Archive for LibStaffer

Want to Plant Some Smart Seeds? LibStaffer is your Perennial Solution.

It’s nice outside. We should do something!

Springtime brings with it long-lost sunshine, longer days and — with all the light bouncing off the pastels — we are forced to see the long-standing issues that we filed in the formerly dark corner. What’s there has likely been there for months, maybe even a couple of years? But, the thing about Spring is it fills us with new optimism. We want to start a good checklist. We have energy. We, even, have the time to do it right.

Fortunately, we live in a beautiful age where Smart is the new black. Thomas Edison would be proud that his already amazing light bulb is even smarter today. If Smart is where you’re headed, LibStaffer is a solution that will let you tackle a perpetual headache… scheduling the staff. Do this right now and it will continue to work for you week after week, semester after semester.

First things first. Let’s get the information into LibStaffer.

As with all great things, the cornerstone is the people.

  • You begin, by creating accounts for the people you want to schedule.
  • You can assign them default schedules to view and put in their maximum hours per week and per month.
  • For real precision, you can then put in their working hours. This is super flexible as it allows for up to 5 levels of distinction so you can simultaneously define when a person can’t work by creating ranges for when they can.

In no time at all, you can also add in

  • Your holidays and reasons for time off (sick days, personal days, etc.).
  • Your staff can put in their time off, as well, for an upcoming conference or to attend a wedding.
  • There’s also the option for recurring time off, for instance, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9am-11am.

Schedules make the world go around.

The next step toward greatness and freedom from the chaos is to create your schedules and assign people to them.

  • The schedules can have shifts configured in various ways.
  • In those shifts, you can determine the hours and how many people you need.
  • Assign particular tasks you want to be completed.
  • You can even decide how many times you want a person to have to be assigned to that shift.

You’ve planted the seeds, now stand back.

Once the key pieces are in LibStaffer — who is working and what needs to be worked — filling those shifts is like the act of watering the new garden. However often you do it, weekly, bi-monthly, etc., you will simply choose to do this manually or via the Auto-scheduler. Watering can or drip system.

If you do it manually, you can select a shift you want to fill and a pop up will appear with a list of people who are assigned to that schedule. You will be able to see

  • How many people you need for a filled shift
  • If anyone has been favorited for that shift
  • If someone is not available and the reason why (already working at a different desk, on vacation, has been booked for an appointment in LibCal’s My scheduler, already reached their maximum hours, etc.)

All of this vital information that you need is right there. You don’t have to sort through sticky notes people have left for you. You don’t have to try to remember and find that email where someone asked for a day off. You don’t have to worry that you’ll make the schedule only to find that someone left you a voicemail last week asking for a day off. You’ll simply instruct everyone to get these things into the system and then it will be right there when you’re making the schedule.

Or, you can use the auto scheduler and define the time period you want to be scheduled and click a button. The system will crawl through the information and it will schedule people knowing, who is off, who has already reached their max and who is away at a conference.

Come rain or come shine.

Of course, the reason making the schedule has often been considered the perpetual headache is not just because of the sifting through all the papers and emails and messages that it takes to get it sorted. But, also because of the fact that once you make it, right away, someone has a conflict s/he forgot to tell you about. Suddenly, you have to revise and while you’re doing it, you just know that it won’t be the only request for a change.

LibStaffer has incredible flexibility built into the system because it knows that anything largely dependent on people’s time is going to change. In LibStaffer, you can allow or not allow

  • Shift swapping
  • The giving up and picking up of shifts
  • Shift splitting
  • Plus, when you’re scheduling people manually, you can override rules, if necessary.

People can ask for time off and you can approve or deny it easily. LibStaffer will even show you if that person who requested time off has already been scheduled to work on the day s/he asked for.

So, here’s to sunshine. Here’s to the blossoming of ideas and to reaping what you sow. Why should lightbulbs and phones be the only things getting smarter? LibStaffer can lead to a smarter use of your Springtime and the days beyond that.

