We were not surprised at all when our upcoming Learning Lab, Ain’t No Party Like a LibGuides Party, reached full max registration in just a few days. We were not even surprised when the numbers of the waitlist started ticking up and up and up. I mean, it’s a LibGuides party – everyone wants to attend, right? 🙂
So the training team got together to try and solve this problem. How can we expand access to this webinar? People want to attend, but we do have a limit on the number of Zoom seats available. What to do, what to do?!?
Springy Laura came up with a great idea. What if we live-streamed the webinar on our Facebook page? This way, folks who really want to attend live… can! And so, we’ve made it possible.
If you want to attend Wednesday’s Learning Lab, Ain’t No Party Like a LibGuides Party, from 1:00pm – 2:20pm US EST, just navigate to our Facebook page! You’ll be able to watch live and ask questions in the comments area. We’ll have a Springy on deck watching the comments and feeding those back to the presenters.
Do I need to have a Facebook account and login to watch?
Nope! Our Facebook page is open and public, so you don’t need to have a Facebook account/login to watch the webinar. So just ignore the prompts asking you to sign-in or create an account. If you want to comment or ask a question, however, you will need to login or create a Facebook account to do so.
I don’t want to watch it on Facebook, is there another way?
If you want to watch the session LIVE, watching it on Facebook or if you managed to snag a coveted seat in our Zoom webinar room are the only ways. However, we will record the session and have it available for watching on our Buzz site by the end of the week.
We hope to see you there on Wednesday and if not, stay tuned for the recording. We’ll be recapping the session including a link to the recording on this blog.
We took the opportunity to revisit three libraries that we had previously featured in Client Stories — three years ago. We discussed their handling of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the challenges it brought to their doors. While we were not at all surprised by their commitment to providing the best possible service under the ever-changing circumstances, we were thrilled to learn about the ways Springshare tools help them as they navigated those days, these days, and the days ahead.
Here are some highlights from each of the Client Stories in the series.
York County Community College Tackles It All
As she recalled the days when closing their doors was looking imminent, Amber Tatnall, the Associate Academic Dean who oversees the YCCC Library said,
During the beginning of March 2020, we had two weeks lead-time to go fully online. I knew Springshare was going to be our saving grace.
The library is a Springshare Suite client and has been building LibGuides since 2010. They, therefore, felt comfortable with the switch. Amber shared that “Library instruction sessions continued through that first online semester, using Zoom and featuring our ready-to-rock-and-roll library guides.”
New to their strategy was implementing LibChat.
Once they had it up and running, Academic Dean, Doreen Rogan shared the team’s sentiments, “We are very grateful we were able to pivot so quickly and really not miss a beat when it came to supporting students in the Library.”
The YCCC Library team found themselves with a lot of new projects on their plates brought about by the pandemic closure. They immediately started putting LibCal and LibWizard to use to check them all off the list. Amber shares just a few of the areas they addressed:
Counseling and Wellness – We were very mindful that mental health and wellness was going to be a challenge during this time, so we went full Springshare with intake forms and document submission through LibWizard, a new resources guide, and an appointment maker with our counselor through LibCal.
Disabilities Services – ditto went full Springshare with accommodations requests and document submission through LibWizard. Security settings on the Springshare back-end allowed us to protect and wipe sensitive student data for both of these areas.
Academic Affairs used LibCal to register faculty into just-in-time workshops to learn how to teach online, with follow-up evaluations in LibWizard. The platforms are so easy to use and so professional-looking. No one would have guessed at the mild panic behind the scenes as we worked to prepare over 100 instructors to teach online in two weeks!LibGuides for faculty were a great place to house online how-tos, video tutorials, best practices, and other useful documents.
To learn more about all the terrific work the YCCC library did to ensure a successful school year for their students and faculty, read their Client Story.
City, University of London Closed Doors But Kept Communication Open
We published a Q&A style Client Story with Derek MacKenzie, Head of User Services at City Library sharing details about their library’s experiences during the COVID-19 lockdown in London. Excerpts follow:
Q: Can you share your story about when your library learned it would have to close its doors?
