LibCal and LibAnswers Major New Functionality Release

Quarantine or not, we’re always busy churning new features and functionality of our platform, based on suggestions and feedback from our customers. This upcoming code release for LibCal and LibAnswers is the best example of our responsiveness to customers’ needs. With librarians pivoting to different service models centered around remote-first teaching and learning, many of you told us that you’d love to be able to conduct research appointments and hold online events via LibCal. We heard you and, a few weeks later – we made it happen.

With LibAnswers/LibChat, many international libraries have taken strong interest in the platform as it’s the most well-rounded communication platform for libraries – but they need the admin/librarian interface to be in their local language. And – you guessed it – we made it happen! Read on for details.

Read about: LibCal | LibAnswers

LibCal – conduct online appointments and online events

LibCal servers in our regions around the world will start getting this new functionality on Monday evening and by Wednesday all regions will be live with this new Online appointments/Online events functionality.

Online Appointments

Up until now, the LibCal appointment booking engine has enabled booking of appointments with the assumption that the patron would go to the library (or the librarian would visit the classroom) to conduct the actual appointment. In the “new normal”, however, a number of these research appointments/consultations will likely be conducted remotely. Enter our LibCal Zoom integration (more integration options coming soon – let us know what other video/communication platforms you want us to integrate). 

Here’s how to enable Zoom integration for Online Appointments in LibCal:

  1. Head to Admin -> Integrations and enter your Zoom API/Key (don’t have institutional Zoom license? We may be able to help – email us at sales@springshare.com).
  2. Online appointments are thought of as happening at their own Location i.e. Online. Create one (or more) Locations to designate that these appointments will be held online. Head to Admin -> Appointments -> Locations to create the Online Location(s).
  3. Each user/librarian who wants to host online appointments must be associated with their Zoom account. Head to Admin -> Users and enable Zoom for each user that should have this enabled.

And voila… your LibCal appointment scheduler can now handle online appointments via Zoom. Note that the actual online appointment happens in Zoom but LibCal makes it super-easy to schedule it and it automatically includes relevant Zoom meeting URLs in the ICS/CAL calendar file, in the email notification to the patron, and in the admin interface for the librarian. So they all just need to click on the link and jump into the meeting.

Online Events

With this new feature you’ll be able to create online events in LibCal, and patrons browsing the event calendars will be able to filter/browse by event type (Onsite or Online).

What’s neat is that you don’t have to host the online event in Zoom – you can use Facebook Events, or WebEx, or… any platform that lets you hold an online group event. Here’s how to set it up.

  • If using Zoom, Head to Admin -> Integrations and enter your Zoom API/Key (don’t have institutional Zoom license? We may be able to help – email us at sales@springshare.com).
  • When you go to create an event, for “Location” you’ll see 3 options.
  • For Zoom events, the registration option is required and attendees will receive the event URL in their registration email.
  • For other online events (e.g. Facebook Live, etc.) the event URL will be shown on the event page but if there is an access password/pin to access the event – it will be emailed to attendees in the registration email.

Patrons are able to filter and search for online events from public calendars.

Bug Fixes, New Features, & Misc.

  • Customize the contents of your Appointments booking page. Make your own page title and page text for this all-important page. Make it look/feel like just another page on your website. Head to Admin -> System Settings -> Language Options > Appointments Page. Bonus – you can now enter HTML customization for page text, hooray.
  • Add a custom message to public pages for Equipment & Spaces when all items and/or spaces are set to inactive. Head to Admin > Equipment & Spaces > Settings, and look for the new panel titled Inactive Equipment/Spaces Display.
  • Copied Equipment & Space bookings will now check the Banned Email list when creating the new booking.
  • We fixed an issue that allowed regular users with no access to a specific Equipment & Space location to modify bookings.
  • Custom text in the “Today’s Hours” widget now displays only once.
  • We’ve standardized the time format for all Excel exports.
  • Centering text in any RTE located throughout LibCal will now correctly apply inline CSS.

Upcoming LibCal Training Sessions:

Also check out our recorded sessions!

Excited yet? So are we. We look forward to hearing your feedback and suggestions for further improvements.

[Back to Top]


LibAnswers multi-lingual admin interface + few more enhancements

LibAnswers servers in our regions around the world will start getting this new functionality this evening and by Monday, May 4, all regions will be live with this new functionality.

The LibAnswers 2.34.0 release is on its way, and we’re thrilled to bring you international translations for the majority of the LibAnswers admin interface! With this release, the major pages in LibAnswers – which include the LibAnswers Dashboard, LibChat Operator Dashboard, the Ticket Create & Answer pages, Ticket Knowledge Base Explorer, and Chat Transcripts and Statistics – can now be viewed using any of our supported base language customizations. To date, in addition to English, we also support French, Spanish, Italian, Swedish, and Serbian (Cyrillic).

When the 2.34.0 release goes live, your LibAnswers system will be rendered in the default base language selection that your Admins have set up under Admin > System Settings > Base Language. All users with a LibAnswers login will also be able to change their personal language display on the fly, by using the dropdown option included in the footer of every LibAnswers administrative page.

New in LibChat and Shared Group Systems

In addition to our very exciting language customization updates, we have several new features rolling out in LibChat and for Shared Group Systems!

  • Create Follow-Up Tickets from the Co-Op > Transcripts View. This new view is especially helpful in cases where you’ve concluded a chat interaction while monitoring a Co-Op, but perhaps forgot to create the local follow-up ticket while you still had the chat in view. Just head to LibChat > Co-Op Dashboard > Transcripts to view the new icon for creating follow-up tickets.
  • Proactive Chat with Co-Op Fallback. We know how crucial it is to offer your patrons assistance at the point of need, so we’ve updated our approach to creating chat widgets. Now, it’s possible to create a proactive widget (i.e. a widget that prompts the user whether they need assistance via a pop-out) and include a Co-Op as a fallback option. In practice, when you create this type of widget, the widget will only behave proactively when your local librarians are online and monitoring chat; if your local librarians aren’t online, but your widget is displaying as online because it’s being monitored by Co-Op librarians, then the widget will not proactively prompt the patron. To set your widgets as proactive, head to LibChat > Chat Widgets > Choose a Button, Slide-out or Floating widget > Enter a time in seconds in the Autoload Delay field.
  • LibChat Wait Time Counter. We’ve added a new timer feature in the LibChat operator dashboard to indicate how long a new chat patron has been waiting for their chat to be answered. This new timer is displayed on all new chats.
  • Group Admin Updates for Shared Group Systems. We’ve added two new key permissions for the new Group Admin account level in Shared Group Systems: Group Admins can now edit the group policy FAQ(s) for their group and can leave feedback on transcripts that a Co-Op answered on chats that originated from widgets connected to their Group Member Library.