To learn more about LibStaffer

Join us for special 30-minute LibStaffer for Public Libraries sessions

There is also an upcoming training session called LibStaffer: Setting up your System

LibStaffer 2.6 Update Coming Soon!

Continuing with our bevy of updates, the LibStaffer 2.6 update will be rolled out to all regions by end of day Thursday, March 15th. This update brings:

  • LibCal/LibStaffer Integration
  • Split Shift Feature
  • Expanded Working Hours
  • App Performance Improvements
  • Additional Quality of Life Improvements

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

LibCal/LibStaffer Integration

Don’t you love it when the tools you use every day talk to each other seamlessly? Us too, which is why we’re thrilled to introduce the new LibCal/LibStaffer integration. With this release, you can now sync your “busy” times – ie times when you’re scheduled for a shift in LibStaffer, and/or times when you have an appointment booked via MyScheduler – between the two platforms, so scheduling conflicts are prevented from the get-go! Here’s how it works:

In LibStaffer: To bring your busy MyScheduler times from LibCal into LibStaffer, head to Edit My Account > Enable LibCal MyScheduler Sync. Once enabled, any appointments that are booked with you via MyScheduler will be reflected in LibStaffer, so admins will be alerted to the existing appointment as they assign staff to shifts, and the auto-scheduler will not assign you to shifts that occur at that same time.

In Libcal: To bring your scheduled shifts from LibStaffer into MyScheduler, in Libcal, head to MyScheduler > Appointment Scheduler Settings > Enable LibStaffer Shift Sync. Once enabled, your assigned shifts from LibStaffer will automatically block out your availability in MyScheduler, so patrons can’t book time with you when you’re scheduled for a shift. Your assigned shifts will also display as “Busy” in your MyScheduler availability grid on the admin side, similar to “Busy in Outlook” or “Busy in Google Calendar”.

Split Shifts

Huge news for folks who’d like to allow staff members to give up or swap a portion of an assigned shift – we’re adding a new schedule-level setting to “split” an assigned shift into 2 shifts. Now, instead of needing to give up or swap that entire shift, a staff member can split their shift in two, so they can give up or swap just the portion that needs coverage. On the admin side, the shift will then be represented as 2 separate blocks in the schedule, so it’s easy to keep track of who’s working which portion of the shift. To enable this setting for your schedules, head to Admin > Schedule Settings > Modify Schedule > Allow Staff to Split Shifts.

Expanded Working Hours

Working hours are what allow your staff members to input their own availability time into LibStaffer, so ex you’re available to work between 9am-12pm and then again from 1pm-5pm. Previously, we’ve capped working hours at 2 “blocks”, but we’ve heard your feedback that this can be too restrictive. In this release we’re expanding working hours to support up to 5 blocks, to give your staff the flexibility to define the hours that are right for them. To edit your working hours, head to Edit Account > Manage Working Hours.

App Performance Improvements

We’ve been hard at work on LibStaffer’s performance behind the scenes, and in this release we’re implementing a number of improvements designed to ensure LibStaffer is responsive and snappy, even in the largest systems.

Additional Quality of Life Updates

More protections when deleting/clearing shifts – We’ve updated the delete/clear shift modal windows, so it’s more clear exactly what will change once the delete action occurs. Now, when you choose to delete or clear a shift, we’ll display a full list of all of the impacted shifts and shift assignments for you to review before fully committing to the action.

Mobile Optimization for the Dashboard – We’ve also updated the tables in the LibStaffer Dashboard, so users logging in with a mobile device can view their upcoming shift assignments and claim/swap shifts with ease.

