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

Happy New Year to all, and goodbye to 2020! We are pleased to open 2021 with some great improvements across several Springy apps. These releases are on their way to you next week and will be live in all regions by the end of the day on Friday, January 15. Read about: LibAnswers | LibCal | LibStaffer | LibInsight

LibAnswers

We are so very excited to introduce this newest LibAnswers release. This update brings our brand new Quality of Service suite of features – these features are designed to help you track and analyze how satisfied your patrons are with the service you provide via LibAnswers, and keep your finger on the pulse of how your users are feeling. Read on for all the details of these exciting new features. For full release notes of every feature that is rolling out in this update, please visit the Springshare Lounge Release Notes.

Quality of Service Features

Our new Quality of Service features are designed to help you collect feedback from patrons on their overall satisfaction with the service you provide via LibAnswers. These features will assist you with collecting direct patron feedback in the form of a follow-up user satisfaction survey that’s sent to patrons 24 hours after a ticket has been marked closed. In addition, these features include a wealth of indirect feedback on patron satisfaction, in the form of a suite of new metrics available for every ticket that show data related to time to first reply, total turnaround time, and number of interactions (i.e. the number of time that staff members interacted with a given ticket). 

Our new suite of Quality of Service features includes the following elements:

  • Image of Follow-up user satisfaction emailFollow-up User Satisfaction Email/Survey – With this new feature, you can create a follow-up user satisfaction survey and accompanying email to send to patrons. The survey you create consists of one customizable “rating” question in which you specify the number of values in the scale and customize the scale’s labels and layout, so it’s fully targeted to your users. Users will respond to this rating question directly in the email by clicking on their chosen response. Choosing a rating/response opens a new tab in the patron’s default browser which prompts users for additional free-text comments to explain the rating they’ve chosen.  Users will receive this email approximately 24 hours after their ticket has been marked closed, and users will only ever receive a survey once per ticket. 
  • Quality of Service Reports – These new reports gather all Quality of Service metrics and reports together in one place, so it’s easy to see your patrons’ satisfaction at a glance. Admins will find these reports at Stats > Quality of Service; here you’ll find reports on patron responses to user satisfaction surveys, as well as turnaround metrics that will help you investigate tickets with long vs short turnaround metrics. 
  • Updated Ticket Answer Page – We’re updating the layout on the ticket answer page to include all of the available turnaround time metrics (time to first reply, time to close, and total interactions). We’ve also made some additional changes in the page to better expose information about your patrons; you’ll see a new Patron Info box in the top, right corner of the page, which displays high-level info about the patron, responses they’ve provided in your question form, and their full patron history details, so you can view the full history of conversations with this particular patron. 

To start customizing your site’s user satisfaction survey and email, admins can head to Admin > Queues > Edit Queue > Quality

Excited? Us too!! And in even more exciting news, this is just our first step into giving you a full picture of your user’s satisfaction. In the coming months, we’ll also introduce a new suite of features centered around calculating your Net Promoter Score, a standardized industry metric of user satisfaction. We’re creating new widgets that can be embedded in any website and collect satisfaction data, as well as targeted reports that will showcase your users’ satisfaction and segmentation metrics. Stay tuned for this exciting new module, coming in the first quarter of 2021!

In addition to the new Quality of Service tools, we have so many more features coming in this release. For the full list of new features, please check out the Springshare Lounge Release Notes. There you can read about all of the new features we’re introducing, including:

  • We’ve added a couple of new LibChat settings:
    • To automatically create follow-up tickets from missed chats; and
    • To limit users to viewing chat transcripts only in departments to which they belong.
  • We’re adding a full emoji picker to the LibChat dashboard, so you can pick from a library of over 400 emoji with the click of a button! 🙂
  • We’re improving the connection between chats and follow-up tickets; now you’ll be able to view at-a-glance which chat transcripts and missed chats have had follow-up tickets created. 
  • Did you know you can launch a patron chat without a chat widget? It’s true! We’re expanding our documentation to make this clearer, and we’re also updating our direct chat link option so it can accept more query string parameters, so you can programmatically pass information like a user’s name and email address into a chat. Hello, chatbots! 

Upcoming LibAnswers Training Sessions:

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

LibCal

We’re happy to bring you the following LibCal updates to help improve Seat/Space booking daily operations and policies! Also included in this release are some helpful usability features as well as our new Email Queue feature, which you can read about further below.