Bug Fixes & Performance Improvements

  • We’ve added a message to alert patrons when they attempt to upload an unsupported file type.
  • We’ve fixed a bug when creating Macros. Previously, if your site only had access to one queue, the modal window did not display the list of users required for assigning tickets to a specific user.
  • We’ve fixed a bug when setting LibChat Default Queues to Monitor. Sites with access to just one queue were not seeing an option under Edit Account > LibChat Settings > Default Queues to Monitor that would allow the user to not monitor that one Queue when first logging into LibChat.
  •  We’ve implemented a number of performance improvements in the Tickets Knowledge Base Explorer > Statistics pages and when creating new Tickets and FAQs. While these updates aren’t directly visible, you should now see speedier load times and an overall improved experience for these pages.

Upcoming LibAnswers Training Sessions:

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

That’s it for this round of updates from Springy HQ, but stay tuned for more mid-May when a few other things will be coming your way.

We want to give a shout-out to our entire community in these uncertain times. We see how you are retooling your libraries and educational offerings to meet users where they are (at home, like us!), and we are proud to be a part of the vibrant industry that is libraryland. Stay safe and well, out there, Springy fam! We are always here for you if have any suggestions or questions.

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

As libraries across the globe quickly pivoted to online services in response to the pandemic, we’ve been seeing some really interesting early numbers that illustrate the size of this sudden change in library services. We wanted to share these with you, along with some information about what we’ve been doing on our end to support you all during this time.

Spikes in LibAnswers and LibGuides = Librarians hard at work

Since March 2020, we recorded these numbers in LibAnswers activity compared to March-April 2019:

  • Incoming chats increased by 109%. To put this in perspective, that’s a total of 338,794 LibAnswers chats in less than two months.
  • Our 24/7 librarians fielded 5,677 chats on the new 24/7 LibAnswers Cooperative platform. Each of these represents a chat that would have gone unanswered.
  • Patron-submitted questions increased by 56%, which equals 303,273 queries sent via email, social, SMS, and question form since March.
  • FAQ creation increased by a whopping 217% as 13,017 FAQs were added to public and internal staff FAQ groups.

In LibGuides, library staff created more than 26,000 new guides — that’s roughly a 96% increase compared to last year!

First off, kudos to all of the librarians answering this multitude of questions and creating new content quickly for all of your users. Each one of these numbers represents a person you helped during this crisis. These statistics show how critical it is for librarians to be able to share essential information online while you’re unable to provide in-person assistance.

What we’ve been up to at Springy HQ

It’s been an all hands on deck effort for the Springy team. In addition to our official update on the pandemic, we’ve been working diligently to support you while you’re helping all of these patrons so you can answer questions, share updates, and meet with them from anywhere. This has translated some pretty big numbers on our end, too, and here’s how we’ve handled them.

  • As support tickets skyrocketed, the team adjusted its internal processes to ensure swift responses. Customer queries are up 27% since March 2020 compared to this time last year, and the majority of customer questions are fully answered and closed within one business day.
  • The team launched a new training series dedicated to libraries transitioning to online learning and reference and managing remote workplaces. In March, training attendance was up 198% and video viewership increased by 211% compared to March 2019.
  • We bolstered infrastructure to support increased usage to handle the extra load.

Speaking of training, we’ll be announcing May’s training schedule, which includes our new What is LibAnswers with LibChat? session on May 7th, in this week’s training newsletter. Don’t receive our newsletters yet? Sign up to get them in your inbox.

What’s ahead

  • We donated our platform to the Librarian Reserve Corps, an international volunteer network of over 120 medical, public health, and health science librarians supporting the World Health Organization (WHO) and the WHO Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) with their urgent information needs related to COVID-19. Their sites were installed in just over 24 hours. Read our interview with them next week on this blog!
  • In the coming weeks, we’ll be announcing several exciting (and major) product updates to further help our customers as they pivot to different service models.

We hope you are safe and well where you are, and thank you for being on board with us! We promise to continue to provide stellar tools and superior customer support to help you navigate this difficult period.

Using LibCal Appointments & Events to Stay Engaged Online

It’s National Library Week! Springshare applauds the hard work librarians everywhere are putting in during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep their libraries operating and serving patrons. It may seem like an impossible task to keep the library — especially those whose doors are closed — engaged with the community, but your ingenuity and resourceful natures have been making it happen!

We’ve collected some examples of how libraries are using LibCal to effectively continue to provide help and to “gather” online. When I’ll meet you there veers to become Meet up from anywhere — it’s a pretty creative pivot.

Virtual Events at Mesa County Libraries Keep Fun on the Menu

In Colorado, Mesa County Libraries comprises 9 branches, all of which are closed until further notice. But from home, the librarians have been busy making a lemonade stand to share all of their lemonade! By hosting a series of virtual events in place of their popular on-site programming, they can still engage their patrons via new channels.

Using LibCal, they share the pertinent details for their Virtual Creative Fiber Arts Club, which happens via Google Hangouts, a Virtual Story Time, which is carried out in their social media channels, a poetry reading aimed at adults is highlighted, and so much more. Instead of enabling registrations, they’re promoting a sign-up button that allows patrons to get notified of upcoming programs and classes.

The virtual events are shared via their YouTube channel, Facebook page, and Instagram TV as they navigate this time and combat closed doors with open minds.

Birmingham City University’s Library Staff Makes a Beeline…to Online Services

The Library and Learning Resources department at the United Kingdom’s Birmingham City University wants its students and faculty to be aware that the library staff is available online and is ready to help.

They’re answering questions via LibAnswers and they’re even geared up to meet! LibCal Appointments allows the BCU Library team to meet for tutoring sessions. They even have peer mentors available for student support to help with developing library skills to make searching a better experience.

Letting people know this is a full-time job these days and BCU has taken to social media to get the word out. Many libraries tweet several times a day to reinforce the news that they are, in fact, operational.

Beyond social media, this outreach is supported with messaging on their website, LibGuides pages feature Book-a-Tutorial buttons, and you can even access the Appointments link on their LibAnswers home page. Let your students know they’re not alone. Use as many channels as you can to reach out.

Being There for Students — Salve Regina’s Library Gets the Word Out

The McKillop Library at Salve Regina University is making sure that students and faculty know that they’re ready and able to help with some clever cross-promotion of services.

The enterprising librarians also added a link to their appointments right below their LibAnswers chat widget so students can easily see it.

So — not only are they ensuring patrons that they can ask questions from anywhere — they also take the opportunity to offer appointments for those who’d prefer to have a block of one-on-one assistance. It’s true the doors are closed for now. But help is still available!

