights of the process of getting the integration approved with campus stakeholders.

Product Flashes: Overviews, Tips, and Ideas.

All times listed are in U.S. Eastern Time

LibStaffer:
LibStaffer: Staffing Workers, Volunteers, & Pages

Whether juggling multiple service points with different staffing needs and duties or handling restrictions on who can work when and for how long, LibStaffer takes the hard work out of staffing and scheduling so you have time for more important projects.

  • Saturday, January 25, 2020 – 9:30am to 9:45am
LibGuides:
Build-a-LibGuide: Census

Your patrons, students, and other library users will have questions about the 2020 United States Census – from why a national census is held, to how they will be counted. Be ready with all of the information they need. We’ll look at examples of guides all about the U.S. Census and partially build a LibGuide together.

  • Friday, January 24, 2020 – 6:30pm to 6:45pm
Build-a-LibGuide: 2020 Elections / Streaming on Facebook Page 

Looking to build a 2020 Election LibGuide? Join us as we’ll look at examples for 2020 US Election Guides.  From there we’ll do a partial build based on best practices for this guide type.

  • Saturday, January 25, 2020 – 10:30am to 10:45am
Customizing LibGuides with Google Fonts / Streaming on Facebook Page 

Explore customizing your system fonts in LibGuides using Google Fonts. For this session, it’s recommended that you have a basic understanding of CSS.

  • Saturday, January 25, 2020 – 11:30am to 11:45am
Using LibGuides to Promote Social Issues With Timely Responses / Streaming on Facebook Page 

All teaching librarians know – the most successful teaching sessions are based around an assignment, or project, or task. Why? Because contextual learning = long-term learning. That same equation applies when you connect learning resources with topical, current events. Users are far more likely to engage with and deep-dive into material when the subject matter is topical and relevant to them.

  • Sunday, January 26, 2020 – 11:30am to 11:45am
LibWizard:
LibWizard: Create Self-Paced Learning Tutorials / Streaming on Facebook Page

Teach Patrons to use eBooks, Databases, and Your Catalog. Literacy extends beyond your front doors. Create engaging, self-paced learning tutorials with live interactive websites, embedded videos, and more. Your patrons can engage with the library and expand their information literacy skills at the same time.

  • Saturday, January 25, 2020 – 12:00pm to 12:15pm
LibAnswers:
24/7 Chat – Join the LibAnswers Community

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 24/7 Cooperative is staffed by contributing member libraries and dedicated Springshare MLIS reference librarians.

LibChat: Meet them where they are with Screensharing

Need to see what the patron sees? Want to share your screen with them? Now you can!

LibAnswers: General Overview

Be Where They Are… On EVERY Device. LibAnswers is your multi-channel communication platform that empowers you to assist your patrons where they are (Facebook, Twitter, SMS, Chat) on every device.

  • Sunday, January 26, 2020 – 9:30am to 9:45am
LibCal:
LibCal: Calendars + Spaces + Equipment… Oh My!

LibCal – All The Components Work… Together. Make use of seamless integration within LibCal. Learn to Create an Event + Book Spaces & Equipment. Plus check out how to use Billing, Payments, and Discount Codes.

  • Saturday, January 25, 2020 – 3:00pm to 3:15pm
LibCal: Appointments: Meeting Your Users

See how LibCal Appointments help you promote and manage your time. See how to use appointments for Research Consultations. Explore the Sync with Outlook and Google feature. Envision using LibCal for your Student Tutors, too!

  • Saturday, January 25, 2020 – 3:30pm to 3:45pm
LibCal: Reservation Confirmed: Spaces and Equipment

Whether you have a few study rooms or tons! Join us for a 15-minute look at how easy it is to allow patrons to book spaces, places, and equipment!

  • Sunday, January 26, 2020 – 3:30pm  to 3:45pm
LibInsight:
LibInsight – COUNTER 5 / Streaming on Facebook page

See how COUNTER 5 and LibInsight work together to get you your data.

  • Sunday, January 26, 2020 – 1:30pm  to 1:45pm
LibCRM:
LibCRM: A CRM for Outreach Librarians w/ New Operational Emailing Functionality!

