Archive for LibChat

Creating a Regional Chat Cooperative – Learning Lab

Last week we had the pleasure of sitting down, albeit virtually, with three amazing librarians to talk about virtual chat reference and the importance of having support from a regional, and global, chat cooperative. Caitlin Kenney (Engagement and Education Services Coordinator at the Western New York Library Resources Council) and Cornell University Librarians Leah Dodd (Research Lead Librarian), and Virginia Cole (Archaeology, Classics, History, and Medieval Studies Librarian) joined us for a panel discussion to discuss the WNYLRC cooperative and Cornell University’s experience doing local, regional, and even global chat reference.

In case you missed it, you’re in luck! We recorded the session, along with presenter slides, so you can watch and download all from the Springshare Learning Lab website.

Takeaways

  • The benefits of creating chat fallback so patrons chatting with the library start locally but if their library isn’t available, it rolls up to the Western New York LRC regional cooperative -> and then lastly the global chat cooperative for 24/7 backup.
  • Using historical statistics to make sure chat staffing is optimized.
  • The importance of feedback for quality control and using chat transcripts for training purposes.
  • Using tags to tag transcripts with followed-up, reviewed, etc. to keep an accurate eye on chats for quality control.

Watch Now!

More Learning Labs Coming Up!

Our goal is to host a Springshare Learning Lab every single month! Our next Learning Lab:

  • Springing into Action – The Librarian Reserve Corps (LRC)
    Thursday, April 29, 1:00pm – 2:20pm
    The Librarian Reserve Corps (LRC) was founded in March 2020 to provide critical librarian time, skills, and resources to the growing need for quality information in response to the global pandemic. They quickly recognized the need to have a web presence to provide information to partners and volunteers and a central platform to manage projects. As librarians who used Springshare products in their home institutions, LRC’s Co-Directors thought to reach out to Springshare for support. Springshare responded quickly, donating access to a suite of products to support LRC’s response efforts. Throughout the past year, LRC has combined LibGuides, LibAnswers, and LibWizard to manage volunteers and launch new initiatives. Read more in our blog post.

Code Release: New LibGuides, LibAnswers, LibCal, LibWizard, LibStaffer, and LibInsight features coming your way!

These releases are on their way to you next week, and will be live in all regions by the end of the day on Friday, February 19. Read about LibGuides | LibAnswers | LibCal | LibWizard | LibStaffer | LibInsight

LibGuides

In addition to improvements on the E-Reserves Request form, we are implementing a bunch of Accessibility improvements on the A-Z Databases page and the Search page.

E-Reserves Request Form

We’ve made the E-Reserves request form more user-friendly by getting rid of the accordion collapsible sections, indicating required fields with a red asterisk, and changing how the “Type” choices work.

E-Reserves Request Form

In addition, you can indicate whether these fields should be required or hidden through the E-Reserves > Settings > Request Form > Request Form Field Options.

Request Form Field Options

And Coming Soon…

  • Support for LTI 1.3 in Canvas (with support for additional Learning Management Systems coming after that)
  • Additional accessibility fixes

Upcoming LibGuides Training Sessions:

Also check out our recorded sessions, and don’t miss out the LibGuides release notes on the Springshare Lounge! [Back to Top]

LibAnswers

Our current LibAnswers release is chock full of performance improvements to help bring you a faster and more performant reference management platform! In this release, we’re introducing many under-the-hood updates, including a refreshed Reference Analytics module, improved connectivity for LibChat on mobile devices, and so much more. For the full breakdown of everything rolling out in this release, head to the Springshare Lounge to view the full release notes.

Reference Analytics Update

We’ve spruced things up under the hood to bring you a fresher, faster version of Reference Analytics. We’ve refreshed the entire code base, with a goal of updating code and improving response times. While most folks using the Add or View/Edit Transactions screens won’t notice many UI changes, Admins can see this refresh reflected in the edit Reference Analytics dataset screen. We’ve updated the functions around editing datasets, and added the ability to reorder responses in a field without impacting past recorded data (yay!). To see this in action, Admins can head to Admin > Ref. Analytics > Edit Dataset button.

Mobile Chat Improvements

In this release, we’re updating the behavior of chat widgets on mobile devices. Now, most chat widgets (everything except for embedded chat widgets) will pop open in a new tab/window when viewed and accessed on handheld mobile devices. This will essentially replicate the behavior of the patron choosing to pop the ongoing chat into a new window, which we’ve seen can help prevent patrons from inadvertently disconnecting from a chat, especially on handheld mobile devices, where wide-finger issues are still alive and well! The resulting chat window is mobile-optimized and ready to assist your patrons. To see this in action, head to any slide-out, floating, or button chat widget and start a chat!

And Coming Soon…

We’re hard at work revamping several of our back-end search features, in an effort to bring you a faster and more intuitive search interface! Our first order of business is updating the chat transcript search page; in our next release, we’ll be overhauling our underlying search engine to bring you even more powerful chat transcript searching.

Upcoming LibAnswers Training Sessions:

Also check out our recorded sessions, and don’t miss out on the complete LibAnswers release notes on the Springshare Lounge! [Back to Top]

LibCal

While we are hard at work to bring you (teaser alert!) interactive mapping functionality for seat/space bookings in the very near future and improvements to streamline and improve admin management aspects of Appointments, we have a few exciting updates for you! This release includes lots of accessibility modifications, small improvements, and performance improvements that can be read about in the Springy lounge release notes.

Appointments

  • Booking limits for Appointments have arrived! We’ve added the ability to set daily, weekly, monthly, and/or yearly limits on the number of appointments that can be booked by each patron/student. These limits are available to set on the system level, as well as by individual users who can either use the system limits or define their own set if needed. Head to Admin > Appointments > Booking Limits > System Defaults to set this for your entire LibCal system, or click the Edit button in the User Limits Overview section to set for one user at a time.
  • Also now available is the ability to list Appointment locations on your LibCal homepage, Hours page, and event pages. Your public locations will show as a drop-down menu where Appointments are displayed:

Seats / Spaces / Equipment

  • We’ve also added API support to return availability for period-based locations when retrieving seat / space booking information.
  • We’ve added a warning on the admin side “Booking Grid & Availability” tab when hours for a Location, Category, Space, or Item will expire soon. Admin users will see a warning like the one below when availability is set to expire within 7 days. A warning will also be displayed if a Location, Category, Space, or Item has no hours assigned.

