Archive for Tips and Tricks

Top 10 Springshare Blog Posts of 2020

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!

1. Librarian Reserve Corps Fighting COVID-19’s Infodemic

May 15, 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!


2. Pickup Manager is Here!

October 14, 2020

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!

3. ICYMI: Using LibGuides to Support Racial Justice & Create Inclusive Communities

August 7, 2020

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?

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

August 19, 2020

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!

5. Tips & Tricks for the Remote-First World

March 16, 2020

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.

6. Missed It? Watch it! SpringyCamp 2020 Recordings Available

August 11, 2020

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.

You can still review the list and watch them all!

7. Introducing the New (and Improved!) Springshare Lounge

September 24, 2020

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!

8. Supporting Staff & Students 24/7 with Local & Academic Chat Co-Ops

November 5, 2020

Virginia’s Community Colleges (VCCS) and California Community College Library Chat (CCCLC) group both frequently assist students who work and have other responsibilities during “regular business hours” – perhaps even more so during the pandemic. The individual colleges and libraries range in size and available staff, but together the two groups serve over 900,000 students.

In November, they shared how the Springshare 24/7 Global Chat Cooperative and the LibAnswers platform has helped them support their staff and students, especially during last year’s distance learning!

9. You’ve Switched to Remote Services… And the Numbers Show It

April 28, 2020

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 case you’re interested in how these numbers turned out, we updated them in our December SpringyNews edition!

10. Our First Springshare Learning Lab!

December 1, 2020

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.

New Year, New Springy Tips

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.

Under 10 Minute Tips for Every Springy App

Before and after profile example

1. Give Yourself a LibGuides Profile Refresh.

In the spirit of “new year, new you,” freshen up your profile with a new image, widget, or social media icon.

  • Double-check your contact information.
  • Use the multi-line address field to add your pronouns, time zone, and/or ORCID.
  • Update your profile image.
  • Add your work-related social media accounts.
  • Embed a chat and/or Appointments widget.

For more ideas on how to use profile boxes and pages, watch our related training video!

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. 

3. Streamline Ticket Views in LibAnswers.

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.

Pickup Manager Macro example

4. Expand Pickup Manager Macro Usage.

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.

5. Review LibWizard User Access.

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.

6. Check LibStaffer Calendar Syncing Status.

A well-planned schedule unfortunately never lasts, and as shift swapping and dropping begin in the new semester, start off the year by ensuring that everyone’s LibStaffer shifts and personal Outlook/Exchange or Google calendars are syncing. LibStaffer admins can do this by checking everyone’s integration status in one place!

Need to know when someone’s calendar syncing fails? Admins can also add an email notification address in your LibStaffer site’s System Settings.

7. Create Alert Reminders in LibInsight.

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.

8. Examine LibCRM User Roles & Permissions.

LibCRM Interactions permissions options

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!

Haven’t configured LibCRM roles and permissions yet? Read our related FAQ.

Bonus Tip: Update Your LibApps Password!

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 do-not-reply@libapps.com to change your password. If it’s not there, be sure to check your spam folder.
    • Don’t see an email? Contact one of your LibApps admins. They can reset your password for you.

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!

Introducing the New (and Improved!) Springshare Lounge

In case you missed the big announcement in our July SpringyNews edition, we launched a new and improved Springshare Lounge! In this ‘new normal’, we wanted to improve opportunities for Springy users to communicate with each other, share how they’re using Springshare tools, and leverage localized expertise.

Since its official launch nine weeks ago on July 27, the Lounge now has over 950 users posting a total of 123 discussions and 257 comments! Posts cover a variety of Springy Tools and topics ranging from how-to type posts to best practices and advice sharing. So if you haven’t yet, join the new Springshare Lounge and get ready for some virtual networking.

Earn Points & Level Up!

Helping your fellow Springy users deserves a reward right? We thought so too! So we added a points system to the new Springshare Lounge.

Earn points when you:

  • Make and comment on posts 
  • Have other users react to your posts 
  • Earn badges 

As you earn points, your level will increase, and the number of stars on your profile will increase.

