Archive for LibCal

LibCal 2.16 Release Coming Soon – Hello Appointments Module

The LibCal 2.16 update is coming to you this week, and will be released to all regions by end of the day on Thursday August 9th. This refresh is so complete and chock full of new features that we’re renaming the old MyScheduler to Appointments, to more accurately reflect its full capabilities.

New Appointments Module

The old My Scheduler module will be renamed Appointments going forward, inside all LibCal screens. One of the most frequent requests we heard from users is for the ability to mark themselves as “available” for booking appointments in different locations at different dates and times. We made this happen, plus a whole lot more. Here’s a quick rundown of the new features:

  • New “Location” Option for Appointments – We added a new, high-level option to create Locations – these are meant to represent physical spaces/locations where Appointments happen (including Online). Each location contains one or multiple Groups of librarians. When patrons first view the All Users Appointments landing page, they choose the location where they’d like to meet, and then see the groups/librarians associated with that Location. To define “Locations” for your site, admins can head to Admin > Appointment Settings.
  • Reworked Availability Settings – In the new Appointments, a librarian can define availability for themselves in specific locations/groups at specific times. In addition, you can now add (or edit/delete) availability in any recurring pattern you choose. What were previously considered “conflicts” (like prior availability or existing appointments) will no longer prevent you from creating or editing/deleting availability. To take the new availability settings for a spin, head to Appointments > Availability.
  • Friendly URLs – To create a friendly URL for your personal Appointments landing page, head to Appointments > Settings > Friendly URL. To create a friendly URL for a Location, admins can head to Admin > Appointments > Edit Location.
  • File Uploads – You can enable file uploads for your Appointments so patrons to share files that may be needed during the course of a meeting – e.g. for help tracking down references from a bibliography, have them upload the bibliography ahead of time. Head to Appointments > My Settings > Appointment Form File Uploads to enable this.
  • Public Personal Nickname – Choose a nickname to display on the public side of the system, e.g. instead of booking an appointment with Sarah, patrons can book an appointment with the Science Liaison, and all communications coming from LibCal will use that nickname. To choose a nickname, head to Appointments > My Settings > Nickname.
  • Public Group Nicknames – We’re also adding support for group public nicknames. This essentially acts as an extension to the “No Preference” setting, so a patron can ex book an appointment with any available Peer Tutor. For groups set up this way, we won’t display individual librarian names/availability on the public side, so the patron is only aware that they have an appointment with a Peer Tutor at XYZ time. To enable a group nickname, admins can head to Admin > Appointments > Edit Group > Group Member Display.
  • All Appointments View – A new report to list/display all upcoming and past appointments for all Appointments users, so if a patron shows up at the front desk needing directions, it’s easy to see who their appointment is scheduled with, and where, and when. To see the all appointments view, head to Appointments > Booking Explorer.
  • Revamped Statistics – We’ve completely overhauled Appointments statistics, so it’s easy to view and export all statistics on all Appointments for all users, and get a full breakdown of bookings and availability by Group, User, etc. We’ve also added a number of lovely charts and graphs to help illuminate the wealth of information now available. To check out the new stats, head to Stats > Appointments.

Equipment and Space Improvements

  • Exchange + Spaces Integration is Live! -Picture this: a 2-way sync between Exchange calendars and LibCal spaces, so that reservations you make via Exchange will automatically block off availability in the Spaces module, and reservations made via Spaces are automatically pushed to Exchange. With this release, we’re rolling out full Exchange integration for all Spaces users – huzzah! For full details on setting up this integration, check out our documentation.
  • Equipment: Inventory Reports – We’re also adding a brand new report to Equipment module to view and export a list of all inventory in the system. The report can be customized to display the fields that you’re most interested in seeing, including item name, barcode, current status, and total checkouts.
  • Booking Date Created/Submitted – We’ve added a few minor improvements to the Booking Details to make the info more clear. Now, you’ll see the date that the booking was submitted displayed as part of the Booking Details, so it’s easy to see how long ago a booking was submitted by the patron. To see this in action, head to either the Equipment or Spaces tab, then click on a booking.
  • Mediated Bookings Show 1 Year In Future – We’ve updated the Mediation tab in Equipment and Spaces – previously we only displayed tentative requests for the current week, but now, we’ll show all pending requests for up to the next year, so it’s easy to see the full picture of upcoming requests for your mediated equipment and spaces.

Calendar & Events New Features

  • Revised Publishing Workflow – We’re updating the flow and function of the event publishing workflow to make it easier on event reviewers who need to communicate changes to an event creator. Now, when an event is submitted, the event reviewer can:
    • Just publish the event with no changes, or
    • Make edits to the event themselves, then publish the event, or
    • Send an email to the event creator from the admin UI stating what needs to be changed; the event creator can then make the updates themselves and then resubmit the event for review
  • Embed Full Calendar on the Homepage – we’re adding a quick way to embed the full monthly calendar view on the LibCal homepage. To embed your full calendar on your homepage, admins can head to Admin > Look and Feel > Homepage Editor.

 

As always, the ideas and suggestions for the vast majority of these awesome new features came from you, our clients who use LibCal day in and day out, for all your library’s calendaring needs. We’re sending a huge thank you to all users who contributed their ideas, suggestions, testing, etc. to make this big new release happen. Let’s keep the conversation going… Let us know if any questions pop up, contact our support team or your regional sales manager.

These Libraries Are Fully-Equipped < /pun>

Pardon the pun, but we just couldn’t keep ourselves in check. We were too busy checking out these awesome uses of LibCal’s Equipment booking module, and we just couldn’t reserve our excitement.

Cue the groans. 😛

But in all seriousness, we get lots of folks asking us for examples of libraries using our tools. So, we’d like to highlight a few different types of libraries, from all over the world, using the LibCal Equipment Booking module.

 

Academic Library: Milwaukee School of Engineering

Circulating Molecular Models

The Walter Schroeder Library at the Milwaukee School of Engineering was an early adopter of the LibCal Equipment Booking Module, and their use-case is absolutely fascinating. They use it to manage online reservations of their molecular models, which they ship all over the country to their students. Their loan time is three weeks, which includes two weeks of expected shipping time. They’re able to manage these reservations and the additional padding all from within the Equipment Module. Additionally, their custom reservation form includes all the important mailing information, so the library can cut down on the back-and-forth and get right to the business of shipping out the models.