LibCRM is a Customer Relationship Management platform built for the specific needs of libraries. Offer a superior customer experience by gaining a better understanding of your users and their needs.

Ten Springshare Blog Posts of 2019 to Remember

A Quick Look Back…

Have you been writing the date and messing up? Yes, it’s 2020! Your muscle memory will give in soon enough but as we gear up to launch full scale into the new year, here’s a look at the ten Springshare blog posts of 2019 that deserve a second read. Looking back is more than nostalgic, it’s a great way to get excited about what’s to come.

Happy New Year, everyone! We wish you all the very best and look forward to working with you on your new goals.

 

 

1. Insights into LibInsight: The LibInsight Experience at two University Libraries

January 16, 2019

 

A piece of feedback that we consistently get from librarians is how much they love to hear stories from peers. Getting a glimpse of what amazing work is being done in other libraries is inspirational but furthermore, it’s instructive. It can also help teams see if they’re focusing on the same priorities as others.

This post showcases the work being done with LibInsight. Featured are the libraries at, both, City, University of London and the University of Pittsburgh.

Learn more about how they successfully streamline data workflows.

 

2. Arizona State Uses LibGuides for their March Mammal Madness

March 27, 2019

 

If you didn’t play March Mammal Madness last year, you have to read this blog post. It’s sure to have you counting the days until the 2020 event!

Founded by Dr. Katie Hinde, its superfans would argue that this tournament is far more exciting than the basketball counterpart. Read about the brackets, the wealth of information that’s shared, and the way it all goes down in the wild!

The enthusiasm for MMM is truly a phenomenon. Anali Perry shares how they use LibGuides CMS to organize the madness.

 

3. LibCRM Goals at UCSD Include Improved Patron Communication

March 22, 2019

 

Adele Barsh and Karen Heskett from the University of California, San Diego share how they’re using LibCRM, having imported 30,000 profiles into the system!

ICYMI, take this chance to have a look at how UCSD tackles cross-team communications and looks to better reporting to help them examine their outreach programs.

 

 

 

 4. Here’s A Real News Feed. Springshare Brings You LibFoods!

April 1, 2019

LibFoods Market

 

You know how much it means to us to develop the tools your library needs. The launch of LibFoods in 2019 was the highlight of our tech team’s year.

LibFoods means you and your patrons could be no more than 200 feet from food when you choose to set up our LibFood Pop-Up Stores. Have an Edgar Allen Poe-Boy or enjoy the Girl with the Dargon Tofu.

Or, if you need to stay put, get your food delivered via InstaBookCart. Those Game of Scones can easily be brought to your next meeting.

 

5. Guest Presentations from ACRL 2019 are Available!

April 22, 2019

 

The ACRL 2019 conference was in Cleveland and Springshare had an amazing lineup of Guest Presentations.

In this blog post, you’ll find links to the recordings of 13 presentations. Your fellow librarians discuss their use of Springshare tools like LibCal, the LibAnswers Platform, LibWizard, and, of course, LibGuides and LibGuides CMS.

Be sure to grab a snack and check them out. They’re informative and heaps of fun.

 

 

 

6. LibAnswers 24/7 Cooperative aka QuestionPoint Acquisition

June 4, 2019

 

Detailing our biggest news of 2019, this blog post followed the press release announcing Springshare’s Question Point Acquisition.

It summarizes the main points regarding transitioning existing Question Point customers onto the LibAnswers 24/7 Cooperative.

You’ll also learn more about why Springshare is so excited about this acquisition and what our vision is for the future of the Co-Op.

 

 

7. Using LibAnswers for Library Security

July 8, 2019

 

Sharing interesting additional uses for our tools is one of our favorite things to do here at Springshare. The tools are so flexible. Focus on the features and you’ll think of many applications!

This post does exactly that. You’ll discover how to use the LibAnswers system as a tool to record and keep track of incidents that happen in the library.

Perhaps you discovered a broken window. At times there are altercations either between patrons or involving a patron and someone on your staff. Did someone report a stolen laptop?