Here are the levels and the point totals to reach them: 

  1. Springy Initiate: Everyone starts here! 
  2. Springy Novice: 75 points 
  3. Solid Springy: 200 points 
  4. Springy Expert: 750 points 
  5. Springy Hero: 1750 points 

If you’re wondering, big deal – earning virtual points gets me what? Well, you’re wrong! Earning points actually translates to both virtual and real-world perks!

Not only will achieving higher levels unlock extra lounge features, but the highest levels also opens access to some extra discussion categories as well.

Leveling Up Perks:

  1. Springy Initiate: Start discussions, comment on discussions. Everyone’s got this!
  2. Springy Novice (75 points): You can create polls in your discussions now. Let other lounge users vote on your polls. 
  3. Solid Springy (200 points): Add a signature to your posts if you’d like. Edit your own posts for up to a day for convenience. 
  4. Springy Expert (750 points): Gain the ability to use the “promote” reaction to a post or comment! Doing this will add the comment to “best of”. You also get access to submit posts to the Lounge Help Wanted category to advertise openings at your library.
    • If you come by our booth at a conference, (* offer not valid in 2020, of course) we’ll give you some special Springy merch. 
  5. Springy Hero (1750 points): We are in awe of your contributions and helpful deeds in this community. You’ll get access to Springy Labs to see sneak peeks of things we’re working on, as well as the chance to offer feedback on new designs and development. We’ll also send a thank you card to you, hand-signed by one of the Springy crew to show our appreciation. 

What types of posts will I see in the Lounge?

The Lounge is designed for you, plain & simple! You’ll see posts related to Springy products and topics but that otherwise run the gamut – users asking for help, others posting their ideas and best practices, and even some others putting out a call for research volunteers. Plus, you have the ability to post something as a question, and mark it as answered! This helps future users who search too, because they can see “oh, I have the same question too and it’s got an answer!”

Below are just some of our most favorite posts to date:

So, How Do I Sign-Up?

Good news, you can sign-up to join the Springshare Lounge today! Right now even! Go ahead, we’ll wait. 🙂 Okay, are you back? Let’s continue. 🙂

Joining the Lounge is super-easy! And if you were a member of our old Lounge, you will have to rejoin the new Lounge. It’s really fast and easy, just follow these instructions.

Plus, if you mention that you were a member of the old Lounge when you rejoin, we’ll give you a special badge. Or click here to claim your Original Forum Survivor Badge.

Creating a Profile & Community Guidelines

Once you’ve joined and created your profile, you’ll want to review the Community Guidelines. Like all good online communities, there are some “dos and don’ts”. While we believe that our community of users has a good understanding of online etiquette, reviewing these guidelines is important to get an understanding of the behavior expected in the Springshare Lounge.

… And You’re Off & Running

Once you’ve done the aforementioned items, you’re off and running! Search the Lounge and read some existing posts. Write a comment to an existing post if you have any feedback or an answer you’d like to share. Feel free to post a new discussion or ask a question. If you post a question, don’t forget to mark the post as answered once those comments start rolling in. Customize your notification preferences so you’ll get an email alert when people comment on your discussions or when someone else posts a discussion to a category you’re keeping an eye on. To customize your notifications, go to the Bell Icon > Notification Preferences.

ICYMI: Using LibGuides to Support Racial Justice & Create Inclusive Communities

During these frenetic times, it’s easy to miss an email or overlook an article you’d normally love to see. And while it’s the weekend.. almost… before our brains check out for the week, we wanted to highlight a few recent must-sees from the Springy community. If you have ten, or better yet, 30 minutes, we highly, highly recommend taking a look!

Must-Read: SpringyNews Article by Twanna Hodge

In case you missed it, last week’s edition of SpringyNews included an extra special guest. Written by Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Librarian Twanna Hodge from the University of Florida, it addresses 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?

