We had actually planned on using LibGuides CMS as our main website for awhile, but a surprise development forced us to completely overhaul our site in one month flat.
Our institution recently switched from "Augsburg College" to "Augsburg University," and that prompted a complete reevaluation of the university's web content. Long story short, our old Wordpress website had to go, and we used that as an opportunity to redesign our site.
Since my colleagues and I already have familiarity with creating LibGuides for subject and course guides, it made sense for us to have one CMS handle all of our web content.
I would not have been able to completely rebuild our website on such short notice without using this system.
LibGuides CMS supports lots of customization while still handling a lot of the heavy lifting of web architecture. I have two years' experience with web work and that's it, so this CMS is definitely something advanced users and new web developers can both use.
It's important to note that we found inspiration from a number of great library websites, including Portland State University, Harvard University, and Wake Forest University. For folks who are thinking about looking at rebuilding a website, I suggest using the color palette of your university's main page and maintaining some key design similarities, especially in the header and footer, but otherwise exploring what works for you.
Everything our patrons do is driven through our website, whether they are searching for books in our catalog, using class guides to complete an assignment, or accessing our electronic databases. That level of visibility and frequency of use makes it essential that our website be adaptive and responsive, and yet that was not the case in the past.
So, we knew we needed a product that would allow us to create a sophisticated and professional website that reflects our personality and community, but which was easy enough to put together that we wouldn’t need to rely on outsiders to build and maintain it.
For us, LibGuides CMS was the answers. We were able to create the homepage we dreamed of that made use of all of the Springshare products we subscribe to and which was easy to use.
It is so easy that that almost anyone in the library could – with minimal training – make updates to our site, which means there is no longer just one gate-keeper for our site. The world doesn’t grind to a halt when that person is unavailable. Changes are happening all of the time.
What features of LibGuides CMS assist you in powering your library website?
We love how well the different Springshare tools play together in LibGuides CMS v.2. It is important to us that our students not feel like they are getting the run around; the research process and the library can be intimidating enough it is. We don’t want them growing discouraged by being referred to multiple outside sites to accomplish their goals.
So, we plug Springshare tools like LibCal and LibAnswers into our homepage. The fact that they are all Springshare tools means they look similar, allowing for visual continuity, but more importantly, they all speak to one another. The tools are all customizable, allowing us to rename them with intuitive titles, such as like “Schedule an Appointment” and “Ask the Library”. It allows an approachable and cohesive user experience.
We also love the ability to use API to populate and update the content in our guides. Most of the content on our Library Services pages is pushed from LibAnswers, which means as changes in policies or procedure occur, only one place needs to be updated for the data to be refreshed everywhere. So, if tomorrow the cost of printing increases from .4 cents to .5 cents, we would only need to change that information in the answer for that question in LibAnswers and suddenly the new information would appear on every page/guide where the widget for that question is embedded. It allows us to be more efficient and consistent.
You're using a lot of Springshare tools, tell us about that!
The library is about more than circulating materials. It is a place where instruction occurs, where assessment happens, where collections are grown, and where relationships are fostered. Using Springshare tools has made it very easy for us to accomplish all of these interwoven tasks in one place.
We use LibCal:
We use LibAnswers:
We’re using LibGuides CMS for our library’s website because we wanted to move off our university’s Drupal microsite platform and take control of our online presence.
The most important feature that LibGuides CMS provides is the flexibility in customizing the templates. Out of the box, the LibGuides platform can seem restrictive in how content is displayed. The ability to create pages that don’t look like the typical & traditional LibGuides template is a huge plus.
We use LibGuides because we like to have CONTROL!!! The system allows us to have 100% control over updates, content, links, customizations, etc.
Not having to work within the confines of IT and the organization template (which is not suited to a Library site) is one of the top reasons.
Our site changes daily, sometimes hourly and we couldn’t do this without LibGuides. Of course, the great customer service and support is another reason.
