Archive for Kudos

We Asked School Librarians One Question…

At the American Association for School Librarians Conference (AASL) in October, 2015 – we asked School Librarians one question.

Why do you love LibGuides?

And the responses we got were as varied as they were astonishing.

Here’s a quick recap:

  • Holly Bunt, Library Director at Western Reserve Academy “My students tell me that ‘LibGuides Rocks'”.
  • Amanda Smithfield, Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet “It may surprise you to know that many teenagers do homework after 11pm. With LibGuides, they have everything organized right there, and they can access my content 24hrs/day.”
  • Kristen Rosebrock-Hayes, Laurel School “The teachers love it, they think it’s phenomenal.”
  • Brett Daggs, Honeoye Falls High School “LibGuides is absolutely the best thing I’ve discovered in the past 24months. It’s going to reinvent the way I instruct.”
  • Linda Swarlis, Columbus School for Girls “We’re able to personalize LibGuides for every teacher and to every class.”

Watch the full video:

Link opens in a new window

AASL 2015


LibGuides & Librarian Savvy Help Solve a Mystery

Students at Boston College, with a little help from a librarian and her LibGuide, helped solve a mystery that began a century ago in a Chinese orphanage.

The students, undergraduates at BC studying history and art, were trying to determine what had happened to 86 intricately carved wooden models of Chinese pagodas carved in 1915 by boys at the orphanage under the tutelage of a German Jesuit and others.

The pagodas were brought to the U.S. for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco in 1915 and had gone from there to the Field Museum in Chicago. But their current whereabouts were unknown.


Adeane Bregman, head of the Bapst Art Library at Boston College, with one of the Chinese pagoda models she helped students to find.

BC Art Librarian Adeane Bregman was brought in to help the students with their research. Her classroom presentation, supplemented by a LibGuide, demonstrated research techniques and sources and ways to make connections.

Bregman used the LibGuide for her presentation. Afterward, it became her virtual presence. “It lasts when you leave,” she said. “It can be consulted. It led to vetted resources that helped the students not just to find the pagodas but to get a sense of their history and why they were important.”

“It made me feel good that libraries and what we provide are not dead yet,” Bregman told The Heights, the BC student newspaper. “We can still help people to work smarter and more efficiently.”

Eighty-three of the pagodas were eventually found in a warehouse in the Boston area. (They had been sold to a private collector.) Bregman was invited to go with the students to see them.

For more on this story, see “A Cultural Treasure Hunt” and “Treasure Hunt Ends in Boston” in The Heights.

Bregman’s LibGuide, prepared for two different classes involved in the project, can be seen at and


Awesome LibGuides Customization – With a Twist!

There are three things you should know about Oregon State University. First, their mascot is Benny the Beaver. Second, OSU has more majors and minors than any other University in the state of Oregon – impressive! Third, they are the newest members of the LibGuides Community, with one of the nicest LibGuides customizations to boot.

The Twist in the story is that OSU’s Libguides content actually came from their legacy Library a la Carte installation which we helped them migrate into LibGuides – without any loss of content or disruptions. We developed migration scripts to import OSU’s existing Library a la Carte content into their shiny new LibGuides system, all without missing a beat.

OSU LibGuide

Once the migration was complete, Librarians and LibGuides Admins did an amazing job prettying things up and customizing the look and feel of their LibGuides system.

The end-result? Tons of useful content that OSU community will benefit from, wrapped up in a sweet look and made available on the most popular library CMS platforms in the world. Now, OSU librarians can share content, ideas, best practices, and collaborate with thousands of other institutions and librarians in the LibGuides Community.

Check out these great examples of OSU’s new LibGuides:

We chatted with our new friends at OSU, Trey Terrell, Evviva Weinraub and Hannah Gascho Rempel, about their experience!

OSU Libraries has long been a proponent of using a content management system to create instructional content from course guides to tutorials. We began with our own open source Library a la Carte, which served us well for many years. But when it was time for a transition to something new, LibGuides were the obvious choice.

So if you’re contemplating a change, know that Springshare already has a plan and scripts in place to easily migrate your Library a la Carte content over. Contact us and we’ll help you make it happen!

LibAnalytics & the Institutional Review Board

There are few information gathering processes in academia as important as those of the Institutional Review Board (IRB). Federally-mandated in the U.S. (other nations have their own systems), IRBs are designed to protect the rights and welfare of human subjects who take part in research.