University of Pittsburgh Librarians Stay Connected

The Greensburg Campus librarians at the University of Pittsburgh are determined to stay engaged despite the distance. The best way to combat the isolation is to get together…albeit virtually. Staying connected, building relationships, assisting students and faculty is always a top priority but it can be challenging today.

This library staff decided to build a tabbed box in their LibGuides system to prominently share information about each of the team members. They’ve included photos and a button that connects students and faculty with the librarian’s LibCal Appointments availability or email.

There is no more accurate word for this time than unprecedented. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced academic, public, school, and special libraries around the world to move services entirely online. While it is a daunting task to provide excellent service to patrons virtually, librarians have answered the call. The innovation, out of the box (and onto the screen) thinking, and the absolute willingness to successfully shift to stay engaged that librarians are displaying is inspiring to us all here at Springshare.

Supporting Patrons During the Pandemic Using Springshare Tools

Before we dive into today’s blog post, we want to take a moment to thank all librarians and library workers on National Librarian Day (one day late). Thank you! The world is made better by librarians, and we certainly would not be here without you. 😄 If we could virtually hug each and every one of you, we would!

Librarians are problem solvers. Librarians are information seekers. Most importantly, when librarians see a need, they step up. Springshare tools were created with their unique needs in mind, and we’ve been excited to see the impressive and creative ways our customers have been using them to address their communities’ needs during this pandemic.

Today we’re bringing you three examples out of the many libraries doing just that. When their physical doors closed and resource sharing needs quickly shifted, they sprang into action with Springshare tools at their side.

Creating a Responsive COVID-19 Resource Hub for Health Care Workers


Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) Library Services

The need: “As Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA), our provincial health authority, formally stood up its response to COVID-19, content creation rolled into high gear. We had a high volume of information being produced, particularly in the realm of clinical guidance documents, as well as communications/SOPs on infection prevention and control. NSHA’s operational efforts in responding to the pandemic required a vast array of just in time information. This required content management specialists, but also the appropriate tool to get this information to the front line as quickly as possible, knowing that the front line for NSHA means clinics that were standing up in rural areas, busy urban ICUs, physician offices and everything in between. It needed to be outside the firewall, and yet separate from the patient focused communications.”

The solution: In late March, NSHA Library Services purchased a second LibGuides site to serve as their COVID-19 Hub for NSHA health care workers. It launched in just one week!

“After an analysis of our existing tools, we decided to combine Springshare LibGuides (leaning heavily on the Database asset feature) with a legacy document management tool. We host documents in our existing document management system, which provides an archiving function, version control, and permalinks.”

The hub provides a way for the NSHA team to quickly access the information they need. On the backend, the library can add new content that will automatically publish everywhere it needs to be used thanks to Database widgets embedded on guide pages.

The outcome: While it’s still early, the site is already generating approximately 3,000 visits a day.

“[LibGuides] made the Hub possible. When faced with an emergent and quickly developing situation, the Springshare platform offered us the ease of development and the user responsiveness required to meet the competing demands of the situation…. Having this tool at our fingertips and being able to impose some organization on the information coming out (and making it accessible to those who need it) may truly make a difference in a life-or-death situation.”

Engaging Students and Supporting Parents Across an Entire School System


Lincoln Public Schools (LPS) Media Services

The need: “In Lincoln Public Schools, our libraries serve over 42,000 students who were suddenly home for undetermined amount of time. We recognized that our Library Services could offer unique and engaging learning opportunities to keep kids reading, writing, and creating while staying safe at home. We know that parents are anxious to provide structure and meaningful learning for their children, but the flood of resources and random activities that overwhelmed our social media streams are not necessarily helpful.”

The solution: The library quickly created their Daily Learning Challenges guide — an all hands on deck effort to encourage creative learning, engage children and teens, and support their parents at home. Using LibGuides, they collaborated district-wide to create a platform that initially filled a much-needed gap while their school district organized its remote learning effort. Now that it’s in place, the guide continues to positively engage its students.

The outcome: “We have had a tremendous response to the resources we have been providing.  Parents genuinely appreciate the structure our Daily Challenge LibGuides provide to their child’s day and the creative learning that happens as a result. We have had between 5000-6000 visitors to our Daily Challenges LibGuide each day.”

“This has been a huge, ongoing effort by all our district school librarians. They’ve pulled out all the stops to design challenges that will inspire and excite students every single day. The collaborative nature of LibGuides gives us the structure and organization we need to keep this initiative going for as long as we are out of school.”

Supporting Patrons Social Distancing & Connecting them to Library Services


The Westport Library

The need: “We realized early on that folks in our community were going to still need our library, even if we were not open physically. We tried to think of how we could turn our physical resources into virtual from programming, to readers advisory, to reference help.”

The solution: After brainstorming how they could create a virtual library as robust as their physical library, the reference team was “LibGuideing like fiends” to quickly launch the Stuck at Home series. This visually engaging guide was so popular that it created two spin-offs: Navigating Virtual Living and Sports, Sports, Sports!

The outcome: They’re continuing to publish content important to their patrons. Meanwhile, their views have skyrocketed. In the first 35 days after they closed, they have had 69,334 views across all of our guides. In the previous 35 days, they had 32,858 views. That’s more than double!

“Every time we post one of our guides on social, the community response has been positive… On a side note, we have never received so many requests from other libraries to borrow our Libguide designs! For those reading this, we are always thrilled to share!”

“We have used Libguides for several years now, and we have loved it for as long as we have used it. Now, when we don’t have the option of a physical gathering space and a physical reference desk, we are able to produce a Libguide for our community on topics that are important to them.”

Transitioning to Online Learning with LibGuides & LibWizard at the Kent School

As librarians are figuring out how to reach their communities in new ways, we’ve loved seeing the flurry of resources and tips shared online, new guides, and all kinds of creative solutions. While we’ve created new training sessions and provided project ideas on the Springshare end, it’s often most helpful and reassuring to hear from someone who’s right there in the trenches with you.

Today we’ve brought in special guest Nancy Florio to discuss her experience as a research librarian at the Kent School as they quickly shifted to online learning, and how they used LibGuides CMS and LibWizard Lite to meet their students’ changing needs. She’s written a wonderful post. Take it away, Nancy!

LibGuides for Online Learning

Research Librarian Nancy Florio

For most educators and librarians, the COVID-19 pandemic became a demarcation line, on one side a “before”—when offering blended or online classes was optional—and on the other side an “after”—when schools closed world-wide and there was no option but to move to remote learning. The most current statistics compiled by UNESCO on April 8, 2020, list 91.3% of the world’s students are impacted by 188 country-wide school closings. This means that 1,576,021,818 students are currently without access to education or are learning in online classes.