Guides can provide necessary and helpful information and resources, but the work does not stop at creating a guide. Fighting for racial justice and creating inclusive communities is a consistent, life-long journey that takes time, effort, and resources. Racism is pervasive and permeates all areas of society, including libraries. Libraries do not operate outside of society, and isms and phobias are inherent in the people who work within them and the very structures of our organizations. Lean into your discomfort. Fail forward.

In her piece, Twanna continues to answer three important questions:

  1. What are resources that guide owners can provide that non-BIPOC creators tend to overlook?
  2. How can guides be built to make all users welcome and promote inclusivity?
  3. How can guides be used to start, continue, and move the conversation forward and to action?

Along the way, she points readers to some helpful resources, including:

Her article isn’t to be missed. To read it, head on over to the LibGuides Tricks page of July’s SpringyNews edition: Communities Reimagined.

Must-Watch: SpringyCamp Presentations on Amplifying Black Voices with Springshare Tools

In light of recent events, this year’s SpringyCamp added a special subtheme, Connections: Your Library & Social Justice – Amplify Black Voices with Springshare Tools. And while SpringyCamp wrapped up its two-day camp just yesterday, its recorded videos are already live!

We were thrilled to hear from Shaina V. Destine and Allison L. Sharp from the University of Tennessee Libraries and Lorin Jackson and Naja Smith from Swarthmore College.

They brought their own experiences and expertise to the table to present on creating LibGuides to recognize and include diversity, provide new opportunities to work with and engage students and faculty, and build and share collection materials from marginalized voices.

Head on over to the SpringyCamp 2020 guide to watch both days of presentations.

Here at Springshare, we’re committed to amplifying Black voices and using our tools to support anti-racism and foster inclusivity.  We thank our recent contributors for lending their voices, and we hope they’ll be widely shared within the Springy community!

Staying Motivated: Springy Projects & Professional Development

In the U.S., we’re about two weeks into social distancing and/or working exclusively from home, and we’ve started to settle into the new daily routine… at least for now. If we’re lucky enough to have flour, we’re stress-baking. We’re watching every TED Talk. We’re enjoying nightly Shakespearean sonnet readings. We’re video chatting with friends near and far.

For those who’ve also found themselves figuring out new responsibilities while they’re at home or the library is empty (or they simply can’t sit still), now may feel like a good time to start on items lingering at the bottom of the to-do list. It may also feel like a great time to find ways to avoid that to-do list. 😉

In this spirit, we’ve created an “It’d be great if I…” list of Springy-related projects to help you capture that motivation, take advantage of your product’s features, learn a new skill, or pass the time! While we’ve separated it by product, some of these ideas and skills could be applied to more than one.


LibGuides

Watch all of our training videos!

  • Strategize SEO: Review and update your site’s content to improve your search engine optimization. (newsletter tip)
  • Prep for summer: Create attractive reading lists to support your online summer reading program. (training video)
  • Fix JQuery: Find it before you realize it’s causing a code conflict. (newsletter tip)
  • [CMS & optionally LibAnswers] Create a virtual workplace / staff intranet. (training video)
  • Learn HTML and CSS.
    • Take an online class through sites like LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com) accessed through your local library, Codecademy, freeCodeCamp, or Udacity.
      • Some courses provide a live space to practice coding. Please use these and not your LibGuides site. 🙂 We are unable to fix custom code or create it for you.
    • Pro tips for adding custom HTML/CSS/JS into your site:
      • Use media/widget assets for all custom code added to guides so you can troubleshoot your code. We can’t stress this enough!
      • [CMS only] Create a new group to use as your sandbox and add code to its look and feel area.

Did you know that our newsletter includes LibGuides tips and tricks? The early March edition included Springy site cleaning ideas. Sign up to receive the next issue, slated for sometime this summer. 😀

LibAnswers

  • Create a robust internal staff knowledge base: Break out policies, login details, and staff-only information into individual restricted FAQs. It’s easy to search, browse, embed, and link them! (SpringyU FAQ groups and individual FAQ courses)
  • Start a virtual scavenger hunt using SMS. (training video)
  • Perform a full site cleaning. (training video)

Take the SpringyU course.