But the IRB process, while recognized as vital, can seem onerous to busy faculty and other researchers and even to members of the boards that sit in review.

At Asbury Theological Seminary (ATS) in Kentucky, LibAnalytics is helping streamline the IRB process for researchers, board members, and administrative staff alike.

We interviewed Greg Sigountos, Instructional Resource and Production Specialist at ATS, about their use of LibAnalytics for institutional review data collection and management. Here are some excerpts from our conversation.

Greg Sigountos

Greg Sigountos

Q: Is the Institutional Review Board administered by the library or are you doing this for a different unit in the institution?

The IRB isn’t technically administered by the library, but the Director of the Library is the chairperson, and our Administrative Assistant is the board’s recording secretary. Our IT and web services areas are busy with other major projects, so the question came up: could we take care of this in-house, and use LibAnalytics? LibAnalytics let us have control over all the steps in the review process, rather than have to work on other departments’ schedules.

Q. Tell us about the old IRB info gathering process.  What made you look for another way to do it?

The old way involved researchers downloading a fillable PDF, writing their answers down, and e-mailing the PDF. This was software-dependent: it required Adobe Reader, and sometimes in the past, the form stopped saving data for users. The form, once created, wasn’t editable by a user either. If a user wanted to resubmit or edit their request, they could copy and paste their previous answers, but then the OCR would produce bizarre errors, leading to emails back and forth asking for clarifications.

Q. How long have you been using LibAnalytics for the Institutional Review Board data?

LibAnalytics is new for us. In fact, having a data warehouse for the IRB records is new for us. We’re in an assessment crunch right now, though, and being able to store this data helps a lot. Using LibAnalytics for this has saved our department a lot of time and hassle.

Q. How do researchers access the LibAnalytics form?

Researchers access the form through our portal, on the same page as the old review link. I’m going to put together a LibGuide on institutional review as well, and will embed the widget there.  All the questions are in a single column by request, as once a user submits the form it’s printed as a PDF by the Administrative Assistant and circulated to the board, before an ID, decision, and reviewers are added for our records.


One section of the Institutional Review Board data collection form created in LibAnalytics at Asbury Theological Seminary.

There’s some jQuery in there to make certain questions appear based on the review type selected by the user, to keep it as uncluttered as possible for the end-user, as well as to break up a long checklist in the middle. The tooltips are made visible because of the length and importance of some of the descriptions, and because there’s a clickable link in one of them. The form also has a section where the user can select which additional forms they’ll need to attach, and the thank you message displays a list of those forms as a reminder

Q. How are you getting the records out of LibAnalytics and into PDF format for printing?

Printing is done from the view/analyze data section. I created a few print-specific stylesheet rules, and call a plugin so that multi-line text boxes expand vertically to match the amount of text. The fillable PDF would take 8-10 pages, depending on the length of some responses, but I’ve managed to knock that down to 3-4, which is a boon for readability. The board’s comments and recommendations can then be added into a few fields that are hidden on the widget, giving us a complete record.

Q. How has the new process been received by researchers?

Initial reports are good. There are still some pieces of the review process that can’t be put into the form, but I added some code to remind users which attachments they need to submit as supplements. We had our first resubmission happen recently, and it went through smoothly for the researcher- plus, we now have records of his first submission in case we need to track history.

Q. In addition to using LibAnalytics to streamline the process, are you analyzing the data and using it to help manage or guide institutional review at the school?

We are currently in an accreditation review period, so we’re analyzing every piece of data we currently have at the institution, and trying to put in place processes that will gather data we don’t have but are going to need. Right now, I don’t know what elements of the review process we’re going to actually analyze, but until then, it’s good to cast a wide net so that we have data to analyze down the road.

Greg Sigountos is the Instructional Resource and Production Specialist at Asbury Theological Seminary. He handles faculty support, some library infrastructure, and the design of the library’s websites.  The B.L. Fisher Library at ATS uses LibGuides, LibAnswers, and LibCal, in addition to LibAnalytics, to serve its user community.

LibGuides & Faculty Collaboration = Scholarship to ALA

Graduate Assistant Laura Browning was on a mission! She wanted to cultivate a strong collaborative relationship between faculty in the English department and the library’s instruction program at Florida State University. How did she accomplish this? Start off with a strong line of communication with English faculty and their T.A.s. Next add in a dash of marketing and library promotion. Mix in personalized emails and face-to-face meetings. And the cherry on top? Build a LibGuide that addresses each English class’s needs. View Laura’s ENC1142 & ENC1145 LibGuide.

