Archive for LibCal

SpringyCamp 2020 Registration Opens Tomorrow!

Summer is in full swing in the Northern Hemisphere, which means two things: we’ve swapped comfy pants for comfy shorts; and we’re getting close to SpringyCamp!

In a year unlike any other when services dramatically changed (and are still changing), the Springy team wanted to host an extra special virtual conference for our customers. To that end, we’re bringing you two exciting days of camp with an expanded list of presenters! Plus, new ways to engage and interact with other Springy users!

SpringyCamp 2020 – August 5th & 6th
The New Now: Promoting Access & Redefining Services

This year’s camp will explore four themes:

  • Using Springshare Tools to Manage & Record COVID-19 Information
  • New Partnerships: Using Springshare Tools Outside of the Library
  • We’re All Distance Learners Now: Using Springshare Tools to Share Information with Staff and Patrons
  • Connections: Your Library & Social Justice – Amplify Black Voices with Springshare Tools

SpringyCamp Registration & Sneak Peek

Registration opens tomorrow, and we’ll have all of SpringyCamp’s details in our training newsletter – landing in inboxes at 12pm US ET!
Not currently a subscriber? Sign up on our website.

Updated: You can now view the full lineup and register from our SpringyCamp 2020 guide!

In the meantime, here’s a glimpse into what some of our camp presenters are cooking up to share with attendees:

  • Real-World Readiness: Using LibGuides to Wade Through the COVID-19 FloodPoster Session!
    Carrie Price and Katie Lobner, Welch Medical Library, Johns Hopkins University
  • Empowering Staff and Facilitating Remote Work with LibAnswers
    Amanda Scull, Dartmouth College Biomedical Libraries
  • Using LibGuides and LibWizard to Create Online Escape Rooms
    Rachel Valentine, Blinn College Library
  • Creating & Hosting OER using LibGuides CMSPoster Session!
    Nikki Rech and Jeff Mortimore, Georgia Southern University
  • Lessons Learned from Moving to LibGuides and LibCalPoster Session!
    Sam Torrez, Dickinson Public Library
  • LibGuides and Digital Literacy for the New Online Student: An Academic Reference Librarian’s Approach to Faculty Collaborations
    Kimberly Michelle Gay, John B. Coleman Library, Prairie View A&M University
  • LibGuides Beyond the Library
    Nadine Bailey and Stephen Taylor, Western Academy of Beijing

All of us have learned a lot this year, and we’ve still got a lot left to figure out. While SpringyCamp always provides a great opportunity for Springys to come together and share ideas, we’re feeling the importance of this community event more acutely than ever. We hope you’ll join us!

More Seats for LibCal Seats!

More Webinars Added

When we announced that LibCal Seats was right around the corner with six webinars to view this add-on module, we fully expected that all six webinars would sell out. What we didn’t expect is that all six webinars would sell out in less than a week, with hundreds more registrations on our waiting lists.

So, we’ve added more webinars to our schedule! You have four two more chances to view the LibCal Seats module this month.

Can’t attend any of the webinars? Don’t worry – pick one webinar, even if it’s sold-out, and register anyway. We’ll send along the recording to everyone.


Four Two More Chances to View LibCal Seats Module

We recommend you sign-up quickly, as these sessions are filling up fast!

All sessions below are listed in U.S. Eastern Time. Convert to your time zone.

  1. Thursday, July 23. 1:00pm – 1:30pm. (event registration full)
  2. Monday, July 27. 11am – 11:30am. (event registration full)
  3. Wednesday, July 29. 2pm – 2:30pm.
  4. Friday, July 31. 10am – 10:30am.

LibCal Seats Is Just Around the Corner!

Here at Springy HQ we’re buzzing with excitement over our upcoming LibCal seat reservations module and building capacity management features. We’re launching this week, yay!

Today, let’s take a look at how the new LibCal Seats module will work using a specific library example.

The scenario: A two-branch library with multiple reservable areas

I’m responsible for managing the comings and goings for two libraries — East Library and West Library. In our East Library we have two reading areas, 10 quiet study tables, a set of 15 computers, and three study rooms. I need to:

  • Ensure my building does not exceed 50% capacity so that users can be in the library safely while complying with social distancing policies.
  • Provide staff with the ability to easily assist users who forget their booking information.
  • Keep track of building capacity stats and historical booking information for contact tracing purposes.
  • Implement a long-term, flexible solution we can use at every reopening stage, even when we’re back to full capacity.

Let’s take a look at how I can achieve all of the above using the East Library’s Lounge seating area as an example!

Configuring Seats from the admin side

First, I’ll create my LibCal Spaces Locations: one for East Library, one for West Library. Then I’ll create my Zones. In my library, there are two distinct building areas – two floors. I’ll add a Zone for each:

  • First Floor (stacks, periodical reading chairs, computers, reference & circulation desks)
  • Second Floor (study rooms and carrels, lounge seating)

Next, I’ll add different categories of Spaces that will determine booking limits (like reservation durations and restrictions). Since we’ll need to clean/disinfect seats and computer stations after each use, I’ll add padding between reservations.

After defining categories, I’ll add my individual Spaces to them. Spaces can be booked as a whole (e.g. study rooms, meeting rooms) or individually as seats (like a computer, table chair, lounge armchair, you name it). I can also indicate if the space is accessible.

To ensure I do not exceed 50% capacity at any time, I can indicate a Spaces’ current capacity vs maximum capacity and set the proper number of active/inactive Seats. If I was setting up the entire East Library Location, it could look something like:

  • Lounge seating space (capacity: 9, 6 active seats, 3 inactive seats)
  • Periodical reading space (capacity: 6, 2 active, 4 inactive)
  • Computer space (capacity: 15, 8 active, 7 inactive)
  • Quiet study tables (capacity: 10, 6 active, 4 inactive)
  • Study room 1 (capacity: 4, 1 person currently allowed)
  • Study room 2 (capacity: 4, 1 person currently allowed)
  • Study room 3 (capacity: 2, 1 person currently allowed)

Next, I’ll create my reservable Seats for my Spaces! I could add Seats in bulk by specifying the variable for the naming convention (e.g. Armchair-1 through Armchair-6). By adding all of them now, I can set them to active or inactive, to quickly adjust their availability based on our capacity restrictions, cleaning schedules, and reopening plans.

Here are ten reading chair seats. Based on their location, a total of six can be reserved.

I can provide each Seat/Space with a description and image to help users find it. In this case, I also gave each chair its own name so it’s easily identifiable. If I choose to enable QR codes, I’ll print each one and post it next to its corresponding chair along with the seat name and reserving information. If I didn’t want to start with QR codes, that’s fine too – users can check-in/checkout using a simple URL that I’ll advertise throughout the library (and in the booking confirmation emails, too).