LibCal: Migrate from Room Bookings to Spaces

We haven’t set a sunset date yet, but it will eventually happen. Over the last few years, our development team has been busy adding new features to Spaces, the new room bookings module. Now is the time to complete the migration process, while your physical library doors are closed or your study rooms have reduced bookings.

Spaces features:

  • Easily set and change the opening hours rooms by campus/branch, location, or type.
  • Create and manage recurring bookings.
  • Set regular account permissions to limit who can create and edit bookings, mark who showed up, and adjust opening hours.
  • Create calendar events from the Spaces booking.

Take the SpringyU course pictured above and check out our FAQ that spells out this process from start to end.

LibWizard

  • Collect stories from students and patrons to build an online archive of your community’s experiences. (forms Springboard)
  • Survey your patrons to discover what types of online services they’d like to see. (surveys Springboard)
  • [Full subscribers] Create tutorials on how to access library resources, add LibGuides content to Blackboard/Canvas, or anything else that comes to mind! Extra credit if you create custom videos and images. 🙂 (standalone and embedded tutorials Springboards)

It can be difficult to stay motivated during this time, but we hope this list will provide you with some inspiration. For even more learning opportunities, register for an upcoming training session.

Thank you to everyone who has checked in these past few weeks. Wishing you all safety, good health, and even a few moments of peace during this crisis.

Resource Sharing with Patrons (and Fellow Springshare Users)

It’s an uncertain time for everyone, and while we’re all in this together as a community, some of us are literally in this together, sharing the same work and living space, for the foreseeable future. Parents (including our own Springys) may find themselves with children suddenly at home who may or may not have lesson plans or structured activities.

As schools are closing, people are hunkering down, and libraries find themselves grappling with the best way to serve and protect their patrons; sharing informational, educational, and entertainment resources online has become more important than ever.

To that end, we wanted to share some resources with you! These are for any fellow parents looking for kiddo distractions that encourage learning and librarians looking for guide inspiration and virtual programming ideas.

Here’s our list of interactive at-home learning sites our Springy parents have discovered or had recommended to them:

Do you have any sites to recommend? Add them as a comment. 😀

Sharing resources with Springshare tools

As you’re finding sites, videos, and other helpful resources for your patrons, here are just a few ways you can use Springshare’s tools to get the word out to your patrons:

Sharing resources with fellow Springshare users

For library staff able to work from home, now may be the time to update LibGuides and LibAnswers sites, create virtual programs and appointments using LibCal, and shift services in general. We’re here for you during this time! And our support ticket numbers tell us that you’ve found us, too. 😉

With many of us former librarians ourselves, we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out all of the online resources we have available for you and your fellow coworkers.

Here’s what we have freely available to our customers 24/7:

Springshare Help Center

Springshare Help Center

  • The searchable Springshare Help Center is great for finding answers to individual questions.
    • For those looking to complete multi-step tasks, like setting up LibChat widgets and the LibCal Appointments module, take a look at our Springboards that combine FAQs with step-by-step guidance and planning considerations.
  • Our training video library of past sessions also includes help guides and resources. We regularly update videos with our newest sessions!
  • SpringyU, our self-paced learning platform, currently features bite-sized Blocks and full Courses for LibCal and LibAnswers FAQs The team is adding more content as it’s being completed!

Our training team is also hard at work creating new sessions for librarians adjusting to the recent shift to online services. Here are some upcoming training sessions specifically for digital services:

  • Teaching Online: Webinar Tips from the Springys – Here at Springshare we do the bulk of our training online. Join us for a 20-minute session where we will share some tips and tricks we have learned to make online teaching easier for you to do and easier for your users to follow.
    • Date: Thursday, March 19, 2020, from 1:00pm – 1:20pm U.S. ET (UTC -4)
  • Use LibCal Appointments to Book Virtual Help/Reference Sessions – With the changes in how we are interacting with patrons, learn how to use LibCal to allow users to book Online Help Sessions with Appointments.
    • Date: Thursday, March 19, 2020, from 2:00pm – 2:45pm U.S. ET (UTC -4)
  • Keeping Important Info Up-to-Date with LibAnswers – We will look how to manage important information about your library, school, university or business, etc, in relation to the current crisis by creating a Covid-19 FAQ Group in LibAnswers.
    • Date: Friday, March 20, 2020 from 1:00pm – 2:00pm U.S. ET (UTC -4)
  • Build-a-LibGuide for a Class That’s Just Gone Digital! – With changes to how classes are being conducted, we need to adapt our methods for sharing information and resources. Join us for a 40 minute session where we will look at creating a guide to support a course that’s recently just gone online.
    • Date: Monday, March 23, 2020 from 12:30pm – 1:30pm U.S. ET (UTC -4)

You can find all sessions related to online learning in response to COVID-19 on our training calendar.

Finally, we have a couple of resources for librarians to help each other!

  • The LibGuides Community site – searchable guides, institutions, and librarians
  • The Springshare Lounge – a dedicated place for Springshare customers to ask each other questions and share information
    • Current LibApps users can request access to the lounge by clicking Sign Up

Many of us are just beginning to adjust the new reality, and we hope these will help you in the process of getting information out to the community and moving library services online. Again, we’re here with you every step of the way. 🙂

Tis the Season for (spring)Sharing – Tip #2: Keep Patrons Informed

Tip #2 – Keep Patrons Informed

We’re getting down to the part of the season where there are atypical hours and even closures either due to inclement weather or observed holidays. Just as important, there are some libraries that are anxious to let patrons know that they will, in fact, be open. LibAnswers has so many features in place that let you get ahead of the questions by taking a few proactive steps to keep your patrons in the know.

 

Honor Your Social Obligations 

The LibAnswers system has a Social Media Management tool built into it. Most libraries use it to broadcast details on all the fun happening at the library, but don’t forget, besides reminders, it’s designed to help you plan ahead, too! You can create and schedule Tweets, Pinterest pins, and Facebook posts — all from right inside LibAnswers. So, make sure to utilize these channels to let your patrons know:

  • About any changes to services at your library
  • If you’ll have adjusted or abbreviated hours
  • And, share any days you will be closed

Just go to Social > Create >  Select the Channel (Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest). Customize your message and schedule it to post at a future date and time. You can do this to maintain a social media presence even when you’re not open, or just to keep ahead of your to-do list. It doesn’t have to be critical FYIs… schedule any post!

Get Proactive About Your Answers

The beauty of LibAnswers is that — no matter which channels a patron prefers to use to communicate with your library, you can be there just by signing into the LibAnswers Platform. To save you and your team a lot of time during these weeks, write out the answers to your super popular FAQs of the season and then place them everywhere you need them.

  • FAQs – Wish you had Seasonal FAQs for those who like to search for answers? You can have them with the Status Change feature! Create the FAQ > select Change Status > opt to Schedule a Status Change. This means you can change the status to published just at the beginning of the season so that it’s not in the system all year confusing people. Instead the seasonal FAQ can be published when you want and then also be unpublished at a date you choose, as well. These can also be useful for extended hours during finals, etc. 
  • Macros – Create a few macros for tickets and SMS messages. When those queues fill up with questions like, “How late are you open today?” you can effortlessly tackle them one by one with your macros in place.
  • Canned Messages – LibChat allows for system-wide canned messages. So, Admins, go ahead and create some ready-to-go answers for your whole staff to use when chatting. Label them Thanksgiving Hours, Exam Hours, Holiday Closings, etc. Just be sure they’re clear at-a-glance because chat is a speedy endeavor, then let the team know they’re available for use! These canned messages can be easily re-ordered so that you can move them to the top when the time is right!

Have a Backup Plan

Some libraries operate with minimal staff during these last weeks of the year. Find out who is going to be part of that skeleton crew and see if they’d be willing to be set up as a fallback monitor to be designated in your LibChat widget. For instance, if the Reference Department monitors the widget for questions that come in, see if Circulation would be okay to have new chats sent to them in case the Reference Department is offline. It’s also possible to select specific operators. LibStaffer could help you know who’s working.

