Archive for LibCal

How They Did It: Gwinnett Technical College Welcomes Fall 2020 with LibCal Seats

2020 has been a difficult year, for sure. Most of us are likely ready for it to end so we can flip a page of sorts. However, for the world of Academia, Fall is kind of a new beginning. This fall every student in the country is starting a new year – the academic year – some for the first time and some for their final year of college.

This fall term is brimming with excitement — mixed with anxiety. For the institutions that serve these students, faculty, and staff, there is hope bolstered by careful planning and thoughtful execution. And, while they tell you in school to keep your eyes on your own paper, these days, we need all the great examples we can get. Sharing knowledge in the days of COVID-19 is how we’re going to strategize against its spread and prudently move forward.

Gwinnett Technical College Prioritizes Health & Safety

Director of Library Services, Deborah George, and the library staff at Gwinnett Technical College share answers, valuable experiences, and tips in this LibCal Seats Q&A. You’ll learn how they worked together to welcome everyone back to campus with the knowledge that this fall, like no other, providing peace of mind had to be added to the to-do list.

Gwinnett Technical College Fall 2020 Opening Day

A New Look at Creating a Safe Space

When did you launch your LibCal Seats system? Please share, to date, how many reservations you’ve handled with it.

Gwinnett Technical College (GTC) is a long-time subscriber to Springshare’s LibGuides and other applications. We finalized access to LibCal Seats on August 7, 2020, and launched it to our students on the first day of our Fall, 2020 semester, August 10. As of September 15, we have had over 914 bookings!

What is the main goal you have for your library and what is its big message as you begin the 2020 Fall Term in the midst of this global pandemic?

We want the students to know that their health and safety is important to us. Using a reservation system such as LibCal Seats allows us to monitor the usage of library space and maintain compliance with college-wide, CDC-based safe use requirements. Being able to allow students to visit the library provides much-needed access to library staff and on-campus technology. Faculty refer students to the library for test-taking and library workshops. The email and reservation data can be shared with faculty as necessary.

What are the new challenges the library sees in supporting students and faculty this academic year? Share a bit about the problem-solving process that went into devising your re-opening plans.

GTC already provided remote services with phone, email, and chat. In response to the increased demand necessitated by the pandemic-related campus closures, we were able to greatly increase one-to-one remote services with our Learning Management System and Springshare’s Appointments features. Students can now schedule dedicated reference interviews from any location.

Even with these remote services, several of our students want or need to use the library in person. LibCal Seats allows us to provide access to computers/webcams, printers, and study rooms to those students requesting these services while giving us the ability to monitor overall capacity and adhere to social distancing requirements.

Setting Up Seats & Setting New Expectations

There’s a lot of change this academic year and not just for the incoming Freshmen. How are you sharing the information that appointments and reservations are now required? How is this being enforced?

We are using a multi-faceted approach to marketing our new services. We encourage our department heads to communicate via email with classroom instructors, and we promote access options through the library’s blog post, Facebook entries and signage within and outside of the library spaces. Students are greeted as they enter the library and are asked to confirm or make reservations. Staff roam the library regularly to confirm students are using reserved spaces and following safety measures (masks in place, not moving furniture, etc.) Compliance is near 100%.

QR Codes at the GTC Library

Which features in LibCal Seats are you finding the most useful as you encourage social distancing and monitor the occupancy of your spaces in real-time?

The Booking Explorer provides an overview of space availability for staff and allows us to adjust reservations as necessary throughout the day. The Single Seat viewing grid is displayed on a large monitor just inside the library, so staff and students can easily determine availability.

How did you decide what sorts of booking limits you wanted to impose and what’s the strategy or goal behind them? Are you using padding between reservations? If so, how and why?

Capacity of space was considered when setting booking limits, as well as anticipated foot traffic. Currently, we are adjusting our limits to meet the students’ needs. We started with a one-hour default session length but found that several students were taking online exams and needed longer periods of time. The library is not reaching full capacity, so we extended the default to two hours, to minimize the amount of time spent manually extending sessions. Additional adjusting is easy, and we can make modifications on the spot. We do use the padding between sessions, which allows for cleaning of the stations between use.

Which reports or dashboards are you keeping a close eye on and how are they informing your day-to-day/week-to-week decisions?