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

hacker

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

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

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

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

Chrome ‘NOT SECURE’ Warning Message

Why HTTPS Matters

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

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

HTTPS Protects the Integrity of Your Web Presence

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

Getting a Security Certificate is Important

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

unlock

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

 

lock

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

 

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

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

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

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

1. Work with Your Local IT Department

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

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

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

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

LibGuides Users

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

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

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

For LibAnswers/LibCal Users

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

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

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

1. Update All Links to HTTPS

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

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

Update links to Springy Tools to HTTPS

2. Update Embedded Widgets to HTTPS

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

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

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

LibStaffer 2.5 Update Now Live!

Our latest LibStaffer update hits on a couple of major requested features, including staff claiming unfilled shifts (without having to go through a schedule admin), staff “favoriting” their own shifts, and tons of nice-to-have improvements to various schedule views.

Staff can Claim Available Shifts

As one of our most requested features, we’re thrilled to bring you the ability to claim unfilled shifts, without having to go through a schedule admin. To enable the feature, Admins should head to Admin > Schedule Settings > Modify Schedule. You’ll find a new option for “Allow Staff to Claim Shifts?”, along with settings to control how far in advance a schedule should be opened up (anywhere from 1-6 weeks). Once enabled, schedule admins will see an additional option when creating/editing a shift for “Enable Shift Claiming?” – use this to designate which shifts in a schedule should be available for claiming.

When you use this option, schedule admins build a schedule as usual, but choose which shifts can be claimed and which need to be assigned – this is great if you have some shifts that need to be filled by particular people (like a supervisory shift) and others that can be filled by anyone. Assign a portion of those shifts to staff members and leave others open, or leave all shifts unassigned. Your staff members then head to the Open Shifts tab, where they’ll see all of the available shifts in your schedule and can “claim” the ones they want. Easy as 1-2-3!

Staff can “Favorite” shifts

We’ve got great news in store for those of you who use the auto scheduler to create schedules: staff can now designate their own “Favorite” shifts, so everyone can volunteer to work the shifts they like best! Schedule admins will find this setting under Admin > Schedule Settings > Modify Schedule > Allow Staff to mark shifts as favorite?

When enabled, your staff will see a new option in the Schedules tab – as they hover over the shifts in your schedule, they’ll see a prompt to “Click shift to add/remove as favorite”. Favoriting a shift doesn’t necessarily assign them to the shift, but it does make them much more likely to be assigned to a particular shift when filling a schedule with the auto scheduler. This makes it much easier to keep track of staff preferences, while still ensuring fairness – if everyone favorites the same shift(s), auto-scheduler will attempt to distribute assignments fairly, so everyone gets a shot at the best shifts.

Improvements to Schedule Views

  • Time Off Overlay: Filter by Staff Member – Previously, when you viewed a schedule with the time off overlay, you saw everyone’s time off, even if you’d filtered by certain staff members. Now, if you’ve filtered by particular staff members, you’ll only see their time off instead of all time off.
  • Filter Shifts by Multiple Staff Members – Previously when viewing a schedule or looking at multi schedule view, you could only filter that view by one staff member at a time. We’ve expanded this functionality, so you can filter by multiple staff members across multiple calendars and see both shift assignments and time off, which gives you a much fuller staffing picture!

Additional Updates and Fixes

  • We’ve updated LibStaffer so all pages load in HTTPS, so your staff information is secure by default.
  • We fixed a small bug with the “Save and Assign Shift” button – in some cases, this was only saving the shift and not directing to the assign shift screen. This should now work as intended – once you click “Save and Assign Shift, you’ll head to the assign shift screen.
  • We fixed another small bug where inactive users could still be assigned to shifts, even though their account was inactive. Now an inactive user won’t show up in the list of people who can be assigned to a shift.

Want to learn more? Sign up for our custom training session this Thursday, October 26th, where we’ll discuss these new features and more! Head to http://calendar.springshare.com/event/3691324 to register.

“We’re All In, Because It’s Easy”

..says Andrew Adler, director of the Georgetown College Library, when asked why the Library is using the entire platform of Springshare tools.