There are several features that assist us in powering our site. Customization is one of them, the product is so flexible to allow us to really make the site our own, yet it provides wonderful guidance and templates that make it easy to do! You don’t have to start from scratch, yet you get a finished product that makes it look like you did. Ease of use is a huge feature for us. We aren’t coders or techies, but with LibGuides you don’t need to be. We also love the ability to embed forms.
We had originally scheduled to migrate our website to Drupal for fall 2016, but this migration became urgent as technical issues with our previous content management system continued to mount; therefore, we started to prototype with LibGuides CMS. Through this exploration, we discovered that LibGuides CMS would be able to provide everything we were looking to accomplish. The key deciding factors for us were our familiarity with Springhare's suite of products and the ease of use because we had limited time to launch the new website.
What features of LibGuides CMS assist you in powering your website?
The features of LibGuides CMS that we can’t live without are Bootstrap, templates, integration with LibApps (LibCal, LibAnswers, and LibWizard Lite), and the asset management. Bootstrap and templates allowed us to quickly redesign and prototype the new website. LibGuides CMS made it easy to implement suggestions and feedback throughout the redesign process, while maintaining a more consistent look and feel than our previous website. The LibApps integration has allowed us to include more advanced functionality that, in a different CMS, would have required a developer/programmer to implement. The asset management helps us keep our content organized and makes it easier to collaborate because content can be created, shared, and reused.
Additionally, the intuitive LibGuides interface allows more of our librarians to participate in content creation and management.
We started using LibGuides in 2009 as our library website—so I have to go way back in time to remember the “old days.”
I wanted a flexible system that would allow more customization of our page layouts. Our old system was quite fixed, so when I saw what LibGuides could do with subject guide pages, I was impressed.
When my Library Dean told me that he had purchased LibGuides, I told him right off that I wasn’t going to run one system just for the “home page,” and then have the bulk of the site be LibGuides.
I argued that LibGuides would allow me to design the kind of home page I was looking for, so there was no reason not to run the entire site through it. Of course, I insisted that we use a custom domain name so that patrons didn’t think they were on a .com site when they were using the library site.
When we started with LibGuides in 2009, it offered somewhat limited CMS controls. However, as the years have gone by, LibGuides has matured and become a very effective CMS. I make constant use of reusing not only links, but whole boxes of information.
I have a special guide that the other editors are directed to use that I call “Reusable Resources,” or “re-re” for a friendly URL. I have a tab that includes boxes that they can COPY to their guide and edit to suit their particular needs. Another tab, however, is for LINKED boxes that I want them to link to from their guides. This simplifies website management.
The easy ability to add Custom JS/CSS is a real asset for managing our site. I have added extensive customizations to the standard CSS in order to fine tune the appearance of our site (view Loring's ACRL 2017 presentation). I also do extensive creation and editing in Source Code mode. As an old hand coder, I like to be in control of the HTML.
We have been using chat for some time (going back to an AOL account!). We get three times the chats as emails through LibAnswers. So, we are very pleased to have LibChat. I like how the widget easily integrates into the page and provides online/offline indication to the patron.
A year or so ago, we started using LibCal's My Scheduler. This is another winner for us. We have designed our research support services around the model of scheduled appointments between students and the subject specialist librarian. Having My Scheduler on the homepage and subject guides is essential for us.
We use LibWizard forms for ILL and to schedule appointments with our Special Collections & Archives department. We also have a LibWizard survey that is linked to from the My Scheduler follow-up email. We are using this survey to try and build assessment data on the process of scheduling an appointment as well as the assistance provided by the librarian.
I have found LibGuides CMS to be a versatile tool. I can honestly say that I enjoy spending time tinkering and editing our site. Working out a display issue and designing appropriate code to resolve it is a fun afternoon to me! LibGuides CMS lets you be a WYSIWYG editor if you want to be, or as advanced of an editor as you need to be.
We use Libguides CMS because of its popularity and ease of use with our library staff.
We were using a home grown CMS which did not use HTML5 or CSS3, did not take advantage of sharing content nor did it integrate other services like a calendar, chat or surveys/forms easily.
