LibGuides are amazingly user-friendly for both the patrons using the website and the library staff creating pages. The fact that it is a CMS designed specifically for libraries means it has convenient tools that match the type of content we need to provide to our users. I often say in my Information Literacy classes that just like the bricks-and-mortar building is the library, the website IS the library. It needs to be a fully functioning interactive portal to our resources and a source for information and instruction; LibGuides enables us to do that in one independent CMS platform.
We were able to customize the homepage using built-in options along with CSS to provide a streamlined page that displays Library resources and information to our users and coordinates with the look and feel of our institution's website. We use:
It is very useful to be able to create different levels of account holders, so I can give library student workers access to edit assets for a project and I can also invite faculty to participate in creating and contributing to a guide for their course or department.
I work at a small, fast-paced research library. We are affiliated with the Virginia Department of Transportation, but located on the University of Virginia grounds. More than 90% of our transactions are “virtual” interactions with customers in far-flung corners of the state (people who mostly did not know they had a library, and who we will never meet), so a robust and accessible Web presence is critical for a library like ours.
We were able to create an “acceptable” (but rapidly weak) Web site behind our agency firewall 10 years ago and have tried to make the most of our agency’s internal-only SharePoint site, but neither did the things we needed most:
When we explored LibGuides in 2015 we were surprised at how robust and full featured the product was! Then we discovered many Springshare customers were configuring LibGuides CMS to act as a whole website, and we knew that was a strategy we wanted to attempt as well. So we jumped at the chance and added LibAnswers, LibChat, and LibWizard to our subscription as well.
Bootstrap integration, mobile-first approach, A-Z list for databases and ease of management through a combination of point and click features and ability to style or code customizations if we desire have helped us get off to a solid start. We rely on integrations with LibAnswers, including widgets to display FAQs on key library pages, and integrations of the LibChat widget on all our library databases, catalog and federated search tool.
We have also created a custom search box for our catalog on library home page and use features such as RSS feeds from databases, and proxy for remote. We were onboard from day one with the System Blog and post to it every week in addition to using selected social media tools. Finally, we rely on forms and surveys from LibWizard, which feed directly into our LibAnswers Dashboard for centralized customer service. Oh yes, and we have LibGuides too!
We have created a staff-only site called “The Lounge” which is a huge hit, and have just as many LibGuides for back end library functions and processes as we have for patrons on the front.
Plus it’s a place we can be silly, share resources with each other and collaborate. We also utilize Staff Only FAQs, which are invaluable way for all library staff in our quirky environment to stay on the same page in our efforts to provide outstanding customer service. We use LibChat for staff-to-staff communication all day long and LibAnswers gives us an amazing collaboration and customer service tool.
Finally, we rely on data from tickets and reference analytics (as well as other system, transactional and patron data) to show our supervisors (who are researchers, not librarians) quantitative and qualitative library metrics and apply our analysis to those metrics to give them context for our value.
A very small and extra “special” library like ours faces unique challenges, high expectations and a tremendous workload. The phenomenal customer support we get from Springshare (we ask a lot of questions…and get a lot of solutions!) keeps our site and our guides working the way we need them to, and allows us to focus on customer service and relationship management.
I’ve been working with library vendors for 20 years and it is rare to get the level of customer support we see from Springshare, but also to have such a strong feedback loop. We don’t feel like a customer. We feel like we’re in a dialog and a have a “partnership” with librarians who are smarter than us, and we always have an option to ask for help if we get stuck or have a concern.
Springshare’s agile approach to software development and enhancements means we keep seeing more and more value for our investment.
Sharing is a core value that Springshare seems to have in common with its customers, so it is baked in to what we do and how we do it. Through resources like the community sites for LibGuides and LibAnswers, access to guides created by other libraries, the Springshare blog, and social media platforms it is easy for us to find and benefit from excellent implementations, to discuss strategies, share code, best practices and “borrow” resources and assets…and hopefully one day give back to that community.
Finally, support documentation is excellent and live and recorded Webinars are a huge help and again, I’ve gotten so much help from folks like Tim, Brody, Carrie and Valentina (among others!).
With Springshare software and support we keep our customers happy and that keeps us relevant, so yeah, it really does make the staff of a little library like ours feel like rock stars in our community!
We chose to go with LibGuides CMS to incorporate the website, LibGuides, forms/surveys (LibWizard) and E-Reserves into one platform, for a more streamlined look and ease of maintenance. Now that we have a template for web pages, CMS provides flexibility, allowing more than one or two savvy programming people the ability to make changes to content, as well editing as some of the look and feel.
Some of the features that assist us in powering our library website are LibGuides which we have used to create and customize our homepage and various other guides by using groups and templates and tweaking our CSS with the help of the Bootstrap framework.
Other noteworthy LibGuide tools that make our customizations or content creation easier include gallery boxes, the A-Z List, E-Reserves and the built-in Blog Management console. Tracking our website statistics in Libguides is also vital for knowing our most popular accessed databases and what our patrons are searching for on our website.
We also use other Springshare tools that link to our website such as LibCal to post events, LibWizard to create surveys and internal and external forms and LibAnswers for FAQs and to track our Reference Analytics.