Want to hear more about how the Walter Schroeder Library manages these long-distance reservations? Check out their ALA-MW 2017 flash presentation lead by librarian Denise Gergetz. You can also download her presentation slides.

Circulating Molecular Models…Long Distance!

 

Public Library: Pioneer Library System

Circulating Costumes, Blue Blocks, & More

Just looking at the super-cool stuff the Pioneer Library System is circulating with their LibCal Equipment Module makes me want to be a patron of this library! Not only can their patrons reserve maker space items like littleBits and access to their 3D printer, but they also have button makers, jewelry making tools, and costumes! With the ability to manage different reservation timeframes for each type of item and with big, colorful images to advertise the cool stuff they have at the library, we can see why the Pioneer Public Library System’s LibCal Equipment Booking Module is busy busy busy!

The Pioneer Public Library has amazing usage of their Equipment. Look at all that red!

 

Public Library: Tiverton Public Library

Circulating Museum Passes

When you think of ‘Equipment’ it’s easy to get hung up on physical stuff. But, that’s not always the case! The Audubon Society of Rhode Island’s Education Center has a ton of museum and zoo passes that are available to their patrons. They’re using the LibCal Equipment Booking Module to manage circulation of those items.

Using Equipment Bookings to Manage Circulation of Library & Museum Passes!

 

K12 Library: Scotch College in Australia

Circulating Media Equipment… with a Twist

Although Scotch College School for Boys in Australia might be using LibCal Equipment Bookings to circulate more “traditional” library items, their customizations are anything but traditional. Using LibCal’s built-in code libraries and flexible customization features, the librarians at Scotch College are able to put a little pizazz on their visual equipment catalog. Simply hover over any of the pieces of equipment; notice how the item just jumps off the page? Its that little bit extra that makes their LibCal Equipment Booking catalog pop, literally.

Gorgeous hover effect adds a pop of pizazz to Scotch College’s Equipment Catalog.

 

If you’d like to learn more about LibCal’s Equipment Booking Module or more examples of Libraries using it, please contact us.

LibCal 2.15 Release Coming Soon!

The LibCal 2.15 release is on its way to you this week, and will be rolled out to all regions by the end of the day Thursday May 17th. We have tons of goodies to share in this release, including a brand new Card View, plus new filter layouts for upcoming events, and several GDPR related updates. Read on to learn about all the great new features coming your way this week!

Card View and Flexible Filter Layouts

Searching for public calendar events is about to get a whole lot more flexible – Card View and flexible Filter layouts are here! We’re adding two new public side options to make your events stand out from the crowd:

Card View – We’re introducing a new “card” layout to show your upcoming events in style. In this new view, each event is represented as a card – the event’s date, time, and location are displayed at the top of each card for easy scanning, and each event’s title and description are displayed inside the card, with categories and audiences displayed at the bottom. This new layout is integrated into all public calendar views, so your patrons can switch to the view that works best for them with just a click.

Flexible Filter Layouts – With such a lovely new view of upcoming events, we realized it would be great to get even more flexible – we’re introducing a new display option so you can choose whether your calendar event filters display on the left side of the screen (as in the above screenshot) or across the top. This new top view for filters gives the various event layouts much more room, and works a treat for mobile users.

To choose the default view and filter layout that works best for you, admins can head to Admin > Calendars > Settings.

Good to Know: In order to make these new features possible, we had to centralize the Calendar Display templates at the system level vs. individual calendar-level. It used to be possible to customize the monthly view and list view templates for each calendar, via Calendars > Edit Calendar > Settings > Display Settings. Once the release is live, these templates will no longer be part of individual Calendar settings, and will be located under Admin > Calendar > Settings with only a single template for each view (Event Listing and Monthly), which will apply to all calendars in your system.

Internal Tags

In addition to the great new event views mentioned above, we’re also adding a new classification option to help manage and view your events – Internal Tags are here! These optional tags provide a way to classify your events for internal statistics and data gathering purposes, and are never shown to the public. When events have been tagged with these new internal tags, you’ll be able to filter all statistical reports and booking explorer pages by this parameter, which makes it easy to view ex all of the events tagged with “New Ideas” or “Funded by STEM Grants”.

To create Internal Tags, admins can head to Admin > Calendars > Internal Tags. Once these have been created, they will display on the Add/Edit Event page, in the Booking Explorer for each calendar, and in our super cool new Calendar Statistics pages.

GDPR & Privacy Related Updates

We’ve also worked on a number of issues to help get ready for the impending GDPR changes. In case you missed it, you can check out our full GDPR post here: https://blog.springshare.com/2018/04/25/gdpr-your-data-new-privacy-tools-so-much-good-stuff/. Here are a few additional tools we’re rolling out in this update:

  • Public Cookie Notice and Privacy Statement – We’re adding an optional, dismissible notice to alert users about the use of cookies and IP address collection on LibCal public pages. To turn on this notice and customize its text, admins can head to Admin > System Settings > Privacy Settings.
  • Data Submission Notices – We’re also adding an optional data submission notification, to help you alert your patrons to what personal information you collect in order to create a booking. This gives you an opportunity to let your patrons know why you collect particular data on registration forms, what that data is used for, etc. To turn on this notice and customize its text, admins can head to Admin > System Settings > Privacy Settings.
  • Expanded Privacy Scrub – We’re expanding our current privacy scrub options so that now, in addition to scrubbing patron name and email address, you can also choose to scrub patron responses to all registration form questions. When the privacy scrub has been enabled, we still retain an overall usage statistic – so for example, if a space booking is being scrubbed, we retain the booking’s start and end time, but remove all identifying information about the person who created the booking. To enable the privacy scrub for your site, get in touch with our awesome support team and let them know which module(s) you’d like to scrub, whether to scrub just name and email or include registration form questions too, and the number of months for which you’d like to retain data (choose from 1-12 months).