Upcoming LibCal Training Sessions:

Also check out our recorded sessions! Check out the LibCal release notes on the Springshare Lounge! [Back to Top]

LibWizard

Folders

We have added a much-requested feature for creating folders for your LibWizard items! Anyone (Admin and Regular level users) can create new folders by clicking on the “+ Create New Folder” button on top.

LibWizard Folder

Admins will have access to create, delete, or rename all folders. Regular users will be able to create new folders, but will only be able to rename and delete their own folders.

Deleting a folder will not delete the folder contents and will move any existing contents outside of the folder to the main level list.

Finally, users will be able to move existing items to different folders or create a form directly within the folder. Please note that folders cannot be nested at this time.

Changes to the Actions Column

We’ve updated the Actions column for Forms, Surveys, Quizzes, and Tutorials pages and the Question Bank page with a dropdown to make the column less cluttered.

Actions

Upcoming LibWizard Training Sessions:

Also check out our recorded sessions, and check out the LibWizard release notes on the Springshare Lounge! [Back to Top]

LibStaffer

We’ve added some exciting enhancements to both the regular and recurring shift assignment process!

  • You can now set a weekly frequency as well as select or deselect staff members for recurring shift assignments.
  • A “Select All” / “Deselect All” feature has been added to the regular and recurring shift assignment screens, when there are more than 8 users assigned to a schedule.

Upcoming LibStaffer Training Sessions:

Also check out our recorded sessions, and don’t miss the LibStaffer release notes on the Springshare Lounge! [Back to Top]

LibInsight

Manage Accounts Layout Change

We’ve converted the “New Account” and “Import LibApps Accounts” to their own pages for easier use.

LibInsight Manage Account

Dataset Upload Format Change

As a processing and performance improvement, we have updated a few dataset types to allow only .csv format (Comma-Separated Values) for data uploads:

  • Finance
  • Reference
  • Calendaring
  • Custom/Shared

To save any Excel file as a .csv file, go to File > Save As.. and choose Comma-Delimited file. For the tech-minded out there who might use a text editor, we are looking for a UTF-8 file with CRLF line breaks. 🙂

Check out the LibInsight release notes on the Springshare Lounge! [Back to Top]

That’s it for this round of updates from Springy HQ. 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 2021. We are always here for you if have any suggestions or questions.

University of Liverpool: Going Global with LibChat

Last week’s Springshare Learning Lab with University of Liverpool’s Gwen Jones was a can’t miss event. But in case you did, we have the recording and presenter notes available!

Quick Overview

Gwen covers how the Univ. of Liverpool switched from being non-contributing (receiving backup chat support only) to contributing (giving and receiving chat support) in the Springshare 24/7 Global Chat community.

Takeaways

Gwen shares how they prepped and trained to get ready for answering chats from patrons from around the world including watching helpful videos on training.springshare.com and practicing with each other. She also shares helpful tips like:

  • Avoiding geographical lingo – ‘Banging’ in England has a totally different meaning in the U.S.
  • Learn how other libraries call things – One library’s Interlibrary Loan is another library’s ‘Get It For Me’.
  • Being the ‘student’ for once – When trying to help a patron from another library, you’re digging around that library’s website, FAQs, and Policy Page… much like a student. This experience helps you to better understand what your own patrons are going through.
  • What makes a good Policy FAQ – Looking at other library’s policy FAQs when you’re trying to answer their patron’s questions helps to make sure your FAQs are helpful, clear, and concise.
  • Helps with Professional Growth (no really!): – Gwen stated that the librarians love answering global chats so much, that if it was taken away the staff might revolt! Answering chats from other libraries around the world is exciting and helps staff hone their skills – which they can then take ‘home’ to their own patrons.
  • …. and so much more!

Watch Now!

More Learning Labs Coming Up!

Our aim is to have a Springshare Learning Lab every single month! Our next Springshare Learning Lab:

Top 10 Springshare Blog Posts of 2020

The month has flown by and suddenly it’s the last workday of January 2021. 😅 At this point, our teams are waist-deep in strategic goal mapping and list checking, but it doesn’t hurt to take a moment to pause and reflect on the past year… as much as we may want to forget it.

Here is our annual recap of the best client stories, Springshare announcements, and tips and tricks from 2020!

1. Librarian Reserve Corps Fighting COVID-19’s Infodemic

May 15, 2020

We’re proud to have supported Library Journal’s 2021 Librarians of the Year Elaine Hicks, Stacy Brody, and Sara Loree, and the rest of the Librarian Reserve Corps. Read about how they responded to the overwhelming need to identify, select, and disseminate information about the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus. And how they used Springshare tools to help accomplish their goals. Thank you for your service!


2. Pickup Manager is Here!

October 14, 2020

It’s been a year of quick pivots and changing plans at Springy HQ, and Pickup Manager was one exciting result of our efforts to address the ‘new normal’ while making day-to-day tasks easier. The goals: streamlined item pickup scheduling, easy communication with chat and SMS/text, and ILS integration to help automate checkouts!

If you haven’t seen it, check out our post detailing how it works with screenshots and quick video clips. You can watch a recording of the webinar on our Buzz site!

3. ICYMI: Using LibGuides to Support Racial Justice & Create Inclusive Communities

August 7, 2020

July’s edition of SpringyNews included a special guest. Written by Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Librarian Twanna Hodge from the University of Florida, the LibGuides Tricks page addressed an important point – LibGuides are much more than resource webpages. They are part of how we represent our communities online. How can we engage our guide readers, cultivate inclusivity, support anti-racism, and move them to act?

4. How They Did It: Reopening at the University of Hull Library

August 19, 2020

As libraries were starting to reopen their doors over the summer, we checked in with The University of Hull Brynmor Jones Library – one of our first customers to go live with LibCal Seats – to share their reopening process. They provided a ton of helpful information about planning their library’s layout, figuring out booking and cleaning times, and enforcing social distancing!

5. Tips & Tricks for the Remote-First World

March 16, 2020

As libraries and universities were making the monumental switch to online reference and learning services, Springy Talia rounded up some LibGuides, LibAnswers, LibCal, and LibWizard tips and tricks to support librarians suddenly serving students and sharing information remotely.