We consistently view the Booking Grid to keep an eye on availability and expected use. Occupancy data also gives us an idea of what times the library is being used the most. We expect to use more reporting data as we move through the semester, and really appreciate having the ability to track computer usage and foot traffic now.

Response to LibCal Seats, Tweaks & Tips

What has been the response to LibCal Seats from the library team, the students, the faculty?

GTC Students Book “On the Fly”

Faculty are impressed with the ease of use and are comfortable sharing reservation information with students. Returning students, used to popping into the library and using space on a first-come, first-served basis, initially expressed some frustration with the reservation requirements and multi-step process. Most students use their phones to book, and the screens are not as easy to navigate on smaller devices. However, once the students have made a few reservations the process becomes less time-consuming.

As students understand the reservation process is required to keep our building open for student use, they gladly comply with the expectations. As they realize the process can be completely self-serve, they love being able to check-in by phone.

We simply ask, “Did you get your email?” and most give us a thumbs up and move on to the reserved space.

What sorts of tweaks and adjustments did you make in the first few weeks after implementing LibCal Seats to make it work better for you and your students?

We needed to adjust the default reservation session length since many students have ended up needing to come to campus to take tests since some were not able to use secure testing software on their home computers. Additionally, some student club interviews were scheduled in library study rooms, which allows students without webcams at home to participate in virtual face-to-face interviews.

What sorts of tips would you like to share for those libraries who are at the beginning of setting up LibCal Seats?

Keep in mind your closing time; you may not want to have students making reservations right up to when you lock the doors. Consider how often students can make reservations, and how far in advance. Get feedback and be flexible!


We are grateful for the opportunity to share this interview with Deborah George and her diligent, caring library staff. To say 2020 has been a hard year is an oversimplification to be sure. But sometimes the clearest language is the truest.

Reopening your institutions is a real challenge this year, one that no one is taking lightly. How do we keep your spaces at the library, and all over campus, from unsafely filling with people? Ask them to make a reservation, monitor the occupancy numbers, and make adjustments as necessary. The GTC library shared their experience that — students gladly cooperate because they know it means they can use the library.

They want to use the library. You want to welcome them back. LibCal Seats is instrumental in helping you stay (safely) booked in the days ahead.

Pickup Manager: Coming Early October!

We’ve been hinting, alluding, and finally we officially announced yesterday that we’re releasing the Pickup Manager for scheduling and communicating holds pickup!

This newest tool is coming early October, and is designed to streamline your holds pickup workflows and empower patrons to pick up their library items quickly and safely at their convenience – per COVID-19 guidelines and beyond, too!


Key Points about the Pickup Manager:

  1. Fully integrates with your ILS for streamlined hold workflows.
  2. Works great with LibCal’s Equipment Booking Module for equipment or museum/zoo pass lending.
  3. Provides great statistics and analytics helping you increase user satisfaction and improve your holds service.
  4. Just like all other Springy tools – it is affordable.

Bottomline, you and your patrons are going to love the awesome functionality that Pickup Manager offers and you’ll never want to do holds pickups “the old way” again. 😊

Communicate with ‘Arrived’ patrons via SMS/Texting (Coming: LibChat)

How Does it Work?

  • Patron requests a hold in your ILS.
  • When items are ready, your ILS sends an email with the link to our pickup scheduler in LibCal. (customized emails from Pickup Manager coming soon). 
    • Already a LibCal user? You’ll be able to designate locations in the Admin > Spaces area to connect to the Pickup Manager.
    • Not a LibCal user? No worries, just contact us!
  • Patron reserves their preferred time & location using our easy-to-use booking interface in LibCal.
  • ‘Today’s Scheduled Pickups’ on the Dashboard helps you prepare today’s items. 
  • When the patron arrives, they SMS/Text you with a customized keyword using your LibAnswers SMS number. The Pickup Manager recognizes the patron and alerts you of their hold details so you can easily grab and deliver their items.
    • Already a LibAnswers user? You’ll designate which SMS number should be connected to the Pickup Manager. You can designate multiple SMS numbers with your Pickup Manager!
    • Not a LibAnswers user? No worries, just contact us!
  • If needed, you can communicate back-and-forth with the patron about their pickup via SMS/Text – all from the Pickup Manager dashboard.
  • Coming Soon: When items are picked up, the Pickup Manager marks the item as picked up in the patron’s ILS record, too.
  • If patrons text that they’ve arrived outside of your hours of operation, Pickup Manager automatically texts them back with a customizable message letting them know that your service is closed for the day.