Read about how LibAnswers is a great solution for handling security issues in your library.

 

8. Letters From SpringyCamp – Recordings Available!

August 8, 2019

SpringyCamp 2019, Watch Recording

 

This year, our SpringyCamp virtual conference took place on July 31, 2019. We look forward to SpringyCamp every year because it’s full of fun, knowledge sharing, and community building.

Here, we include the recordings of the SpringyCamp presentations — in case you’re feeling nostalgic for the campfire songs or if you forgot to write home about them!

 

 

 

 

9. Using LibGuides, LibCal & Equipment Booking For Makerspaces

September 25, 2019

LibCal and Equipment Booking in makerspaces

 

Supporting people’s desire to roll up their sleeves and make something, we have a blog post dedicated to the Makerspaces popping up in libraries everywhere.

With step-by-step advice on how to use LibGuides, LibCal, and the Equipment Booking module to get the word out, organize and schedule your makerspaces, this is an excellent how-to read.

 

 

 

 

10. King University Uses LibWizard To Create A Game Focused On Information Literacy

October 16, 2019

 

If you’re looking for a game-changer to help you teach Information Literacy, we share a story that does the trick! Emily Krug at King University created a game called the Battle for the Oval Kingdom designed to introduce the concepts of Information Literacy.

We’re inspired by her creativity and are thrilled to share how she put it all together.

Springshare Support is Closed as We Celebrate the Holidays.

Springshare Support is Closed for the Holidays…But We Have Fun Stuff in Case You’re Open!

We’re taking some days off to celebrate the holidays. You can expect Springshare Support to be closed on Tuesday, December 24th and Wednesday, December 25th. While we’re at it, looking into the future a bit, we will also be closed on January 1st.

But, we know that some libraries will be open and are working hard to get the word out. For those of you with a skeleton crew holding down the fort, we’ve got some fun stuff to get you and your team through the quiet stretches. You’ll pass the time between patrons, learn new skills, and accomplish some super cool things.

Make the Most of Your Time

  • SpringyU – We recently launched SpringyU. It’s all about self-paced learning. You can choose to learn with Blocks or beef up your skills to take on your library’s priorities with Courses. If you’ve got 5 minutes or a lot more than that, you can attend SpringyU right from your chair. 
  • SpringyNews – Find yourself in the midst of a slow period at the desk? Peruse our latest newsletter. It’s full of tips and tricks for optimizing your use of LibGuides and our other tools. You’ll be able to catch up on the latest announcement regarding the LibAnswers 24/7 Co-Op, and more.
  • Springshare Buzz – Want to watch a short overview of LibCRM? Or perhaps you’ve been hearing a lot about the LibAnswers Co-Op but don’t know what it is? Does a LibWizard 3-minute at-a-glance 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. You can read the blog post on the updates from the November code release. Or, to catch up on October and November highlights, take a look at the updates page in the most recent newsletter.
  • 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.

Springshare is so grateful for the opportunity we have to work hard to make library life wonderful and to help you make the patron experience better and better. Thank you for sharing with us your extraordinary feedback, suggestions, wishlists — and for the positive example of true dedication. See you in the New Year!

Tis the Season for (spring)Sharing – Tip #2: Keep Patrons Informed

Tip #2 – Keep Patrons Informed

We’re getting down to the part of the season where there are atypical hours and even closures either due to inclement weather or observed holidays. Just as important, there are some libraries that are anxious to let patrons know that they will, in fact, be open. LibAnswers has so many features in place that let you get ahead of the questions by taking a few proactive steps to keep your patrons in the know.

 

Honor Your Social Obligations 

The LibAnswers system has a Social Media Management tool built into it. Most libraries use it to broadcast details on all the fun happening at the library, but don’t forget, besides reminders, it’s designed to help you plan ahead, too! You can create and schedule Tweets, Pinterest pins, and Facebook posts — all from right inside LibAnswers. So, make sure to utilize these channels to let your patrons know:

  • About any changes to services at your library
  • If you’ll have adjusted or abbreviated hours
  • And, share any days you will be closed

Just go to Social > Create >  Select the Channel (Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest). Customize your message and schedule it to post at a future date and time. You can do this to maintain a social media presence even when you’re not open, or just to keep ahead of your to-do list. It doesn’t have to be critical FYIs… schedule any post!