6. Missed It? Watch it! SpringyCamp 2020 Recordings Available

August 11, 2020

Last year’s SpringyCamp was one for the books! We were thrilled so many from the Springy community joined us for camp. Over two days (for a total of four sessions), we got to see what others are up to, hear new ideas, and just generally find inspiration for how to expand services and explore ways to engage students and patrons.

You can still review the list and watch them all!

7. Introducing the New (and Improved!) Springshare Lounge

September 24, 2020

Last summer we wanted to make an improvement in an area that would empower Springshare users to collaborate, discuss, and help each other online. One of Springshare’s greatest strengths has always been our community, and we wanted to make an online space that reflects how innovative all of you are. So, without further ado, we introduced the revamped, and extra Springy, Springshare Lounge!

8. Supporting Staff & Students 24/7 with Local & Academic Chat Co-Ops

November 5, 2020

Virginia’s Community Colleges (VCCS) and California Community College Library Chat (CCCLC) group both frequently assist students who work and have other responsibilities during “regular business hours” – perhaps even more so during the pandemic. The individual colleges and libraries range in size and available staff, but together the two groups serve over 900,000 students.

In November, they shared how the Springshare 24/7 Global Chat Cooperative and the LibAnswers platform has helped them support their staff and students, especially during last year’s distance learning!

9. You’ve Switched to Remote Services… And the Numbers Show It

April 28, 2020

About a month after the sudden shift to remote learning and library services, we shared some really interesting early LibAnswers and LibGuides stats that illustrated the size of the enormous change, along with information about what we were doing on our end to support you.

In case you’re interested in how these numbers turned out, we updated them in our December SpringyNews edition!

10. Our First Springshare Learning Lab!

December 1, 2020

In response to customer requests to integrate client use cases and how-tos, we launched a brand new training session series: The Springshare Learning Lab!

Ken Winter from VDOT Research Library kicked things off with a thoughtful discussion of his longtime remote working experience and how Springshare tools have helped his team support their patrons during the pandemic.

We’re excited to continue the series in 2021! Next week Gwen Jones at the University of Liverpool is going to share their experience contributing to the 24/7 Global Chat Cooperative (Register now for the last few spots!). And you can watch all Learning Lab recordings on our Buzz site.

The University of Liverpool Goes Global

with their chat, that is.

Let’s start at the beginning. Last summer, the University of Liverpool joined hundreds of other libraries in migrating from OCLC QuestionPoint to the Springshare 24/7 Global Chat Cooperative. If you weren’t aware, Springshare acquired OCLC QuestionPoint in May 2019, which migrated over the QuestionPoint 24/7 Reference Cooperative and all active QuestionPoint subscriptions to Springshare.

Before the migration, the University of Liverpool was a non-contributing member of the Cooperative. Meaning, they received overnight/backup coverage from the Co-Op, but didn’t contribute any hours. All that changed when they migrated to the Springshare 24/7 Co-Op. Like other academic libraries, they joined the Academic Co-Op. Springshare has two others (with more coming!): Public Library Co-Op and the En Español Co-Op.

With the migration came a ton of new exciting features in LibAnswers, including full-text searchable Policy FAQs, live screensharing with Zoom or Microsoft Teams, optional webcam, on-screen annotations, recording capabilities, and more. We added a ton of functionality for librarians to chat with each other and work together – especially in our new remote workplaces – including the ability to screenshare a meeting. We expanded our chat emoji library, added more customizable sounds for new chats, added the ability to automatically create a follow-up ticket from missed chats, and so so so much more.

Choose from over 400 emojis when chatting with patrons

Suffice it to say, all of these features make it so much easier, and dare we say fun, for libraries to contribute to the Global Chat Cooperative. And with the migration, the University of Liverpool changed their status from non-contributing to contributing – giving 15 hours/week to the Global Chat Cooperative. So, not only are their students receiving 24/7/365 chat support from librarians around the world… Liverpool librarians themselves are answering questions from patrons around the world too! Their chat service has truly gone global!

Are they happy with the service?

In a nutshell, yes! Here’s what they said in a recent interview:

Cooperative librarians do a great job of providing answers for our customers and the customer feedback on the queries they’ve dealt with is overwhelmingly positive. We’ve seen some really excellent answers from the global librarians; we couldn’t have done a better job if we’d picked those up ourselves.

— University of Liverpool

Learn more at our live webinar!

If you’d like to learn more about the University of Liverpool going Global with Springshare’s 24/7 Chat Cooperative, join us on February 4 at 11:00am U.S. EST. And hear directly from Gwen Jones, Customer Services Online Manager from the University of Liverpool, discuss their experience offering 24/7 library chat to their students, and what it’s like helping other students around the globe.

REGISTER: THU, FEB 4 @11am U.S. EST

If you can’t attend the live webinar, register to receive the recording! It will be available, along with presenter slides/notes, on Buzz

Code Release: New LibAnswers, LibCal, LibStaffer & LibInsight features coming your way!

Happy New Year to all, and goodbye to 2020! We are pleased to open 2021 with some great improvements across several Springy apps. These releases are on their way to you next week and will be live in all regions by the end of the day on Friday, January 15. Read about: LibAnswers | LibCal | LibStaffer | LibInsight

LibAnswers

We are so very excited to introduce this newest LibAnswers release. This update brings our brand new Quality of Service suite of features – these features are designed to help you track and analyze how satisfied your patrons are with the service you provide via LibAnswers, and keep your finger on the pulse of how your users are feeling. Read on for all the details of these exciting new features. For full release notes of every feature that is rolling out in this update, please visit the Springshare Lounge Release Notes.

Quality of Service Features

Our new Quality of Service features are designed to help you collect feedback from patrons on their overall satisfaction with the service you provide via LibAnswers. These features will assist you with collecting direct patron feedback in the form of a follow-up user satisfaction survey that’s sent to patrons 24 hours after a ticket has been marked closed. In addition, these features include a wealth of indirect feedback on patron satisfaction, in the form of a suite of new metrics available for every ticket that show data related to time to first reply, total turnaround time, and number of interactions (i.e. the number of time that staff members interacted with a given ticket). 