This time of year, doesn’t have to be so unpredictable. When you are open, use the Internal Notes field in Reference Analytics to leave a tag like “Holidays”. It will help you search for all the transactions — for which you recorded analytics from live ones to chats to tickets, etc. — that happened during the holiday season. This data will help you see if your patrons are engaging pretty heavily or even at a normal level with the library, or if it’s really quite slow at this time like you imagine it would be. Let the data replace the guesswork.

From all of us at Springshare, “Enjoy the rest of 2019 and we’ll see you in the new year!”

LibAnswers 24/7 Global Cooperative

Interested in looking ahead? We have a recording of the LibAnswers 24/7 Co-Op Sneak Peek session for you to view. To watch, click here.

Tis the Season for (spring)Sharing — Tip #1: The Eventful Library

Tip #1 — The Eventful Library

What’s on the schedule for these next three weeks? Is it chaos, or cookies? This time of year, most libraries have event calendars that are jam-packed! LibCal is just as full of tremendous features — as your libraries are of eager patrons. Let’s make a list (and check it twice) of the ways you can ensure that you’re doing your level best to keep your library eventful and jolly.

Everything’s Better When You Make it from Scratch

While we do have options in place to make it easy for you to set up repeating events, December calendars tend to have a lot of unique offerings. Start from the beginning by taking advantage of the integrated space and equipment booking feature. At event creation, go ahead and reserve the auditorium for the Winter Poetry Reading and, while you’re at it, reserve a podium, microphone, and that projector to mimic falling snow behind your readers. Don’t forget to use the setup and teardown padding, if there’s a lot to do.

 

 

The More the Merrier

Marketing can be an intimidating concept. Just remember that there’s a reason people judge a book by its cover. A picture’s worth a thousand words. LibCal allows you to draw your patrons in with featured images — both in the Daily List view and, more recently, the Daily Card view. This can be done even after the event has been created. So, put your best photo forward and pull in those attendees! With the right image, that Ugly Knitting Party could easily become a hot ticket.

Don’t Cut Off the Tags

Tags are good when you’re creating events. Want to ensure the tags work for you? You’d have to always remember to add the Audience and Category right from the start. To establish this as part of the process, you can make the fields required for all new events. The Audience can be adult or all ages, faculty or first-year students. Have as many as you like. They’re easy to create and manage. Categories allow for even more filtering. LibCal has System-Level Categories and also Calendar-Level Event Categories. These designate the kind of event like Book Club, Crafts or Holiday, etc. Using these tags will help your patrons find events that might be of interest to them. One might be looking for a craft event for teens. Someone else might be looking for database help for transfer students. You’ve got all this excellent programming lined up, make sure your patrons can find events and get excited about them.

If registration is required, make sure that you encourage patrons to register by creating an Event Button that you embed on your library website, in a related LibGuide, or anywhere you know your patrons are visiting.

 

Enjoy Top Billing

The Billing feature in LibCal allows you to have integrated online payments natively built right into the system to collect payment online via card or in person. If you’ll charge patrons to attend some of the special events at your library this month, you’ll be happy to know that you won’t have to push folks out to some other external site when it’s time to pay. Having a 3D Printer event where people make snowflakes? They can pay for the event right at the moment of registration or opt to pay at the event.

In our October update, we modified the status and processing of refunds for in-person payments. Now, if a booking or registration that was paid for in-person is canceled, the status will change to “refund due”. The Springshare team has worked very hard to make sure you and your patrons feel comfortable with the whole process. Not having to go to out into the cold to, yet, another interface is part of that. Billing currently supports five currencies and you can, of course, see a record of all completed payments, refunds, and cancelations. You know how frustrating it can be to untangle a string of lights. LibCal keeps your records straight.

 

So, go ahead and promote those “Hot Cocoa Mixers” and your “Hit the 2020 Ground Running” resume workshop. LibCal features make it easy to have successful events time and Father Time, again. And, if you really want to be a star, send out a LibWizard survey afterward!