Andrew, like most librarians, wears a lot of hats. From teaching library instruction, manning the reference desk, creating training tutorials for student workers, and being available nine hours a week for one-on-one research consultations, plus being the director for the entire library – he needs their web platform tools to just work and be easy to use“.

LibGuides CMS-Powered Website w/ Integrations

Georgetown College Website

LibGuides CMS allows for seamless integration with Springy Tools

The Georgetown College Library uses the entire Platform of Springshare Tools – and they use LibGuides CMS to power their Library Website.

“Things got a lot easier when we moved our website to LibGuides CMS.”

On their library homepage, an embedded LibCal Hours widget automatically updates to display today’s hours… no manual updating needed.

Their reference services are prominently showcased, with embedded LibAnswers LibChat widgets promoting their live reference assistance and a customized Ask Us form that routes all queries right into their LibAnswers ticketing queue.

All library forms, from a book purchase request form to reporting a catalog error are created and stored using LibWizard. In an effort to streamline work processes, their library student application is a LibWizard form! This way, librarians only have to go to one place, LibWizard, to view all form submissions.

Student Worker Training

Student Worker Training

Informing & Training Student Workers

All library student employees are trained using a combination of LibGuides with embedded LibWizard tutorials. Talk about making your tools work for you!

Circulation Student employees access the Circ Dashboard LibGuide when they sign into the circ desk computers.

From here, they can easily view their work schedules via LibStaffer, access library quick links, and take interactive training with LibWizard tutorials.

Since they’ve already used LibWizard to submit their student application forms, the process is consistent and seamless. As Andrew said, “everything they need – put in one spot”.

Andrew presented at the October 2016 SpringyCamp on training student workers using LibGuides and LibWizard. View Andrew’s presentation and download his slides.

Geogetown College Circulation Desk LibGuide

Student Circulation Dashboard LibGuide

LibWizard Tutorial

LibWizard Interactive Tutorial used to train student employees

Georgetown Staff Directory

Staff Directory LibGuide Powered by LibAnswers FAQ Widget

Using Widgets Makes It Easy to Maintain & Share Info

Even the library’s staff directory is a product of integration.

Andrew maintains the Library Staff directory as a published LibAnswers FAQ, making it easy for anyone searching the FAQ database to find staff email addresses and phone numbers. But, what if they’re not in the FAQ database? How do they find that information?

Easy!

Simply embed that Staff Directory FAQ as a widget into any webpage, including their LibGuides CMS-powered website. This way, Andrew only has to update the directory in one place, the FAQ, and watch those updates trickle down to everywhere it’s been embedded. The same consistent information is easily syndicated across multiple platforms and is easy to maintain from one central location.

Wait, What About Faculty?

 

LibCal Booking form

LibCal My Scheduler IL-Booking Form

Andrew wanted to create an online process where faculty could request library instruction as quickly and efficiently as possible. Email wasn’t cutting it, creating a lot of unnecessary back and forth. Plus, the Library maintains access to several IL-Classrooms so pointing faculty to a room reservation system would have required that Faculty know which room to request and when.

Using an outside-the-box solution, Andrew repurposed their LibCal My Scheduler as a tool for faculty to book library instruction. Most libraries use the My Scheduler tool to coordinate and schedule one-on-one research consultations. But Andrew saw it as a way to streamline their IL-Booking process. Faculty select their preferred date and time, and share their session preferences and class notes to ensure that the instruction is as targeted as possible – for the student’s benefit. Andrew receives the request, selects the appropriate classroom, and it’s all done…in just a few clicks. Easy-peasy.

These IL-Instruction Stats, and all stats from their Springshare tools, are automatically funneled into their LibInsight data gathering tool. From here, Andrew can run reports on how many classes were taught last semester, hits they had on their Library Website, and chats/texts/email reference questions they received.

Plus, using LibInsight’s Gate Counts Dataset, Andrew is able to view how many people are in the building – updated to the most recent hour. This data allows them to make staffing changes to their service desks based upon actual library traffic data. “It’s important for us to understand our student’s point of need and work to meet that need.”