Additional Calendar Updates

  • We’ve added an easy way to Migrate from Calendar level Categories to the new System-wide Categories and Audiences. We’ve added a new option to Transfer a Calendar-Level Category to the system level Category and Audience pages, so switching to the new system-wide options is a breeze – head to Admin > Calendars > Audiences/Categories to see it in action. In addition, if you delete a calendar level category (via Calendars > Edit Calendar > Settings > Categories), you’ll see an option to migrate existing events to the system level Categories and Audiences.
  • We’ve updated the Add/Edit Event Page so all of the menu selectors have the same look and feel, and and all of the help text has been updated as well.
  • We’ve updated the Mini Calendar Widget so that, if there are no events happening in the current month, the widget will display events from the next month.

Additional Spaces and Equipment Updates

  • We’ve fixed a bug with editing a patron’s equipment or space booking – previously, if you were changing an existing reservation to a different date (both before and after the original booking date), the alert messages that check for booking clashes weren’t updating to the newly selected date, which could create incorrect booking clash notices.
  • We’ve added the ability to Export Equipment and Spaces Statistics.
  • We’ve updated the Equipment and Spaces public pages to better alert patrons when they attempt to create a booking that exceeds the amount of time they’re permitted to book. Previously we only alerted users to these issues after they had begun to fill out the registration form; now, we’ll alert issues as soon as they attempt to select timeslots that exceed what a person can reserve in a single booking, before they reach the registration form.
  • We’ve fixed a bug that prevented selecting “User Showed Up” when a space reservation spanned days.

Additional MyScheduler Updates

  • We’ve made a number of accessibility improvements to the public MyScheduler Appointments page, so it’s easier for users with assistive devices to navigate the page and know that something has changed when they select a librarian, date, and time.
  • We’ve fixed a bug with MyScheduler Appointment Categories that contained padding – previously, patron email confirmations weren’t taking this padding into account, but now they do.

And speaking of MyScheduler, we are working on a major overhaul and tons of new MyScheduler functionality in the next couple of months. If you have ideas or suggestions about what you’d like to see in MyScheduler, please let our support crew know and they will relay the message to the LibCal product team.

LibCal 2.14 Release Coming Soon!

The LibCal 2.14 release is coming to all server regions by end of day Thursday, March 15th, 2018. This release brings possibly the most important/biggest new features in the past 12 months. To wit:

  • System-wide Categories for Event Calendars, including 2-level deep category structure
  • Age/Audience filter when browsing/searching for Events
  • Revamped Calendar & Event Statistics with loads of useful indicators
  • Improved Spaces & Equipment Statistics with updated occupancy ratios, and more
  • Fully accessible version of Spaces bookings page
  • Qualify-of-life improvements throughout the system

Want to see these new features in action? Join us Thursday, March 22nd at 12:30pm ET for our Brunch & Learn series!

System-wide Categories for Calendars & 2-level Deep Structure

Now you can define Categories on the system level and make them apply to every Calendar you define. With these System-wide categories you can also run category statistics for events spanning multiple calendars. Head to Admin > Calendars > Categories to define the list of system-wide categories. On the statistics reports, the system-wide category statistics will collect event stats across all relevant calendars. Tres cool and incredibly useful!

2-level Categories – For example, you can now create a top-level category for “Languages” with sub-categories for “French”, “Spanish”, “Italian”, etc. In the public UI, system-wide categories are seamlessly integrated with your existing categories, so patrons can target exactly the events they’d like to attend, across all calendars in your system. And of course, these new categories can be used to filter data in the new Calendar & Event Statistics mentioned above, so you can view information on total number of events and event registrations by category, in one calendar or across all calendars in your system.

Age/Audience Calendar Filters

In addition to our new 2 level categories, we’re also adding a new system-wide Age/Audience category, to help target your events for a particular age group or audience (like children vs teens vs adults, or faculty vs first-year students vs all students, etc). Age/Audience categories can be applied to events in public calendars across your site, and are also included as part of the stats update, so you can filter statistics on total events and event registrations for a particular Age/Audience category.

Please Note: If you’ve previously customized your calendar and event templates, you’ll need to update your customized template to include the new Age/Audience filters and tags, or they won’t display on the public side of the system. To do this, head to Calendar > Settings > Display Options > Public Calendar Settings and add the following code in the template where you’d like the Audience tag/filter to appear (or just click “Restore Default Template”):

Event Listing/Search Results Template:

{{#audiences.0}} <dt>Audience:</dt> <dd>{{#audiences}} <span class=”label” style=”background-color:{{color}}”> <a href=”{{calendar_url}}&t=d&cal%5B%5D={{calendar_id}}&audience%5B%5D={{id}}”>{{name}}</a> </span>   {{/audiences}} </dd> {{/audiences.0}}

Monthly Calendar Template:

{{#audiences.0}} <dt>Audience</dt> <dd>{{#audiences}}<span class=’label’ style=’background-color:{{color}}’>{{name}}</span> {{/audiences}}</dd> {{/audiences.0}}

Revamped Calendar & Event Statistics

We’ve completely revamped the event and calendar statistics areas and added new reports and additional charts and tables to give you an in-depth view of your event attendance, registrations, and interest levels. There are extensive charts and graphs to display things like number of events per month, by day of the week, and by hour of the day, as well as event registrations per month, by day of the week, and by hour of the day, etc. We’ve also added distribution data for site-wide data points, including things like Category, Audience, and Campus/location distribution, so you can see high level information about all of your events at a glance. We’re also including robust filters as part of these new stats pages, so you can drill down and view the above statistics by date range, or for a specific category, audience, campus, presenter, etc. To check out the all new stats once the update goes live, head to Stats > Calendars & Events.

Improved Equipment & Spaces Statistics

We’ve retooled the statistics for Equipment and Spaces, making them easier to navigate and adding new reports to boot. We’ve expanded reporting for Occupancy statistics (Spaces) and Availability statistics (Equipment), to give the full picture of resource usage vs availability – and even better, these are no longer limited to just the past 2 weeks of data, so you can view Occupancy and Availability statistics for any date range. To check out the new stats, head to Stats > Equipment/Spaces.