Our new suite of Quality of Service features includes the following elements:

  • Image of Follow-up user satisfaction emailFollow-up User Satisfaction Email/Survey – With this new feature, you can create a follow-up user satisfaction survey and accompanying email to send to patrons. The survey you create consists of one customizable “rating” question in which you specify the number of values in the scale and customize the scale’s labels and layout, so it’s fully targeted to your users. Users will respond to this rating question directly in the email by clicking on their chosen response. Choosing a rating/response opens a new tab in the patron’s default browser which prompts users for additional free-text comments to explain the rating they’ve chosen.  Users will receive this email approximately 24 hours after their ticket has been marked closed, and users will only ever receive a survey once per ticket. 
  • Quality of Service Reports – These new reports gather all Quality of Service metrics and reports together in one place, so it’s easy to see your patrons’ satisfaction at a glance. Admins will find these reports at Stats > Quality of Service; here you’ll find reports on patron responses to user satisfaction surveys, as well as turnaround metrics that will help you investigate tickets with long vs short turnaround metrics. 
  • Updated Ticket Answer Page – We’re updating the layout on the ticket answer page to include all of the available turnaround time metrics (time to first reply, time to close, and total interactions). We’ve also made some additional changes in the page to better expose information about your patrons; you’ll see a new Patron Info box in the top, right corner of the page, which displays high-level info about the patron, responses they’ve provided in your question form, and their full patron history details, so you can view the full history of conversations with this particular patron. 

To start customizing your site’s user satisfaction survey and email, admins can head to Admin > Queues > Edit Queue > Quality

Excited? Us too!! And in even more exciting news, this is just our first step into giving you a full picture of your user’s satisfaction. In the coming months, we’ll also introduce a new suite of features centered around calculating your Net Promoter Score, a standardized industry metric of user satisfaction. We’re creating new widgets that can be embedded in any website and collect satisfaction data, as well as targeted reports that will showcase your users’ satisfaction and segmentation metrics. Stay tuned for this exciting new module, coming in the first quarter of 2021!

In addition to the new Quality of Service tools, we have so many more features coming in this release. For the full list of new features, please check out the Springshare Lounge Release Notes. There you can read about all of the new features we’re introducing, including:

  • We’ve added a couple of new LibChat settings:
    • To automatically create follow-up tickets from missed chats; and
    • To limit users to viewing chat transcripts only in departments to which they belong.
  • We’re adding a full emoji picker to the LibChat dashboard, so you can pick from a library of over 400 emoji with the click of a button! 🙂
  • We’re improving the connection between chats and follow-up tickets; now you’ll be able to view at-a-glance which chat transcripts and missed chats have had follow-up tickets created. 
  • Did you know you can launch a patron chat without a chat widget? It’s true! We’re expanding our documentation to make this clearer, and we’re also updating our direct chat link option so it can accept more query string parameters, so you can programmatically pass information like a user’s name and email address into a chat. Hello, chatbots! 

Upcoming LibAnswers Training Sessions:

Also check out our recorded sessions! [Back to Top]

LibCal

We’re happy to bring you the following LibCal updates to help improve Seat/Space booking daily operations and policies! Also included in this release are some helpful usability features as well as our new Email Queue feature, which you can read about further below.

Seats/Spaces & Equipment

  • We’ve added the ability to select multiple booking statuses when browsing the Booking Explorers for Spaces & Equipment.
  • If set for a location, the “Reminder” and/or “Follow-up” email info will now display in the booking details. Also, if mediation is enabled, the details of mediation approvals/denials will be available to view in the booking details.
  • A new location setting enables only LibCal Admin users to check users in or out of a booking.
  • The ability to modify the Check In/Out Date & Time fields for a booking is now available on the admin side, when viewing the details of a booking.

Appointments

  • If the availability duration entered does not meet the minimum requirement for a user’s set duration plus padding, the user will not be able to save the availability until making adjustments.
  • We’ve modified the stats report to only display available times for users currently assigned to a group.
  • When the Exchange/Outlook integration is enabled for an Appointments user, events created in Outlook by this integration will be marked “Private.”

Misc.

  • Verification of Email Delivery! From this release forward, you will be able to see whether an email was successfully sent out of LibCal, regardless of whether you are using the Springy email service or your own SMTP server. Head to Admin > System Settings > Email Queue to find filters with which you can narrow results, or to view the full contents of any email. Bonus! if an email was not submitted successfully and is marked with a “Failed” status, you can resubmit it. If your system sends out a large volume of email, you will also see any emails that are queued for impending sending.
  • You can now select which tab to land on when visiting the “Event Calendars” page. You can also specify a preferred Calendar. Go to Admin > Accounts > Edit Account > Preferences, or click your email address in the top, right corner to set preferences.

Upcoming LibCal Training Sessions:

Also check out our recorded sessions, and don’t miss the LibCal release notes on the Springshare Lounge! [Back to Top]

LibStaffer

  • We’ve modified the “Staff” Report so the correct “Next Shift” for a user always displays.
  • We fixed an issue that prevented schedules from printing in Landscape orientation.
  • Inactive users will now be available for reporting on the Scheduled Shifts report, when “All Schedules” is selected. These will be at the bottom of the staff list and be labeled “Inactive.”

Also check out our recorded training sessions, and don’t miss the LibStaffer release notes on the Springshare Lounge! [Back to Top]

LibInsight

Twelve Hour Time Format for Custom / Shared Dataset Recording – You will be able to select the time format to record any time-related fields in your custom/shared dataset. To select which time format you would like, head to System Settings > Dates & Currency > Record Data / Widget Time Format. Please note that the Analysis page will still render the entered time data in 24 hour format.

Filter COUNTER 5 Top 100 Titles by Platform

Ever wanted to view the Top 100 Databases, Journals, Books, Other titles by platform? Now you can! Simply select the individual platform you want to filter the top 100 title reports by in the COUNTER 5 Analysis page.

Check out the LibInsight release notes on the Springshare Lounge! [Back to Top]

That’s it for this round of updates from Springy HQ. 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 2021. We are always here for you if have any suggestions or questions.

ICYMI: Our First Springshare Learning Lab!

Just before the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, we were thrilled to host the first session of our new client story + how-to webinar series: The Springshare Learning Lab!