Want the Communication but Not Scheduling Part?

Like with all our Springshare Tools, we like to brainstorm all the potential possible implementations and come up with solutions for everyone. Our Pickup Manager is no different. So if you’re interested in the Communication side, but not the Scheduling component, we’ve got you covered.

Pickup Manager Streamlines Your Workflows, Too!

  • At-a-glance view of holds activity – what is being picked up today, tomorrow, and in the future.
  • Statistics on completed pickups and analytics on popular day/time pickups, late arrivals, etc.
  • Send reminders to patrons who haven’t picked up their items.
  • (Coming soon) customize the hold notification emails sent to patrons.

Manage Pickups for Everything You Circulate

Pickup Manager also integrates with LibCal’s Equipment Booking Module. Whether your patrons are picking up a book hold or a laptop, camera, museum/zoo pass or really anything from your library-of-things inventory via the Equipment Booking module, the Pickup Manager has you covered.

What More Information?

Early next month, we’ll announce sneak-peek webinars on Pickup Manager on our Sneak-Peek Calendar.

Want to be contacted when Pickup Manager is released? Email sales@springshare.com to be placed on the Early Access list. 

LibCal Mini-Release: Create Multiple-Hour Blocks to Facilitate Cleaning

This release is on its way to you this week, and will be live in all regions by the end of the day on Friday, September 18.

Spaces Locations: Multiple-Hour Blocks Help Facilitate Cleaning

Our pandemic new normal necessitates designated cleaning times to sanitize spaces and seats in between bookings. To facilitate this, we’ve added updates to the Weekly Hours Templates in Spaces/Seats & Equipment! You can now allow for multiple sets of opening/closing hours, with unavailable time in between.

Within these time slots, you can allow users to pick their own hours to reserve Spaces & Seats.  We’ll be adding functionality to make the entire period/block bookable in our upcoming release in early October.

Head to Admin > Spaces & Equipment > Hours Templates and select the ‘Custom Time’ option when creating or editing a weekly template to see the ability to enter multiple opening/closing hour blocks.

We have an upcoming training session that will help you get started! Join us on Tuesday, September 22 at 12:30 Eastern time to learn how to set up flexible or fixed booking times.

See LibCal release notes which will list out a few other changes coming in this release such as a customizable email template for the ‘Late Check In Cancellation’ email and more.

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

[UPDATED] Important Browser Notices & Updates

In today’s post, we’re bringing you some important notices about your Internet browsers… specifically Internet Explorer 11 and Chrome. Since Springshare tools are hosted in the cloud and are accessed by web browsers, if you or your patrons are using either of the above browsers… it will affect your day-to-day usage of these tools.

Updated Sep 10, 2020 – we updated the section below on LibAnswers and IE11 compatibility.

Internet Explorer 11 Will No Longer Be Supported as of November 20, 2020

Starting in November through till next year, Microsoft will stop supporting IE11 within their own applications.

Microsoft has since labeled Internet Explorer a “compatibility solution” rather than a browser and encouraged businesses to stop using the aging browser.

Tom Warren, TheVerge.com

To that end, Springshare will stop supporting IE11 for all Springshare Tools (LibGuides, LibCal, LibAnswers, LibInsight, LibCRM, LibWizard, and LibStaffer) during the week of November 16 across all regions.

This does *not* mean every webpage of your whole Springshare tool will suddenly stop working when using IE11. It *does* mean that you and your users may experience issues of non-compatibility when using IE11 after November 16.

LibAnswers Users & IE11 [Updated Sep 10, 2020]

There are already a few areas of LibAnswers admin interface (not public-facing pages) that don’t fully function in IE11. Additionally, future updates will also effect page display issues in IE11.

  • Currently not working in  IE11: the ability to view chat transcripts.
  • Upcoming October 2020 release: Queue settings tabs and ticket browse page will not work.
  • Upcoming November 2020 release: Current LibChat Operator Console will *not* be able to load in IE11 by the end of the Nov 16 week. We’re launching some awesome new functionality to LibChat, including a new emoji-picker (:wow emoji:), that is not compatible with IE11.