 

LibInsight Gate Count Dataset

Gate Counts Data

LibInsight Gate Counts Data

Every year, Andrew meets with the Georgetown College Provost to cover the library budget. As is typical at these meetings, every line item is scrutinized. Andrew makes it clear that their use of Springshare tools are an essential library service.

“The Library couldn’t function without it – it’s our website, our research guides, our reference service tool, or reservation tool, and so much more. — Andrew Adler

LibStaffer 2.3 Now Live!

We have a small LibStaffer update to share this morning, that’s packed with nice to have improvements! From preventing back to back shift scheduling to improved communication via notes and emails, to the new inactive account level, there are lots of little goodies to love!

Prevent Back to Back Shift Scheduling

Are your staff feeling overworked and tired of working shifts back to back? Then we’ve got great news – we’ve added a new setting in the Auto Scheduler to prevent staff from being scheduled for back to back shifts! Plus, we’ve added an optional “grace period” to help avoid shifts that aren’t technically back to back, but that start/end fairly close to each other. For example, if a staff member is assigned to a shift from 9-10am, and you assign a one hour grace period, that staff member won’t be assigned to another shift until after 11am. You’ll find this new setting built into the Auto Scheduler screen.

Inactive Account Level

This feature will be a huge plus, particularly for sites that manage seasonal or transitional employees (such as student employees that change from semester to semester) – we’ve added an inactive account level for LibStaffer accounts. Inactive account holders won’t be able to log in to your LibStaffer system, and they don’t count against your account subscription. However they’ll continue to display in your historic reports, so you retain an accurate picture of staffing at different times in history.

Good to know: when you set an account to inactive, the account holder will be removed from all future shifts, but they’ll remain assigned to any shifts in the past for reporting purposes. To set an account to inactive, head to Admin > Accounts > Edit Account.

Expanded Shift Notes

We’ve added a couple of popularly requested features for shift notes, to help improve communication with staff. When emailing staff, admins now have the option to include relevant shift notes within the email – a great way to send out additional reminders to make sure everyone is on the same page! We’ve also corrected a small oversight – shift notes will now display to regular level users, both from the dashboard as well as from the overall schedule page. Hooray for increased communication with staff!

Email Updates

We’ve added a few key updates to the email functionality available in LibStaffer:

  • Shift Supervisors can now choose which employees should receive schedule reminder emails. Previously you could either send emails to all staff with an assigned shift, or to one specific staff member. Now we’ve included checkboxes so you can pick which staff should receive an email notification.
  • We’ve also added a cc field to schedule reminder emails, so you can email people who aren’t assigned to a schedule with information on upcoming shift staffing.
  • Shift Supervisors can also now send a general email to staff from within LibStaffer. This is a great way to make announcements to staff apart from schedule reminders – great for things like policy changes, staff reminders and the like.
  • And we’ve added a couple of new email notifications for the following situations:
    • Admin(s) now get an email notification when a time off request is submitted.
    • Schedule admins now get an email notification when an open shift has been picked up.

LibStaffer 2.1 Update Now Live

The LibStaffer 2.1 update went live early this morning – check out all the cool new features we’ve added!

Site Admins please note: now that the 2.1 update is live, you have the option to merge your current LibStaffer accounts with your existing LibApps accounts. You don’t need to do this right away (it can wait, really!), but once you click the update users button and merge accounts, you’ll gain these three big benefits for your staff:

  • One account to rule them all – Staff will use the same login to access all of Springshare’s v2 apps.
  • Staff-Defined Weekly Schedule – Admins and Staff can edit their LibStaffer profiles and define their weekly schedules. Schedulers are discouraged from scheduling a staff member outside of these hours, and the auto-scheduler will also respect the hours they set. They can even add break times to account for lunches and the like!
  • Outlook Integration – Staff can enter their Outlook credentials to sync their LibStaffer work schedules with their Outlook calendars.