Seats/Spaces & Equipment

  • We’ve added the ability to select multiple booking statuses when browsing the Booking Explorers for Spaces & Equipment.
  • If set for a location, the “Reminder” and/or “Follow-up” email info will now display in the booking details. Also, if mediation is enabled, the details of mediation approvals/denials will be available to view in the booking details.
  • A new location setting enables only LibCal Admin users to check users in or out of a booking.
  • The ability to modify the Check In/Out Date & Time fields for a booking is now available on the admin side, when viewing the details of a booking.

Appointments

  • If the availability duration entered does not meet the minimum requirement for a user’s set duration plus padding, the user will not be able to save the availability until making adjustments.
  • We’ve modified the stats report to only display available times for users currently assigned to a group.
  • When the Exchange/Outlook integration is enabled for an Appointments user, events created in Outlook by this integration will be marked “Private.”

Misc.

  • Verification of Email Delivery! From this release forward, you will be able to see whether an email was successfully sent out of LibCal, regardless of whether you are using the Springy email service or your own SMTP server. Head to Admin > System Settings > Email Queue to find filters with which you can narrow results, or to view the full contents of any email. Bonus! if an email was not submitted successfully and is marked with a “Failed” status, you can resubmit it. If your system sends out a large volume of email, you will also see any emails that are queued for impending sending.
  • You can now select which tab to land on when visiting the “Event Calendars” page. You can also specify a preferred Calendar. Go to Admin > Accounts > Edit Account > Preferences, or click your email address in the top, right corner to set preferences.

Upcoming LibCal Training Sessions:

Also check out our recorded sessions, and don’t miss the LibCal release notes on the Springshare Lounge! [Back to Top]

LibStaffer

  • We’ve modified the “Staff” Report so the correct “Next Shift” for a user always displays.
  • We fixed an issue that prevented schedules from printing in Landscape orientation.
  • Inactive users will now be available for reporting on the Scheduled Shifts report, when “All Schedules” is selected. These will be at the bottom of the staff list and be labeled “Inactive.”

Also check out our recorded training sessions, and don’t miss the LibStaffer release notes on the Springshare Lounge! [Back to Top]

LibInsight

Twelve Hour Time Format for Custom / Shared Dataset Recording – You will be able to select the time format to record any time-related fields in your custom/shared dataset. To select which time format you would like, head to System Settings > Dates & Currency > Record Data / Widget Time Format. Please note that the Analysis page will still render the entered time data in 24 hour format.

Filter COUNTER 5 Top 100 Titles by Platform

Ever wanted to view the Top 100 Databases, Journals, Books, Other titles by platform? Now you can! Simply select the individual platform you want to filter the top 100 title reports by in the COUNTER 5 Analysis page.

Check out the LibInsight release notes on the Springshare Lounge! [Back to Top]

That’s it for this round of updates from Springy HQ. We would like to thank you, our user community, for sharing all your great ideas with us! We love making them a reality and look forward to bringing you many more improvements in 2021. We are always here for you if have any suggestions or questions.

Springshare Support Closed for Holidays

It’s been said before, but it is worth repeating – 2020 has been a year. Springshare support is not only excited to say goodbye to this really tough year but also to take some (well-deserved) time off. ICYMI, in our recent newsletter – the Springshare Support team answered 35,000 support questions this year… up 19% from 2019. We also taught training sessions to 8,500 attendees, had 20 major product releases, and more. Phew, we’ve been busy! Therefore, our Springshare Support, Training Team, and our Facebook and Twitter accounts will be closed for a few days over the holidays.

Springshare Support Schedule
(Including Training & Social Media)

Closed

Will be monitoring for emergencies. All non-emergency questions will be answered when we reopen.

  • Thursday, Dec 24
  • Friday, Dec 25
  • Friday, Jan 1

Reduced support hours (9am-5pm U.S. EST):

  • Monday, Dec 28 – Thursday, Dec 31

Springshare 24/7/365 Global Reference Will Be Open!

Our Springshare 24/7 global reference service, which backs up your reference chat service with MLIS-degreed librarians, will be open! When we say 365 days a year, we mean it. 🙂

If you’re interested in adding 24/7/365 chat coverage to your reference outreach, contact us at sales@springshare.com.

If You’re Still Working… We Have Suggestions!

If you’re still working over this holiday season, we have some suggestions for you to help make the most of your time!

SpringyU – is all about self-paced learning via short videos. Choose to learn with Blocks or beef up your skills with Courses. If you’ve got 5 minutes or a lot more than that, you can attend SpringyU right from your chair. 

Pickup Manager Blocks on SpringyU

SpringyNews – Find yourself in the midst of a slow period? Peruse our latest newsletter, which just so happens to be our 50th edition!