 

Springshare Helps You Manage Library Schedule Breaks With Ease

Just In Time! Learn How to Keep Your Calendars and Schedules Rolling Along.

Tis the Season! Between people on your staff asking for time off and adjusted Library schedules to multi-day closures and not-business-as-usual office hours, plus the occasional storm, and don’t forget the flu —  this time of the year can be a little chaotic. You have to be especially proactive, making sure to clearly communicate any changes to your patrons. Want to avoid a face-off with the Abominable Snowman? Use multiple methods to get the word out.

Learn how Springshare tools like LibStaffer, LibCal, and LibAnswers help prepare you for this season so, any surprises…will be good surprises!

LibStaffer First! Because You Want to Run Smoothly from the Inside Out.

When there are challenges ahead, get your house in order. Look internally to see what you can do to keep the library staff informed of the increased or decreased hours in the upcoming weeks and months. Follow these LibStaffer tips to ensure smiles on the library floor.

  • Connect – You can avoid the mess of pulling schedules back to revise them based on seasonal hours. Take the steps to connect LibStaffer Schedules to corresponding LibCal hours for specific locations. Admin > Schedule Settings > Edit Settings > LibCal Integration > Select a Library or department from your Hours list > Save. This way, if there are modified opening and/or closing hours, you can be extra diligent by opting to overlay the current hours when you assign people to shifts.
  • Manage –  Balance allowing your team the flexibility to swap and give up shifts with providing ample time for Managers and all involved to be ready for the changes. You can set up new parameters for both swaps and give-ups effectively restricting them to a selected amount of time before the shift starts. Admin > Schedule Settings > Edit Settings >Swap or Give Up Shifts > Enable restriction > Select Amount of Time.

LibStaffer is full of super useful features to help you stay on top of who is working and when. Don’t forget these concrete ways to keep everyone informed.

  1. Customize the Admin Alert Box to broadcast any policies for requesting vacation days.
  2. In the Approvals Pending page, LibStaffer lets you know if the person requesting time off is already scheduled for that time. You will also find the ability to approve, deny, or edit the request and see the staff member’s history — so make an effort to decide their fates as soon as possible. It’s appreciated because, during this time of year, sometimes travel arrangements have to be made. 

LibCal for All Seasons!

Every day of the year, LibCal keeps your library efficient and visible. LibCal shares your vitals: the what, when, and where. To make sure it’s the authority, keep it current!

  • Hours Module – Since the October updates, the hours in your LibCal system can now be associated with an Event Calendar you have. It is likely already connected to other components of your LibCal system. Never fear this time of year! You don’t have to change everything and then change it back, you can simply add and manage exceptions.
  • Appointments – Don’t forget to think about yourself! By this we mean, have a look at your availability that you share via Appointments. Perhaps you’re taking some days off and want to stack your appointments before you go. Or, maybe you want to modify your schedule so you can get on the road to see family? No worries! LibCal makes it easy to add and delete availability times from your appointment schedule.
  • To be doubly careful you don’t get booked when you can’t be — be sure to sync your Appointments availability with your LibStaffer shifts. This way if you’re scheduled for a shift in LibStaffer, you will be marked as unavailable for an appointment. Remember with cold and flu season, the shifts might be a bit unpredictable so this is a good precautionary measure.

LibAnswers for Anticipating the Questions.

The spectacular thing about LibAnswers is that patrons can ask their questions when they feel like asking them, whether the library is open or already closed for the day. Additionally, the system also has lots of little places you can customize to make sure you are communicating masterfully. 

  • SMS Keywords – Promote your library’s SMS number heavily. Then be sure to set up a number of Keywords. This allows your patrons to text a word or phrase to your SMS number and receive a text with relevant information right away. So if they text “hours” they’d receive a reply with the library’s hours (which you have made sure is current).
  • Autoload Delay – Configure the autoload delay feature to set up a proactive chat widget. Customize the language for the text of the header to say something fun like, “Remember, the library will be closed from X to X. Would you like to chat with a librarian now?” Everyone’s getting a reminder whether they decided to take you up on the chat or not.