Now, I’m all set up for patron reservations!

Booking Seats from the patron side

Let’s switch to a user who’s looking to spend a couple of hours to do some quiet reading in the library on Friday.

  1. First, they’ll head over to the library’s LibCal site and view available Seats and times. They’ll select the time, the Seat they prefer, and enter their email and other information (the booking form is fully customizable).
    1. This is where I can also enable a LibAuth connection, to authenticate patrons against my authentication layer before they can book their Seat/Space.
  2. They’ll receive a confirmation email with a unique three-character confirmation code.
  3. At the booking time, they’ll arrive at the library, find their Seat, and either scan the QR code (if available) or enter the check-in URL, and type in the three-character confirmation code from the email.
  4. At the end of the reservation period, they will check out – again either by scanning the QR code next to the seat (if available) or by entering the short URL.
    1. If the patron does not check out by themselves, the system will automatically check out on their behalf right at the end of the reserved time.

Managing bookings on the admin side

At any time, my staff can view upcoming Seats bookings as well as monitor the current capacity from the new Location Capacity Utilization dashboard. If a patron can’t remember their unique three-digit code, we can click on their unique booking record on the dashboard and manually check them in/out.

As a staff member, I can quickly see how the Second Floor’s Space/Seats are currently being utilized.

Additionally, building managers can access any previous booking records organized by Zone or Space, if needed for contact tracing purposes. To protect patron privacy, we also have the option to enable personal data scrubbing which periodically erases all identifiable booking information (but keeps the general booking record for statistical purposes).


Easy-peasy. We have exciting plans for LibCal Seats too (e.g. interactive mapping/reservations is coming soon) so this is just the beginning of something really great when it comes to Seats bookings in LibCal! We also look forward to implementing your feedback and suggestions as soon as you start using the new module.

In case you haven’t heard yet, we have several dates where you can see this new add-on module in action!

Product Demo Days

For those who are considering adding LibCal Seats to your subscription, we have some product demos lined up just for you:

We added more dates! See available seats on our calendar.

For those unable to make one of these dates/times, we’ll share the recorded video on Twitter and Facebook as soon as it’s available!

If you have any questions about LibCal Seats, please drop our sales team a line!

Customer Training Days

For those who have already added LibCal Seats and will be ready to dive into the nitty-gritty details, our LibCal Seats – Get Your Library Ready to Reopen Safely training sessions are already posted! Sign up for:

  • Monday, August 10, 2020 from 1:00pm – 2:00pm ET – Register!
  • Wednesday, August 19, 2020 from 12:00pm – 1:00pm ET – Register!
  • Thursday, August 27, 2020 from 12:00pm – 1:00pm ET – Register!

As always, we will add a video of our recorded session to our training video library as soon as it’s ready!

We have exciting plans for LibCal Seats (like mapping!), and we’ve been touched by the overwhelming response we’ve had to this new, needed functionality. In a time when we don’t feel like we have a lot of control over our lives, it’s been helpful to channel this energy into something we firmly believe will help others. Thank you, as always, for being on board with us. Contact us anytime, for any reason – we’re here for you.

Preparing for a Virtual Semester

Are you ready for a virtual semester?

Academic and School librarians, if you’re feeling uncertain as to what is going to happen this upcoming 2020-2021 academic year… imagine how your students feel. Anxiety and uncertainty are emotions that are part of this ‘new normal’. Will there be f2f classes? Will classrooms be fully or partially virtual? How will assignments be submitted and graded? How will group projects be handled? Where are the classroom, and library, resources? Like you, students have a ton of questions – most of which just can’t be answered right now… except one. Using Springshare’s LTI Tool – you can natively integrate library resources right inside student’s online courses. So the question, “Where do I find the library’s resources?” The answer is, “Right inside your online course!”


Last month we held a virtual webinar showcasing how you can natively integrate library content right inside your Blackboard, Moodle, Canvas, Sakai, Desire2Learn, or other LTI-compliant courseware tool. Reducing the amount of clicks a student has to take to find the relevant library resources can not only help to reduce their cognitive load but also their stress and anxiety. And if there’s anything that we all need right now, is one less stressor in our lives.

Library Resources Page inside of Canvas using Springshare LTI Tool

With Springshare’s LTI Tool, natively integrate:

  • Course-specific LibGuides
  • Subject-specific LibGuides Databases
  • Course-related reading materials with LibGuides E-Reserves
  • Subject-expert LibGuides Profiles
  • Live chat widget from LibAnswers (with optional 24/7/365 chat coverage)
  • Book a virtual librarian appointment using LibCal
  • Search library FAQs using LibAnswers
  • … and more.

Is there a recording?

There sure is! This 30 minute recording shows how you can integrate library resources right inside the courseware tool. And the best part, minus a few things your Office of Online Learning needs to setup, all of the controls of what displays are controlled by you! Yes, you get to choose which LibGuides display, which E-Reserves, which subject-databases, and more!

Are you ready for a virtual fall semester webinar

But wait, does this scale across hundreds/thousands of online courses?

Yes it does! If you’re looking at hundreds or thousands of online courses this upcoming semester and wondering, am I going to have to click ‘Add library resources’ thousands of times? The answer is no. Our automagic tool matches on metadata making it easier to integrate library resources across thousands of classes. Don’t believe us – Penn State University uses the Springshare LTI Tool across 30,000 online courses each semester.

Want to learn more?

If you’re interested in learning more, we have loads of resources for you!

  • Training Videos – If you already subscribe to LibGuides CMS or E-Reserves and want to learn how to setup the LTI Tool, these training videos have you covered.
  • Help Documentation – Whether you’re using Blackboard, Canvas, or another LTI-compliant courseware tool… our help documentation has you covered.
  • Get Pricing & Free Trial – If you don’t already subscribe to LibGuides CMS, LibGuides E-Reserves module, or other Springy Tools that integrate with the LTI Tool… contact us for pricing or a free 30-day trial.

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

All Regions Important Updates

We hope that your June is going well, and that everyone working in libraries and from home are safe and healthy. COVID-19 has radically changed our landscape, but we’ve been working hard at Springy HQ to bring you some great new stuff to sip with your summer punch, or your winter drink, if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere.  These new features and updates are on their way to you next week, and will be live in all regions by the end of the day on Thursday, July 2, with the exception of the LibCal release (including Seats!), which is coming mid-month.