Other Improvements/New Features

Updated Equipment/Space Booking Forms – We’re updating the way in which we handle creating an equipment or space booking form. We realized that the previous priority ranking-based method of question ordering caused a fair bit of cognitive overload to determine the order of questions. So we’ve simplified things – we’ve removed the notion of priority ranking and moved toward a more GUI approach, so the order of questions is determined by the order they appear on the edit booking form page. We still support adding questions that should be shown only if a particular item or space is booked (like ex, if someone reserves the proton laser, then include the question “Have you been trained on how to use the proton laser?”), but these will now display in a more defined order, ie we’ll show location level questions first, then questions associated with the category, then questions associated with an item or space.

Accessible Version of Spaces page – For users navigating your site using screen readers, navigating the graphic interface of the availability grid can present a challenge. To help make things easier, we’ve added a new accessible-friendly version of the Spaces availability page, so users can book a space without needing to navigate through each cell in the availability grid to determine what’s available. Users accessing your site with a screenreader will see a link displayed at the top of the page for an Alternate Page for Screenreader Users. This page will present your space availability in a format that’s easier to navigate – instead of the availability grid, the patron will see a series of dropdown filters and then a list view of available times

Updated Hours Management for Equipment/Spaces – We’ve updated the Location level hours page, to make the process of assigning custom hours (aka hours that differ from the overall Location level hours) more streamlined, so all hours within a Location can be managed from one place. To see this in action, head to Admin > Equipment and Spaces > Manage Hours.

Smarter caching for the hours module – Now, if you edit the hours for a library or department, those changes will be reflected in the hours widgets right away, instead of needing to wait for the cache to expire.

Upcoming Events Widgets: Events will now expire/disappear from upcoming events widgets based on the time that the event ends, instead of at the event start time

Preview for Events in Draft Mode, so you can view what an event page will look like prior to fully publishing the event. To view the event preview, head to Calendars > Click the event to bring up the event modal > Select the eye icon.

LibCal 2.13 Release Coming Soon!

New LibCal Spaces User Interface

The LibCal 2.13 release is on its way, and will be live in all regions by end of the day Wednesday, January 31st (so if you don’t see the changes in your system yet, you will soon).

We’re bringing you a host of quality-of-life improvements to Equipment and Spaces, Exchange two-way sync, gCal sync, and several other improvements, too.

Read on for all the details…

Equipment and Spaces Quality of Life Improvements

We’ve improved the Equipment and Spaces screens to make pages easier to navigate and understand. More on-screen help, reduced clutter and improved navigation – these are the major themes that will make managing your equipment and spaces easier than ever. You’ll see the changes when you go to Space or Equipment links from the orange command bar. Here’s the rundown of the big changes:

Equpment Page Screenshot

 

  • Location and Category Selections “Stick” Between Tabs – We’ve moved the Location and Category selectors up into the header area of the Equipment and Spaces pages so the selections “stick” as you navigate between tabs. You’ll no longer have to select your location/category every time you switch to a different tab!
  • Streamlined Availability Tab – Cleaner look of the Availability tab for bookings makes it easier to see the existing bookings and create new ones, from this admin screen. The availability grid is now the focus of the page. The Booking Details area is also updated making it easier to view the details of the upcoming reservation(s).
  • Simplified Look for Check In / Out – We reduced the number of icons (yeah, we went a bit crazy with the icons in the past – they were so cute, we couldn’t resist!). But, they created a lot of visual noise so we streamlined all relevant tabs and tables for a cleaner presentation of the information. Some (necessary) icons are still there but many were replaced with hotlinks on relevant info.
  • Improved Onscreen Help – In the past, we overdid it with the icons but under-did it with on-screen help and instructions. This balance is changing and it’s a good thing for you, our user. We added relevant on-screen help and labels to help you figure out how to get things done quickly and efficiently on Equipment and Spaces screens.

 

GCal and Exchange Sync for Spaces

Smaller news first – in the old Room Bookings module (now replaced with Spaces) there was 1-way GCal sync but we somehow missed porting this to Spaces. This has now been fixed to achieve true parity between Spaces and old Room Bookings, i.e. Spaces now has GCal sync so now you can see all Spaces reservations in your GCal calendars.

Now the big news… Picture this – a 2-way sync between Exchange calendars and LibCal spaces – so reservations you make via Exchange will automatically block off availability in the Spaces module, and reservations made via Spaces are automatically pushed to Exchange!  Yup, we went there! This is a huge win for libraries with spaces that can be reserved both by the public (via LibCal) and by staff (via meeting requests in Exchange) – our new integration will keep your reservations in sync, no matter where a booking request originates. And your LibCal platform will become a go-to place to get awesome statistics on the usage of your spaces and equipment, no matter where the reservations are made. High-five for this big win!

Here’s another really cool thing about the Exchange support – it will make it even easier to integrate with touchscreen panels. LibCal Spaces offers full read/write APIs for integration with these types of panels, and many of these panels already support integration with Exchange – which means you can potentially integrate LibCal Spaces with these types of panels, without custom coding. This new integration means that availability stays synchronized across all possible booking points, with minimal setup effort – totally amazing!!

For this 2-way Exchange we are releasing the code to everyone but not enabling it on all systems yet – if you’d like to assist us with the final stages of testing Exchange integration (because we want to make sure we cover all different Exchange versions/scenarios) please emails us at support@springshare.com. Once we are confident that Exchange sync is working for these early testers, we’ll release it for everyone i.e. every LibCal system will have 2-way Exchange sync enabled.

Additional Updates

  • New “All Locations” View for Spaces – We’ve added a new “All Locations” view for Spaces, so patrons can browse availability at all locations in your LibCal system at a glance. To see it in action, head to the public Spaces booking page and select Location: All Locations.
  • Mediated Bookings by LibCal Users set to Confirmed: We heard from several folks that, when librarians (ie LibCal account holders) make a reservation for a mediated space/item, those reservations shouldn’t need to be approved. We’ve made this change, so now when a logged-in user reserves a space/equipment, those requests will be confirmed automatically.
  • Event Search for Logged In Users – We addressed an issue with searching for events from the Edit Calendar screen (accessed via Calendar Tab > Edit Calendar) – this should now work as expected.
  • Clarified Multi-user Registrations – We’ve improved registration management for sites that allow multiple registrations in a single form (so dad can register himself plus two children for storytime, without filling out multiple forms). Now, these multiple registrations are displayed individually on the Manage Registrations tab, and editing/deleting an individual registration doesn’t automatically edit/delete all associated registrations, so you can manage those registrations individually.