I see these closings as a call to action for academic and school librarians, who in the “before” Covid-19 world were already curators of electronic resources and ed tech tools, creators of digital content, and educational collaborators. If you are one of the close to half a million librarians currently using LibGuides, then you know you’re in a perfect position to support your institution’s transition to online learning. Don’t miss this opportunity to prove your relevance in the age of freely available information found through any basic Google search.

Curate and Create Resources to Meet Your Specific Need

As my school community left for spring break March 6th, schools in Hong Kong, China, and Japan were closed and teaching was moved online. By March 11th, many public and independent schools—including ours—made the decision to close, at least for several weeks to assess the situation. Our plan was to begin with remote training starting at the end of March for our faculty, followed by online teaching on April 6th.

Educators, news organizations, ed-tech companies, and even parents are posting a wealth of information on how to do online learning. Whether you are involved in helping plan the transition, or hear about it through an email, this is a prime opportunity to use your institutional knowledge to create guides to support this effort.

Our library director, Amy Voorhees, was an integral part of the planning committee. We started by working our way through available resources and made our choices based on simplicity and the value they would add to the transition plan. These resources became the framework for the new LibGuide created specifically for online learning. The guide included resources and tutorials highlighting the tools faculty were required to use: PowerSchool (our LMS), Zoom (for synchronous classes and meetings), and Screencastify (to create tutorials for asynchronous learning).

I started to build out the guide by curating how-to videos along with pro tips, Twitter feeds for each specific tool, and infographics or other helpful information. Tabbed boxes were my go-to for the videos, as there were so many for each specific tool. Using a 3-column layout, I was able to put the videos front and center with supporting information on either side. This design was consistent for each page, which simplified navigation for the faculty. On the home page, our Remote Learning Plan was easily accessible as well as a Spark page that pulled together the principles of online learning. This interactive element was given a featured central position, while links to static documents were positioned on either side. In this way, the page not only provided valuable information, but also modeled instructional design principles for our teachers.

Our Director of Information Technology, Michael Siepmann, summed up his thoughts on the Online Learning guide: “Moving to remote learning during these unprecedented times was a large undertaking with just a few weeks to complete the task. With the school moving to multiple new platforms, we quickly realized we needed a central place to post essential instructional guides for our faculty and staff. LibGuides has been a key part of our success in rolling out our required tools for remote learning. The pages provide a modern, sleek design that gets users excited to learn.”

Don’t Expect Too Much from One Guide

Learning online can be a very isolating experience. Coupled with the current COVID-19 social distancing recommendations, your students may be struggling to feel fully engaged with school. I felt it was important to include tools that encouraged student engagement and connections with both classmates and teachers. Our second guide, Educational Technology Tools, was organized by specific tasks: assessment tools, student connection tools, and student-centered tools for content curation and subject-specific learning. I included educators and ed tech companies and organizations to follow on Twitter.

LibGuides’ flexibility allows us to present curated information in a way that is neither too much nor too little. Separating the guides based on their intended purpose means you don’t have to approach one guide as an “all you can eat buffet” by trying to cram too much and too varied information. Instructional design theory tells us this can lead to cognitive overload, leaving your user fatigued by too much information to process. Because the guides were related, I chose to put a redirect tab on each one leading to the other. This kept them together, yet separate.

In addition to these academically focused guides, Laura Zibro, our Instructional and Outreach Librarian, created a fun survival guide for our teachers and their families, which includes videos and links for exercise, webcams, storytime, and even virtual museum tours. 

Add Help at the Point of Need

If you’re like us, I imagine your community will be spending most of their time accessing content for courses through your school’s LMS, library website, and LibGuides. Common sense—and usability studies—tell us that help, like information, should be offered when and where it’s needed, in the format that’s most helpful to the user. Both of our new guides provide our teachers with the tools and information they need to create content and teach in ways that may be foreign or difficult. This transition is stressful enough; offering help on those guides was another small change we could make that just made sense.

LibWizard Magic

Enter LibWizard Lite, a LibGuides module that comes free with LibGuides CMS. Although it’s not as robust as the subscription level LibWizard Full, it allows you to create forms and surveys, which are a perfect way to increase your visibility and make it easy for your users to contact you at their point of need. Although I have been a LibGuides enthusiast for close to 15 years, I have never fully explored or mastered LibWizard. At a time when we are asking everyone to move out of their comfort zone and try something new, it made sense for me to do the same. So I watched a few tutorials, made a few test forms, and finally came up with a help desk tab that was added to both of the new online teaching guides, in addition to our library website and course guides with current research projects. The tab was styled bright red with all caps reading HELP DESK in white font. We tried different wording but ultimately felt everyone was familiar with that term. When clicked, the pop-up window contained information on who to reach out to for specific questions and included links to our Calendly pages for scheduling appointments and email for simpler questions. Again, help was there where it was needed.

Small Changes, Big Results

I absolutely love this one small change we made to our guides which made a big difference for our users. The tab is anchored, visible on each page of the guide, and moves as the user scrolls. Excuse me while I geek out—but what is not to love about my new favorite tech tool? Below you can see some of the ways we customized the help desk pop-up depending on the purpose and audience for the guide.

User-friendly Design

Like LibGuides, the LibWizard module is pretty user-friendly on the backend. There are drag and drop options with fields that allow you to customize your form, as well as a question bank to save and reuse common fields. You’re able to gather the information that will allow you to better meet the needs of your user. Simple to use, easy to duplicate, multi-use functions make using LibWizard a winning situation for our users and for us. Now excuse me while I find another guide that could use a help desk tab…

Thank you, Nancy!

We love hearing your approach, and it’s amazing how one or two small changes can really make a difference. Kudos to you for taking this opportunity to learn a tool and create something impactful for your users.

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.

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

Spring 2020 certainly has been an interesting beast thus far, and we at Springy HQ hope that you and yours are safe and healthy! We are an all-remote workplace, and as such have continued to chug along in our jobs (albeit with new office mates in a lot of cases!), supporting so many of you in your newly-remote work, and coding up exciting new features that we hope will make your jobs a bit easier.

We are trying something new with this release-related blog post. Below you will find the features that we think are most exciting and important in all our apps. We feel it important to let you know about all the features we’ve worked on, though, so we are also going to start publishing Release Notes. You will need an account on the Springshare Lounge to view the notes. 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, April 3, 2020.