Read about: LibCalLibAnswersLibGuides | LibStaffer | LibCRM | LibInsight

LibCal

We’re really excited to bring you seat booking capability as well as Microsoft Teams online meetings integration and so much more! In fact, we are stuffing so much in this update that we need an extra week-and-a-bit to tuck in all the details and have things ready for you. Please expect LibCal updates in a browser near you by mid-July. Here are the deets:

Seats

As you saw last week in the first post in our Reopening Your Building Safely series, we’re adding the ability in LibCal to book individual seats in your library. Social distancing and monitoring building capacity will be incredibly important as our buildings open up during the COVID-19 pandemic. This functionality will be available from July 17. Interested? Please drop our Sales team a line.

Microsoft Teams Integration – Calendar Events & Appointments Scheduler

The much-requested integration for Microsoft teams to support online Appointments and Events is here!  An administrator will set up and enable the integration under Admin > Integrations, then each user account must authorize the integration in their User Profile.  Once enabled, when you create or edit a Calendar Event, you’ll see a new location option for Microsoft Teams online meetings.  When this location is chosen, you’ll then choose one of the users who has authorized the integration.  After the Event is saved, a shareable meeting link will be generated for Microsoft Teams, attached to the account of the user you chose.

For Appointments, if a user belongs to an online location, shareable Teams meeting URLs will be generated automatically when bookings are made. The process is similar to the current Zoom integration; the Microsoft Teams meeting link will be included in all corresponding emails and .ics calendar files and shown on the admin pages.

Please note that only one online meeting tool can be enabled at any given time.

Events

  • Zoom webinar and password creation support is here!  If the Zoom account used to create an online Event has the webinar feature enabled, you will now have the ability to choose whether your event is a Zoom Meeting or Webinar, and the option to set a password.
  • .ICS files for an online Event using the “Facebook Live (or other)” location option will now include the Event link, when no registration is required.
  • We’ve corrected an issue where sites using a non-English base language had trouble with dates when copying and creating events.
  • We have increased the number of records available for selection in the Presenter drop-down on the Event Aggregates stats report.

Appointments

  • Ever wanted to modify the colors displayed for the different statuses on the admin-side availability grid?  Now you can! Admins can go to Admin > Appointments > Settings to set this system-wide. Users can go to Appointments > My Settings > Color Settings to set it up for their own Appointments.
  • We’ve updated the Exchange and Google calendar sync processes to include the online meeting link that is automatically generated when an appointment is booked, when either the Microsoft Teams or Zoom integration is enabled.

Spaces & Equipment

  • We fixed an issue affecting display of Spaces bookings after a modification is made.
  • You can now search for Internal Notes in bookings via the Booking Explorer, for both Spaces and Equipment.
  • We’ve added Event Details and Internal Notes filters in the Spaces and Equipment Print Views. Check them out at Spaces > Availability > Print View or Equipment > Availability > Print View.
  • The Barcode search on the Equipment > Check In page is no longer case sensitive.
  • Google calendar sync failures and Microsoft Team integration failures will now be included in integration errors / failures email notifications sent to email addresses specified under Admin > System Settings > Email Settings > Integration Email Notifications.

Upcoming LibCal Training Sessions:

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

LibAnswers

This release brings you a number of our most popular feature requests, including new sound customization settings for LibChat, centralized reports for Shared Group System admins, OAuth support for Zoom account integration, and more!

New in LibAnswers & LibChat

  • LibChat Sound Settings: Good news for folks who find the “new chat” alert sound too… let’s call it “surprising.” Admins can now customize the sounds that play for each event that happens in LibChat, including new chat, new patron reply, new internal message, and new ticket. Choose from sounds like Classic New Chat and Classic New Ticket, or choose from our variety of new sounds like Triple Tap, High Chime, and Low Bell. Admins can head to Admin > LibChat Setup > Settings > Audio Alerts to customize sounds for all users of the site.
  • Ticket Preview URL: If you’ve ever needed to collaborate with a colleague on how to answer a ticket, but the ticket is currently unclaimed, good news – we’ve added a shareable ticket preview URL, so others can view the ticket’s contents without claiming the question. To grab the new preview URL, head to the LibAnswers Dashboard and select Quick Look -> Copy Preview URL.
  • Query Spy Bulk Delete: If your Query Spy data has ever been bombarded by an IP address that generated a bunch of non-human-looking searches, good news! Site Admins can now delete in bulk Query Spy results which were generated by a specific IP address. Admins can head to Stats > Query Spy to use this new feature.

LibChat Screensharing Updates

  • Updated Screensharing Settings Page: We’ve updated the format of the Screensharing settings page, so that once your site is signed up for screensharing, it’s easier to choose among screensharing options. Admins can head to Admin > LibChat > Screenshare  to view the various options.
  • OAuth Support for Zoom Integration: We’ve also added OAuth support for sites who are bringing their own Zoom accounts to use in LibChat! By using this authentication type, users with LibChat enabled will be able to connect their existing Zoom accounts with your LibAnswers system itself. To set this up, Admins will first need to head to Admin > LibChat > Screenshare > “OAuth Authentication” method. Once you choose this option, your LibChat account holders will then head to their Manage Account screen to add their Zoom account information. They’ll then log in using their existing Zoom account credentials and grant LibAnswers the ability to launch meetings on their behalf.

Shared Group System Reporting Updates

Beginning with this release, we’re adding reports to the LibAnswers system to provide aggregated reporting for Shared Group System sites.  With this release, you’ll see a new, high-level Annual report that lets admins quickly see monthly chat totals generated by and answered by each Group Member Library within your site. To view these new reports, Shared Group System admins can head to LibChat > Aggregated Stats.

But what if you also want to be able to see aggregated stats from standalone LibAnswers sites which bear a relationship to your Shared Group System via a Consortial arrangement? With this release, standalone LibAnswers sites who are connected to a Shared Group System site via Consortial Sharing will now see a new option to opt in to sharing aggregated statistics from their site with the Shared Group System. If you’re an admin of a standalone LibAnswers system that’s connected to a Shared Group System via Consortial Sharing, head to Admin > System Settings > General > Sharing Information and look for the setting for “Report Aggregated Statistics to Another Site.” Once you select this option, admins in the Shared Group System will be able to see a high-level aggregated report.

Plus, stay tuned for our next release, where we’ll add an additional report to show a more detailed breakdown of who is answering chats generated by each Group Member Library. For chats that originated from each Group Member Library or connected LibAnswers system, you’ll see how many chats were answered by that “home” library, versus how many were answered by a local Co-Op, versus how many were answered by the Global Co-Ops.