Protect the Integrity of Your Springy Websites… Free ‘Let’s Encrypt’ Security Certificates

hacker

In our October 2017 SpringyNews Newsletter, we informed Springy users that recent updates to web and mobile browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc.) mark any HTTP webpage that contains form content as insecure. Meaning that any public webpage containing a search box, LibCal booking form, or LibAnswers Question Submission form will automatically display a ‘Not Secure‘ warning to end users.

The security and privacy of your patron’s data is of prime importance to Springshare. Having any webpage, especially your Springshare-licensed tools, marked as unsecure is not good PR for us or you! You don’t want your patrons thinking your LibGuides, LibAnswers, and LibCal websites are untrustworthy.

To that end, we’ve made all v2 products hosted on a Springshare-controlled domain HTTPS enabled. For those of you on a custom domain, we’ve enabled security certificate hosting for LibGuides, LibAnswers, and LibCal!

And, we’ve taken it one-step further. If you have a custom domain, we’ve added integration with Let’s Encrypt to provide completely free security certificates for your LibGuides, LibAnswers, and LibCal v2 tools. We’ve made it as easy as 1,2,3 to ensure your Springshare tools are HTTPS secure, trustworthy, and safe for your end-users.

Chrome ‘NOT SECURE’ Warning Message

Why HTTPS Matters

HTTPS secures the communication and data transferred between our servers and your users’ browsers. Hackers and intruders exploit every unprotected resource between your websites and users. And every time a user interacts with your Springshare tool, whether it’s sending a search query through a LibGuides search-box or submitting a LibCal room booking request, they are sending data from that website through the interwebs to our data servers. If any part of your website is loaded over HTTP, that data is unsecure and could potentially be used to exploit other secure parts of your website. So we recommend that all pages, resources, and widgets be loaded securely over HTTPS.

Furthermore, HTTPS doesn’t just block misuse. It’s often a requirement for many browsers.

HTTPS Protects the Integrity of Your Web Presence

HTTPS helps prevent intruders from interfering with the communication between your Springshare websites and your users’ browsers. They exploit HTTP/unprotected communications to trick your users into giving up sensitive information or installing malware. Given the opportunity, they will exploit every resource that travels between your Springshare websites to your users. Resources like images, cookies, scripts, HTML… etc.

Getting a Security Certificate is Important

Security Certificates are provided by reputable and trusted third-party companies that verify your organization and your website transactions. These Certificate Authorities provide a security certificate that proves that the website/domain really belongs to you and nobody else. Essentially, the security certificate is what allows you to put the S in HTTPS.

unlock

HTTP stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol, and its what allows users to access webpages. When you enter in http:// in front of your web address, it tells the browser to connect, fetch, and transfer the requested webpage.

 

lock

HTTPS stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure, which uses an encrypted connection when transporting webpage data.

 

My Domain Ends in .libguides.com, .libcal.com, .libanswers.com, etc.

If your v2 system is on a Springshare-owned domain, you’re all set! These domains already have SSL/HTTPS support built-in. So you can update all links to / within your system to HTTPS links now. Learn more about enabling HTTPS for Springshare-owned domains.

Wait, I Have a Custom Domain (ends in .edu, .org, .co.nz, etc.)

If your v2 systems have custom domains (e.g., ask.mylibrary.org, calendar.university.edu), then you must obtain and install an SSL certificate in order to avoid warnings. There are two ways in which you can obtain an SSL certificate.

1. Work with Your Local IT Department

Connect with your IT colleagues to obtain an HTTPS certificate for each custom domain. You own your domain and thereby you own the certificate, too… just install it on our servers when it’s ready.

If – gasp – you ever decide to cancel any of your Springshare tools where you have an HTTPS certificate, you still own your certificate(s) and can move it/them to any other server.

2. Use Our Free ‘Let’s Encrypt’ Security Certificate

We’ve added integration with Let’s Encrypt, an industry-leader, to provide free and automated security certificates… right inside your Springshare tool.

LibGuides Users

We’ll do all the hard-work by requesting and installing a free ‘Let’s Encrypt’ certificate for you! Poof, magic! Plus, we’ll automatically renew your ‘Let’s Encrypt’ certificate. This way, you can spend less time chasing down certificates and more time doing the stuff you need to do. And, if your IT department is going to need a few months before they can get your custom certificate, your site can still be protected with ‘Let’s Encrypt’ in the meantime.

The only thing you need to do on your end is to update your custom domain to point to the secure server. Once you’re pointing to the secure server, we’ll automagically install your free ‘Let’s Encrypt’ security certificate. Check-out this FAQ outlining the secure endpoints for your CNAME record.

If at any point you want to upload your own custom certificate, simply follow these steps.

For LibAnswers/LibCal Users

The first thing you’ll need to do is update your CNAME record to the secure server endpoints. Then, contact our support team about requesting a ‘Let’s Encrypt’ certificate on your behalf. It’s still free, and you can replace it anytime with your own certificate, but we haven’t fully automated the process… yet!

So, You’ve Added a Security Certificate… What’s Next?

Kudos to you – you’ve taken a huge step in ensuring that your patrons’ experience a safe web experience. But, there’s still a few more things you need to do!

1. Update All Links to HTTPS

Most likely, you’re linking to your LibGuides, LibAnswers, and LibCal systems from a variety of websites like your Library homepage, on your blog, your Facebook page, etc.

It’s imperative that you update all references to these systems with the updated HTTPS link. There’s no point in doing all this work to make your Springy tools secure if you’re still pointing to the HTTP/unsecure URL.

Update links to Springy Tools to HTTPS

2. Update Embedded Widgets to HTTPS

Although your site is configured correctly to display over HTTPS, individual pages can still be considered unsecured if they contain content from HTTP sources (such as embedded videos, search widgets, etc.). To prevent this from happening, you will either need to change the content’s source URL to HTTPS, or remove the content from the page.

Be sure to check with your database vendors about getting HTTPS widget code.

We’ve made it as easy, and free, as possible for you to ensure a secure and trustworthy experience for your end users. So, c’mon folks – let’s make sure your Springshare sites are safe and ‘Let’s Encrypt’!