A: It was becoming clear from late February into early March 2020 that things were moving fast and that the Summer term was going to be quite different. But the University’s decision to close (just ahead of the government shutdown) was still a bit of a sudden one.
As we’d been using LibChat for six years, we had every confidence that we could continue to run that service remotely. LibAnswers was a bigger leap of faith though – we had several different shared email accounts being used by various teams to engage with users and respond to their queries. At the start of 2020, we set ourselves a target of flipping this over to LibAnswers by the summer and getting all our incoming emails routed there to improve how we handle enquiries and give us a more efficient way of passing these on to colleagues and monitoring progress.
Derek elaborated , “We had just started mapping out how we would do this – in a gradual and cautious way, as librarians tend to do. Then with lockdown looming, we decided we had to jump quickly so within a few days our User Services team and our amazing Systems Librarian managed to get queues set up and instructions pulled together.”
LibAnswers turned out to be just the ticket for a special recovery mission. Derek told us City Library used a solution they already had to face a new problem. Derek recalled, “One of our other big post-lockdown challenges was around trying to recover all the library books out on loan to students who had suddenly moved away from London – either with or without the books they had borrowed from the library.”
It was great for us to be able to manage our liaison with these students, often over several months, through LibAnswers tickets as this meant different members of our team could quickly and easily see the dialogue we’d had and keep them updated.
Today they have an FAQ to address returns, but for this recovery project, Derek said, “We set up a Freepost returns service to recover library books and we were able to disseminate labels for this through LibAnswers tickets.”
Read about their big jump in LibAnswers/LibChat usage and in the uptick in user engagement with the feedback element in LibChat here in their Client Story.
Southern New Hampshire University: In Their Own Words
Heather Walker-White, the Manager of Library Information Services at SNHU’s Shapiro Library wraps up our 3-part Client Story series. With a piece she wrote herself about how the global pandemic hit home for their library and its students, many of whom were not strangers to the online learning model, Heather lets us in on their spike in utilization and what they learned during this demanding time.
We were already very well positioned to serve our students in an online environment because we have a rich online presence, built on the Springshare platform.
In the period between mid-March of 2020 to mid-March of 2021, we saw a 38.2% increase in our LibChat reference transactions over the same period from 2019-2020.
Heather notes, “This number does not include our 24/7 chat transactions; I’m strictly speaking about the transactions handled by the Shapiro Library Reference team.”
She continues, “All of this has brought our team closer together. There has been increased communication and contact, and though everyone is perhaps a bit tired of meeting via a computer screen, it has been nice being able to interact with team members whom we might not normally have the opportunity to see.”
Later Heather continues,
That’s one thing I hope that we can carry forward…being intentional about creating opportunities for team connection that aren’t simply focused on working through an agenda, and instead address the holistic needs of Shapiro Library personnel.
To learn about the changes the Shapiro Library made to their LibGuides CMS-powered website homepage and how prepared they were, in general, for a switch to entirely online services, read Heather’s story.
What another amazing Learning Lab! Last week, Sara Loree and Victoria Messana, volunteer librarians from the Librarian Reserve Corps, delivered an amazing presentation on how they used Springshare tools to put out a call for volunteers, organize those volunteers by location and speciality, and communicate important information with volunteers, researchers, and more. All to help stop the flood of misinformation that was taking place due to the pandemic.
Using LibWizard and LibCRM to put out a call for volunteers and then organizing those volunteers by speciality, location, etc… to create a really easily searchable database.
Creating a LibGuides CMS powered website and then having to revise it as time passed and scope became more defined.
Using LibGuides CMS Groups to create public-facing content and internal/private/restricted groups for volunteer intranet information.
Using LibAnswers ticketing queues to streamline questions and assigning team leads to specific queues.
Helpful tips and takeaways such as creating a style guide, organizational talking points, etc.
Upcoming Learning Lab
We’re huge 30 Rock fans and we were immediately drawn to this amazing CR&L article, Ain’t No Party Like a LibGuides Party, Because a LibGuides Party Is Mandatory, because not only is the content amazing but they reference a Liz Lemon quote. I mean, we could not resist. So we contacted the authors and asked them to deliver a Learning Lab in June, and they agreed! So mark your calendars for our next learning lab with UNC Charlotte’s guest speakers Natalie Ornat, Beth Auten, and Reese Manceaux.