Ken Winter kicked things off with a thoughtful discussion of his longtime remote working experience and its recent challenges. And how LibGuides, LibAnswers, and LibWizard have helped him and his team support their patrons during the pandemic. Next Springy Michelle highlighted using LibChat for internal staff communication, setting chat departments as fallbacks, and configuring a LibWizard form with conditional logic.

In case you missed it, the full recording is available! You can watch it below and find Ken’s slides on the Buzz site!

Got an after-the-fact question for Ken? Lounge members can ask it in his discussion thread that he’ll be monitoring for the next week or so. Any Springy user can request a Lounge account, and we have getting started guidance in our July newsletter.

Inspired by Ken’s presentation, Springy Michelle also created a special training on how to build an internal staff communication guide similar to the one in his session with LibGuides, LibCal, and LibAnswers. You can watch the recording in our training video library.

Up Next! Library Reopening at Gwinnett Technical College with LibCal Seats

Back in September, Gwinnett Technical College shared their reopening experience and how they’re using LibCal Seats to help reopen safely. For our next Learning Lab, Deborah George, director of library services, is going to share their story, give us an update, and answer audience questions. Following, we’ll look at some of the specific features they’ve found most useful during this reopening process.

Register today! COVID-19 – Bringing Patrons Back to the Building
Tuesday, December 8, 2020
11:00am – 12:00pm ET

Just getting started with LibCal Seats? Since we won’t have time to cover every setting during the Learning Lab, we have a full training session scheduled for the next day.

Register today! LibCal Seats – Get Your Library Ready to Reopen Safely
Wednesday, December 9, 2020
2:00pm – 3:00pm ET

We hope to see you at one or both of the sessions! Wishing you all a happy and healthy holiday season. 🙂

Promote Contactless Communication

In some parts of the world, lockdowns are taking place again. In others, the trend is heading that way. It’s looking like we’ll all be experiencing another shelter-in-place soon in order to stop the spread of this deadly virus. The good news, we know a lot more now than we did only eight short months ago. We’re not suddenly scrambling to a work-from-home environment or pivoting to online-only services in just a matter of days. To that end, we’d like to share our best tips for promoting contactless communication during yet another COVID-19 lockdown. Your patrons, students, customers might not be able to see you in person… but you can still ‘see’ them online.

Create Searchable COVID-19 FAQs in LibAnswers

Not only are we living through an unprecedented pandemic but an infodemic too. Your users are being inundated with conflicting and sometimes downright false “information”. It’s so hard to know where to go, online, to get credible information. Create COVID-19 searchable FAQs highlighting recent research, regional laws/regulations, and how the library’s hours/services are affected. This 35min training video covers how you can keep important information updated in your LibAnswers, including creating a COVOD-19 FAQ group.

Searchable COVID-19 FAQs in LibAnswers

Offer Live Chat with Screensharing/Webcam Functionality

You’ve spent time cultivating relationships with your patrons. They most likely know your face, your smile, and even your ‘funny’ jokes. (What building has the most stories? The Library! – cue the eyeroll). Those special bonds don’t need to end with remote services.  LibChat’s screensharing allows you to engage in back-and-forth chat and you can even conduct ‘live’ sessions with patrons with optional webcam functionality, recording, and more!

And, if you’re thinking you don’t have the bandwidth to offer chat or offer it for the number of hours your patrons would need it – our 24/7 Chat Cooperative is here to back you up with MLIS-degreed librarians. Enable 24/7/365 chat services or custom coverage hours.

What is the Status of Your Buildings & Services?

Is your building open? What about the 3D printer? Is curbside delivery available? Your patrons have questions about the status of your building, services, and more. Create a LibAnswers System & Status Dashboard (with an embeddable widget) and keep them updated 24/7 on your status. Make use of social media integration so if the status of a service changes, broadcast it out on Facebook and Twitter right from the Systems Status Dashboard. 


LibAnswers System & Status Dashboard

Keeping Staff Informed

It’s hard enough keeping staff updated and informed when you see them every day at the workplace. Updates to the manual go unnoticed. Post-it notes at the reference desk are overlooked. In our new work-from-home model, it’s even harder keeping staff informed especially if you’re relying on email and reply-all. We have some tips to help you use LibAnswers to create a powerful staff repository of information that is searchable, easily-updatable, and reduces your inbox clutter.

  • Create a robust internal staff knowledge base: Break out policies, login details, and staff-only information into individual restricted FAQs. It’s easy to search, browse, embed, and link them! This 26min training video covers all the steps.
  • Use LibChat for internal conversations & meetings: LibChat isn’t just for chatting with patrons. Set your chat status to internal and be available for quick chats with coworkers. Use LibChat screensharing to conduct internal meetings with a coworker or a whole department.
  • Create Internal Posts on the Systems & Status Dashboard: Not every post on the Systems & Status Dashboard might be suitable for the public. Create internal posts to update staff on a new process, COVID-19 restrictions, or planned downtime to a product or service.
Internal Posts on the System & Status Management Tool

Pickup Manager for Curbside/Contactless Communication

Our newest tool, Pickup Manager, integrates with multiple ILSes, LibCal, and LibAnswers to create a scheduling and communication platform for holds pickup. This way, your patrons can reserve their library items, schedule a time to pick them up, and communicate with you via chat and SMS/texting when they’ve arrived… all with seamless ILS integration to boot.

Springshare’s Pickup Manager

We’re In This Together

We know that this has been, and continues to be, an incredibly difficult and stressful time. Not only are you a library employee with all that entails but you’re also a friend, caretaker, child, or parent… trying to make sense of all the confusion, fear, and complexities that COVID-19 has brought both into your work-life and your personal life. And whether you’re working at the library or working from home, your work-lives and personal lives are now more intertwined than ever. How do we know this, well – because we’re going through this with you. Our Springy employees work-from-home and are now full-time teachers, caretakers, and more. And supporting loved ones who are working, and who are also dealing with the isolation that comes with the pandemic. So we know what you’re going through, because we’re going through it right alongside you. And we’re here to help. So, don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions, feedback, requests, recipes, or tips on keeping a 7 year old engaged in their Zoom class! We’re here to help and we’ll get through this in our typical Springy fashion… together.