Co-Op Updates

  • Group Member Library Statistics: Institution and Co-Op Admins can now view a breakdown of the number of Co-Op chats which were answered by each participating Group Member Library. To view the new chart head to LibChat > Co-Op > Reports > Chat Statistics > Clients/Staff, or in LibAnswers, head to Admin > 24/7 Co-Op > Clients/Staff.
  • Answering Institution Filter: We’ve added a new filter to the Coop > Transcripts page that filters transcripts by which LibAnswers institution answered the chat. We’ve also added identifying information under Transcripts > Answered By, so you can easily see the LibAnswers site affiliation for the person who answered the chat.
  • Policy FAQs Update: If you’ve ever tried to open a policy FAQ in a new window, good news for you! We’ve added a simple standalone page to house these policy FAQs, so opening them in a new window using right click > Open in a New Tab/Window will function as expected.
  • Ticket Creation without an Email Address: We’ve heard feedback indicating that, when you’re creating a follow up ticket from a chat, it can interrupt the answering librarian’s flow to have to grab the patron’s email address and paste it into the “Create a Ticket” modal window, especially when you know for sure that it’s already been added to the transcript via an initial question or during the course of the chat. With this release, we’re removing the requirement to explicitly add an email address when creating a follow up ticket.

Bug Fixes and Smaller Improvements

  • If you transfer a ticket to an address book address, and that addressee replies to the transferred ticket notification, those replies will no longer generate a new ticket. They will now become threaded with the original ticket, as expected.
  • Removed iFrame Chat: To provide a better overall user experience, we’ve removed the “iFrame Chat” option from the LibChat dashboard.
  • Sites with shared chat departments will no longer see an error regarding Unknown Users.
  • We’ve restored the link to Edit Patron Record in the User History tab.
  • We’ve fixed an issue where new SMS messages displayed in the LibChat Dashboard contained time stamps that reflected UTC, instead of your local site’s timezone.
  • We’ve fixed an issue with System Status Management posts showing an incorrect date/time stamp in RSS feeds.
  • We’ve fixed an issue where, in limited cases, the button to Email Transcript to the Patron was not appearing in the LibChat Dashboard.

Upcoming LibAnswers Training Sessions:

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

LibGuides

As previously announced, we are rolling out an updated Rich Text Editor to LibGuides as a part of this round of code updates. This update is cleaner (and fully-functional!) and allows you to use the built-in browser spell-check capabilities. The updated editor will be live in everyone’s LibGuides system by July 15.

We have spent most of the last month doing back-end improvements to LibGuides and LibApps. Hand-in-hand with expanded use of online classes and virtual services, use of LibGuides has really shot up during the COVID-19 pandemic, and while we weathered the spring without downtime, we wanted to get under the hood and improve things even more, before back-to-school is upon us. We also have a few small fixes and features to share with you:

  • LTI: we have made our code for setting up regular expressions more flexible to accommodate additional course naming conventions.
  • We’ve updated the look and feel of accordions on the admin side of LibGuides and LibApps so that the experience is a little more intuitive. This change does not affect accordions on the public side, such as those on the LibGuides homepage.
  • We fixed an issue that was causing Font Awesome icons in guide titles in search results to display as code.
  • We changed A-Z widgets (Tools > Widgets > Search Box) to handle diacritics in the same way that the A-Z Databases page native search widgets handles them.
  • We fixed an error causing older blog posts not to display. This was related to blog posts created by users who have since been removed from the system.

Upcoming LibGuides Training Sessions:

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

LibStaffer

The LibStaffer team is excited to bring you these frequently-requested features!

Features:

  • Drop Shift Functionality: Now staff members can give up shifts without still being responsible for the shift. With this option enabled, staff can drop a shift, and that shift will remain unassigned.  Schedule admins can go to Admin > Schedule Settings > edit schedule > Drop shift to view and choose an option, which also specifies how long before a shift it is allowed to be dropped.

Smaller Fixes and Features

  • We fixed an issue preventing some Schedule Admins who are Regular Users from being able to approve Time Off requests.
  • We addressed an issue preventing the removal of shifts from Outlook, if a staff member was unassigned during the Find & Replace process.
  • We resolved a sort issue with Open Shifts on the Dashboard.

Upcoming LibStaffer Training Sessions:

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

LibCRM

For this release, the LibCRM team is pleased to bring users the Roles & Permissions functionality. This much-requested feature set will enable admins to designate who can do what in their LibCRM system.

Roles & Permissions

With Roles & Permissions functionality, system admins can create new roles in the system, then assign them specific permissions in the People, Organizations, and Interactions modules. Also coming soon are Roles & Permissions for the Reports area. Admins can head to Admin > Roles & Permissions to get started.

Roles

The roles area is the heart of this functionality. Admins can create, edit, and delete Roles from the Roles list. The Admin role cannot be deleted, as it’s essential to the system. 🙂

Important: With this release, a Role will have to be assigned to each account created in the system. By default, Admin and Regular Roles will already be available.

Permissions

Once you have Roles created, it’s time to assign them some Permissions! For People, Organizations,  and Interactions you can assign Create, View, Edit or Delete permissions as well as allow a Role to View Statistics. A role can also be set to View Statistics for People and Organizations.

Each permission comes with the following options:

  • Owned by this user only: if active, the account holder can only see/edit/delete items that they own.
  • All (not owned by admin): if active, the account holder can see/edit/delete all the items that are not owned by an admin.
  • All: if active, the account holder can see/edit/delete all items, including those owned by admins.

[Back to Top]

LibInsight

COUNTER 5 Analysis Report Update

We have gotten a lot of feedback about how we have parsed and displayed Database and Title Master Reports. Why am I seeing Database titles in the Journals tab?? Excellent question! This is definitely not a “your chocolate is in my peanut butter” type situation!

We don’t usually get into the nitty gritty in these posts, but it turns out that Database Master Reports can include rows where the content type is “Journal.” This is indicative of the aggregated usage of all of the journal content within a database, but is unnecessary to include as database usage, since usage of those individual titles is reported in the Title Master Reports and parsed out in the Journals, Books, and Others tabs. With this release, we are ignoring rows in Database Master Reports for non-Database content. Conversely, we will now populate the Journal, Book, and Other tabs based on the Title Master Report only.

This will ensure that only Database metrics are shown in the Databases tab, only Journals metrics are shown in the Journals tab, etc. (Note: we will be removing some additional non-database metrics from Databases > Usage > Titles reports in a future release.)

Other Misc Updates

We’ve made some adjustments to the layout on the System Settings page. First of all, since Alert Boxes apply to the whole system, we are including them in these settings. We also then moved each section to its own tab, making this page more easy to use. Admins can head to Admin > System Settings to check it out.

LibInsight System Settings

Lastly, we have fixed a handful of accessibility issues, including issues on the custom dataset widget form.

[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 2020. We are always here for you if have any suggestions or questions.