Through hard work, Laura’s English LibGuide grew to over 7,000 views since August 2012 and is ranked 3rd in popularity of all the Florida State University’s research guides. English T.A.s walked away feeling that their class was treated specially and not glommed in with all the ‘English’ classes. Laura was able to meet the needs of the English T.A.s by building a targeted LibGuides page designed to address their research requirements.

“Libguides were a fundamental element in strengthening my collaborative relationships with the T.A.s.”

Not only was the project wildly successful it was also rewarding personally and professionally. Laura submitted her project to the Robert F. Alseson Memorial ALA Conference Grant and her winning essay afforded her a trip to ALA! She stopped by Springshare’s booth to share the good news and we couldn’t wait to interview her!

Congratulations Laura!

Teen Tech Week: Spotlight on LibGuides for Teens

Yesterday marked the start of Teen Tech Week, sponsored by the Young Adult Libraries Services division (YALSA) of the American Library Association. This year’s theme encourages libraries “to throw open their physical and virtual doors to teens and showcase the outstanding technology they offer.”

To celebrate Teen Tech Week, we’re highlighting a few of the many great LibGuides created for teen audiences by school and public librarians. The three guides featured here will also form the kernel of a new “Teen Interest” category on the LibGuides Best Of site. Feel free to use one of the guides as a template to reuse / remix on your own site! (The guide authors have given their permission.)

Teen Resources

Teen Space
Newport News Public eLibrary
The Newport News Public Library in Virginia has created an attractive and dynamic “Teen Space” with a wide range of resources for its teenage audience.

The site offers everything from career and college information to homework help  to books and magazines to special events. It’s all wrapped into the highly customized and tightly structured design that gives the Newport News eLibrary a distinctive online look and feel.  (NNPL uses LibGuides for its overall online site.)

Be sure to check out the library’s use of tabbed boxes on each of the pages of its teen guide to keep the content compact and organized.

Walk in My Shoes: Exploring Cultures in AmericaWalk in My Shoes: Exploring Cultures in America
Akira Toki Middle School
This guide, created by teacher-librarian Madge Klais at the Akira Toki Middle School in Madison, Wisconsin, supports the study of multicultural literature for teens.  It’s a companion to her 8th grade course in the school’s Unified Arts Program, and it’s filled with information, illustrations, and resources.

Madge hopes to have students add additional content, including book reviews, Animoto videos, and other items to the site as they proceed through the course.


Just for Teens Just for Teens
East Baton Rouge Parish Library
Louise Hilton at the East Baton Route Parish Library in Louisiana designed this guide as a “one-stop shop” for area teens to find resources on arts and crafts, gaming, writing, teen reads, music, and more. It’s full of books, databases, websites, online classes, and creative ideas.

The guide also connects to the library’s social media presence, including Twitter and Instagram plus a Facebook page and Pinterest board just for teens.

Like all the best guides, “Just for Teens” is a work in progress, with new and changing categories and content to keep it fresh and fun.

Congrats to all three for these great guides. We’re looking for more Best Of examples, so if you’ve created or know of a guide that’s a cut above—in this category or any other—let us know!

We Heart the Springy Community!

We noticed a great exchange happening right now in the Springshare Lounge – it’s the type of conversation that reminds us of the power found in the collective knowledge of the Springy Community. The discussion kicked off as a request for information on adding LibChat widgets to library databases. The librarian hive mind didn’t disappoint (no surprise there, it never does!), and strategies for embedding widgets in several major library databases have already been outlined.

Catch up on the conversation:

We get excited when we see discussions like this take off – particularly on topics like embedding content in library databases, to which we don’t have direct access. We love seeing your ideas and questions creating such fruitful conversations – High-five, Springy Community!

200,000 Library Guides (and still counting!)

We’ve often been amazed by the astounding growth rate for guides in LibGuides & CampusGuides – clearly, librarians have a lot of wisdom to share! And today’s milestone has surprised us yet again – as of today, there are over 200,000 librarian-created guides in the system, and more than 1.3 million pages of content in those guides. What’s more amazing is, it took almost 3 years to hit the first 100,000 guides, but only 1 year to double that amount – wow!!

A big round of applause and congrats goes out to all librarians creating and maintaining guides to publish and share information. Librarians are the best information/knowledge professionals out there and, in our opinion, many of these guides represent the highest quality information found on the internet. We love seeing this growth – more guides means more content is being shared, more ideas are being exchanged, and better quality information is getting out there.