Supporting Staff & Students 24/7 with Local & Academic Chat Co-Ops

You could say this week feels like ‘peak 2020’ and that’s not a good thing. It’s hard to stick to business as usual right now when anxiety is high and the future is uncertain around the globe. But the dates on the calendar keep ticking by, classes are continuing, and students are seeking help.

We’re working with an immense amount of stress, and we all need each other to get through this. And looking at and beyond our own workplaces, we could all benefit from a strong network of support. And gain some reassurance that staff and students will have the help they need when they need it.

A couple of weeks ago, we shared the experiences of two public library cooperative members – Denver Public Library and Arlington Heights Memorial Library. Today, we have word from two academic consortium library groups using local and academic chat cooperatives to support their staff members and their students alike!

Virginia’s Community Colleges (VCCS) and California Community College Library Chat (CCCLC) group both frequently assist students who work and have other responsibilities during “regular business hours” – perhaps even more so during the pandemic. The individual colleges and libraries range in size and available staff, but together the two groups serve over 900,000 students.

VCCS and CCCLC have two layers to their cooperative – first, their own network of local librarians that answer student questions within their consortium – plus additional help from the Springshare 24/7 Global Chat Cooperative’s (Co-Op) dedicated Academic Global Cooperative with its team of librarians.

The Co-Op is always there to help, especially during peak times, in the evenings, and on weekends. It ensures their students can get help 24/7/365 from a professional MLS-degreed librarian. And with LibAnswers, it’s easy for them to allow their librarians “first dibs” on each other’s chats, but then utilize the 24/7 global librarian network when they need it.

“Always Online” for Virginia’s Community College students

Virginia’s Community Colleges (VCCS) is composed of 23 community colleges in the state of Virginia, U.S., that serve over 200,000 students. And all of the libraries in its group use LibAnswers with LibChat to help students across their colleges – as well as provide help to students around the world and receive help from 24/7 Springshare librarians and other Co-Op librarians.

The below responses from its local and contributing cooperative librarians have been edited for brevity and clarity. 🙂

Are you noticing any trends in student questions and traffic numbers so far this fall? 

Certain campuses are seeing a drastic increase in chats during remote learning: 

  • “When NVCC went remote, we moved all our reference desks online, meaning that we cover the chat as if it is our reference desk during regular business hours.  Our chat numbers have increased drastically with remote learning. We love that we can help so many of our students and are grateful for the assistance we get from the VCCS and 24/7 Co-Op librarians in answering so many questions.” – Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA)

Others are seeing fewer chats, possibly due to everyone “just completely gobsmacked and shell-shocked” with the move to online. However, Germanna Community College sums it up nicely:

  • “This has been a real help to us! Going online during the pandemic has made us more aware of what students need from us to be successful. The chat can at least give students the sense that there really is someone else out there who cares and wants them to be successful.”

How has 24/7 chat supported your staff and students? What are some of the benefits of using LibAnswers/LibChat platform?

  • “24/7 chat gives students the flexibility to get help when it is most convenient for them. Providing live assistance gives them peace of mind during an already difficult time due to COVID-19 and the switch to online learning. It has been inconvenient for many students to not be able to physically come to the library, so at least this way they have easy access to help, which aids them in their virtual learning experience.” – Germanna Community College
  • “I appreciate how easy it is to submit a ticket for a chat in LibChat.  I feel like we are getting more LibAnswers tickets than we did previously, and I really appreciate that this feature is seeing increased usage as tickets allow me to offer students additional assistance.
    One of the features that I know everyone loves is screensharing. We use this feature a lot and find that it really helps when there are language barrier issues or when a visual demonstration will be more effective than a typed description.” – NOVA
  • “The great thing about LibChat/LibAnswers is it not only provides online support for students, but every chat engagement is an opportunity to glow up on your reference skills.” – Tidewater Community College

Providing 24/7 live assistance gives them peace of mind during an already difficult time due to COVID-19 and the switch to online learning. It has been inconvenient for many students to not be able to physically come to the library, so at least this way they have easy access to help, which aids them in their virtual learning experience.

How does the Academic Global Cooperative support the local VCCS cooperative? 

  • “We now have more online students than ever before, and LibChat makes it easier to reach them. The 24/7 Co-Op means that even as we’ve had to shorten library hours, our students can still get help at any time.” – Tidewater Community College
  • I’ve noticed that the Academic Global Cooperative and Springshare 24/7 librarian staffing levels appear to be in line with the number of questions received during the shifts that I cover. I don’t think we can underestimate the superior service that a 24/7 platform staffed by professional librarians offers students!” – VCCS Cooperative librarians

I don’t think we can underestimate the superior service that a 24/7 platform staffed by professional librarians offers students!

What do you think is a 24/7 chat support’s role in student success? How does it fit into your long-term library services strategy?

  • “We offer multiple channels for students to gain assistance with library services and resources – whichever channel is most appropriate or comfortable to them. By placing the library where the students are with chat, they have immediate access to professional assistance and quality service, setting them up for success.” – Danville Community College
  • “The cooperative’s role in providing 24/7 research support for students is an important service to community college students… In addition, non-traditional college students may lack basic research skills, technological skills to navigate library resources. The chat service enables librarians to provide assistance and basic instruction that critically impact student success.” – VCCS Cooperative librarians

CCCLC: There for their students – and each other – across 44 California colleges

The California Community College Library Chat (CCCLC) group is made up of 44 community colleges’ libraries across California serving approximately 720,000 students. According to Technical Services Librarian Glorian Sipman, the libraries are a pretty tight-knit group!

And when CCCLC librarians have to be offline during evenings and weekends, or even due to staffing changes, the Academic Global Co-Op is there to pick up chats from night owl and nontraditional students asking any questions.

Again, the below responses from CCCLC libraries have been edited for brevity and clarity. 🙂

How does the Academic Global Cooperative support the local CCCLC cooperative?

All responding libraries receive help in the evenings and on weekends. For the group in general, the Academic Global Cooperative & 24/7 librarians really help us out late in the evenings and on Fri/Sat/Sun. They do backstop us at other times if we’re busy.