Named Librarians of the Year by Library Journal, Elaine R. Hicks, Stacy Brody, and Sara Loree, founder and co-leads of the Librarian Reserve Corps, are helping researchers stem the tide of fake news during this global pandemic. The Librarian Reserve Corps was created in response to the World Health Organization’s need for timely and accurate COVID-19 research. Elaine, Stacy, and Sara quickly formed a group of volunteers to vet, index, and share literally tens of thousands of resources for the global medical community… all using Springshare tools.
… And We Get to Meet with Them!
Next week, join us for a webinar and meet LRC librarians Stacy Brody and Victoria Messana as they share how they’ve used LibGuides CMS, LibAnswers, LibWizard, and LibCRM to organize volunteers around the world as well as vet and share credible COVID-19 research with the global community.
Today’s a big day here at Springy HQ! We’re excited to announce our partnership with Lean Library, a browser extension from SAGE Publishing, that delivers library services directly into the patron’s workflow via a customizable plugin. The partnership will begin by integrating LibGuides with the Lean Library browser extension – allowing librarians to deliver contextual point-of-need instruction.
And this is just the beginning! We’ll be adding more integrations soon, including LibChat, so patrons can get live help from a librarian no matter what webpage they visit.
How Does It Work?
Within the Lean Library Dashboard, configure different resources to display depending on the webpage that the patron is currently visiting. So, if the patron is on scholar.google.com > the Lean Library browser extension will display your step-by-step Google Scholar LibGuide. If they’re searching inside your EBSCOhost databases, the browser plugin will pop-out your Advanced EBSCO Searching LibGuide to provide contextual help!
All your patrons need to do is download the browser extension, and voila! They’ve got your contextual library resources right when they need it.
Increase Usage and Visibility
Putting your LibGuides, right at the point-of-need will increase usage and visibility. Don’t take our word for it – Utah State University conducted a pilot project with LibGuides and Lean Library integration. In just two months, they saw a 450% increase in usage of their Google Scholar LibGuide after it was deployed on scholar.google.com via the Lean Library browser extension. Learn more about Utah State University’s pilot program at ER&L annual conference today, March 10, 1:00pm – 2:30pm ET.
You Build a Lot of LibGuides – – Make Sure They’re Seen!
To date, over 200,000+ librarians at 5,500 institutions have built millions of LibGuides at over 80 countries around the world. These guides, undoubtably, take significant time and effort to create. With the Lean Library browser extension, you’ll be able to get more eyeballs on your LibGuides and increase your ROI by embedding them directly into the patron’s workflows. Plus, with the upcoming LibChat integration – patrons can launch a live chat no matter what website they’re on.
Want to Learn More?
The LibGuides/Lean Library integration will be available as an upgrade to existing LibGuides or Lean Library customers or as part of the new service Lean Library Futures.
In addition to improvements on the E-Reserves Request form, we are implementing a bunch of Accessibility improvements on the A-Z Databases page and the Search page.
E-Reserves Request Form
We’ve made the E-Reserves request form more user-friendly by getting rid of the accordion collapsible sections, indicating required fields with a red asterisk, and changing how the “Type” choices work.
In addition, you can indicate whether these fields should be required or hidden through the E-Reserves > Settings > Request Form > Request Form Field Options.
And Coming Soon…
Support for LTI 1.3 in Canvas (with support for additional Learning Management Systems coming after that)
Our current LibAnswers release is chock full of performance improvements to help bring you a faster and more performant reference management platform! In this release, we’re introducing many under-the-hood updates, including a refreshed Reference Analytics module, improved connectivity for LibChat on mobile devices, and so much more. For the full breakdown of everything rolling out in this release, head to the Springshare Lounge to view the full release notes.
Reference Analytics Update
We’ve spruced things up under the hood to bring you a fresher, faster version of Reference Analytics. We’ve refreshed the entire code base, with a goal of updating code and improving response times. While most folks using the Add or View/Edit Transactions screens won’t notice many UI changes, Admins can see this refresh reflected in the edit Reference Analytics dataset screen. We’ve updated the functions around editing datasets, and added the ability to reorder responses in a field without impacting past recorded data (yay!). To see this in action, Admins can head to Admin > Ref. Analytics > Edit Dataset button.