LibCal 2.12 – Hours Module Improvements and More now Live!

LibCal Hours Exceptions System-wide

We’ve been busy beavers here at Springy HQ, and we have several fun new features to share!

We’re making the hours module easier to manage and rolling out several great quality of life features, just in time for the holidays!

Hours Module Improvements

  • New Daily Hours Widget – We’ve added a new widget to the hours module to make sharing your open hours a breeze! The new Daily Hours Widget displays your library’s hours in a simple grid, and includes quick links to jump to the next day’s hours. To check out the new widget, head to Admin > Hours > Widgets > Daily Hours.
  • Universal Exceptions – We know how time consuming it can be to enter exceptions for each library and department that you manage in the Hours Module, so we’re making things easier! Now, when you create an exception for one department/library, you can choose to apply that exception either to all departments within a library, or all libraries and departments – no more duplication! Head to Admin > Hours > Exceptions and look for the new “Copy To” option.
  • Copy Hours Template – Another improvement aimed at simplifying hours management, you’ll now see an option to Copy Hours Template, instead of creating each hours template from scratch. This should make life much easier when you just have minor modifications to make to an existing template. Head to Admin > Hours > Weekly Templates to see the new option.

New in Equipment and Spaces

  • Email Digest for Mediated Bookings – We’ve added a new email digest to alert you when there are pending Equipment or Space reservations that are waiting on mediation. These emails are a “digest” of all pending requests, and are sent once an hour to all named mediators, ie those with approve/deny rights. Even better, we’re also including quick approve/deny links right in the email text, so mediators can approve/deny these requests right from their inbox! It’s a super handy way to make managing mediated Equipment & Space bookings a snap.
  • Email Notification for Admin Cancelled Bookings – If for some reason you need to cancel a patron’s existing equipment or space reservation, you’ll now see an option to send an email alert to that patron and alert them of the change.
  • Setting: User Must Cancel By: We’ve added a setting in Spaces to control when a user must give up their reservation. This is particularly handy if you have cagey students who try to get around any booking limits you may have in place by canceling their booking just before it’s set to end. To enable this setting, head to Edit Space Category > Booking Limits.
  • Setting: Limit to X number of reservations at one time –  We’ve also added a new limiter to control how many reservations a user can have at one time. This works similarly to our existing limiters but isn’t limited by time – so instead of only being able to have x number of reservations in a week, they can only have x number of upcoming registrations at one time. For your patron, this means that as soon as an existing reservation ends, they’ll then be able to create a new reservation. To enable this setting, head to Edit Space Category > Booking Limits.

Additional Improvements

  • Optimized Explorer Pages – We discovered that running reports in the Spaces and Event Explorers could take a very long time to load, so we optimized things – now running reports in the Explorer pages should be zippy!
  • Time Pickers Default to Hour-on-the-Hour – We’ve updated all of the time pickers throughout the system to default to hours on the hour. Ex say your event starts at 3pm, and you’re creating the event at 2:14pm – previously when you clicked on “3” in the time picker, the start time was entered as 3:14pm, and you had to go back and click “00” to get the event started on the hour. Now when you select a time, we’ll default to each hour on the hour, so you won’t need to explicitly click “00” to have an event start on the hour.
  • Export all Event Registration Info – For you data lovers out there, you can now export all event registration info for multiple events at one time! To see this in action, head to any Calendar’s Event Explorer page; limit your search to a specific booking form and make sure “Show Registration Responses” is set to Yes, then run the report and select Export. The resulting excel file will include registration info for each event registrant, including booking form responses!

Tis the Season for (spring)Sharing – Tip #3: Is Your Library Holi’Ready?

Avoid Holiday Stress

A big part of holiday planning is knowing where to be, and when. You’ve got dinner plans at your friend Tina’s house on the 24th at 6pm and latkes at your cousin Tim’s abode on the last day of Hannukkah. Coordinating all of those invitations and appearances requires a lot of planning and forethought. Will the train be packed at 5pm causing you to be late? Should you take 95N instead of 93N so you can swing by your favorite wine shop for a hostess gift? Can you fit your workplace New Year’s Eve party AND your family’s party on the same night?

Planning, Planning, Planning. Stress, Stress, Stress.

And just imagine, your library guests are under the same amount of pressure as you – plus they’re trying to find time to swing by the library as well! Maybe they’re trying to pick up some light reads to enjoy during the break, or studying for exams, or even attending your super awesome’sauce events! Whatever their reason for swinging by, you want to make sure you’re alleviating and not adding to their stress.

So the question is, is your library Holi’Ready?

Tip #3: Getting Your Library Holi’Ready

Getting your library Holi’ready doesn’t mean elaborate decorations, traveling snack-carts, or tons of holiday events. Good on you if you are (seriously, awesome job!), but even the smallest things can have a big impact and help to reduce the stress your library guests are already under.

Are Your Holiday Hours…. Everywhere?

LibCal-Hours

LibCal Hours Module: Today’s Hours Widget.

Your library hours are probably available on a hundred different webpages. And if you’re updating them to reflect your special holiday schedule, there’s a good chance you’ll miss a few places. And inevitably, a library patron will find that one webpage where the hours haven’t been updated and they’ll show up at your doors at 9pm – well past closed. They’re going to be peeved, upset, and frustrated.

And rightfully so! Most likely, their entire day is planned down to the minute – so if they found a webpage that says you’re going to be open, and then you’re not, that throws their entire day (and probably subsequent days) into the lurch.

A great way to ensure that you’re updating all your webpages to reflect your current library hours is to use the LibCal Hours ModuleThe Hours module let’s you define your standard hours, special holiday hours, and even one-off exceptions like “Aaaccck, we have to close early because a Snowa’caine is coming!”. Simply define all your hours, for all future dates and then grab an hours widget and embed that widget into those aforementioned webpages. As your hours update, day-by-day, the hours module will automagically update.

Say goodbye to outdated webpages showing inaccurate hours and say hello to happy patrons!