One last thing before we get to those features! We’ve updated the Support widget that is displayed on every admin-side page. We’re connecting you directly to documentation in this widget, so that you can get help even faster. Search through our comprehensive FAQs to find concise help on any topic. If you don’t find your answer, scroll to the bottom of the FAQ page to submit a question: *

screenshot

*With apologies to U2. And no, it wasn’t Cindi’s idea, but it might be why she took this job. 🙂

Read about: LibAnswersLibCalLibGuides | LibWizard | LibStaffer | LibCRM | LibInsight

LibAnswers

With this release we have more fun new features and key chat and Co-Op improvements to share!

New LibAnswers Features

  • Ticket Countdown Alerts – If your site requires responding to a patron reply within a specific timeframe, use the new “Reply Timer” feature to give your site a visual indication of the amount of time remaining to reply to the patron. When this feature is enabled, a color coded (green / yellow / red) timer label is shown within the Dashboard and Tickets Knowledge Base Explorer to help notify your staff of time remaining to reply. Admins can head to Admin > Queues > Edit Queue > General Settings to enable this feature.
  • Bulk Edit FAQs – For sites who manage a lot of FAQs, we’ve added a new “bulk edit” feature, which allows you to publish and unpublish FAQs and/or change their group affiliation. Head to Answers > FAQ Entries, use the checkboxes to indicate which FAQs you want to change, and choose the action you’d like to take.
  • Policy FAQ Preview links – Admin-level users who maintain your site’s policy FAQs will now see a “preview” option on the browse FAQs and edit Policy FAQ pages. This option allows them to see how the FAQ will display within the LibChat operator screen when cooperative librarians respond to chats from your library’s patrons.
  • Institution Coverage Reports Update – In addition to displaying Co-Op chat monitoring activity, Institution Coverage Reports now also display the total number of chats that were claimed and answered during each shift. Co-Op and Institution Admins can head to the Co-Op > Reports > Chat Monitoring Activity to see this report.

Updates for Shared Group Systems

  • Group Member Admin account level – Good news for admin users in Shared Group Systems – we’ve added a new account level in Shared Group Systems for Group Member Library Administrators. This account level is currently able to add / edit / delete accounts, but only within their assigned Group Member Library. In the future, this account level will also be able to edit the policy FAQs for their Group Member Library and leave feedback on chat transcripts that are associated with their library. To assign someone to a Group Member Admin account, System Account holders can head to the edit account screen > Add/Edit Account > Account Type: Group Member Admin.
  • Adjusted Chat Transcript Visibility: We’ve adjusted our approach to chat transcript visibility in Shared Group Systems for librarians who are assigned to a Group Member Library. Now librarians who are assigned to a Group Member Library will be able to view all chat transcripts that originated from chat widgets affiliated with their library, as well as transcripts that were answered by librarians from that Group Member Library. Users in Shared Group Systems can see this change by heading to LibChat > Transcripts.

QuestionPoint Data Portal

With this release, former QuestionPoint clients will now see a special portal page for viewing historical QuestionPoint data. This portal page includes the top level Institution Stats report for viewing stats on the total questions answered by each institution. We’ve also included a portal for each site’s previous QuestionPoint Service History, which provides access to the past 3 years’ worth of chat and email interactions from your QuestionPoint system. Admins can head to Admin > QuestionPoint Data and select a report or transcript to view.

Smaller fixes and Miscellany

  • Co-Op Duplicate Operators – We’ve fixed an issue where, in some cases, some operators from other systems were displaying more than once.
  • Co-Op Users Going Offline – Related to the above issue, we’ve also fixed an issue causing operators from other systems to show as online when they had gone offline.
  • Policy FAQs Jump – We’ve fixed a display issue that affected chat operators viewing the policy FAQ from another library.
  • New Window Link Targets – We fixed window targets in the question form and in System Status Management posts so that they open in a new window if set that way.
  • Searching Public FAQs from Internal Chats – We’ve fixed a problem that prevented searching public FAQs from within internal/1:1 chats in the new chat dashboard.
  • Institution Activity Date/Time Reports – We’ve adjusted the way we display data in Institution Activity Reports to display in the user’s local timezone, instead of always displaying in UTC.

Upcoming LibAnswers Training Sessions:

Also check out our recorded sessions!

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LibCal

We’re thrilled to bring you some great new LibCal features!

Appointments

We’ve added a calendar view that will display all currently-booked appointments.  Filter this new view by individual or all users, hover over an appointment to view details, or click details in the bottom pane to edit. Head to Appointments > Calendar to check out this new view!

We also have a few Accessibility fixes for Appointments:

  • We corrected contrast errors and addressed keyboard navigation issues for headings and buttons when making a booking.
  • We fixed an issue causing keyboard focus to be lost inside the information modal in appointments.

Calendars/Events

You can now attach files to events! A limit of 5 files (20MB per file) can be attached to a calendar event.  The file attachments will display on the public event page(s) as downloadable links.

Registration form responses are now viewable on the Registrations and Waitlist tabs, when managing an event. To change which fields are displayed in the table, click the ‘Columns’ button. 

  • When deleting a location, you can now choose “No Location” as its replacement. Once your location is deleted, any events using that location will be changed to “No Location.”
  • When adding a full registrant to a series linked event on the admin side, you can now add that registrant to all events in the series or to the selected event and all future events in the series.
  • We added a language customization option for the ‘More’ link on public event cards.

Equipment/Spaces

Make your Availability grid stand out! Now you can add patterns/stripes to the admin and public page availability grid.  Head to Admin > Equipment & Spaces > Settings to add patterns to your statuses.

  • Granular Locations Access: We’ve added a new permission at Equipment & Space > Manage Locations, so that you can grant Regular users access to each location.
  • View check-in information: The Equipment Booking Explorer will now display which user Checked In or Checked Out an item, along with the date and time of these actions.  Head to Equipment > Booking Explorer to view this new functionality.
  • We’ve added support for email tags in the email templates subject line.
  • We’ve added the ability to copy equipment bookings from the ‘Check Out’ & ‘Check In’ pages.
  • A language customization has been added for the public page(s) error when a user exceeds their weekly booking limit.
  • The ability to post past equipment & space bookings through the API when using the ‘adminbooking’ parameter has been added.

We also have these accessibility fixes to bring you:

    • We mitigated errors on the public equipment page.
    • Headers on an individual Spaces pages were skipping from h1 to h4 to h2.
    • Keyboard navigation issues.

Miscellaneous

We’ve added an email notification for Exchange/Google sync/auth failures.  Currently, this email will alert any emails that are added for  Appointments OAuth and EWS connection errors and Spaces OAuth connection errors.  Future support is coming for Spaces EWS and Appointments, Calendars & Spaces Google connection errors.