Chrome 86 Security Update

The upcoming Chrome 86 update, slated for release in October, will offer more secure protections for users submitting data on insecure forms. More on this in a moment. First, a reminder!

All Springshare Tools are HTTPS-Required

As a refresher, all Springshare Tools are required to load over HTTPS. If your Springshare Tool ends in a .libguides.com, .libcal.com, .libanswers.com, .libcrm.com, .libinsight.com, libwizard.com, or .libstaffer.com – the ‘S’ in HTTPS is covered by our security certificates.

If your Springshare Tool ends in a custom domain, like .bookings.edu or guides.org, you can use our ‘Let’s Encrypt’ service where we obtain a security certificate for you or obtain your own security certificate.

Bottom line, your Springshare Tools will always load an HTTPS secure connection…. which is great for your staff and end-users because HTTPS helps to thwart intruders from tampering with the communications between your websites and your users’ browsers.

Embedding Unsecure (HTTP) Forms into Your Secure (HTTPS) Springshare Tools

So now that you know that all Springshare Tools are loaded as HTTPS, you’re probably thinking – “Heck, we’re all set… our sites are secure!“. And you’re right, for the basic tool itself. But it depends on what you’ve added to your systems, too! We give you a lot of flexibility in your Springshare tools… especially in ways we encourage you to embed widgets/content from other websites. In LibGuides, you can embed a widget into your guide. In LibCal, you can add a widget to a countdown timer in Calendar Events. In LibAnswers, embed media right into your FAQs.

These options give you awesome flexibility in adding multimedia resources to your Springshare Tools! But it is also possible to embed HTTP (unsecure) content inside your HTTPS (secure) Springshare Tool.

Chrome 86 Update Will Display Warning for Mixed Forms

So now we come back to the Chrome 86 update! If you embed an HTTP (unsecure) form in your HTTPS (secure) webpages, your patrons using Chrome 86 will see a full-page warning about submitting content to an unsecure form.

Chrome Version 86 Will Display Warning of Unsecure Forms

Identifying & Resolving Mixed Content

We recommend that you review your LibGuides, LibCal, LibAnswers, and LibWizard systems to identify widgets/forms that you’ve embedded that could be HTTP insecure. This FAQ outlines some helpful instructions, including how to find HTTP content in LibGuides, as well as a video explaining why HTTPS is important.

As a reminder, Springshare Tools themselves are HTTPS secure. So if you’ve created a LibGuides widget, a LibAnswers/LibChat widget, a LibCal widget, a LibInsight widget, or a LibWizard widget, these widgets are already HTTPS secure. It is better to focus your time and energies on widgets/forms from other vendors.

If you’ve identified forms/widgets that are HTTP unsecure, it is recommended that you contact that vendor directly to obtain an HTTPS secure form/widget. While we’d love to help, we cannot create HTTPS secure widgets/forms for other vendors.

LibCal Release: TimeZone Support and Zoom OAuth Coming Your Way

This release is on its way to you this week, and will be live in all regions by the end of the day on Friday, August 28.

Set Your Time Zone (Appointments, Calendars, & Events)

Given 2020’s constantly-changing environment, we continually look to improve the virtual appointment and event booking/viewing experience.  We have updated the Appointments, Calendars, and Events so that you can set and view your local time zone. This setting governs the time zone display on public pages wherever appropriate.  A few examples are shown below:

Zoom OAuth Update

We are also happy to announce that we have completed the code necessary to support the OAuth method for the Zoom integration.  Our app has been submitted to the Zoom Marketplace, and once we receive approval for our app, we can make it available to you. We do not yet have a date, but we are working our way through their process.

Misc.

See LibCal release notes in the near future, which will list out a few other changes coming in this release, including a preview section for Event Calendar emails.

That’s it for this round of updates from Springy HQ for LibCal. 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.

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

Recent news and everyday events are showing us over and over again that this week’s plan may no longer be next week’s plan. This makes life… difficult. More than difficult! Especially for those directly in charge of not only keeping themselves and their loved ones healthy and safe but also hundreds or thousands of others as well.

While no two reopening plans will look the same, many of the folks we’re talking to are preparing for in-person services at some point in the future. And some have welcomed people back to the building already. For those still working through their plans or wondering how things are going for those who have opened, they have questions. We have questions! And since this feels like one of those situations where there are never too many (good) questions, we asked them.