Text ‘Holidays’ to Get Library-Related Information

Back in 2011, about 73% of American adults and nearly almost all young adults (95%) send and receive text-messages according to a Pew Research Report. Fast-forward 6 years, and those numbers can only have increased. In fact, Forbes reported in 2015 that Millennials text more and talk less because they see phone calls “as overly intrusive, even presumptuous”.

Bottomline, if they want to communicate with your library – they’d prefer to do it as efficiently as possible and preferably over text-message.

If your library is using LibAnswers, be sure to take advantage of SMS Automatic Keywords. This way, your patrons can text a keyword, like ‘Holiday’, to your library’s SMS number and receive an auto-response with all the relevant information. Navigate to Admin > Queues > Select Your Queue > SMS Tab > SMS Automatic Keywords to set those up.

It’s fast and easy for them, and no staff monitoring of your library’s SMS service to boot. This 2010 interview with Johnson & Wales University Providence shows how their using SMS keywords in the library – it’s an oldie, but goodie!

Be sure to advertise your keywords inside the library and on your webpages too.

Pro-Tip: Update the automatic response periodically to entice your users to text again, and again – always getting new information with each one.

LibAnswers SMS Automatic Responses: Each Keyword gets up to two auto-responses = 300 characters.

Do Librarians Know All Relevant Holiday Information?

If you’re anything like most Americans, you suffer from inbox fatigue. You’re inundated with emails – whether it’s newsletters, marketing emails, SPAM, or internal communication that could have been done f2f, your inbox is exploding. In fact, 205 billion emails are sent every day. Yup, that’s billion…. with a B. 

Can you remember the last time you achieved inbox zero? For some folks, that day is yet to come.

So, if you’re trying to communicate important holiday information – try and give your colleagues a break and take it outside of email. Getting your library Holi’ready means getting your staff ready too.

1. Use Your Admin Alert Boxes!

Inside your LibGuides, LibAnswers, LibCal, and LibStaffer tools – you have access to an Admin Alert box. Head over to Admin > Admin Alert Box or System-Settings (depending on the tool).

This way, your colleagues can see custom alerts letting them know about important holiday information like hours, food drives, events, etc.

LibAnswers Admin Alert Box right on the Dashboard.

 

2. Discussion Boards in LibGuides (CMS Only)

For LibGuides CMS users, you have access to an internal discussion board. This is great for housing and storing internal discussions related to this holiday season – such as staffing schedules, holiday staff parties, and what types of events to throw at the library.

LibGuides CMS discussion boards are searchable and can be keyword tagged for sorting/filtering. So if you’re trying to remember, “What were our holiday hours last year?” you can simply login, filter on your keyword ‘Holiday’ and see the entire discussion thread and final resolution.

Remember, email was never intended to be a permanent archive – so if you’ve got saved emails in your inbox from 2008, it might be time to consider an alternative approach. 😛

LibGuides CMS Discussion Boards to Create an Internal/Searchable Staff Intranet

 

If you have any additional suggestions for getting your library holi’ready, comment below!

That’s all for this edition of ‘Tis the Season for (spring)Sharing tips’! Hopefully you enjoyed Tips #1 and #2 and tune in next year when we do it again!

Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Tis the Season for (spring)Sharing – Tip #2: Cultivating a Homemade Experience

Crafting

Nothing says the holidays more than homemade. Whether you’re baking rugelach, hand-crafting thoughtful gifts, or DIY’ing your decorations – you’re sending the message that your guests are special and deserving of homemade. Nothing beats homemade, but it can take a lot of effort, time, and work!

If you’re looking to bring that ‘homemade’ feeling to your library, you’re probably daunted by the idea of providing a homemade experience for each and every one of your patrons! How will you do it?! Well, a great way to offer a homemade experience is to provide tailored services. So while you’re not knitting individual items for each individual patron, you’re still providing a tailored experience just for them.

In fact, a 2016 article in Forbes magazine on 2017 technology trends predicted the ‘everything on-demand’ trend that definitely took off this year. Apps to deliver food, laundry, a ride, movie streaming, and more.

So, our next tip in our ‘Tis the Season for (spring)Sharing’ is all about delivering that tailored homemade and on-demand experience.

Tip #2: Cultivating a Homemade Experience

You might already be familar with creating LibGuides tailored-made for specific courses or assignments, but there are loads of other Springy tools you can use to bring that feeling of Hygge into your Library and for your users.

Create Holiday-Specific Mobile Micro Sites

The 2016 Pew Research Center Libraries Report showed that 49% of people accessed a public library website from their handheld mobile devices – smartphones and tablets. The 2017 Horizon Report highlights a 2016 StatCounter study which found that 51.3% of all web browsing worldwide took place on mobile phones and tablets, surpassing desktop web browsing for the first time. So, mobile access is important!

In case you didn’t know, LibGuides and LibGuides CMS subscribers have access to an optional add-on module called the mSite Builder. The mSite Builder allows you to create multiple mobile ‘micro’ sites for users to access on their smartphones.

There are tons of way you could use the mSite Builder. You could create a microsite for a walking tour of your library, or one showcasing upcoming library events, a fun scavenger hunt, or even a mobile conference site if you’re hosting!

But, what about creating a microsite focused on the library’s holiday events and activities?

Holiday Microsite: Getting Hygge With It!

Link to your special holiday microsite off of your regular mobile website to deliver a homemade, tailored, and on-demand experience to your patrons.

Plus, you can embed Font-Awesome icons on your mobile page menu to add a visual element.

Librarian On-Demand – Uber Reference Using LibAnswers SMS

If your library promotes roving reference, why not rebrand it as Uber reference? Everyone is calling themselves the ‘uber of something’ these days and it immediately brings to mind “they’re coming to me”. Plus, nothing says tailored library services than literally showing up at their library location with research goodies just for them.

Add signage throughout your library encouraging users to text-a-librarian for uber reference! If they text their location and what they need help with, you can reply back with an estimated arrival time of a librarian.

LibAnswers SMS

Uber Reference using LibAnswers SMS

 

Meet Me Under the My Scheduler

LibCal’s My Scheduler lets you set up your own personal schedule of availability so patrons can book time with you for one-on-one consultations. You can arrange My Schedulers by location, branch, or even by topic – so patrons don’t need to know who they’re meeting with, just that they need someone who’s great at setting up eReaders.