Mobile Chat Improvements
In this release, we’re updating the behavior of chat widgets on mobile devices. Now, most chat widgets (everything except for embedded chat widgets) will pop open in a new tab/window when viewed and accessed on handheld mobile devices. This will essentially replicate the behavior of the patron choosing to pop the ongoing chat into a new window, which we’ve seen can help prevent patrons from inadvertently disconnecting from a chat, especially on handheld mobile devices, where wide-finger issues are still alive and well! The resulting chat window is mobile-optimized and ready to assist your patrons. To see this in action, head to any slide-out, floating, or button chat widget and start a chat!
And Coming Soon…
We’re hard at work revamping several of our back-end search features, in an effort to bring you a faster and more intuitive search interface! Our first order of business is updating the chat transcript search page; in our next release, we’ll be overhauling our underlying search engine to bring you even more powerful chat transcript searching.
While we are hard at work to bring you (teaser alert!) interactive mapping functionality for seat/space bookings in the very near future and improvements to streamline and improve admin management aspects of Appointments, we have a few exciting updates for you! This release includes lots of accessibility modifications, small improvements, and performance improvements that can be read about in the Springy lounge release notes.
Booking limits for Appointments have arrived! We’ve added the ability to set daily, weekly, monthly, and/or yearly limits on the number of appointments that can be booked by each patron/student. These limits are available to set on the system level, as well as by individual users who can either use the system limits or define their own set if needed. Head to Admin > Appointments > Booking Limits> System Defaults to set this for your entire LibCal system, or click the Edit button in the User Limits Overview section to set for one user at a time.
Also now available is the ability to list Appointment locations on your LibCal homepage, Hours page, and event pages. Your public locations will show as a drop-down menu where Appointments are displayed:
Seats / Spaces / Equipment
We’ve also added API support to return availability for period-based locations when retrieving seat / space booking information.
We’ve added a warning on the admin side “Booking Grid & Availability” tab when hours for a Location, Category, Space, or Item will expire soon. Admin users will see a warning like the one below when availability is set to expire within 7 days. A warning will also be displayed if a Location, Category, Space, or Item has no hours assigned.
We have added a much-requested feature for creating folders for your LibWizard items! Anyone (Admin and Regular level users) can create new folders by clicking on the “+ Create New Folder” button on top.
Admins will have access to create, delete, or rename all folders. Regular users will be able to create new folders, but will only be able to rename and delete their own folders.
Deleting a folder will not delete the folder contents and will move any existing contents outside of the folder to the main level list.
Finally, users will be able to move existing items to different folders or create a form directly within the folder. Please note that folders cannot be nested at this time.
Changes to the Actions Column
We’ve updated the Actions column for Forms, Surveys, Quizzes, and Tutorials pages and the Question Bank page with a dropdown to make the column less cluttered.
We’ve converted the “New Account” and “Import LibApps Accounts” to their own pages for easier use.
Dataset Upload Format Change
As a processing and performance improvement, we have updated a few dataset types to allow only .csv format (Comma-Separated Values) for data uploads:
To save any Excel file as a .csv file, go to File > Save As.. and choose Comma-Delimited file. For the tech-minded out there who might use a text editor, we are looking for a UTF-8 file with CRLF line breaks. 🙂
That’s it for this round of updates from Springy HQ. We would like to thank you, our user community, for sharing all your great ideas with us! We love making them a reality and look forward to bringing you many more improvements in 2021. We are always here for you if have any suggestions or questions.
This week we are excited to launch a new addition to the Springshare newsletter lineup: The Roundup. It’s just like it sounds – a monthly email digest that rounds up recent product updates and announcements, client stories, webinars, and timely Springy resources.
It landed in subscribers’ inboxes yesterday. And from here on out, SpringyNews readers can expect a digestoredition email the first week of every month!
Here’s a preview of the types of content readers will discover in The Roundup:
Last month’s release features, recent client stories, and newly published Buzz guides
Upcoming Springshare Learning Labs and webinars
Newly relevant resources from the Springshare archives
A sneak peek at the month ahead, including not yet announced webinars, product features, and more!