Springshare Buzz – Been hearing the buzz about Pickup Manager, and want to check it out? Or perhaps you’ve been hearing a lot about the LibAnswers Co-Op but don’t know what it is? Does a 5-minute LibCal Seats overview video sound exactly like what you’re capable of handling today? Check out the Product Highlights page on the Springshare Buzz Site for quick looks and more.

Catch up on Updates – It’s really helpful to keep up with all the new features and fixes for Springshare tools that are now available to you. Plus, we also released a mini-update for LibCal last week!

Opt In – for the gift that keeps on giving. Or follow us on Facebook and Twitter so you can check out the stories we’re sharing all year long.

We want to thank you for continuing to be our awesome’sauce clients in what was most certainly a difficult and turbulent year. We are so grateful for the opportunity you’ve given us and the trust you have in us to help you and, ultimately, your patrons. Thank you for sharing your feedback, suggestions, and wishlists and for your never-ending example of true dedication. We’ll see you in the New Year and goodbye 2020!

Springshare Learning Lab: Reopening Libraries Safely

Our December Springshare Learning Lab focused on how the Gwinnett Technical College reopened their library safely using LibCal Seats. Over the summer, as campuses were preparing to open fully or modeling a hybrid approach for the Fall semester, library administrators were tasked with opening the library to students, safely. This meant ensuring access but in a manner that adheres to social distancing protocols and mandated occupancy restrictions.

Deborah George faced this task for the Gwinnett Technical College library and they used LibCal seats just in time for the first day of their Fall semester. Her Springshare Learning Lab covers how they used LibCal seats to provide access to computers/webcams, printers, study rooms, and staff (!!!) to students requests those services.

Springy Michelle then covers the second half of the webinar which includes an overview of the LibCal hierarchy of Locations > Categories > Spaces > Seats, setting up restrictions/limitations, creating accessibility/powered Seats, and more.


In case you missed it, the full recording is available. Watch below and find Deborah’s slides on the Buzz site. LibCal Seats is designed for all libraries, so whether you’re an academic library like Gwinnett Technical College or a public library, or if you’re not a library at all, LibCal seats can help you reopen your buildings safely.

Final Code Release of the Year: LibCal Goodies

Before we usher in a much-needed new year, we are happy to bring you some LibCal goodies for the holiday season! This release is on its way to you next week, and will be live in all regions by the end of the day on Friday, December 18.

Seats/Spaces

  • We’ve added the ability to move or bulk-move Seats between their containing Spaces. Bulk-deleting Seats is also now available!
  • The admin booking grid has been enhanced to include additional search filters for the ‘Accessible’ & ‘Powered’ Seat/Space attributes. The appropriate icons will also display on the admin booking grid.
  • The ‘Back-to-Back’ booking limit has been modified to support the ability to restrict simultaneous bookings without enforcing the minimum of one hour required before the next booking can be made.
  • To assist users who want to check into a Seat/Space but have not yet made a booking, we added a link to the Check in/out page. The link will bring the user to the individual booking page for that Seat/Space.
  • It’s now possible to disable the check in/out requirement for a booking. You can do this when making a booking on the admin side or by editing a booking created through the public booking pages.
  • There is now an accessible / screen-reader-friendly booking page for Seats. Support for period-based booking locations has also been added to these pages. These links are at the bottom of each page.
  • A few changes have been completed for our API:
    • New endpoints for Spaces & Equipment to return all spaces or items and their availability in a location.
    • The Zone, Accessible, & Powered attributes are now available in the space/category/:id & space/item/:id endpoints.
    • Check In & Out codes have been added to the Spaces /booking/:id & /bookings endpoints.

Misc

  • Auto Zoom meeting password generation is now available for this integration.
  • The ability to link locations in the Hours module to opening / closing hours in Alma is now available.

Interested in more detail for this release? Check out the LibCal release notes on the Springshare Lounge! [Back to Top]

Want in-depth coverage of the ins and outs of LibCal? Don’t forget you can always check out our recorded training sessions!

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.

ICYMI: Our First Springshare Learning Lab!

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.

Register today! COVID-19 – Bringing Patrons Back to the Building
Tuesday, December 8, 2020
11:00am – 12:00pm ET

Just getting started with LibCal Seats? Since we won’t have time to cover every setting during the Learning Lab, we have a full training session scheduled for the next day.