Springshare tools work well together so go ahead and cross announce to cover all your touchpoints. Create a LibAnswers FAQ about seasonal hours and then link to your LibCal hours in the answer. Make edits to your Using the Library LibGuide to include the modified hours information and the new FAQ. Make an FAQ on the policies for taking sick days and vacations for your LibStaffer Admin alerts box. Be creative. Have fun. Customize language where you can to remind everyone that there are changes. Then infuse the library with apple cinnamon air fresheners to keep everyone smiling and looking forward to it all.

Share LibWizard Surveys With Some Fields…Pre-Filled For Ease

LibWizard. Yes! Send Surveys with Fields Already Pre-Filled

Getting Feedback Just Got A Whole Lot Easier!

Libraries mean it when they say they want patron feedback. The term gathering intelligence couldn’t be more appropriate than when considering feedback surveys. Expertly crafted instruction sessions are just the beginning of this essential relationship being built between the librarians and their patrons. How did they find out about the session? Did it deliver what was promised or marketed? What did it not cover that it should have? Would that participant recommend the session to a friend? Asking the right questions for your library is a critical piece of the puzzle. Post-instruction surveys are an invaluable source for anyone committed to customer service.


The full LibWizard system not only makes it easy to create unlimited surveys, forms, quizzes, and tutorials. Along with the many amazing new LibWizard features now, you can even elect to pre-fill some of the fields to further support ease of use.

Using The LibWizard Pre-Fill Feature in Your Surveys.

You can create surveys for website feedback, pre- and post-instruction, to gather feedback for events at your library, to learn more about what your patrons want to see more or less of in terms of services, etc. Chances are if you want to know what your users think, a survey will do the job. In many cases, it would be beneficial to both your team and the patrons themselves if some of the fields were pre-filled. It saves time. It assures a level of accuracy that might otherwise skew results or cause confusion. It allows your users to focus on the questions that serve the core purpose of the survey.

Here are some examples of fields that you might pre-fill. If you plan to send your survey to a specific subset of people, you can make things a bit easier by pre-filling, for instance, the course section.

You can pre-fill the name of the instructor, the semester, the type of event, location, etc. Some patrons hesitate to fill out surveys because they fear it will be time consuming.

In the interest of efficiency and to get as many participants as possible, make this pre-fill step part of your process. You need this information, but it can be handled nicely by this LibWizard feature.

Avoid survey fatigue! Only ask what you need to ask and pre-fill what you can.

How To Enable & Get Started With The LibWizard Pre-Fill Feature.

Our LibWizard FAQ states that,

You can pre-fill a survey’s fields by passing values in a URL, using either a custom URL string that you create, or an OpenURL link. When a user clicks on one of these links, they’ll be taken to your survey with the fields already filled out using the values passed from your URL.

The Custom URL option is just that. Values are contained inside parameters which are added to the end of the survey’s custom URL. Send that URL to your participants and the fields are pre-filled per your selections.

The OpenURL option lets you map survey fields to specific OpenURL parameters, subsequently passing citation information to your survey from, perhaps, your link resolver or catalog.

Our example here uses the Custom URL option. To get started, go to Survey Options > Advanced >Pre-Filled Survey via URL > Configure URL Settings.

Once inside the configuration screen, simply Enable the Pre-Filled Survey via URL option. Now you will see your survey questions and can proceed with deciding for which questions you want to go ahead and pre-select the answers. Make your choices. Click Generate custom URL string and voila! You can now send this URL to the ENG 101 class taught by Chester Copperpot with those fields already filled. 

To learn more about the Custom URL option, like how to swap the Field IDs used as the default identifier in the URL for the field short names, which can make it easier to know what’s in the URL string, or to look into the OpenURL option, which can be favorable for interlibrary loan request forms, for instance — make sure to read the LibWizard FAQ dedicated to this Pre-filled Fields feature.

You want patron feedback. It’s crucial to improving all your library’s efforts. Create surveys that are relevant to the patrons. Make them painless. And perhaps, more importantly, share with them the reasons their input is vital.