Accessibility fixes have been completed for the following on multiple public pages:

  • Public pages that had nonconsecutive h1, h2, h3, h4 elements
  • Color Contrast errors

Upcoming LibCal Training Sessions:

Also check out our recorded sessions!

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LibGuides

LibGuides and LibApps started our release-week party early! Check out last week’s blog post for what’s in this release, which is also expected to be complete by April 3.

Upcoming LibGuides Training Sessions:

Also check out our recorded sessions!

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LibWizard

Privacy Scrub Tool

The long-awaited Privacy Scrub tool is is available now! With this new functionality, you can specify which fields in your LibWizard items are scrubbed on a rolling, monthly basis. Admin users head to Admin > System Settings > Privacy Data Scrub page to complete the form to activate this feature for your site. There are also a few fields that you can optionally set to scrub for your system as a whole, since every form has the potential to save IP addresses and information about the submitter (name, email, phone).

Once it’s activated, admin-level users can also see when the scrub was enabled, and what it’s set to scrub, from this location.

Admin Privacy Scrub

In individual items, find this new setting by editing any item in the system and going to Options > Advanced > Configure Privacy Scrub. For each field that appears in the list, select whether or not you’d like to scrub that field.Privacy Data Scrub Settings

Additional Improvements

  • We fixed the issue where individual feedback wasn’t being saved properly for existing fields.
  • We’ve fixed the Pre-filled URL for time for date fields.
  • Pre-filled URL works with LibAuth authenticated forms.
  • The ‘Jump To Slide’ function when previewing standalone slides now works as expected.
  • Data Submission Notices are displayed properly for all tutorials.
  • We’ve fixed the issue where the banner header was still being displayed for widgets in pages that have the ‘Do Not Display Banner Header’ checked.
  • Last Updated and Last Updated By information is available in the F/S/Q/T list page.
  • We’ve updated the behavior for ‘Require correct answer to continue’ fields by adding in a new language text that will be displayed if that field does not have any feedback (individual, wrong/correct) enabled.
  • The Standalone Tutorial iframe has been updated so that it will behave as the ‘top’ window, allowing any embedded websites to behave as if it were the top window. This helps when embedding third party sites that may check to see if it’s the top window. For example, the World Health Organization page has a logic to redirect itself from the iframe if it is not the top window.

We also have these accessibility fixes to bring you:

  • We’ve added additional color settings for feedback styling. This includes wrong, correct, and informational feedback looks.
  • We’ve fixed “Link Purpose” errors on the Form, Survey, Quizzes, and Tutorials (F/S/Q/T) list pages.
  • We’ve added appropriate descriptive labels for the F/S/Q/T list pages, field editor modals, Admin pages. Text input fields have the appropriate descriptions via aria-label tags.
  • The ‘title’ on public forms has the proper ‘title’ tags.
  • Tutorial > Select/Edit slide breadcrumb color has been updated to conform to W3C’s color contrast criteria.
  • We fixed an error coming from the top navigation menu.

Upcoming LibWizard Training Sessions:

Also check out our recorded sessions!

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LibStaffer

We have the following LibStaffer features and fixes ready to deliver to you next week!

Schedules/Shifts
  • We’ve corrected an issue when editing shifts that have been previously synced to Outlook. Any edits will correctly reflect changes in Outlook.
  • We fixed an issue causing the end date to not appear when editing a recurring shift using the ‘From This Date Forward’ option.
  • The 24-hour time format correctly displays in the Schedules calendar view, shift details time display, and picker.
  • Accessibility fixes have been done for the ‘Copy Shifts’ page.
Time Off
  • Elevated Regular users who have the ability to approve Time Off will only see accounts associated with the schedules where they have that permission.
  • We’ve corrected an issue where the ‘All Day Event’ was not working properly at the start of Daylight Savings Time.
  • The 24-hour time format correctly displays on the Time Off calendar view and Time Off record entry time picker.
  • Accessibility fixes have been completed for the Time Off calendar and staff timeline view.
Misc.
  • You can now enter Holidays using a date range vs. adding the days one-by-one! Head to Admin > Holidays to check out this new feature.

Upcoming LibStaffer Training Sessions:

Also check out our recorded sessions!

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LibCRM

This LibCRM release brings Custom Fields for Interactions and some improvements to the dashboard and navigation bar, as well as a bunch of small changes and fixes.

Custom Interactions

We’ve reworked the way interactions were set up in the system. Interactions can be completely personalized by showing / hiding system fields and adding / removing custom fields (as you do for profiles)

Interaction Types tab: since they have similar behavior as profiles now, interaction types are no longer in the Manage Form Fields / Categories & Terms tab. Instead, Interaction Types has its own tab at the top of the page.

In this “Interaction Types” tab, you can create new types of interactions.

Important:  this is a required field. When this feature goes out, all interactions will be given the type “Unknown.” You can customize your types from here, but this default type cannot be deleted or edited.

Fields for Interaction Types tab: Create custom fields that will be displayed when creating/viewing an interaction. Custom fields for interactions present the same level of flexibility as the ones in profiles (view, create, delete, edit). As in other places, the system will provide some basic “Interaction System Fields” that can’t be deleted or edited, to ensure your data stays organized.

  • Improved interaction performance: we have tweaked the way the system works in order to make working with interactions faster.
Additional changes
  • We have turned the At a Glance panel into a way to quickly navigate to the information presented. Clicking the link redirects you to the specific module of the system.
  • We removed the “New” dropdown from the navigation bar. Go to the respective areas to create new content.
  • Also note that the Help link is no longer a question mark. Click “Help” to jump to documentation.
  • Search filters selected by default: when using the search box in the navigation bar all the search filters are selected by default, effectively searching the entire system.

Profiles
  • We have increased the “Description” character limit from 255 to 1000 characters.
  • We have added a link to create a new type right next to the “Select Type” option when creating a Person/Organization profile or and Interaction. That way the user won’t have to leave the creation process to create a new type from the Manage Form Fields page and then come back to the create entity process and complete it.

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LibInsight

We’ve updated our Cross Dataset Analysis codebase to be more efficient and manageable! We’ve also included two new aggregate types for cross dataset analysis: Hourly (up to two days) and Daily (up to one month).