In case you missed it, you can view this month’s issue of The Roundup in your browser.
Not a subscriber? Sign up below and indicate which types of Springshare emails you’d like to receive!
Are you a current subscriber looking to adjust your email preferences?
At the bottom of your most recent Springshare newsletter or product announcement (sent from news[at]springshare.com), click on the “Update Preferences” link.
Alternatively, when logged into LibApps, head to LibApps > My Profile. Scroll down and select/deselect the options.
The month has flown by and suddenly it’s the last workday of January 2021. 😅 At this point, our teams are waist-deep in strategic goal mapping and list checking, but it doesn’t hurt to take a moment to pause and reflect on the past year… as much as we may want to forget it.
Here is our annual recap of the best client stories, Springshare announcements, and tips and tricks from 2020!
We’re proud to have supported Library Journal’s 2021 Librarians of the Year Elaine Hicks, Stacy Brody, and Sara Loree, and the rest of the Librarian Reserve Corps. Read about how they responded to the overwhelming need to identify, select, and disseminate information about the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus. And how they used Springshare tools to help accomplish their goals. Thank you for your service!
It’s been a year of quick pivots and changing plans at Springy HQ, and Pickup Manager was one exciting result of our efforts to address the ‘new normal’ while making day-to-day tasks easier. The goals: streamlined item pickup scheduling, easy communication with chat and SMS/text, and ILS integration to help automate checkouts!
If you haven’t seen it, check out our post detailing how it works with screenshots and quick video clips. You can watch a recording of the webinar on our Buzz site!
July’s edition of SpringyNews included a special guest. Written by Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Librarian Twanna Hodge from the University of Florida, the LibGuides Tricks page addressed an important point – LibGuides are much more than resource webpages. They are part of how we represent our communities online. How can we engage our guide readers, cultivate inclusivity, support anti-racism, and move them to act?
As libraries were starting to reopen their doors over the summer, we checked in with The University of Hull Brynmor Jones Library – one of our first customers to go live with LibCal Seats – to share their reopening process. They provided a ton of helpful information about planning their library’s layout, figuring out booking and cleaning times, and enforcing social distancing!
As libraries and universities were making the monumental switch to online reference and learning services, Springy Talia rounded up some LibGuides, LibAnswers, LibCal, and LibWizard tips and tricks to support librarians suddenly serving students and sharing information remotely.
Last year’s SpringyCamp was one for the books! We were thrilled so many from the Springy community joined us for camp. Over two days (for a total of four sessions), we got to see what others are up to, hear new ideas, and just generally find inspiration for how to expand services and explore ways to engage students and patrons.
Last summer we wanted to make an improvement in an area that would empower Springshare users to collaborate, discuss, and help each other online. One of Springshare’s greatest strengths has always been our community, and we wanted to make an online space that reflects how innovative all of you are. So, without further ado, we introduced the revamped, and extra Springy, Springshare Lounge!
About a month after the sudden shift to remote learning and library services, we shared some really interesting early LibAnswers and LibGuides stats that illustrated the size of the enormous change, along with information about what we were doing on our end to support you.
In response to customer requests to integrate client use cases and how-tos, we launched a brand new training session series: The Springshare Learning Lab!
Ken Winter from VDOT Research Library kicked things off with a thoughtful discussion of his longtime remote working experience and how Springshare tools have helped his team support their patrons during the pandemic.
We’re excited to continue the series in 2021! Next week Gwen Jones at the University of Liverpool is going to share their experience contributing to the 24/7 Global Chat Cooperative (Register now for the last few spots!). And you can watch all Learning Lab recordings on our Buzz site.
While it’s hard to believe it’s already mid-January, we put away our party hats and noisemakers long ago (although our holiday decorations are still up 😉). Hopefully, there’s still a glimmer of that “brand new year” feeling left, and Springy HQ is here to help you start off 2021 on the right foot!
To that end, we’ve rounded up a bunch of quick Springshare tool tips to help you save time, streamline your workflow a bit, and perhaps remind you of that “Oh yeah, I need to do that every January!” task.