Curbside Pickup/Contactless Checkout Options (Blog Series: Part Two)

LibCal and LibAnswers Scheduling and Communication Module for Holds Pickup

Last week’s post on LibCal Seats module generated a great response – thank you all. Our libraries are looking for solutions to help them reopen safely, and we’re excited to be helping with this process. Several current LibCal customers are helping us with the Seats module, so we are confident many of you will find the upcoming module very helpful as you navigate the use of library facilities in a post-COVID-19 world.

We hope you’ll like our curbside pickup/contactless checkout solution just as much. Depending on the particular needs for your library, you can already start utilizing what we have or wait for the upgrade release in the coming 4-5 weeks.


Three Options for Curbside/Contactless Holds Pickups

There will be three options available in LibApps regarding the curbside pickup – which one you will utilize depends on your library’s workflows. You can also start using the first option that’s already available and then expand/move to the other two options as they become available over the summer.

Option 1 – Scheduling of Pickups Only

Libraries using LibCal Spaces module can allocate dedicated spaces for curbside/contactless pickup and customize the setup to serve the need for scheduling of pickups. This functionality is already available in LibCal and you can/should start using it immediately.

We published a blog post on using LibCal Spaces for scheduling contactless/curbside pickup of library holds, and our training sessions on this have been among the most attended this year.

The setup works great and it’s free with your LibCal subscription! If you need to add a few additional Spaces to your LibCal subscription, contact us at sales@springshare.com and we’ll make it happen. If you don’t have LibCal but need a scheduling tool for curbside pickup/contactless checkout, contact us and we’ll work with you on a flexible pricing structure.

For those libraries that also want to add the communication component to holds pickups, we’ve got you covered! We’re building a new module in the coming weeks to help you meet this need.

Option 2 – Scheduling and Communication (or Communication Only) Regarding Pickups

Some of you have asked us come up with the communication process for holds pickups, too! While many libraries are happy with a tool for scheduling of holds pickups, some want to add the communication piece to the worfklows – or only focus on communication piece for holds pickups.

Great idea, we thought, so we’re busy working on an end-to-end solution for holds pickups/contactless checkouts. We are leveraging our expertise with SMS communication, email, and chat functionality from LibAnswers, to come up with a brand-new LibApps module to help libraries schedule and communicate with patrons about curbside pickups/contactless checkouts. This helps avoid miscommunication or missed pickups while also minimizing unnecessary contact with staff. Safety first!

Holds pickup workflow in the new module

  1. The library customizes the ILS holds arrival email template to include the link to LibCal’s curbside pickup scheduler.
  2. The patron receives the “your materials have arrived” email and schedules their pickup time using LibCal’s mobile-first web scheduler. The library controls how many pickup timeslots are available each day and when, to control the flow of users arriving to the library.
  3. LibCal sends a pickup confirmation email with instructions to patron how to communicate with the library when they’ve arrived for their holds.
  4. Upon arrival, the patron sends an SMS text or initiates chat to let the library know they’re here.
  5. The module automatically matches the message with the LibCal scheduled pickup so the librarian knows exactly who is picking up which materials.
  6. The librarian on duty receives the SMS or chat with the LibCal booking information and the patron info, and they drop off the materials at a pre-determined spot (parking space, outside table, front door, etc), as described in their pickup confirmation email.
  7. The system automatically records when the patron has arrived and gathers valuable statistics on patron interactions for follow ups, to help identify any pain points, and ideas for further workflow improvements.

Once you and the patrons try out this new workflow for holds pickups everyone will ask themselves why were holds pickups done any other way in the past? 🙂 We’re really excited about this new module because it will marry the best of Springshare’s technology for the purpose of truly improving the library’s workflows – not just during COVID-19 pandemic but in general, too. This new system will significantly enhance the value proposition and make it more convenient for your users to schedule and communicate with you about their holds.

We’re planning to release this new module in the first week of August, but in the meantime you can/should start using Option 1 (outlined above) because it will be an integral part of this new module, too. In other words, you will not waste any effort or lose work/customizations by starting on Option 1 now while we spend the next 4-5 weeks finalizing this exciting new module. Just like with the LibCal Seats module we’re working with several existing customers on this and if you have ideas and suggestions – please let us know, we’d love to hear from you.

Option 3 – ILS Integration (aka the Holy Grail)

This will not be ready for the early August release but rest assured that we’re not stopping our development on this module by then. We are planning the ultimate enhancement to the Curbside pickup/contactless checkout module – full ILS integration so the module will read the information about the holds directly from your ILS and write to the patron’s ILS record when the patron picks up the hold.

This upcoming ILS integration will make this new module an indispensable tool for libraries looking for a true end-to-end solution for curbside pickups/contactless checkouts. Your holds workflows will never be the same, and we’re not kidding about it, either. 🙂 We’re planning to release the ILS integration in September and if you’d like to work with us on it please contact us and let us know which ILS you use and we’ll put it on the todo list. One of the things we enjoy the most about our development process is working closely with our libraries so we cherish every opportunity we get to do this!

Learn More – Contact Us

Stay tuned to this blog, and subscribe to receive email alerts (enter your email address in the right column —>) to stay updated on when this functionality will be arriving in the coming weeks. Interested in being added to our contacts list? Email us at sales@springshare.com and we’ll be in touch as soon as this LibCal/LibAnswers module is released with pricing.

LibCal Seats Module – Safely Reopen Your Building (Blog Series: Part One)

Introducing LibCal Seats

We’re very excited to announce a new LibCal module designed to help our customers reopen buildings safely all while adhering to social distancing guidelines and prioritizing the health and safety of patrons and staff. This new tool can extend beyond the library, too! Academic campuses can use it for computer labs, media centers, student housing (e.g. washers/dryers), etc. Public libraries can collaborate with other public service departments needing an effective and affordable seat reservation system.

This is part one, of a two-part blog series, outlining new functionality we’re adding to our tools to help you reopen safely while prioritizing health and safety of everyone. There’s lots of good stuff to share so let’s get right to it…


Coming Early July – LibCal Seats

The LibCal Seats functionality is an optional module complementing the current LibCal Spaces reservations. It introduces bookable Seats inside Spaces that patrons can reserve and check-in/out of – all by using their smartphones thus reducing unnecessary contact with staff.  The new functionality also lays the groundwork for our forthcoming interactive mapping functionality for Spaces & Seats inside the library – wohoo! Here’s how the new Seats booking will work.