Fixes and Improvements
  • We’ve fixed the issue where admins could not access Shared datasets via Admin > Manage Datasets page. Clicking the Shared dataset name will take you to the Record Data screen and not the LibInsight Home landing page.
  • The ‘View Statistics’ link has been fixed for Shared datasets.
  • The broken link ‘+ Add new SUSHI Credential’ on the Counter 4 datasets edit platform page has been fixed.
  • If you have LibCRM, then LibCRM will be available in the top navigation menu links (in the blue dropdown left of ‘Home’).
  • The Created Time for COUNTER 5 datasets has been updated to Local Time Zone format from UTC format.
  • Better handling of invoice file uploads by checking to see if the file actually uploaded successfully.
  • Cross Dataset Analysis will include two new aggregate types: Hourly and Daily.
Accessibility
  • All charts are now fully accessible.
  • The required fields for any dataset that has a form for data input have the proper aria-required properties.

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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 throughout 2020. We are always here for you if have any suggestions or questions.

A few updates for LibGuides

LibGuides Update
We here at Springy HQ have been hearing from you that you’re working from home, staying safe, and supporting your patrons just as well as you did in-house. As an all-remote company, we have all made this transition at one point, and so we know it can be tough! We continue to work hard to bring you features and updates for all the Springy apps that you depend on, now more than ever. We’ve got your back!
To that end, here are a few important updates coming to LibGuides in the coming weeks, and some reminders about additional changes planned for the summer months. These first two items will take effect by the end of next week, when we put out our next code release.
Updated Rich Text Editor – We’re making an upgrade to our Rich Text Editor available to those who would like to try it out early! It is not only cleaner (and still fully-functional!), but it takes advantage of the spell-check capabilities that are built into your web browser, for faster spell-checking. Just scan your text for words underlined in red, highlight one, then press ctrl+right-click (Windows) or Cmd+ctrl+right-click (Mac) to view suggested corrections:
screenshot
If you would like to update and get a sneak-peak of the newer version, please fill out this form. We will roll this out to everyone by the end of Summer 2020.
Removal of Image Mappings – After our code release next week, you might notice that we have removed the numeric indicators in the Image Manager. These numbers were intended to show you where each image was used throughout Springy Apps. However, this intent was never fully-realized. Rather than continue to show you inaccurate information, we decided to take this down so that we can dream it all up again and create a media manager that is better than ever. Stay tuned to our blog for more announcements. 🙂
You may also notice that the Image Manager lives solely in LibApps now. Adding an image inside a guide has not changed at all, but if you navigate to Content > Image Manager, be aware that you’re jumping to LibApps. Use your browser’s back arrow to get back to LibGuides, or choose your LibGuides site from the blue menu at the top left.
Edit! This is happening next week: Removing the option to add book covers from Amazon. First, rest assured: if you have added any book covers to your guides or Gallery Boxes using the Amazon cover option, those are going to continue to work for several months, until we move to all HTTPS for LibGuides.  Amazon images in LibGuides are HTTP-only, and there’s not an HTTPS equivalent for the images in place, or for the API that we have been using for this. We are removing the option from the Books from the Catalog interface for security reasons, since the images cannot load over HTTPS. The Syndetics, “Other,” and blue and white default cover options will remain. After internal discussion, we decided not to provide this option using Amazon’s newer “Product Advertising API,” because advertising is not the business we’re (or you’re) in. 🙂

More to Come – Summer or Earlier Updates

We’re doing some housecleaning and updating – Here are a few more updates that will be coming soon that you should be aware of. Most of these changes are related to security updates of one stripe or another.
Secure by default with HTTPS. As we’ve mentioned in the past, browsers are starting to enforce the requirement that all web content use the secure HTTPS protocol rather than the original, insecure HTTP protocol. We will be moving all sites to “HTTPS required” this summer, and we will be contacting you several times with tips, tricks, and reminders to prepare your LibGuides site for this all-secure, all-the-time approach. If you’d like to go ahead and make your site secure 24/7, go to LibApps > Admin > Certificates & Domains > Click the padlock for your domain > HTTPS > Required.
Deprecation of API v1.0. Also this summer, we will be deprecating the older v1.0 LibGuides API in favor of the v1.1 API (guides, assets, accounts, subjects) and the v1.2 API with OAuth2 (database assets). If you have website content that is currently using the 1.0 API, please update your calls to use one of the newer versions. If you’re retrieving A-Z Database List assets, check out the v1.2 API, which uses OAuth2 authentication. In LibGuides, go to Tools > API to get started.
Moving tabbed boxes to Bootstrap. Tabbed boxes in your guides currently use a software library that is in need of replacing, for security reasons. We will begin powering tabbed boxes with Bootstrap rather than jQuery-ui, for a more modern look and feel. If you use tabbed boxes, but you have never written any custom CSS to change their look and feel, you can totally ignore this item. 🙂 If you use CSS to customize the look of your tabbed boxes, watch for additional announcements, since you will need to update the CSS to refer to the Bootstrap selectors. (Note: jQuery will be unchanged; this specifically refers to jQuery-ui.)
Further changes for Amazon book cover images.  Next week we are removing the option to add new book covers using the Amazon option.  This summer, we will replace any Amazon HTTP-only cover image with the blue “Default” cover image so that these can be made secure, and so that the layout of any book assets using them does not change. Stay tuned to this blog for more information.
Thanks as always for being on board! Let us know if you have questions or other needs. Your Springy peeps are at the ready!

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. 🙂

Tips & Tricks for the Remote-First World

As more and more schools are closing, events are being canceled, buildings are shutting their doors, and people are remote-working where possible in order to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve… your organization is facing a critical and time-sensitive situation. How do you provide virtual services to your patrons?

Here at Springshare, we know you’re under a lot of pressure and we’re here to help you adjust quickly and ensure that your library can provide effective support to online learners and community members that cannot physically be in the library. But first things first, we want to assure you that your Springshare Service will continue uninterrupted during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Academic & K12 Institutions

With most, if not all, courses at your institution being taught online, it’s important for your library to be where your students are. Whether that means embedding library services and content in courseware or providing remote research consultations…. if they’re remote, you need to be remotely accessible too.

Courseware Integration – Adding LibGuides, LibAnswers Live Chat, and LibCal Scheduling Services

We’ve written this stellar FAQ on three different ways you can embed your LibAnswers and LibChat content in your Blackboard, Moodle, Canvas, Sakai, and other LTI-compliant courseware tools.

The first method outlines using LibGuides CMS’ LTI-integration which allows you to embed not only a LibAnswers FAQ search box and a live LibChat widget, but also links to related LibGuides, LibCal appointment scheduler for online/remote research consultations, content-specific library databases, and more.

LibGuides CMS LTI Tool – creating a Library Resources page in Canvas with LibGuides, LibAnswers, and LibCal.

If LibGuides CMS is not in the cards, don’t worry – the other two ways outlined in the FAQ provide detailed instructions for embedding LibAnswers and LibChat widgets using either Javascript or non-Javascript methods. Bottom-line, if you need to integrate the library’s virtual reference services into your courseware tools… we’ve got you covered.