Ready to merge your LibStaffer and LibApps accounts? Admins, log in to LibStaffer and click the green button on the dashboard labelled “Update your accounts into LibApps.” In the meantime, check out the rest of the new LibStaffer features. There is a whole lot to love in this update! 🙂  New options for bulk changing and deleting shifts, expanded permissions for schedule-level admins, plus lots of Time Off updates. Happy schedulin’!

LibStaffer Update Coming Your Way August 24th

Our summer of updates continues! We’re planning to release a LibStaffer 2.1 update on August 24th. This update will include many frequently requested features and improvements, as detailed below.

One important point of clarification for all you admins out there – LibStaffer has been a “v2” product since its original creation (it was our first product to be fully bootstrapped), and because of this, you won’t need to worry about migrating your content to a “v2” platform (like in LibGuides, LibCal, and LibAnswers). We’re rolling out many frequently-asked-for updates and tweaks to the way calendars and schedules display, but the new interface is not a jarring/significant change compared to what you currently see. So just to be super duper clear, you don’t have to worry about migrating your LibStaffer content to v2 – you’ve been v2 from the get go. 🙂

New Tools

  • Schedule-level Administrators – We’re adding granular user permissions, so site admins can now elevate a regular level user to administer a single schedule (or schedules) within your system. These new permissions mean you can grant administrative oversight over the shifts and users associated with a single schedule, without granting administrative access to the system as a whole.
  • Staff Defined Work Hours – Individual staff members can now define their standard weekly work schedule as part of their LibStaffer profile. This helps to show your real working availability when admins are scheduling shifts, so you won’t be scheduled for shifts when you’re not in the office. You can even define multiple blocks of working hours per day to take lunch and other breaks into account!
  • Integration with LibApps Accounts – use the same login to access LibStaffer that you use for accessing all of Springshare’s v2 applications.
  • Outlook integration – We’re making it easy to sync your LibStaffer schedule with your Outlook calendar! Once this update is live, you’ll need to authorize the connection to Outlook from within your LibStaffer account – once authorized, LibStaffer will push your schedule info to Outlook seamlessly.

Calendar Management Updates

  • Schedule Display Improvements – We’re adding many enhancements to the schedule view, so it’s easier for admins to see at a glance which shifts have been given up, which may need coverage, and which have pending swap requests.
  • New Tools Menu – We’re adding several administrative schedule tools aimed at making bulk changes easy. The new Tools menu will include options for deleting shifts and shift assignments – either for a single day, or for a range of future dates, and you’ll also have the option to change all future shift assignments while editing a shift.
  • Auto Scheduler Updates – We’re adding a new control for the Auto Scheduler to limit the number of shifts per day that a staff member can work.
  • Holidays – Admins will see a new option to define “Holidays” – ie days when the regular schedule doesn’t apply. Holidays are excluded from the Auto Scheduler (so no one is automatically scheduled), and are prominently displayed in all schedule and time off views.
  • Printable Schedules – We’ve updated the print views, so schedules you print and post now look fantastic right out of the box.
  • New Timeline Views – We’ve added several new views designed to give you a high level overview of the staffing and schedules at your library.
  • Set Default Calendar – Each user can also choose which schedule they want to see by default.

Time Off Updates

  • View All Time Off – We’re making it easy for all LibStaffer users to view the approved time off for all staff associated with a schedule! Both Admins and Regular level users will see a new dropdown menu in the Time Off area, which will enable switching between viewing your own time off, and approved time off for anyone associated with a schedule.
  • Approval Not Required – Site admins will have the option to not require administrator approval for new time off requests. This will be a site wide setting found under Admin > System Settings.
  • Edit & Delete Time Off – both Admins and Regular level users can now delete future time off requests.