An interview with the University of Hull Brynmor Jones Library

Starting in early July, the University of Hull Brynmor Jones Library has slowly been reopening its doors, starting with scheduled Click and Collect pickup services using LibCal Appointments. As they prepared for the fall semester, they needed a way to provide for in-person library visits. LibCal Seats arrived at just the right time, and they launched their Book a Seat service on July 27, 2020! Over the past few weeks, they’ve handled more than 2,000 reservations… so you could say they’re Seats experts by now. 😉

As one of the first institutions we knew that reopened their doors, and as one of our first customers to go live with Seats, we saw this as a good opportunity to check in with them and ask them to share their reopening process, hoping others would find it helpful as well. We sent them over a long list of questions, and they were so kind as to answer them for us! 😀 You can find their answers below – covering everything from space and seat setup to implementation to future expansion.

Preparing for their reopening

Libraries around the world are figuring out their reopening plans. Can you tell us a bit about yours? How often is your library allowing students in the building, and how many at a time?

Our entire team has been working remotely since the end of March, so we were excited to start planning our safe return to physical Library services for early July. Initially, we started with scheduled returns and ‘click and collect’ services using LibCal Appointments, which were fully booked [Springy edit: Spaces can be used for pickup, too!]. We were one of the first libraries to purchase the Seats extension on LibCal Spaces, and we have successfully launched our ‘book a seat’ service three weeks ago, again, fully booked. Now our returns and ‘click and collect’ services are available without appointments and during our opening hours. At the moment we are operating in our physical space Monday through Friday with reduced hours of 9:30 am to 4:30 pm.

It’s been essential for us to try and provide all our usual library services with as little disruption as possible to the customer experience while implementing measures to keep everyone safe. We decided to space all our bookable seats at least two meters apart, and this has allowed us to open our study spaces at 30% capacity. The Brynmor Jones Library is large, eight floors in all, so we’ve taken a cautious approach by initially opening up three floors. At the moment, that’s just over 100 customers, but this will more than double when we open up all floors to the Library at the start of the next semester.

People want to know — how did you organize your Seats and Spaces for your library? How long can students visit? Which booking restrictions did you enable in LibCal, if any? Why?

Our University’s Health & Safety Team walked our Library spaces with us and we had a discussion about what variety of spaces we needed accessible, and then we measured and mapped out how that would look. With our bookable seats available on three floors and in different rooms, we allocated a letter to each section of the floor and numbered each seat, including those that would not be initially bookable. This allows us to expand the number of bookable seats in the future, should distancing rules change. When students book a seat online, they can see a map of the space and understand where, for instance, B1 might be located. We printed large versions of the maps for our check-in desk at the Library entrance, which helps us to direct customers to their bookings.

To make the process easy for staff and customers we have limited each space to one booking per day, meaning the customer can book from 9:30 am-4:30 pm continuously, or any abbreviated time within. We achieved this by adding 6 hours of padding to each booking so no matter what time students book a seat, they get it for the day. We still let them choose an arrival time in the system so we know when to expect them. It has also enabled us to activate the auto-cancellation feature for Seats. This means that any customers who have not arrived and checked-in to their seat will have their reservation cancelled after 30 minutes. This will allow us to keep the Seats available and useable throughout the day. Having experienced the popularity of our ‘book a seat’ service, we will likely limit the number of times a customer can book in one calendar week and also implement two split bookings each day, with a cleaning of the space in-between.

Checking in, checking out, and social distancing

Are you enforcing Seats checking in and out? Using QR codes? How have you set up each seat/station so they can quickly find it?

We are using checking in for all of our seats and spaces. While we have put the QR codes on every desk, at this time our team is manually checking customers in. As the booking is for the entire day, there is currently no need to check out. Our team is creating a bite-size video about how to ‘book a seat’ and check-in using QR codes, ready for the start of the trimester. We’ll likely test this out a few weeks prior to make sure it works as expected.

How are you enforcing social distancing among students and staff? Are you using tape or barriers? Any clever library signage to share? We’d love to see pictures!