Register today! LibCal Seats – Get Your Library Ready to Reopen Safely
Wednesday, December 9, 2020
2:00pm – 3:00pm ET

We hope to see you at one or both of the sessions! Wishing you all a happy and healthy holiday season. 🙂

Springshare Holiday Hours & Support Schedule

It’s that time of year again, the holidays are almost here and we’re seeing an end to 2020 (thank goodness!). To that end, our Springshare Support Team schedule will see some modifications during this holiday season. Have no fear, your support question will be answered. Additionally, we will be monitoring our support queue, Twitter, and Facebook for emergencies.

Support & Social Media

Closed (monitoring for emergencies):

  • Thursday, Nov 26
  • Friday, Nov 27
  • Thursday, Dec 24
  • Friday, Dec 25
  • Friday, Jan 1

Reduced support hours (9am-5pm U.S. EST):

  • Wednesday, Nov 25
  • Monday, Dec 28 – Thursday, Dec 31

Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season.

Promote Contactless Communication

In some parts of the world, lockdowns are taking place again. In others, the trend is heading that way. It’s looking like we’ll all be experiencing another shelter-in-place soon in order to stop the spread of this deadly virus. The good news, we know a lot more now than we did only eight short months ago. We’re not suddenly scrambling to a work-from-home environment or pivoting to online-only services in just a matter of days. To that end, we’d like to share our best tips for promoting contactless communication during yet another COVID-19 lockdown. Your patrons, students, customers might not be able to see you in person… but you can still ‘see’ them online.

Create Searchable COVID-19 FAQs in LibAnswers

Not only are we living through an unprecedented pandemic but an infodemic too. Your users are being inundated with conflicting and sometimes downright false “information”. It’s so hard to know where to go, online, to get credible information. Create COVID-19 searchable FAQs highlighting recent research, regional laws/regulations, and how the library’s hours/services are affected. This 35min training video covers how you can keep important information updated in your LibAnswers, including creating a COVOD-19 FAQ group.

Searchable COVID-19 FAQs in LibAnswers

Offer Live Chat with Screensharing/Webcam Functionality

You’ve spent time cultivating relationships with your patrons. They most likely know your face, your smile, and even your ‘funny’ jokes. (What building has the most stories? The Library! – cue the eyeroll). Those special bonds don’t need to end with remote services.  LibChat’s screensharing allows you to engage in back-and-forth chat and you can even conduct ‘live’ sessions with patrons with optional webcam functionality, recording, and more!

And, if you’re thinking you don’t have the bandwidth to offer chat or offer it for the number of hours your patrons would need it – our 24/7 Chat Cooperative is here to back you up with MLIS-degreed librarians. Enable 24/7/365 chat services or custom coverage hours.

What is the Status of Your Buildings & Services?

Is your building open? What about the 3D printer? Is curbside delivery available? Your patrons have questions about the status of your building, services, and more. Create a LibAnswers System & Status Dashboard (with an embeddable widget) and keep them updated 24/7 on your status. Make use of social media integration so if the status of a service changes, broadcast it out on Facebook and Twitter right from the Systems Status Dashboard. 


LibAnswers System & Status Dashboard

Keeping Staff Informed

It’s hard enough keeping staff updated and informed when you see them every day at the workplace. Updates to the manual go unnoticed. Post-it notes at the reference desk are overlooked. In our new work-from-home model, it’s even harder keeping staff informed especially if you’re relying on email and reply-all. We have some tips to help you use LibAnswers to create a powerful staff repository of information that is searchable, easily-updatable, and reduces your inbox clutter.

  • 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! This 26min training video covers all the steps.
  • Use LibChat for internal conversations & meetings: LibChat isn’t just for chatting with patrons. Set your chat status to internal and be available for quick chats with coworkers. Use LibChat screensharing to conduct internal meetings with a coworker or a whole department.
  • Create Internal Posts on the Systems & Status Dashboard: Not every post on the Systems & Status Dashboard might be suitable for the public. Create internal posts to update staff on a new process, COVID-19 restrictions, or planned downtime to a product or service.
Internal Posts on the System & Status Management Tool

Pickup Manager for Curbside/Contactless Communication

Our newest tool, Pickup Manager, integrates with multiple ILSes, LibCal, and LibAnswers to create a scheduling and communication platform for holds pickup. This way, your patrons can reserve their library items, schedule a time to pick them up, and communicate with you via chat and SMS/texting when they’ve arrived… all with seamless ILS integration to boot.