  • “Cerro Coso really appreciates the Academic Global Cooperative, especially when most of the CCCLC participants are working day jobs in a California time zone and students are writing term papers at 3am. The global support helps us expand our services to reach our night owl students without requiring us to find local staff willing to work those times.”
  • “Grossmont College has no adjunct budget since July 2020. We also have full-time librarians on leave, so our chat monitoring hours are very limited. The Academic Global Cooperative (and local CCCLC cooperative) have been lifesavers for our students. We truly would not be able to get along without the backup chat reference service the cooperative provides.”
  • “College of the Desert currently has limited staffing when it comes to librarians and we are grateful for the backup and support we receive from the CCCLC cooperative, especially on Fridays, nights, and weekends when a COD librarian is not available.”
  • “College of the Canyons librarians monitor the CCC queue at all hours that we staff LibChat, also providing six hours of Global coverage per week.  We find that we respond to more questions from students from other colleges than our own!”

If there’s any silver lining to this pandemic scenario, it’s that our chat service is getting more promotion and use. We are very grateful that the Academic Global Cooperative is able to help us provide anywhere, anytime service to our students at their convenience, considering many of them may be trying to juggle work and kids at home, doing their own schoolwork after hours.”

Are you noticing any trends in student questions and traffic numbers so far this fall?

Libraries are seeing slight increases to huge increases while all classes are online this semester – and will likely be online in the spring.

  • “MiraCosta is seeing a lot more chats during the day than before. We are completely online this semester (as we were last semester and will likely be next); chat is one of the main ways we are serving our students’ reference and instruction needs.”
  • “Los Angeles Pierce College has seen a huge increase in chat use this fall. With no in-person services available, all of our reference services have been taking place through LibChat.”

How have the local CCCLC and Academic Global Co-Ops added value to your existing chat services? Any surprising benefits of using LibAnswers/LibChat?

  • “The Cerro Coso Library is quite small and can only staff our chat 1-2 hours a week… Having a chat function not only provides another method for our students to interact with librarians but it also drastically increases the number of hours in which students can get personalized help immediately, regardless of our own opening times or staffing issues.”
  • “I don’t think it is a surprising benefit because we have been experiencing it for many years, but having other CCC librarians available really helps as they understand exactly who our Solano students are and are familiar with many of the resources because we share a database consortium as well. So they bring an added benefit which makes helping students more seamless and apt.”
  • The screensharing functionality of LibChat is a game changer. Its simple integration makes it easy to set up Zoom sessions when students need it most. This has come in handy for many unique issues – connectivity, database walk-through, and citation help. When I think about citation assistance, specifically, it’s the perfect option to teach a student “to fish” rather than doing the tedious work of copyediting.” -MiraCosta Library

The Cerro Coso Library is quite small and can only staff our chat 1-2 hours a week… Having a chat function not only provides another method for our students to interact with librarians but it also drastically increases the number of hours in which students can get personalized help immediately, regardless of our own opening times or staffing issues.

What do you think is a 24/7 chat service’s role in student success?

  • “Clovis Community College is very thankful to the Academic Global Cooperative because those librarians make it possible for our students to have access when we are offline and the CCCLC librarians are not available. That is important now more than ever. Our students have used these middle of the night services, so having that access makes a difference.”
  • “By being part of the cooperative, San Bernardino Valley College truly offers 24/7 reference. Especially in this time of COVID-19, we appreciate the service.”
  • “Students need help in the moment and 24/7 chat provides that. Real-time chat (and potential Zoom) with a librarian at the point of need is invaluable. Grossmont College truly relies on this service to round out reference and instruction services–especially right now, while the library is closed to students.”

Thank you, Tara Cassidy at VCCS and Glorian Sipman at CCCLC! We appreciate you taking the time to share the experiences of your libraries. And we agree with you all — having a librarian there for students 24/7 can really set them up for success. Especially for students who work and have other responsibilities during the day and wouldn’t be able to reach professional support otherwise.

Interested in learning more about the Springshare 24/7 Global Chat Cooperative?

Global Public Chat Cooperative: Helping Your Community 24/7

As librarians, you’re there to help your communities improve their access to information and resources, no matter their life circumstances. But “pandemic life” has stretched on for over seven months now, and while public libraries have adapted quickly, increases in new cases could mean sudden closures or service changes again. Curbside delivery tools like Pickup Manager provide an important link to patrons, and online reference tools like email, and even better, live chat, are becoming the most visible way to show you’re open and there to help them. Libraries are also finding that if there’s a chat option on their website, patrons will use it!

We also can’t forget that typically when times are tough, usage of the library goes up as people need help with resumes, job seeking, government assistance applications, small business resources, and free services and sources of entertainment they can’t otherwise afford. So while the library building may be closed, have shorter hours, or limited capacity – its community may need it more than ever.

Denver Public Library, a large multi-branch system in Denver, Colorado, and Arlington Heights Memorial Library, a single branch library located in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, have both dealt with closures and unexpected shifts in services during the pandemic. And with established 24/7 chat services plus backup Springshare 24/7 Global Chat Cooperative support, we asked them to share how 24/7 chat has impacted their ability to help patrons during the pandemic, and what they’re seeing so far with chat trends and community needs.

Serving public library staff and patrons 24/7 with live chat + cooperative support

Before we dive into their experiences, let’s introduce the Springshare 24/7 Global Chat Cooperative (Co-Op) for those who may be unfamilar with it! It’s how you can show patrons you’re there for them, even during the late hours after their kids are finally in bed, they’re done with work, and/or they’ve finished taking care of a loved one. With true global coverage, it can ensure your patrons can get help 24/7/365 from a professional MLS-degreed librarian. We even have a dedicated Public Library Cooperative made up of librarians with extensive experience helping public library patrons!

Springshare also provides different contribution options, so you can choose to help out in the Co-Op and receive backup assistance when you need it — or choose to only benefit from Co-Op support! The Co-Op uses the same widgets as local library LibChat, so there’s minimal extra setup when it’s added on.

A few weeks ago we shared just how busy chat traffic – and our Springshare 24/7 librarians – have been this fall. But while we can talk trends and numbers all day, it’s our customers’ experiences that bring home how a service is helping their library, staff, and communities during these difficult and uncertain times.