The entire Library has been kitted-out with directional signage, making it clear how to enter, exit and move about the floors safely. Hand sanitising units are installed in any space where you are entering, exiting or touching a door or equipment. Spaces that are not accessible are barriered or taped off (we’ve used a combination of both). To make things extra clear, we’ve removed chairs, keyboards and mice from the PCs that are not in use. The current plan is to use these cordoned-off PCs for student remote desktop access, enabling access to specialist software.

Our staff used to work on a roving support model, but have now been assigned to specific work stations or areas for their shift, so there is less moving around now. We have cleaning supplies at every station and staff are encouraged to wipe everything down at the start and end of their shift.

How have you implemented seat cleaning protocol? What workflows are in place so staff know students have arrived and left their seats?

We partnered with our University Cleaning Team to ensure the spaces are thoroughly cleaned before and after each customer uses them. As we move towards two-block bookings, members of the Cleaning Team will come during that lull to clean the spaces, ready for the next customer.

What’s the one Seats feature you’ve found most helpful? Why?

They’re all so helpful! But specifically, I think the auto-cancellation feature will be a massive help for us. As this automatically re-opens a seat for booking if a user does not show up and check it, it will help us make use of every bookable study seat for the majority of our opening hours.

We are just so pleased Seats came along at the right time for us to help quickly and safely provide bookable study spaces to our customers.

Not everyone has opened their doors yet, and they may be reopening soon. They’d like to know, how are things going? What’s working well so far and where have you made adjustments since opening? How has Seats helped with managing and monitoring library activity?

Things are going really well and this is all due to our Customer Experience Team who have been part of the planning for returning physical services to our Library. We are reviewing all our services again before the start of the next semester to see how we can make things safer and easier to manage. This group is also focused on helping us better understand both our customers and our team. I think we all have settled into a routine now with our returns, ‘click and collect’ and ‘book a seat’ services, and we’re now looking at how we can layer on walk-in use of our printers and face-to-face appointments for Library support. This is already on top of our live chat, email support portal, and collections services, many of which we continue to provide remotely. We are just so pleased Seats came along at the right time for us to help quickly and safely provide bookable study spaces to our customers.

Expanding building availability & future plans

Looking at your LibCal site, I see that you’re planning for the future – your inactive 3rd-6th floors are already added! Can you let us know what your plans are for those floors and how you’re going to make them active over time? What factored into your decision?

As soon as we signed-up for Seats we undertook a full building audit and realised we could offer around 250 desk-based seats while facilitating 2m social distancing. As we’ve opened up over the summer period, which is quieter, we decided to launch approximately 80 seats on our first three floors. This allowed us to trial our new service, made it easier for our staff to manage and ensured we had sufficient cleaning in place. The system was so popular we made another 30 seats available within our second week. As we approach semester time, we are working to onboard the rest of our seats in the building. As things progress, we will re-open our study rooms for booking (through spaces) and further investigate the possibility of making our non-desk based seating (armchairs, sofas and so on) available.

The system was so popular we made another 30 seats available within our second week.

We’ve been working with a large range of library sizes — and even non-library folks, like IT departments — looking to implement a campus-wide solution. Was your meeting with the University’s Health & Safety Team part of a larger coordinated effort? How did the library work with, and will continue to work with, the larger university system on reopening plans and how Seats fits into this strategy?

Our University Library is a much-loved space on our campus, and it was one of our University’s number one priorities for facilitating in-person access. The University has a Covid Response Team who are driving the good work behind the wider reopening plans on campus. Health & Safety participate in this discussion and decision making. They are currently in the process of reviewing all areas of the campus to make decisions on how each space can adapt and safety open to our team and customers. We were one of the first buildings to reopen on campus, and the efforts are still taking place with other spaces. Our Health & Safety advisors listened carefully to what we wanted to achieve and helped us build safe systems around those services.

We are certainly going to be looking at how we can use Seats to its full capacity within the Library and I imagine we’ll be sharing the merits of this system with our colleagues across the University as planning progresses.


Many thanks to Rachel Welch, Lee Fallin, and Lisa Bolt for providing an in-depth look into their reopening process and how visits are going! We hope things continue to go smoothly for them and their students (and please share your Book a Seat video with us once it’s complete — we all want to see it 😀 )!

To check out their Spaces and Seats site in action, head to: https://libcal.hull.ac.uk/r. You can also learn more about their Book a Seat program by heading to their library website.