Springshare’s Pickup Manager

We’re In This Together

We know that this has been, and continues to be, an incredibly difficult and stressful time. Not only are you a library employee with all that entails but you’re also a friend, caretaker, child, or parent… trying to make sense of all the confusion, fear, and complexities that COVID-19 has brought both into your work-life and your personal life. And whether you’re working at the library or working from home, your work-lives and personal lives are now more intertwined than ever. How do we know this, well – because we’re going through this with you. Our Springy employees work-from-home and are now full-time teachers, caretakers, and more. And supporting loved ones who are working, and who are also dealing with the isolation that comes with the pandemic. So we know what you’re going through, because we’re going through it right alongside you. And we’re here to help. So, don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions, feedback, requests, recipes, or tips on keeping a 7 year old engaged in their Zoom class! We’re here to help and we’ll get through this in our typical Springy fashion… together.

Code Release: New LibGuides, LibWizard, LibStaffer, & LibInsight features coming your way!

The leaves are off the trees, we are eyeing our (single household only!) Thanksgiving menus here Springy HQ, and we have some awesome new features for you. These releases are on their way to you next week, and will be live in all regions by the end of the day on Friday, November 20.

Read about: LibGuides | LibWizard | LibStafferLibInsight

LibGuides

We have heard from quite a number of you that creating copies of all assets when you copy a guide has created some asset clutter, so we’re changing this a bit! Now, by default, when you copy a guide, all assets in that guide are mapped to the original guide. If you would still like to create new copies of all assets in a guide that you are copying, you can check the box labeled “Create copies of the guide’s assets rather than mapping to the original,” as pictured below.

This change will quickly allow you to create content from blueprint guides without cluttering up your Asset Repository. You’ll still be able to delete unwanted assets, boxes, or pages, and add new ones if you wish, but you’ll be making better use of existing content by mapping.

Use mapped assets

Please note that copying a guide from the Community has not changed. And a gentle reminder! Librarians for sure love to share, but please get permission from the guide owner before copying any guide. 🙂  

Other Improvements and Fixes
  • Added aria-hidden=”true” to the Font Awesome icons in the orange command bar to improve its accessibility.
  • Fixed an issue causing the default guide to always show as the Content Match in the LTI Instance Details table, rather than true, single guide match. No data was lost; we were simply not displaying it correctly.
  • We fixed an issue that occasionally caused the E-Reserves Request form to fail to submit.

Upcoming LibGuides Training Sessions:

Also check out our recorded sessions!  Lastly, don’t miss additional LibGuides release goodness in the LibGuides release notes over on the Springshare Lounge!

[Back to Top]

LibWizard

We have two new improvements to LibWizard: the ability to transfer a deleted user’s forms to another user, and an additional Referent Author’s full name (rft.au) OpenURL parameter mapping for the pre-filled form URLs.

Transfer existing forms to a new user when deleting a user

Managing a deleted user’s forms is easier now that you can transfer the users’s existing forms when deleting their account. Simply select the new owner of the forms when you delete the account from the Accounts management page.

Transfer Forms

Additional rft OpenURL parameter

We’ve added the rft.au (Referent Author’s full name) OpenURL parameter to field mapping when configuring pre-filled forms / surveys / quizzes / tutorials. Head to Form Options > Advanced > Configure URL settings to see this new parameter.

Other Improvements and Fixes
  • Fixed a display issue for individual feedback on multi-select checkbox fields.
  • Fixed field rule causing for File Upload “has file” to work improperly. 
  • Fixed an issue causing embedded LibWizard forms to sometimes have the wrong height.
  • Various (and sundry!) accessibility updates:
    • Fixed keyboard accessibility for the URL and Tooltip, when displaying these for sites that will not display in an iFrame.
    • Added aria-hidden=”true” to Font Awesome icons to make these decorative elements hidden from screen readers.
    • Added aria-live=”assertive” to make “This field is required” messages accessible to screen readers.
    • Eliminated role=”tab-group” where it appeared throughout, since it’s not a valid role.
    • Added “Next Slide” and “Prev Slide” to language settings.

Upcoming LibWizard Training Sessions:

Also check out our recorded sessions, and don’t miss the rest of the release notes over on the Springshare Lounge!

[Back to Top]

LibStaffer

We have a few new features we are bringing to your favorite shift-scheduling program:

Calendar Sync Improvements
  • Added an email notification opt-in email for sync errors/issues (currently for Exchange OAuth sync errors only).
  • Added a new tab to the Admin > Accounts page that shows the current Integration/Sync status for all accounts.
  • Added the ‘Token Max Inactive Time” field to the Admin > Integrations page for the Exchange OAuth sync integration.
Misc.
  • Added a “Go To Date” function to the Schedule View for easy navigation.
  • You can now show or hide the “Staff Required” column in the Scheduled Shifts report tab.
  • You can now compose Rich Text in the Admin Alert box. Head to Admin > System Settings > Admin Alert to get started. 