Important for Admins – Merging With LibApps Accounts

Once the update goes live on August 24th, Site Admins will want consider merging your current LibStaffer accounts with your LibApps accounts. You’ll see this option displayed on the Dashboard following the update – it’s not something you have to do right away (or even within the next year – it can wait!), but once you’ve merged accounts, the following will happen:

  • The login page for your LibStaffer site will change:
    • ex for our training site, our URL will change from https://libstaffer.com/login.php?iid=2 to https://springylib.libapps.com/libapps/login.php
    • Your site’s base URL (ex springylib.libstaffer.com) will automatically redirect to the proper login page, but bookmarks that point to the direct login URL will need to be updated
  • Logins for LibStaffer accounts will change:
    • If the LibStaffer account holder already has a LibApps account (matched based on email address), they’ll use that same username/password for LibStaffer
    • If the LibStaffer account holder doesn’t already have a LibApps account, we’ll create a new account in LibApps for them. These account holders will need to keep an eye out for a LibApps notification email, which will prompt them to log in and create a new password

And last but certainly not least, here’s a sneak peek of the new Schedule Management Page:

New Schedule

Meet LibStaffer – Web-based Staff Scheduling Management for Libraries

We love creating tools that make (professional) lives of busy librarians a little easier, a tad more efficient, and much more pleasant. As the saying goes, time is money so if we can save you time – especially when doing mundane tasks that “just need to be done” – that’s a big win in our book.

Let’s talk about one of these types of tasks: staff scheduling for various service points and departments. It’s all about spreadsheets, post it notes, endless back-and-forth about who can work when, where, how to swap shifts when needs arise, who to staff at which desk, how to let everyone know of any changes, etc. To add complication, most academic libraries have student assistants who have limited schedule and can only work a certain number of hours,  public libraries have volunteers who can commit only a certain number of hours as well, and school libraries have parents and other volunteers who’d love to help if things can work around their already-busy schedules.

“There must be a better way”, we thought. How about a simple web-based system that takes into account the availability of each staff member, their other responsibilities, the max # of hours they can work, their shift preferences… and it makes it easy to change things when needed, i.e. swap shifts, and organize everything in one place, with awesome statistics to boot. Meet LibStaffer – a web-based staff scheduling system for Academic, Public, School, and Special libraries. With LibStaffer you can:

  • Define and Develop Schedules for:
    • Desk staffing 
    • Services staffing (virtual reference, telephone support, etc.)
    • Department coverage
    • Student Employees
    • Library Volunteers
  • Get the Whole Picture
    LibStaffer shows you the schedules for all your services and departments in one place, with a variety of view options (daily/weekly/monthly, Timeline-based views, etc.). Filter those views to target shifts that still need coverage, filled shifts, shifts by staff member, etc.
  • Effortlessly Create Repeat Shifts
    Set up shifts once, and repeat them for as long as you like! Label and color-code your shifts for clarity, set the number of staff required to fill the shift, and even add notes so people know what to do during that shift.
  • Auto Schedule Shifts
    Assign each staff member “Favorite” shifts to create a repeating schedule in a snap! Plug in a date range, and Auto Scheduler takes care of assigning staff to shifts. We automatically resolve things like:

    • Assigning staff to preferred shifts
    • Scheduling conflicts across calendars
    • Time-off requests
    • Weekly / Monthly maximum work hours per staff member
  • Manage Time-off Requests Online
    Staff can request time off using categories that you define (Vacation, Sick leave / Dr.’s appointments, Conference Travel, etc.). Admins can approve & deny these requests, and leave notes for clarification.
  • Shift Swaps
    Optionally allow staff to swap assigned shifts automatically, or require Admin approval.

LibStaffer is only a month or so from official release, so we’re looking for a few forward-thinking libraries to participate in our “Fast-track Beta” to help us figure out the last few details before release.

Update: Thanks to overwhelming interest, we are no longer accepting beta site applications. To sign up for LibStaffer updates and be the first to know when it’s available, email us at sales@springshare.com.