Get Proactive About Your Answers

The beauty of LibAnswers is that — no matter which channels a patron prefers to use to communicate with your library, you can be there just by signing into the LibAnswers Platform. To save you and your team a lot of time during these weeks, write out the answers to your super popular FAQs of the season and then place them everywhere you need them.

  • FAQs – Wish you had Seasonal FAQs for those who like to search for answers? You can have them with the Status Change feature! Create the FAQ > select Change Status > opt to Schedule a Status Change. This means you can change the status to published just at the beginning of the season so that it’s not in the system all year confusing people. Instead the seasonal FAQ can be published when you want and then also be unpublished at a date you choose, as well. These can also be useful for extended hours during finals, etc. 
  • Macros – Create a few macros for tickets and SMS messages. When those queues fill up with questions like, “How late are you open today?” you can effortlessly tackle them one by one with your macros in place.
  • Canned Messages – LibChat allows for system-wide canned messages. So, Admins, go ahead and create some ready-to-go answers for your whole staff to use when chatting. Label them Thanksgiving Hours, Exam Hours, Holiday Closings, etc. Just be sure they’re clear at-a-glance because chat is a speedy endeavor, then let the team know they’re available for use! These canned messages can be easily re-ordered so that you can move them to the top when the time is right!

Have a Backup Plan

Some libraries operate with minimal staff during these last weeks of the year. Find out who is going to be part of that skeleton crew and see if they’d be willing to be set up as a fallback monitor to be designated in your LibChat widget. For instance, if the Reference Department monitors the widget for questions that come in, see if Circulation would be okay to have new chats sent to them in case the Reference Department is offline. It’s also possible to select specific operators. LibStaffer could help you know who’s working.

This time of year, doesn’t have to be so unpredictable. When you are open, use the Internal Notes field in Reference Analytics to leave a tag like “Holidays”. It will help you search for all the transactions — for which you recorded analytics from live ones to chats to tickets, etc. — that happened during the holiday season. This data will help you see if your patrons are engaging pretty heavily or even at a normal level with the library, or if it’s really quite slow at this time like you imagine it would be. Let the data replace the guesswork.

From all of us at Springshare, “Enjoy the rest of 2019 and we’ll see you in the new year!”

LibAnswers 24/7 Global Cooperative

Interested in looking ahead? We have a recording of the LibAnswers 24/7 Co-Op Sneak Peek session for you to view. To watch, click here.

Tis the Season for (spring)Sharing — Tip #1: The Eventful Library

Tip #1 — The Eventful Library

What’s on the schedule for these next three weeks? Is it chaos, or cookies? This time of year, most libraries have event calendars that are jam-packed! LibCal is just as full of tremendous features — as your libraries are of eager patrons. Let’s make a list (and check it twice) of the ways you can ensure that you’re doing your level best to keep your library eventful and jolly.

Everything’s Better When You Make it from Scratch

While we do have options in place to make it easy for you to set up repeating events, December calendars tend to have a lot of unique offerings. Start from the beginning by taking advantage of the integrated space and equipment booking feature. At event creation, go ahead and reserve the auditorium for the Winter Poetry Reading and, while you’re at it, reserve a podium, microphone, and that projector to mimic falling snow behind your readers. Don’t forget to use the setup and teardown padding, if there’s a lot to do.

 

 

The More the Merrier

Marketing can be an intimidating concept. Just remember that there’s a reason people judge a book by its cover. A picture’s worth a thousand words. LibCal allows you to draw your patrons in with featured images — both in the Daily List view and, more recently, the Daily Card view. This can be done even after the event has been created. So, put your best photo forward and pull in those attendees! With the right image, that Ugly Knitting Party could easily become a hot ticket.