Also check out the LibStaffer release notes on the Springshare Lounge!

[Back to Top]

LibInsight

Last but not least, we have a few exciting LibInsight updates as well!

Copy Dashboard

Why manually recreate an existing dashboard when you can just create and edit a copy of it?

You can either create a new dashboard from scratch or select a dashboard to copy from the Dashboard interface. Select Dashboards from the Command Bar to get started.

Copy a dashboard

Rich Text Dashboard Row

Want to include a text explanation of a dashboard row? Now you can! Add a Rich Text row to any Dashboard by choosing “Rich Text” > Add Row while editing your Dashboard. 

Rich text row

Other Improvements and Fixes

  • We fixed the “Last Month” dashboard filter to include all hours of the last day of the month.
  • We fixed an issue causing the Custom dataset cross tab statistics to include non-null values in the null column.

Check out more from this release in the LibInsight release notes on the Springshare Lounge!
[
Back to Top]

That’s it for this round of updates from Springy HQ. We would like to thank you, our user community, for sharing all your great ideas with us! We love making them a reality and look forward to bringing you many more improvements in 2020 and–very soon–in 2021. We are always here for you if have any suggestions or questions.

Pickup Manager & LibCal Releases are On Their Way to You!

This release is on its way to you this week, and will be live in all regions by the end of the day on Friday, November 13.

Pickup Manager Release

This release brings key features needed for Pickup Manager, and we’re thrilled to announce that Pickup Manager is now available! Pickup Manager streamlines the holds pickup process while adhering to your COVID-19 safety guidelines. Patrons can easily request their holds via their ILS, schedule a pickup, and enjoy 2-way SMS/text and chat communication once they’ve arrived. Staff will love the easy 2-way communication with patrons via SMS and Chat in Pickup Manager’s live-updating “Today’s Pickups” dashboard. Pickup Manager has so many features to not only make your current day-to-day easier but when COVID-19 is a thing of the past, you’ll wonder how you ever did holds pickup ‘the old way’.

For more details on Pickup Manager, you can check out screenshots and detailed info at https://blog.springshare.com/2020/10/14/pickup-manager-is-here/. To give Pickup Manager a try at your library, reach out to sales@springshare.com!

LibCal Release

LibAuth Authentication Required to Access Seat/Space Reservation Page & Booking Grid

We’ve added a new option when set that will require your patrons/students to authenticate via LibAuth BEFORE accessing the new reservation page and seat/space availability. Head to Admin > Spaces & Equipment > LibAuth to check out this new feature!

Power Filter/Indication for Seat/Spaces

You can now flag a Seat or Space to indicate that there is a power source available. When creating or editing a Seat or Space record, there is now a new flag named ‘Powered’ that can be set. The ability to filter booking searches by this new flag has been added to the new reservation page. Also, any Seat or Space that is flagged as having a power source available will display on the availability grid next to the Seat or Space name.

Other Changes

  • By popular request we have added a new setting to free up the remaining time of a booking if a patron/student checks out early. Head to Admin > Spaces > Edit Location and set the “Early Check-Out Booking End Time Update” to make use of this new feature.
  • The ability to create recurring Seat bookings on the booking grid view is now available!
  • We have added API support for creating Seat bookings to the /space/reserve endpoint as well as returning location, category, seat, space and item names in all Spaces & Equipment booking endpoints.
  • A new “Preferences” tab has been added for admin side users to set a default location and tab when clicking on the Spaces or Equipment options from the main menu. Head to Admin > Accounts > Edit Account > Preferences or click on your email on the top right of the main menu and head to the “Preferences” tab to set your defaults!

Also check out our recorded training sessions, and check out the LibCal release notes on the Springshare Lounge! [Back to Top]

That’s it for this round of updates from Springy HQ. We would like to thank you, our user community, for sharing all your great ideas with us! We love making them a reality and look forward to bringing you more improvements in 2020 and beyond. We are always here for you if have any suggestions or questions.

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

You could say this week feels like ‘peak 2020’ and that’s not a good thing. It’s hard to stick to business as usual right now when anxiety is high and the future is uncertain around the globe. But the dates on the calendar keep ticking by, classes are continuing, and students are seeking help.

We’re working with an immense amount of stress, and we all need each other to get through this. And looking at and beyond our own workplaces, we could all benefit from a strong network of support. And gain some reassurance that staff and students will have the help they need when they need it.

A couple of weeks ago, we shared the experiences of two public library cooperative members – Denver Public Library and Arlington Heights Memorial Library. Today, we have word from two academic consortium library groups using local and academic chat cooperatives to support their staff members and their students alike!