LibAnswers Screensharing + LibCal = Booking Virtual Appointments

If classes have gone virtual, your students still need research consultations – albeit virtually. Use LibCal Appointments to setup, manage, and communicate online appointments and conduct those sessions using LibAnswers Screensharing. LibCal Admins, learn how you can setup the Appointment Scheduler for optimal usage. We even have a dedicated training session available to show you how you can use LibCal for booking virtual help.

  • Training Session – Use LibCal Appointments to Book Virtual Help/Reference Sessions: Learn how to use LibCal to allow users to book Online Help Sessions with Appointments. We will look at using LibCal’s Appointments module to make it easy for your patrons to book one-on-one virtual appointments with you. Whatever your online hosting service is, from Skype to Zoom to Screensharing in LibAnswers, we will look at how to make this service more accessible to your patrons. Some settings that we discuss are Admin only, but all are encouraged to attend.
    • Thursday, March 19: 2:00pm – 2:45pm U.S. ET

Public / State Libraries

Though your buildings are closing their doors, there is a need now, more than ever, to effectively communicate and share extremely important public safety information with your community. We’ve seen an uptick in the creation of COVID-19 LibGuides, especially as it relates to sharing information on what public services are available, what’s closed, and more. Your LibGuides help shatter myths about the virus and communicate real facts and tips. Here are some of our favorites.

COVID-19 LibGuides:

 

All Libraries – Virtual Reference & Instruction Services

No matter what type of library you’re from, if your doors are closing for two weeks, a month, or longer, you might be exploring ways to provide virtual reference & instruction services to your patrons from the comfort and safety of your home to the comfort and safety of their home.

LibAnswers Virtual Reference Platform

If you need assistance with quickly pivoting to remote-only virtual reference service we can help with that. If you do not have an effective online chat platform with email reference capability, FAQ creator, live chat with screensharing & webinars functionality, and social media monitoring, or if you haven’t yet set some of these options up in your system, we can get you up and running on our LibAnswers platform quickly, including plenty of training / online help: live and recorded sessions, Springboards, and SpringyU courses on FAQ Groups (limit to LibAnswers).

  • Pro-tip Idea: You can use the LibAnswers Systems and Status Dashboard to share the status of various institution, city, or community services. Is the dining hall closed till further notice? Mark it as closed in your Status Dashboard. Is city hall accepting only pre-booked appointments? Note that in your Status Dashboard.

LibWizard Self-Grading Quizzes & Interactive Tutorials

Some of you are getting word out that your doors are closing and that you’ll switch to online services exclusively with just a few hours or maybe even a full day of notice…if you’re lucky. If you’re scrambling to develop lesson plans or instruction packets for K-12 students who are facing school closures for 2 – 5 weeks or college-level students who are going 100% virtual through the end of the semester, create LibWizard self-grading quizzes and/or interactive tutorials.

LibWizard quizzes and tutorials:

  • Work on all devices from tablet to computer;
  • Allow you to create an unlimited number of self-grading quizzes and tutorials;
  • Provide real-time formative assessment with correct/incorrect help text;

For public and K-12 libraries, consider liaising with your local K-12 schools to assist teachers in creation of tutorials and quizzes. Academic libraries, reach out to faculty and consider embedding a tutorial or quiz inside courseware. Public librarians, your patrons are self-quarantining and really want to download some ebooks. Create an interactive tutorial teaching them how to search, find, and download ebooks.

LibWizard Interactive Tutorial on Downloading eBooks

 

All Libraries – Bulk Canceling LibCal Appointments, Spaces & Equipment Reservations

If your building is closing suddenly, there’s a good chance that patrons have scheduled in-person appointments and reserved spaces/rooms & equipment via your LibCal Appointments, Spaces & Equipment modules. Now you have to cancel a lot of upcoming reservations and appointments…quickly. We’ve coded and released a new bulk delete feature for the LibCal Appointments, Spaces, and Equipment modules to help you with that process. This feature will be available to all regions by Tuesday, March 17.

LibAnswers 24/7 Global Cooperative

If you need extra (online) hands to staff and monitor chat to ensure after-hours, regular hours, or full 24/7 coverage, we can help with that, too. Our LibAnswers 24/7 Global Cooperative is the largest virtual reference cooperative in the world and our co-op librarians can lend a helping hand.

For those libraries who are already members of the LibAnswers 24/7 Global Cooperative, you might be noticing an increase in your virtual reference traffic due to campus closures, event cancellations, etc. We want to assure you that we are prepared to handle increases in chat traffic due to COVID-19. Our service philosophy, irrespective of COVID-19, is that we monitor incoming chat traffic trends and adjust staffing accordingly. This is to ensure that your patrons will enjoy shorter wait times and receive high-quality chat reference assistance 24/7/365.

COVID-19 Dedicated Training Series

Quickly pivoting to working from home might be new territory for you, so we’ve created several training sessions that cover: ways you can communicate important information to your community, building a LibGuide for a class that’s gone completely digital, and more. Can’t attend any of the below sessions? Don’t worry, all sessions are recorded and available online shortly after the session is held.

  • Keeping Important Info Up-to-Date with LibAnswers Widgets – 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 embedding and updating important information will be easier. With widgets you will only need to update information in one location and it will automatically be updated everywhere your widgets have been used.

    •  Monday, March 16: 1:00pm – 1:45pm U.S. ET

  • 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 has just gone online.  This session assumes a base knowledge of LibGuides. If you are new to LibGuides we recommend that you watch or attend the Building a Guides Session prior to this one.
    • Wednesday, March 18: 2:00pm – 2:40pm U.S. ET
  • Use LibCal Appointments to Book Virtual Help/Reference Sessions –  learn how to use LibCal to allow users to book Online Help Sessions with Appointments. We will look at using LibCal’s Appointments module to make it easy for your patrons to book one-on-one virtual appointments with you. Whatever your online hosting service is, from Skype to Zoom to Screensharing in LibAnswers, we will look at how to make this service more accessible to your patrons. Some settings that we discuss are Admin only, but all are encouraged to attend.
    • Thursday, March 19: 2:00pm – 2:45pm U.S. ET
  • Engaging Online Learners with Quizzes & Tutorials – with the move to online instruction across the world, learn how you can create online quizzes and tutorials using LibWizard to supplement your instruction programs.

    • Tuesday, March 24: 2:00pm – 3:00pm U.S. ET

Bottom-line: we know that this is a very stressful and unnerving time-period. Both you and your patrons are going through a drastic shift, and we want you to know that we’re with you each and every step of the way. Springshare has you covered.