Seating and Spaces Setup

We’re introducing two new hierarchical layers that will help determine capacity and occupancy – Zones and Seats. With this, there will be a total of 4 layers for managing Seating and Spaces capacity in LibCal:

  1. Building/Location Capacity ->
  2. Zones within the Building/Location (new with July release!) ->
  3. Spaces Capacity ->
  4. Individual Seats (new with July release!
Quickly view Zones, Spaces, Seats – and Equipment – at each Location

Based on social distancing guidelines and the occupancy target (30%, 50%, etc.) admins can make certain Spaces and Seats active (bookable) or  inactive (non-bookable).  Each bookable Space and Seat has relevant information to help the patron reserving it (e.g. is it accessible, the description, a photo, etc.). Optionally, each Seat/Space comes with a unique QR code which can be printed and taped next to it, creating a contactless check-in/out process.

Define bookable seats within each Space. Allow users to book all seats in a Space or only one Seat at a time.

Realtime Occupancy Dashboard

The new Bookings dashboard gives admins an overview of Spaces & Seats occupancy and pending reservations. At any point in time the admin can see how many seats and spaces are occupied/booked and where these seats are – by Space, by Zone, or by Location.

Padding Between Bookings for Cleaning

Admins can setup booking rules for any group of Seats & Spaces, and adding padding around each reservation to allow staff time to clean & disinfect the Seats/Spaces (e.g. computer workstations, tables, chairs, etc.) 

Each Space is assigned to a category that details the type of Space it is (Study Room, Computer Lab, Carrels, etc.). At the Category-level, define the booking rules that apply to all Spaces/Seats assigned to the Category.

How It Works for Patrons

Patrons will browse and reserve the desired Seats/Spaces via a mobile-first interface on their smartphones. Once they’ve selected the Seat/Space and date/time, the patron fills out a booking form that the library can fully customize for its needs. LibCal admins can create as many booking forms as needed and even route bookings through a local authentication layer (CAS, Shibboleth, LDAP, Azure AD, etc.) .

Upon reserving a Seat or a Space the patron will get an email confirmation with a unique 3 character code in the email that they will use to check-in (and later, check-out), to identify their reservation. Once they reach their booked seat in the library, the patron checks-in by either scanning the QR code (if the library enables this option) or by loading a special URL on their smartphone. Libraries should encourage patrons to check-out as well, but if they do not, the user will be automatically checked-out at the end of the reservation.

This check-in/out process helps with contact tracing if needed. It’s also totally optional, and libraries can choose to disable it for privacy reasons. We’ve taken great care during development to enable libraries to abide by the privacy policies specific to their institution(s).

Each Space/Seat comes with a printable QR code for contactless check-in/out.

Excited? We Are Too!

Reopening your building in this “new normal” is a stressful and anxiety-inducing task, no doubt. With LibCal Seats, our goal is to take even just a little bit off your overburdened shoulders and help out with what we can. Contact us and we’ll work with you to make reopening a success and help ensure a safe and healthy experience for everyone!

Safe Reopening Part Two – Coming Later This Week!

Part two of our blog series, coming later this week, will knock your socks off with an awesome integration of LibCal and LibAnswers for curbside/holds pickup scheduling and communication.

If you’re looking for an end-to-end solution for hold pickups/contactless checkouts, you are going to love what we’re cooking up in our development labs – a true powerhouse combo for both the scheduling of curbside holds pickup and the communicating with patrons about it. Stay tuned for a big announcement later this week, right here on the Springy blog.

Shout Out to Our Community

These enhancements would not have happened without feedback/guidance/advice from our awesome current LibCal and LibAnswers customers who have helped us during development. We’re thankful to have such a great community of users, and we’re very excited to share the fruits of the collective efforts and collaborations with you all, to help our entire community reopen safely.

Onwards and upwards, to safe reopenings we go! Contact us anytime, for any reason – we’re here for you.

Using LibCal to Schedule Curbside Pickup

You might have heard of LibCal or perhaps you’re already an avid user. If you’ve never heard of it at all, LibCal is our web-based calendar & event management tool helping you:


But…. have you thought about using LibCal Spaces for scheduling and managing curbside pickup of library holds? Yes! LibCal Spaces is so flexible, it can be used to schedule any type of space whether it’s a parking space, a table outside the library, or any area you’d like to designate for contactless/curbside delivery.

Plus, by creating a booking schedule that you control – you can help to protect the safety of patrons by limiting and staggering when patrons pick up their holds. This ensures that there’s only one patron pickup request per designated time-period… eliminating crowds, lines, and potential ways for patrons to spread COVID-19 to each other, and to you and your staff. Protecting patrons and staff health and safety? It’s a win, win. Read on as we give a brief overview of how you can use LibCal Spaces to schedule and communicate curbside pickup of library holds.

Want to Learn More? Watch a Recording or Attend a Live Webinar!

Updated! We’ve added a detailed recording and step-by-step help guide.

Attend a live session – click to view dates below.

Setting Up a Holds Pickup Location

It all starts by creating a Location, “Holds Pickup” or “Curbside Pickup” under Admin > Equipment & Spaces > Create Location. Within your location, navigate to Spaces Tab > add a Category.

Create different categories for different areas that you’d like to designate for curbside pickup. Create categories for:

  • Parking Spaces
  • Tables Outside the Library
  • Entrances

Each category has unique spaces and you can define rules within each category relating to booking duration, booking window, and more.

Timeslot Settings

Within each Spaces Category, you can customize booking duration, booking lead time, padding between bookings. We recommend the following settings:

  • Booking Maximum Duration, Booking Minimum Duration, Booking Default Duration – should all be the same value, 10-15 minute timeslots.
  • Add Padding Between Bookings – give yourself a bit of a breather so you’re not running back and forth into the building.
  • Single Booking Multiple Rooms and Single Booking Same Room Multiple Times – set these options to not allowed.
  • Duration Limit – how many minutes a day a patron is allowed to book for? If you’ve setup 10min timeslots and you only want to allow patrons 1 curbside pickup/day > set this value to 10 / day.
  • Frequency Limit – How many bookings do you want to allow in a week? Can patrons come every day for a pickup?
  • Window Limit – How far in Advance can they book? We suggest 10 days or less

Defining Spaces

Upload pictures of each space and define where that space is in the directions area. This way patrons know exactly where they’re supposed to go to pickup their holds. When patrons receive confirmation of their curbside booking, the space’s directions {{{ROOM_DIRECTIONS}}} are included.

Customize the email confirmation to include instructions for curbside pickup, what happens if they miss their timeslot, and instructions on how to reschedule.

Create a Customized Booking Form

Setup a Custom Booking Form (Locations > Booking Forms) – to gather information about the user so you can be better prepared for their pickup. Examples include Car Make/Model/Color, Library Barcode Number so you can check out the items to them once they’ve arrived, and information on how to checkout items for other family members.