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.

VCCS and CCCLC have two layers to their cooperative – first, their own network of local librarians that answer student questions within their consortium – plus additional help from the Springshare 24/7 Global Chat Cooperative’s (Co-Op) dedicated Academic Global Cooperative with its team of librarians.

The Co-Op is always there to help, especially during peak times, in the evenings, and on weekends. It ensures their students can get help 24/7/365 from a professional MLS-degreed librarian. And with LibAnswers, it’s easy for them to allow their librarians “first dibs” on each other’s chats, but then utilize the 24/7 global librarian network when they need it.

“Always Online” for Virginia’s Community College students

Virginia’s Community Colleges (VCCS) is composed of 23 community colleges in the state of Virginia, U.S., that serve over 200,000 students. And all of the libraries in its group use LibAnswers with LibChat to help students across their colleges – as well as provide help to students around the world and receive help from 24/7 Springshare librarians and other Co-Op librarians.

The below responses from its local and contributing cooperative librarians have been edited for brevity and clarity. 🙂

Are you noticing any trends in student questions and traffic numbers so far this fall? 

Certain campuses are seeing a drastic increase in chats during remote learning: 

  • “When NVCC went remote, we moved all our reference desks online, meaning that we cover the chat as if it is our reference desk during regular business hours.  Our chat numbers have increased drastically with remote learning. We love that we can help so many of our students and are grateful for the assistance we get from the VCCS and 24/7 Co-Op librarians in answering so many questions.” – Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA)

Others are seeing fewer chats, possibly due to everyone “just completely gobsmacked and shell-shocked” with the move to online. However, Germanna Community College sums it up nicely:

  • “This has been a real help to us! Going online during the pandemic has made us more aware of what students need from us to be successful. The chat can at least give students the sense that there really is someone else out there who cares and wants them to be successful.”

How has 24/7 chat supported your staff and students? What are some of the benefits of using LibAnswers/LibChat platform?

  • “24/7 chat gives students the flexibility to get help when it is most convenient for them. Providing live assistance gives them peace of mind during an already difficult time due to COVID-19 and the switch to online learning. It has been inconvenient for many students to not be able to physically come to the library, so at least this way they have easy access to help, which aids them in their virtual learning experience.” – Germanna Community College
  • “I appreciate how easy it is to submit a ticket for a chat in LibChat.  I feel like we are getting more LibAnswers tickets than we did previously, and I really appreciate that this feature is seeing increased usage as tickets allow me to offer students additional assistance.
    One of the features that I know everyone loves is screensharing. We use this feature a lot and find that it really helps when there are language barrier issues or when a visual demonstration will be more effective than a typed description.” – NOVA
  • “The great thing about LibChat/LibAnswers is it not only provides online support for students, but every chat engagement is an opportunity to glow up on your reference skills.” – Tidewater Community College

Providing 24/7 live assistance gives them peace of mind during an already difficult time due to COVID-19 and the switch to online learning. It has been inconvenient for many students to not be able to physically come to the library, so at least this way they have easy access to help, which aids them in their virtual learning experience.

How does the Academic Global Cooperative support the local VCCS cooperative? 

  • “We now have more online students than ever before, and LibChat makes it easier to reach them. The 24/7 Co-Op means that even as we’ve had to shorten library hours, our students can still get help at any time.” – Tidewater Community College
  • I’ve noticed that the Academic Global Cooperative and Springshare 24/7 librarian staffing levels appear to be in line with the number of questions received during the shifts that I cover. I don’t think we can underestimate the superior service that a 24/7 platform staffed by professional librarians offers students!” – VCCS Cooperative librarians

I don’t think we can underestimate the superior service that a 24/7 platform staffed by professional librarians offers students!

What do you think is a 24/7 chat support’s role in student success? How does it fit into your long-term library services strategy?

  • “We offer multiple channels for students to gain assistance with library services and resources – whichever channel is most appropriate or comfortable to them. By placing the library where the students are with chat, they have immediate access to professional assistance and quality service, setting them up for success.” – Danville Community College
  • “The cooperative’s role in providing 24/7 research support for students is an important service to community college students… In addition, non-traditional college students may lack basic research skills, technological skills to navigate library resources. The chat service enables librarians to provide assistance and basic instruction that critically impact student success.” – VCCS Cooperative librarians

CCCLC: There for their students – and each other – across 44 California colleges

The California Community College Library Chat (CCCLC) group is made up of 44 community colleges’ libraries across California serving approximately 720,000 students. According to Technical Services Librarian Glorian Sipman, the libraries are a pretty tight-knit group!