2. Set Your LibCal Spaces, Equipment, & Calendar Preferences.
In case you missed it, in November we added new user preference options so you can select default Spaces and Equipment locations and booking management tabs. By the end of this week, you’ll be able to pick your default calendar, too! To set your preferences, click on the Preferences tab on your LibCal account page.
Directing all student/patron questions and interactions into LibAnswers makes life easier (just ask Ken Winter from VDOT Research Library!). And if you find yourself applying the same dashboard filters to switch between Twitter DMs, reported database access issues, and open reference questions, you can make your life even easier by creating dashboard views!
Create a personal view for yourself – or if you’re an admin, create a view for all LibAnswers users. For detailed instructions, watch the SpringyU Setting up Dashboard Views Block.
After months of coordinating item holds, and the year-end stats resulting from them, you have a good sense of your patron/student pickup trends. Are they normally late? Or early? Do staff often forget to mark a pickup as complete? Now’s a great time to create or update Pickup Manager chat/SMS macros and set/modify pickup status changes where needed.
Did you know you can reassign content when deleting a LibWizard user’s access? If you haven’t reviewed your LibWizard accounts recently, now’s a great time to use the ‘transfer to a user’ feature to make sure form/survey/quiz/tutorial editing and report viewing privileges are up to date.
This time of year, folks are gathering year-end data, creating 2021 dashboards and datasets, and completing annual reports. It’s important to remind users where things are stored, recent changes, or new fields/datasets they will be using.
Alert boxes help reinforce your message by putting the information at the top of the LibInsight dashboard! Admins can even create separate reminders for admins and regular users.
Have there been any staff reorganizations? Are you tracking projects, adding and editing People, Organizations, and Interactions in LibCRM differently now than you did at site launch? Take a look at your roles and how they’re assigned to LibCRM users!
Using strong passwords – and keeping them in a safe place – is standard security practice. While there’s not a clear consensus on how often you should change your password, the start of the year is a good time to do an annual checkup if you haven’t done one recently.
In LibApps, you use one account/password for all of your sites – LibGuides, LibCal, LibAnswers… you get the picture. So fortunately for you, there’s only one place to change it!
There are two ways to update your LibApps password:
*Recommended* While logged in: Jump to LibApps > My Account. In the Account Information box, enter your new password and confirm the change using your existing password.
While logged out: Head to your LibApps login page. You’ll know you’re in the right place when you see “LibApps Login @ [Your Institution]” at the top of the page.
Click on the “Reset Password?” link underneath the login form.
You will receive an email from email@example.com to change your password. If it’s not there, be sure to check your spam folder.
For detailed instructions on how to change your password, read the related FAQ. After updating your password, don’t forget to save the new one in your password manager!
Here at Springy HQ, we’re thinking of our customers near and far – especially those currently locked down or have family and friends affected by the rising COVID-19 case numbers across the globe. Please know we are always here to help if you have any questions!
Just before the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, we were thrilled to host the first session of our new client story + how-to webinar series: The Springshare Learning Lab!
Ken Winter kicked things off with a thoughtful discussion of his longtime remote working experience and its recent challenges. And how LibGuides, LibAnswers, and LibWizard have helped him and his team support their patrons during the pandemic. Next Springy Michelle highlighted using LibChat for internal staff communication, setting chat departments as fallbacks, and configuring a LibWizard form with conditional logic.
In case you missed it, the full recording is available! You can watch it below and find Ken’s slides on the Buzz site!
Got an after-the-fact question for Ken? Lounge members can ask it in his discussion thread that he’ll be monitoring for the next week or so. Any Springy user can request a Lounge account, and we have getting started guidance in our July newsletter.
Inspired by Ken’s presentation, Springy Michelle also created a special training on how to build an internal staff communication guide similar to the one in his session with LibGuides, LibCal, and LibAnswers. You can watch the recording in our training video library.
Up Next! Library Reopening at Gwinnett Technical College with LibCal Seats
Back in September, Gwinnett Technical College shared their reopening experience and how they’re using LibCal Seats to help reopen safely. For our next Learning Lab, Deborah George, director of library services, is going to share their story, give us an update, and answer audience questions. Following, we’ll look at some of the specific features they’ve found most useful during this reopening process.