Keep up the great work – onwards and upwards to the next milestone! Dare we say 1,000,000 Guides? With more libraries joining our community every day, we’ll get there sooner than you think!

LibGuides: Information is a Candle in the Dark

We love sharing great examples of librarians using LibGuides/CampusGuides to publish high quality, timely information. When we saw Kathy Park’s guide about the tragic events in Japan, we were inspired by its breadth, quality, & currency – so we’d like to share her work with the community. Check out the COM Library’s guide to the Japan Earthquake & Tsunami:

From Kathy:

To be honest, one feels helpless in these tragic situations. As librarians there is always something we can do – we can compile and provide access to good quality information – it’s what we do best.
Especially for major tragedies, our patrons want to know more beyond just the latest news. How were people affected? What was it like to be there? How can this happen… and how can I help? This guide (and others like it) is a direct result of interacting with our patrons.

Using embedded media, this guide is able to continually update and evolve to reflect the changing situation in Japan. Highlights from this guide include an interactive Google map (which provides links to video and more information), and excellent RSS feeds. In the future, Kathy plans to add a page about Japan, and another on nuclear power (which is emerging as a significant part of the story), and will continue adding new angles as the situation evolves.

We love sharing these success stories – as Kathy mentions, “Every time I create a new guide, I blog it. I use twitterfeed to send the blog post to our Twitter & Facebook accounts, and I use the text from our blog to email every user on campus”. And the results are tangible – using Kathy’s links, patrons have donated to victims of this and other catastrophic events, and students have access to an incredible source of research help, akin to a time-capsule of an event.

Much like the GOSIC (Gulf Oil Spill Information Center) guide we shared back in July ( ), these guides represent the best of what LibGuides has to offer. We’re proud to be able to offer librarians a fast & flexible tool to rapidly share their knowledge with their communities. We also love to share, and Kathy has graciously agreed to allow other LibGuiders to re-use her excellent content in your own sites. For more information, check out our Best Of site:

LibAnswers helps libraries win the race!

Here’s a “too good not to share” story from our friends at Albuquerque/Bernalillo County (ABC) Libraries, who published a LibAnswer that received 11,000+ views in 5 days.

An online trivia contest (“Outwit the West” – top prize: $1 million dollars) recently caused an internet sensation, and a patron submitted one of the questions from the contest to ABC Librarians via LibAnswers’ SMS service. The question was:

What horse won the 800 yard Christmas Day race between Perico and Dude in Fairview NM in 1886?

Before they could respond to the original SMS, ABC Librarians started seeing the question crop up in multiple channels – through LibAnswers, phone calls, and emails. And the answer was ambiguous: The race was scheduled in Fairview, NM on Christmas Day, 1866 – but was won, by Perico, on January 10th, in Chloride, NM – and the library’s considerable archives offered no information on what happened in between.

What happened next is a great example of jumping head first into social media. Using LibAnswers, ABC Librarian Anne Lefkofsky was able to quickly publish the info the library had on the race. The answer’s URL was shared in contest discussion forums, and it spread like wildfire. As trivia hunters asked for more details, library staffers updated the answer with more source materials. When patrons called the library, staff emailed them the answer with two clicks. Meanwhile, LibAnswers’ built-in Search Engine Optimization meant the answer quickly rose to the top of internet search rankings.

The real-time statistics in LibAnswers let the ABC Librarians know how popular the question had become. Within a few hours of posting, the answer had 500 hits; by the next day, 5,000. Driven by the popularity of this topic, ABC Librarians created a new LibGuide that compiled links to climate data, maps of the towns involved, images, and user link submission. Not long afterward, a librarian from the Fray Angélico Chávez History Library in Santa Fe, NM submitted a link to a photo of the elusive newspaper that explained exactly what happened on Christmas Day, 1886 in Fairview, NM. Pretty amazing, right!?

The end result? Eleven thousand people found the ABC Libraries LibAnswer, which now linked them to a resource only available at another library. Talk about librarians using technology to improve services and collaboration! When we contacted David Hurley (Digital Services Manager at the ABC Library System) about the story, he put things in context: If those 11,000 hits saved the time spent answering a hundred phone calls or emails to our Special Collections library, then LibAnswers paid for itself with one question. And us? We’re really pleased that LibAnswers and LibGuides got to play a small part in a success story like this. Way to go, Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Librarians – you rock!