Creating a Booking Schedule

Does each Spaces category have a different schedule? Are parking spaces pickup only available from 10am-2pm Monday – Friday? Outdoor table pickups available weekends only from 9am-1pm? Each Spaces Category can have a different schedule of booking availability.

Routing Patrons to Curbside Pickup Scheduling

Add a link to scheduling curbside pickup to your ILS Holds Confirmation Email. Once patrons’ holds have arrived in the library, instruct them through the process of scheduling contactless pickup.

Tip: Add friendly URLs to your Curbside Delivery Location! This makes the URL much more accessible in the ILS Holds Confirmation Email.

Communication During Curbside Pickup

Is your patron running late? Are they in a different car than the one they specified on the form? Have they been waiting outside for 15 minutes and you haven’t seen them? Here are ways you can communicate with them during their curbside pickup.

Add Instructions for Texting the Library

If you’re a LibAnswers user, you might be using the SMS/Text-a-Librarian option therein. Your LibAnswers system has the ability to have a custom SMS number and you can even create SMS automatic keywords. When patrons text ‘PICKUP’ to your SMS number, it sends them an automated response with instructions. When they reply back, you’ll know that they’re outside, in which vehicle, and picking up holds for confirmation #123. Don’t have LibAnswers and want to learn more? Contact us!

Include this information in:

  1. In the ILS Holds Confirmation Email
  2. In the LibCal confirmation email they receive once they’ve booked their Spaces curbside timeslot
  3. On the LibCal Spaces webpage > description area

Don’t Have SMS/Text-a-Librarian Service?

Follow the same instructions above but include other ways they can contact you, from calling the library to let you know that they’re outside, to your email address, or all of the above.

We hope these steps provide you with some helpful guidance! Difficult decisions are being made at every level of library service, and COVID-19 has changed the way you can safely interact with your patrons. We’re working on adding functionality to help you service patrons remotely, create a schedule of curbside pickup for the safety of patrons and staff, and more. Stay tuned, this is just the beginning – we’ll have new features announce in the coming months!

LibCal and LibAnswers Major New Functionality Release

Quarantine or not, we’re always busy churning new features and functionality of our platform, based on suggestions and feedback from our customers. This upcoming code release for LibCal and LibAnswers is the best example of our responsiveness to customers’ needs. With librarians pivoting to different service models centered around remote-first teaching and learning, many of you told us that you’d love to be able to conduct research appointments and hold online events via LibCal. We heard you and, a few weeks later – we made it happen.

With LibAnswers/LibChat, many international libraries have taken strong interest in the platform as it’s the most well-rounded communication platform for libraries – but they need the admin/librarian interface to be in their local language. And – you guessed it – we made it happen! Read on for details.

Read about: LibCal | LibAnswers

LibCal – conduct online appointments and online events

LibCal servers in our regions around the world will start getting this new functionality on Monday evening and by Wednesday all regions will be live with this new Online appointments/Online events functionality.

Online Appointments

Up until now, the LibCal appointment booking engine has enabled booking of appointments with the assumption that the patron would go to the library (or the librarian would visit the classroom) to conduct the actual appointment. In the “new normal”, however, a number of these research appointments/consultations will likely be conducted remotely. Enter our LibCal Zoom integration (more integration options coming soon – let us know what other video/communication platforms you want us to integrate). 

Here’s how to enable Zoom integration for Online Appointments in LibCal:

  1. Head to Admin -> Integrations and enter your Zoom API/Key (don’t have institutional Zoom license? We may be able to help – email us at sales@springshare.com).
  2. Online appointments are thought of as happening at their own Location i.e. Online. Create one (or more) Locations to designate that these appointments will be held online. Head to Admin -> Appointments -> Locations to create the Online Location(s).
  3. Each user/librarian who wants to host online appointments must be associated with their Zoom account. Head to Admin -> Users and enable Zoom for each user that should have this enabled.

And voila… your LibCal appointment scheduler can now handle online appointments via Zoom. Note that the actual online appointment happens in Zoom but LibCal makes it super-easy to schedule it and it automatically includes relevant Zoom meeting URLs in the ICS/CAL calendar file, in the email notification to the patron, and in the admin interface for the librarian. So they all just need to click on the link and jump into the meeting.

Online Events

With this new feature you’ll be able to create online events in LibCal, and patrons browsing the event calendars will be able to filter/browse by event type (Onsite or Online).

What’s neat is that you don’t have to host the online event in Zoom – you can use Facebook Events, or WebEx, or… any platform that lets you hold an online group event. Here’s how to set it up.

  • If using Zoom, Head to Admin -> Integrations and enter your Zoom API/Key (don’t have institutional Zoom license? We may be able to help – email us at sales@springshare.com).
  • When you go to create an event, for “Location” you’ll see 3 options.
  • For Zoom events, the registration option is required and attendees will receive the event URL in their registration email.
  • For other online events (e.g. Facebook Live, etc.) the event URL will be shown on the event page but if there is an access password/pin to access the event – it will be emailed to attendees in the registration email.

Patrons are able to filter and search for online events from public calendars.

Bug Fixes, New Features, & Misc.

  • Customize the contents of your Appointments booking page. Make your own page title and page text for this all-important page. Make it look/feel like just another page on your website. Head to Admin -> System Settings -> Language Options > Appointments Page. Bonus – you can now enter HTML customization for page text, hooray.
  • Add a custom message to public pages for Equipment & Spaces when all items and/or spaces are set to inactive. Head to Admin > Equipment & Spaces > Settings, and look for the new panel titled Inactive Equipment/Spaces Display.
  • Copied Equipment & Space bookings will now check the Banned Email list when creating the new booking.
  • We fixed an issue that allowed regular users with no access to a specific Equipment & Space location to modify bookings.
  • Custom text in the “Today’s Hours” widget now displays only once.
  • We’ve standardized the time format for all Excel exports.
  • Centering text in any RTE located throughout LibCal will now correctly apply inline CSS.

Upcoming LibCal Training Sessions:

Also check out our recorded sessions!

Excited yet? So are we. We look forward to hearing your feedback and suggestions for further improvements.

[Back to Top]


LibAnswers multi-lingual admin interface + few more enhancements

LibAnswers servers in our regions around the world will start getting this new functionality this evening and by Monday, May 4, all regions will be live with this new functionality.

The LibAnswers 2.34.0 release is on its way, and we’re thrilled to bring you international translations for the majority of the LibAnswers admin interface! With this release, the major pages in LibAnswers – which include the LibAnswers Dashboard, LibChat Operator Dashboard, the Ticket Create & Answer pages, Ticket Knowledge Base Explorer, and Chat Transcripts and Statistics – can now be viewed using any of our supported base language customizations. To date, in addition to English, we also support French, Spanish, Italian, Swedish, and Serbian (Cyrillic).