Helping anyone, any time of day, at Denver Public Library

A bit about Denver Public Library from Frank Wilmot, Senior Librarian, Reference Services:

  • Denver Public Library (DPL) is a busy 26 branch library system and has been providing chat support since 2013 with OCLC’s QuestionPoint. We transitioned to the Springshare 24/7 Global Chat Cooperative in May 2020 after Springshare acquired QuestionPoint.
  • Our chat and email service are primarily staffed by the Reference Services department (Central Library) along with a handful of other departmental and branch librarians who provide one or two hours per week.
  • The Global Public Cooperative supports DPL constantly! The cooperative helps its customers 24/7/365 but primarily when DPL librarians are not staffing. When the chat service gets extra busy, when staff are in meetings, or even if and when there’s a fire drill, the public cooperative continues to support us and our customers.

Are you noticing any recent trends in patron questions and traffic numbers?

Chat traffic is up! At the end of September 2020, chats are up 41.7% over 2019. Obviously, 2020 has been an unusual year and when comparing Q1 2020 to Q2/Q3 when our buildings were closed, the monthly average still increased by 25.6%.

How have the cooperative added value to your existing chat services? Any surprising benefits?

We have been part of QuestionPoint’s 24/7 cooperative and now Springshare’s Public Co-Op since 2013. The cooperative has added value to our chat service since the beginning!! When chat traffic is too busy or if it’s late at night or early in the morning, we know that our customers will still get one-on-one assistance from a trained librarian with lots of information about our services and access to our resources. Since we joined LibAnswers, 22.5% of our chats have been answered by cooperative librarians. These are questions that may otherwise have been unanswered.

The LibAnswers software also makes it extremely easy for DPL staff to follow up with Denver customers and to strengthen the connections between the library and our customers.

When chat traffic is too busy or if it’s late at night or early in the morning, we know that our customers will still get one-on-one assistance from a trained librarian with lots of information about our services and access to our resources.

How has 24/7 chat support helped your library system transition services during the pandemic?

For a few weeks in March and April, when buildings were closed and before we started curbside services, the only way to communicate directly with library staff was via email and through our Ask Us chat service. Building closure was complete and abrupt, but because of the Global Public Cooperative, there wasn’t a single moment of interruption in at least one channel of communication and connection between the DPL and our customers. On a Sunday in March, DPL Reference staff were only able to provide chat service to our customers until 5pm, and while we were figuring out how to staff the service again Monday morning at 9am, the cooperative librarians were there to help answer questions from our customers overnight.

Building closure was complete and abrupt, but because of the Global Public Cooperative, there wasn’t a single moment of interruption in at least one channel of communication and connection between the Denver Public Library and our customers.

What do you think is the cooperative’s role in helping the Denver community? How does it fit into your long-term library services strategy?

DPL’s Vision is “A strong community where everyone thrives” and our mission states “Together, we create welcoming spaces where all are free to explore and connect.” Our Ask Us chat service is easily accessible and discoverable throughout our website and in our catalog. It’s available to anyone and everyone, whether you are in Denver or in another state or country with a question about Denver, Colorado, or the West. It’s available with or without a library card. Chatting with a real person any time of day or night helps us to create and build the connections between the library and our customers.

Maintaining 24/7 support during the pandemic at Arlington Heights Memorial Library

A bit about Arlington Heights Memorial Library from Jolie Duncan, Info Services Manager:

  • Arlington Heights Memorial Library is a single branch library serving a community of 75,000 people northwest of Chicago. We’re also a long-time Global Public Library Cooperative member.
  • We’ve relied on the cooperative to provide back up during all hours, but we primarily need assistance in the evenings and on the weekends after we close. We’ve had to shorten our opening hours by two hours to 8:00pm, and the cooperative now answers chats that come in during that time for our staff.
  • During the pandemic, we continue to have staff cover chat remotely. LibAnswers also provides an easy way to chat with co-workers internally if they need assistance on a chat or need to transfer a chat. 

Are you noticing any recent trends in patron questions and traffic numbers?

It has been interesting to analyze the chat stats and the LibAnswers platform makes it easy to view statistics and identify trends. In the months we were closed, we saw a steep rise in the number of chats, peaking with 1500 chats in June (over 3 times the normal amount)! Clearly, customers are moving to ask us questions virtually. The topics of the chats vary, but we have seen an increase in troubleshooting questions such as ebook help. Since so many librarians use similar databases, they can help troubleshoot for customers.

How has the cooperative added value to your chat services? Any surprising benefits?

The ability to assist customers 24/7 is such a value to our customers. The cooperative librarians can answer so many more questions than you might think. Participating in the cooperative allows us to also learn about other libraries and discover regional differences and similarities. Not only does it provide a great service to our customers, but for our librarians that participate in covering the cooperative queue, it provides them with a more well-rounded experience.  It is a great opportunity to be aware of other libraries’ offerings and keep our skills sharp.

Not only does [the public cooperative] provide a great service to our customers, but for our librarians that participate in covering the cooperative queue, it provides them with a more well-rounded experience.  It is a great opportunity to be aware of other libraries’ offerings and keep our skills sharp.

How has 24/7 chat support helped your library system transition to mainly online services during the pandemic?

24/7 chat has played a crucial role in maintaining customer support during the pandemic. When we closed our doors suddenly in March, chat was the only service we kept going for quite some time. By keeping chat up and running, we were able to provide access to customers so we could troubleshoot, and answer questions, and provide essential information about the library’s closure and level of services.

What do you think is the cooperative’s role in helping the Arlington Heights community? How does it fit into your long-term library services strategy?

Two of our core values are customer service and free and equal access to information and the cooperative supports both values. The ability to provide answers to customers’ questions when they need it vs. when the library is open is a real added benefit. 

When we closed our doors suddenly in March, chat was the only service we kept going for quite some time. By keeping chat up and running, we were able to provide access to customers so we could troubleshoot, and answer questions, and provide essential information about the library’s closure and level of services.


Thank you, Frank and Jolie, for your insightful feedback! We appreciate you being on board with us and sharing your experiences. Having 24/7 patron chat support has enabled you to pivot quickly – and continue to adjust – library services without disconnecting from your communities. And when it comes time to communicating the value of the library at the end of the fiscal year, you’ll have the data to show just how many people you were able to help during this difficult time.

Interested in learning more about the Springshare 24/7 Global Chat Cooperative? Check out our recent blog post and contact us with any questions!