Don’t Cut Off the Tags

Tags are good when you’re creating events. Want to ensure the tags work for you? You’d have to always remember to add the Audience and Category right from the start. To establish this as part of the process, you can make the fields required for all new events. The Audience can be adult or all ages, faculty or first-year students. Have as many as you like. They’re easy to create and manage. Categories allow for even more filtering. LibCal has System-Level Categories and also Calendar-Level Event Categories. These designate the kind of event like Book Club, Crafts or Holiday, etc. Using these tags will help your patrons find events that might be of interest to them. One might be looking for a craft event for teens. Someone else might be looking for database help for transfer students. You’ve got all this excellent programming lined up, make sure your patrons can find events and get excited about them.

If registration is required, make sure that you encourage patrons to register by creating an Event Button that you embed on your library website, in a related LibGuide, or anywhere you know your patrons are visiting.

 

Enjoy Top Billing

The Billing feature in LibCal allows you to have integrated online payments natively built right into the system to collect payment online via card or in person. If you’ll charge patrons to attend some of the special events at your library this month, you’ll be happy to know that you won’t have to push folks out to some other external site when it’s time to pay. Having a 3D Printer event where people make snowflakes? They can pay for the event right at the moment of registration or opt to pay at the event.

In our October update, we modified the status and processing of refunds for in-person payments. Now, if a booking or registration that was paid for in-person is canceled, the status will change to “refund due”. The Springshare team has worked very hard to make sure you and your patrons feel comfortable with the whole process. Not having to go to out into the cold to, yet, another interface is part of that. Billing currently supports five currencies and you can, of course, see a record of all completed payments, refunds, and cancelations. You know how frustrating it can be to untangle a string of lights. LibCal keeps your records straight.

 

So, go ahead and promote those “Hot Cocoa Mixers” and your “Hit the 2020 Ground Running” resume workshop. LibCal features make it easy to have successful events time and Father Time, again. And, if you really want to be a star, send out a LibWizard survey afterward!

 

Springshare Support is Closed in Observance of Thanksgiving

Finding Springshare Help During Thanksgiving

As Springshare is observing the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, Support will be closed on Thursday, November 28th and Friday, November 29th. We will be back up, running, and answering questions on Monday, December 2nd.

We look forward to spending time with our families and friends. We are grateful for so many things, including the fact that we work with some of the greatest people in the world…librarians and those who love and support them! During these two days, should you find that you have questions about our tools, we have lots of amazing help available to you!

Springshare Support Tools

Ask Springshare: Springshare Help Center

Search for help by Product or simply enter your search into the search box. Each Product homepage has a list of related topics for that product and further refining available through keywords on the right.

You’ll also find Springboards within the Ask site: FAQs on larger concepts / workflows that guide you through related tasks, pointing to the appropriate (narrower) FAQs along the way!

Ask the Community

Ask the Springy Community on the Springshare Lounge! Consulting with your peers is often the best way to get questions answered. The Lounge is organized by group (including by library type) and is a source of excellent advice.

Training

Training Recordings: We have videos on everything from Building a Guide to Restricting LibCal with LibAuth to LibInsight Custom Datasets, and more. We also have many shorter recordings on various topics in our Training Tidbits and 5 x 5 sessions! There’s a wealth of information in these videos.

Training Webinar Calendar: As you’re perusing through our documentation, watching training recordings, or talking with other clients on the Lounge, you may also want to take a peek at the upcoming live sessions on our training calendar. Now’s a great time to plan for December, including a workshop on creating content rich guides, LibWizard v2, and LibGuides winter Springy cleaning (2 times available)!

In addition to our Help Center, we also have these amazing sources of information:

  • Springshare Blog – Do you have questions about the latest updates to hit your Springy tools? Want to learn about ways people are using Springshare’s products? The blog is overflowing with good stuff. But you probably know that…because you’re here right now! Share the link with a friend.
  • Buzz Site – For heaps of information on tools you have or those your library is considering, head to the Buzz Site. You’ll also find Client Stories, Client Presentations, and our Newsletters there.

Again, we want to express an enormous amount of gratitude to our clients around the world for choosing to work with us here at Springshare. For those of you who are also observing this holiday, Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.