The features we love the most are:
It allows for us to have the entire library staff edit the site without having to learn html. Since it was designed especially for libraries, most of our major needs in a CMS are already implemented.
Having centralized assets (i.e graphics, widgets) allow us to maintain consistency throughout the site. This is especially true for our subscription databases. We don't have to hunt down all instances of database links on our pages; we simply have to edit the asset, and LibGuides changes every link to that resource on the site.
CSU-Global is an independent, fully-accredited, 100% online university that is part of the Colorado State University system. As a public, not for-profit university, we primarily serve nontraditional students and working adults.
The library’s strategic plan included a website redesign and I began to weigh the different options available for hosting a new site. Since our library only has an online presence, I felt as if I needed a robust, visually appealing, and responsive library website.
I also needed a website that was simple to update and required a minimal amount of coding. The upgrade to LibGuides CMS allowed me (with the help of a great web designer) to incorporate all of the identified and necessary elements to create a library website that fit our institutional needs.
The many levels of customization in LibGuides CMS allowed an experienced web designer to create customized templates that made it easy for content contributors without that level of expertise to add information.
The A-Z Database assets and mapping features now allow the library to incorporate new materials and resources in a simple, organized fashion. The groups feature will become important to us in the future as we expand the library.
We moved to using LibGuides CMS several years back, beginning with LibGuides v1. Stafford Library purchased LibGuides for the purpose of not only developing guides for our patrons, but for use as our website as well. This decision was a response to address our need for greater flexibility and control of the information we develop for the college campus. We needed a better content management system that could in itself be managed by librarians that may not have an in-depth know-how of coding or website design.
Certain features, such as the ability to map information, copy boxes into other guides and reuse content without the hassle of having to re-create that content, has saved us time and headaches. Staff appreciate the ability to quickly incorporate assets and quickly add new resources, such as databases, through use of the A to Z Database Management tool.
Necessary changes can be made on our time, allowing for seamless integration of new content, rather than waiting for departments external to the library to generate content at their availability. One thing I have noticed from reading similar responses is that many stress the phrase “The ability to…”, which is important to us.
We decided to use LibGuides CMS around the same time we were starting the migration process to LibGuides v2. We didn't know much about it (and still are learning), but were attracted to things like:
We really love the LibCal and LibAnswers integration too!
What features of LibGuides CMS assist you in powering your website?
We have found the following CMS features especially useful for our website needs:
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.
Migrating from LibGuides v1 to v2 provided us an opportunity to create a library website redesign.
Built on Bootstrap, we knew LibGuides CMS would offer us a responsive design our current site was lacking.
Though we've developed a good relationship with the college's webmaster, having little control over the styling behind the code was frustrating, and often created pages that weren't very user friendly.
Because LibGuides CMS already has established templates, once the homepage, header, and footer were created, designing and inputting the content for the rest of the pages was fairly streamlined.
There are many features in LibGuides CMS that assisted me with redesigning an entire site, but most importantly were the helpful support staff at SpringShare, detailed documentation, and webinar recordings. Before I actually started really working with code, I spent a long time watching and reading through best practices and tutorials. This is how I learned about creating groups, which really allowed me to customize the different kinds of pages I wanted to produce.
Utilizing all of the SpringShare apps was one of the big motivators behind using LibGuides CMS for our entire site. Much of the v2 apps are inherently integrated with v2 LibGuides, creating a real ease of use when selecting and embedding features. This also provided a good justification to our college as to why we needed to host our site on another platform outside of just the college's main site.
LibGuides CMS allowed us to put together an attractive and flexible website for our users. It's easy to use for content editors, while packing enough features to customize it as needed, without straining our budget.
In short, it was the best all-in-one hosted platform for us and our users.
The new templating system is wonderful.
From a content editor's perspective the workflow is still distinctly LibGuides-y (guides, pages, columns, boxes, lists of links, etc.). But you can customize it so that from a user's point of view, LibGuides looks just like any other CMS.
Our library site is no longer a LibGuides system that's used as a website; it's a website that happens to be hosted on LibGuides.