For more general information about Seats, take a look at our webinar and get in touch from our LibCal Buzz guide. If you have any questions, please drop us a line!

Code Release: Big New LibAnswers & LibCal Updates Coming Your Way, and More!

All Regions Important Code Updates

It’s that time again, Springy fans! The Development and Product teams have been working hard to bring you a boatload of new and updated features. These features will be live in all regions by the end of next week, August 14.

We’re also switching things up a bit and posting the biggest news here on the blog, with more complete release notes over on the new Springshare Lounge. This approach will ensure that these posts stay short, but that if you would like to view the entire contents of a release, it’s still totally possible! Once release notes are published, we’ll add links to the bottom of this post.

LibAnswers

Microsoft Teams for Screen Sharing in LibChat

We’re excited to announce that this release brings Microsoft Teams integration to LibAnswers! In addition to our existing screen sharing integration with Zoom, we’re adding a new option in our screen sharing library for Microsoft Teams. This integration will make it possible for LibChat users to seamlessly launch Microsoft Teams meetings directly with patrons or other internal LibChat users directly via the LibChat operator dashboard, just by clicking the “Request Screenshare” button.

Similar to this integration in LibCal, you’ll need to work with your institution’s Microsoft Teams administrator to register an app for LibAnswers and grant the required access permissions. Once the app is registered, your LibAnswers admin will add the Application ID and Secret into LibAnswers (via Admin > LibChat > Screenshare), then LibAnswers users will be able to authorize the integration via their edit account screen and begin using Microsoft Teams for screen sharing during chats.

New API v1.1 with OAuth + POST API!

With this release, we’re also thrilled to usher in a new generation of LibAnswers APIs; our 1.1 APIs are here, and they’re bringing enhanced security and new abilities for creating content in your LibAnswers system from third party sources and forms!

To form the base for these new capabilities, we’re introducing a new 1.1 version of our existing APIs. For enhanced security, this new generation of APIs require OAuth Authorization headers in order to return data. Once you’ve generated an OAuth token (via Admin > Widgets and APIs > API Authentication) and granted it the desired permissions, you’ll send it along with your API request via an Authorization header. This ensures that the API is only being used for authorized users/purposes – and this is a critical piece of the puzzle for our way more exciting next feature…

LibAnswers now offers POST APIs for new ticket creation! This means it is now possible to generate new tickets into LibAnswers from non-LibAnswers forms. This could mean anything from a feedback form you maintain on your website to a problem report form found in your catalog. We’ve included 2 handy APIs to make this possible: a new GET API for retrieving a queue’s form field data (so it’s easy to match data from your non-LibAnswers form with LibAnswers form fields), and a POST API for actually generating the tickets. To get started with these new APIs, head to Admin > Widgets and APIs > API Endpoints v1.1.

LibCal

We’re super excited to bring local timezones to the public-facing side of LibCal Events and Appointments! Users will be able to choose what timezone calendars and events should display in.

Also, stay tuned! we’re bringing OAuth to Zoom in LibCal. We are working through the application approval process with Zoom and will announce availability of this updated security feature as soon as we can.

We also have some requested updates to LibCal Seats & Spaces!

  • There’s now an option for bookings to be automatically cancelled if the person has not checked in within a specific time frame after the booking start time.
  • A new contact tracing report will be available in a new tab in Spaces. Enter a patron name or email into the Contract Tracer to view bookings in the same Seat or Space for the 24 – 96 hours following the booking.
  • There are new reports to track peak occupancy at specific times of day, cross-referenced with days of the week. Go to Spaces > Occupancy Data to see these reports.
  • Want to get patron feedback on the Seats reservations/use process? You can now add a LibWizard survey link to the ‘Check Out’ confirmation page and schedule a follow-up email to send after the booking.
  • Improvements to the public patron booking experience and new reservation page search selections.
  • More detail will be included in the ICS file for bookings such as the confirmation code for check ins when enabled and the cancellation link.

LibInsight

Just one small thing to share here for LibInsight: we have added the capability to hide columns in COUNTER 5 usage reports. Just need to see a few metrics? No problem! Filter out the columns that you’re not interested in. Analyze your COUNTER 5 E-Resources dataset, then choose the Usage tab from Journals, Databases, Books, or Others > Titles > Choose a platform.

screenshot showing the drop menu of available fields for a Journal Titles report.

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.