When the 2.34.0 release goes live, your LibAnswers system will be rendered in the default base language selection that your Admins have set up under Admin > System Settings > Base Language. All users with a LibAnswers login will also be able to change their personal language display on the fly, by using the dropdown option included in the footer of every LibAnswers administrative page.

New in LibChat and Shared Group Systems

In addition to our very exciting language customization updates, we have several new features rolling out in LibChat and for Shared Group Systems!

  • Create Follow-Up Tickets from the Co-Op > Transcripts View. This new view is especially helpful in cases where you’ve concluded a chat interaction while monitoring a Co-Op, but perhaps forgot to create the local follow-up ticket while you still had the chat in view. Just head to LibChat > Co-Op Dashboard > Transcripts to view the new icon for creating follow-up tickets.
  • Proactive Chat with Co-Op Fallback. We know how crucial it is to offer your patrons assistance at the point of need, so we’ve updated our approach to creating chat widgets. Now, it’s possible to create a proactive widget (i.e. a widget that prompts the user whether they need assistance via a pop-out) and include a Co-Op as a fallback option. In practice, when you create this type of widget, the widget will only behave proactively when your local librarians are online and monitoring chat; if your local librarians aren’t online, but your widget is displaying as online because it’s being monitored by Co-Op librarians, then the widget will not proactively prompt the patron. To set your widgets as proactive, head to LibChat > Chat Widgets > Choose a Button, Slide-out or Floating widget > Enter a time in seconds in the Autoload Delay field.
  • LibChat Wait Time Counter. We’ve added a new timer feature in the LibChat operator dashboard to indicate how long a new chat patron has been waiting for their chat to be answered. This new timer is displayed on all new chats.
  • Group Admin Updates for Shared Group Systems. We’ve added two new key permissions for the new Group Admin account level in Shared Group Systems: Group Admins can now edit the group policy FAQ(s) for their group and can leave feedback on transcripts that a Co-Op answered on chats that originated from widgets connected to their Group Member Library.

Bug Fixes & Performance Improvements

  • We’ve added a message to alert patrons when they attempt to upload an unsupported file type.
  • We’ve fixed a bug when creating Macros. Previously, if your site only had access to one queue, the modal window did not display the list of users required for assigning tickets to a specific user.
  • We’ve fixed a bug when setting LibChat Default Queues to Monitor. Sites with access to just one queue were not seeing an option under Edit Account > LibChat Settings > Default Queues to Monitor that would allow the user to not monitor that one Queue when first logging into LibChat.
  •  We’ve implemented a number of performance improvements in the Tickets Knowledge Base Explorer > Statistics pages and when creating new Tickets and FAQs. While these updates aren’t directly visible, you should now see speedier load times and an overall improved experience for these pages.

Upcoming LibAnswers Training Sessions:

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

That’s it for this round of updates from Springy HQ, but stay tuned for more mid-May when a few other things will be coming your way.

We want to give a shout-out to our entire community in these uncertain times. We see how you are retooling your libraries and educational offerings to meet users where they are (at home, like us!), and we are proud to be a part of the vibrant industry that is libraryland. Stay safe and well, out there, Springy fam! We are always here for you if have any suggestions or questions.

Using LibCal Appointments & Events to Stay Engaged Online

It’s National Library Week! Springshare applauds the hard work librarians everywhere are putting in during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep their libraries operating and serving patrons. It may seem like an impossible task to keep the library — especially those whose doors are closed — engaged with the community, but your ingenuity and resourceful natures have been making it happen!

We’ve collected some examples of how libraries are using LibCal to effectively continue to provide help and to “gather” online. When I’ll meet you there veers to become Meet up from anywhere — it’s a pretty creative pivot.

Virtual Events at Mesa County Libraries Keep Fun on the Menu

In Colorado, Mesa County Libraries comprises 9 branches, all of which are closed until further notice. But from home, the librarians have been busy making a lemonade stand to share all of their lemonade! By hosting a series of virtual events in place of their popular on-site programming, they can still engage their patrons via new channels.

Using LibCal, they share the pertinent details for their Virtual Creative Fiber Arts Club, which happens via Google Hangouts, a Virtual Story Time, which is carried out in their social media channels, a poetry reading aimed at adults is highlighted, and so much more. Instead of enabling registrations, they’re promoting a sign-up button that allows patrons to get notified of upcoming programs and classes.

The virtual events are shared via their YouTube channel, Facebook page, and Instagram TV as they navigate this time and combat closed doors with open minds.

Birmingham City University’s Library Staff Makes a Beeline…to Online Services

The Library and Learning Resources department at the United Kingdom’s Birmingham City University wants its students and faculty to be aware that the library staff is available online and is ready to help.

They’re answering questions via LibAnswers and they’re even geared up to meet! LibCal Appointments allows the BCU Library team to meet for tutoring sessions. They even have peer mentors available for student support to help with developing library skills to make searching a better experience.

Letting people know this is a full-time job these days and BCU has taken to social media to get the word out. Many libraries tweet several times a day to reinforce the news that they are, in fact, operational.

Beyond social media, this outreach is supported with messaging on their website, LibGuides pages feature Book-a-Tutorial buttons, and you can even access the Appointments link on their LibAnswers home page. Let your students know they’re not alone. Use as many channels as you can to reach out.

Being There for Students — Salve Regina’s Library Gets the Word Out

The McKillop Library at Salve Regina University is making sure that students and faculty know that they’re ready and able to help with some clever cross-promotion of services.

The enterprising librarians also added a link to their appointments right below their LibAnswers chat widget so students can easily see it.

So — not only are they ensuring patrons that they can ask questions from anywhere — they also take the opportunity to offer appointments for those who’d prefer to have a block of one-on-one assistance. It’s true the doors are closed for now. But help is still available!

University of Pittsburgh Librarians Stay Connected

The Greensburg Campus librarians at the University of Pittsburgh are determined to stay engaged despite the distance. The best way to combat the isolation is to get together…albeit virtually. Staying connected, building relationships, assisting students and faculty is always a top priority but it can be challenging today.

This library staff decided to build a tabbed box in their LibGuides system to prominently share information about each of the team members. They’ve included photos and a button that connects students and faculty with the librarian’s LibCal Appointments availability or email.

There is no more accurate word for this time than unprecedented. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced academic, public, school, and special libraries around the world to move services entirely online. While it is a daunting task to provide excellent service to patrons virtually, librarians have answered the call. The innovation, out of the box (and onto the screen) thinking, and the absolute willingness to successfully shift to stay engaged that librarians are displaying is inspiring to us all here at Springshare.