And when CCCLC librarians have to be offline during evenings and weekends, or even due to staffing changes, the Academic Global Co-Op is there to pick up chats from night owl and nontraditional students asking any questions.

Again, the below responses from CCCLC libraries have been edited for brevity and clarity. 🙂

How does the Academic Global Cooperative support the local CCCLC cooperative?

All responding libraries receive help in the evenings and on weekends. For the group in general, the Academic Global Cooperative & 24/7 librarians really help us out late in the evenings and on Fri/Sat/Sun. They do backstop us at other times if we’re busy.

  • “Cerro Coso really appreciates the Academic Global Cooperative, especially when most of the CCCLC participants are working day jobs in a California time zone and students are writing term papers at 3am. The global support helps us expand our services to reach our night owl students without requiring us to find local staff willing to work those times.”
  • “Grossmont College has no adjunct budget since July 2020. We also have full-time librarians on leave, so our chat monitoring hours are very limited. The Academic Global Cooperative (and local CCCLC cooperative) have been lifesavers for our students. We truly would not be able to get along without the backup chat reference service the cooperative provides.”
  • “College of the Desert currently has limited staffing when it comes to librarians and we are grateful for the backup and support we receive from the CCCLC cooperative, especially on Fridays, nights, and weekends when a COD librarian is not available.”
  • “College of the Canyons librarians monitor the CCC queue at all hours that we staff LibChat, also providing six hours of Global coverage per week.  We find that we respond to more questions from students from other colleges than our own!”

If there’s any silver lining to this pandemic scenario, it’s that our chat service is getting more promotion and use. We are very grateful that the Academic Global Cooperative is able to help us provide anywhere, anytime service to our students at their convenience, considering many of them may be trying to juggle work and kids at home, doing their own schoolwork after hours.”

Are you noticing any trends in student questions and traffic numbers so far this fall?

Libraries are seeing slight increases to huge increases while all classes are online this semester – and will likely be online in the spring.

  • “MiraCosta is seeing a lot more chats during the day than before. We are completely online this semester (as we were last semester and will likely be next); chat is one of the main ways we are serving our students’ reference and instruction needs.”
  • “Los Angeles Pierce College has seen a huge increase in chat use this fall. With no in-person services available, all of our reference services have been taking place through LibChat.”

How have the local CCCLC and Academic Global Co-Ops added value to your existing chat services? Any surprising benefits of using LibAnswers/LibChat?

  • “The Cerro Coso Library is quite small and can only staff our chat 1-2 hours a week… Having a chat function not only provides another method for our students to interact with librarians but it also drastically increases the number of hours in which students can get personalized help immediately, regardless of our own opening times or staffing issues.”
  • “I don’t think it is a surprising benefit because we have been experiencing it for many years, but having other CCC librarians available really helps as they understand exactly who our Solano students are and are familiar with many of the resources because we share a database consortium as well. So they bring an added benefit which makes helping students more seamless and apt.”
  • The screensharing functionality of LibChat is a game changer. Its simple integration makes it easy to set up Zoom sessions when students need it most. This has come in handy for many unique issues – connectivity, database walk-through, and citation help. When I think about citation assistance, specifically, it’s the perfect option to teach a student “to fish” rather than doing the tedious work of copyediting.” -MiraCosta Library

The Cerro Coso Library is quite small and can only staff our chat 1-2 hours a week… Having a chat function not only provides another method for our students to interact with librarians but it also drastically increases the number of hours in which students can get personalized help immediately, regardless of our own opening times or staffing issues.

What do you think is a 24/7 chat service’s role in student success?

  • “Clovis Community College is very thankful to the Academic Global Cooperative because those librarians make it possible for our students to have access when we are offline and the CCCLC librarians are not available. That is important now more than ever. Our students have used these middle of the night services, so having that access makes a difference.”
  • “By being part of the cooperative, San Bernardino Valley College truly offers 24/7 reference. Especially in this time of COVID-19, we appreciate the service.”
  • “Students need help in the moment and 24/7 chat provides that. Real-time chat (and potential Zoom) with a librarian at the point of need is invaluable. Grossmont College truly relies on this service to round out reference and instruction services–especially right now, while the library is closed to students.”

Thank you, Tara Cassidy at VCCS and Glorian Sipman at CCCLC! We appreciate you taking the time to share the experiences of your libraries. And we agree with you all — having a librarian there for students 24/7 can really set them up for success. Especially for students who work and have other responsibilities during the day and wouldn’t be able to reach professional support otherwise.

Interested in learning more about the Springshare 24/7 Global Chat Cooperative?