But what about patrons who can’t physically come to the library. It is the busy holiday season after all and in some parts of the northern hemisphere it’s brutally cold! How can you provide one-on-one tailored services to people who won’t, or physically can’t, come into the library for help?

Create a LibCal My Scheduler Category called ‘Online’ – and encourage patrons to make appointments with librarians, virtually! Using your library’s webinar technology tool or even something simple (and free!) like Join.Me.

Simply create a LibCal My Scheduler Group called ‘Online Appointments’ and assign librarians to it. Patrons can select that category when scheduling an appointment.

LibCal My Scheduler – Online Category for Providing Online-Only Assistance

 

Have fun exploring how these Springshare tools help you bring that homemade, tailored, library experience designed to make them feel like it’s all ‘just for them‘ into the library. If you can think of other ways your library can get Hygge with it, drop a note in the comments below!

That’s all for this edition of ‘Tis the Season for (spring)Sharing’ Tips! Come back next week for Tip #3!

Tis the Season for (spring)Sharing – Tip #1: Getting Emoji’tional

Emojis

While your library might be winding down from the hectic schedule of finals or if you’re experiencing the general slowdown of traffic and questions typical during this time period – here are some quick (and fun!) things you can do, right now.

We’ll be releasing our Tis the Season for (spring)Sharing as a blog series from now till Dec 22nd! So come back and check out our other Springy Tips.

Tip #1 – Getting Emoji’tional 😉

Emoji’s can be an effective way to communicate with patrons and coworkers. They’re fun, expressive, and most importantly – compact. Universally agreed upon emoji symbols can help us convey a sentiment, or emotion, without having to phrase it in a convoluted or ambiguous sentence. So, not only does it save you time, but it can help prevent confusion from indecipherable sentences. For example, if you write that you’re heading over to a reference desk meeting and I reply with an emoji thumbs-up 👍👍, you can ascertain that I understand and am confirming your message. All parties are on the same page! Time magazine recently reported a study by Harris Poll showing that 36% of millennials ages 18-34 who use “visual expressions” say that those images better communicate their thoughts and feelings than words do.

On the flip side, using emoji’s improperly can land you in some hot water if you’re not using emojis that everyone can understand or are universally accepted. For example, in the same example above, if I had replied to your message with a party popper 🎉🎉 – does that mean that I’m happy you’re leaving to go to this meeting? Or am I wishing you good luck? Sending a party popper to that message just doesn’t make sense. As the recipient to my ambiguous emoji reply, you’re justifiably confused.

So, like with any communication tool, it’s important to consider your message and how the recipient of your message will interpret it. When in doubt, don’t use any emojis at all.

Accessing Your Built-In Emoji Keyboard

You’re probably very familiar with your emoji keyboard built into your smartphone device. But, did you know that your desktop computer also has a built-in emoji keyboard? Well, it does! Here’s how you can access it!

Step One: Be sure your cursor is inside an editing/typing window – like LibAnswers SMS Ticket Reply, or LibCal Social Publishing Field.

Step Two: Keyboard Shortcuts for Accessing the Emoji Keyboard

Windows Users Mac Users
  • Windows Button + semicolon (;)
    or
  • Windows Button + period (.)
  • CMD + Control + Spacebar

Step Three: Double-click to select your emojis, choosing as many as you want. You’ll notice the emojis being added to your text-editor. When you’re done, click to close the emoji keyboard.

Mac Computer Emoji Keyboard

Using Emojis In Your Springshare Tools

Now that you know how you can access your emoji keyboard, let’s have fun exploring all the different ways you can use emojis in your Springshare tools.

1. LibAnswers

There are many places that you can use emojis when replying to patron inquires inside of LibAnswers. Three places that come to mind are the SMS/Text-Message Tickets, Social Media Management, and inside of LibChat.

Additionally, using emojis in more ‘informal’ communication like text-messages, and social media posts can help users feel more connected to your content. In that same Time Magazine article, they reported that “the majority of people across age groups also said they feel ‘more connected’ to people they frequently message when using emojis and GIFs.”

In Your SMS/Text-Message Replies

LibAnswers SMS ticketing functionality allows you to answer patron-initiated texts natively inside the LibAnswers platform. Bottom-line, if you can type…you can text.

While replying to a patron inquiry, consider adding an emoji! Remember, text-messaging was the original birthplace of emojis, so using emojis in your reply will appear natively in the patron’s smartphone messaging app.

Adding Emojis to your LibAnswers SMS/Text-Message Replies

 

In Your Social Media Posts/Replies

If emojis were born in text-message, they grew to adulthood on social media. In your LibAnswers Social Media Management Tool, consider adding emojis to your Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest Posts and Replies. Remember, users feel comfortable when communicating with people who use emojis. And from our recent social media post, it’s important to be authentic. Emojis in your social media posts are a great way to communicate with patrons in a casual, informal, and authentic manner.

Emojis in Twitter - LibAnswers Social Media Management Posting

In Your LibChat Messages

In case you didn’t know, LibAnswers’ LibChat comes with built-in emoji support – but it’s limited to just the smiley face emojis. Use your built-in emoji keyboard to add more visuals to your chat convos! 👍

Built-in Emoji Support in LibAnswers’ LibChat

 

2. LibCal

Your library’s calendar events are an ideal spot for integrating some emoji fun! Remember, context is important – so it’s probably not a good idea to add emojis in a calendar event advertising the library’s counseling services.

In Your LibCal Calendar Events

When advertising your LibCal calendar events, consider adding emojis to the built-in Social Media posting integration.

Social Media Integration built-in to LibCal Calendars.

 

3. LibWizard

When asking patrons to fill out Library feedback forms or surveys – consider adding emojis to the radio and checkbox options!

As a tip, don’t replace words entirely with emojis as some user’s browsers might not be able to display them. Always use them in ‘conjunction’ with text unless you’re 100% certain that the emojis you’re using are compliant across all apps.

Adding emojis to the LibWizard Choices Options Fields.

Have fun poking around your Springshare tools and explore all the ways you can use emojis! And remember to have fun! 🎊🎉🎈

 

That’s all for this edition of ‘Tis the Season for (spring)Sharing’ Tips! Come back later this week for Tip #2!