We were looking for a CMS solution that would allow for a seamless look and integrate with content from a multitude of third-party systems (e.g. library management system, online catalog/discovery system, LibCal, LibAnswers, In-house developed tools, etc.). Additionally, we needed a CMS that would allow for the distribution of content creation and editing roles with granular permissions. As current users of the LibGuides platform, our librarians and staff did not need to be retrained on a new platform which was a huge plus.
The use of Groups, Templates, and Account Permissions has allowed the various departments to update content while maintaining a consistent header and template across all pages and modules. The ability to embed widgets and assets across modules is a huge plus.
We’re using LibGuides CMS for our main website, because it gives us much more flexibility and control over our web presence, compared to our college’s content management system. The fact that it was designed specifically for libraries, makes it even more useful than a regular web CMS (including things like database asset system, books from the catalog, etc.).
Being able to have each librarian maintain their own pages with minimal training, using standardized templates is a big feature as to why we're using LibGuides CMS for our website.
Being able to have groups of pages that have their own unique look and feel is also important to us. For example, we’ve got a page for the campus LMS system that we’ve put in a different group, which matches the look and feel of the LMS.
We make use of LibCal and LibAnswers. On our homepage, we’ve added a “Today’s Library Hours” widget from LibCal, and a LibChat widget and FAQ link to LibAnswers. I’m also planning on adding a site-wide search tool using the LibApps search sources, but haven’t implemented that yet.
You could say that “we came for the guides, but we stayed for the CMS”. That’s actually how we came to use LibGuides for our Library website. We originally got it because it made it so easy for us to create subject and course guides with the functionality we wanted.
Shortly after purchasing LibGuides, our university migrated to a new CMS, but they just didn’t have the time to incorporate our needs for functionality into their university design template. LibGuides CMS made it easy for us to incorporate the university design into the functionality of the LibGuides platform. So, were able to make a case for migrating the rest of our website into LibGuides.
The hours on our library homepage header is actually a script that uses data from the LibCal API. All of our user testing and our usage statistics have shown that checking library hours is a top task, so we wanted to insure that the current day’s hours, with a link to full hours info, will always display at the tops of our pages, at all screen widths.
It was easy to do this through the LibGuides template functionality. LibCal was the best way to both easily maintain those hours, and to allow us to embed that information into our LibGuides.
Making chat available on every page was also another priority for us, and LibAnswers' LibChat made it easy to embed that functionality in our headers.
We are using LibGuides CMS to power our website for a variety reasons. We really like the flexibility of the platform and the ability to create different groups and customize the look and feel of each as we see fit and we found it to be better for us than WordPress, which is what our old website used.
We like that it is built on the responsive Bootstrap framework which ensures that our users can access our website on any device of their choosing.
Since we are a subscribing to the Springy Suite it made sense for us to transition our website to LibGuides CMS to allow for a more seamless integration of LibCal, LibAnswers, and LibWizard. We have created some LibAnswer widgets that are integrated into our website, such as the information on our circulation page which contains three different LibAnswer widgets. We love the fact that once we create a form or a widget in LibWizard or LibAnswers that all we have to do to add it to LibGuides and our website is select it from a dropdown menu. By using the widgets we only have to edit the information in one place.
The system allows us a ready to use platform that allows for the creation of research guides, but gives us enough flexibility to customize the main library website.
With all of our content now on one platform, we can optimize the reuse of content, benefit from site wide tools and benefit from the interoperability of other springshare products.
When we first discovered LibGuides, way back in 2008, it was THE answer to our challenge of reaching our users.
We had been struggling with a means to design and deliver instructional content and LibGuides became our way to teach and to provide enhanced access to library resources. With the power and flexibility to change content as needed LibGuides v1 immediately became our website and LibGuides became our “thing” to pitch and promote our services.
There are few on campus who aren’t aware of LibGuides and how the library engages with faculty and students with the common goal of academic success. We were early migrators to LibGuides v2 (ask us about Beta!) and added CMS because of the design and customization options.
Our collaboration with other departments helped drive the decision to upgrade. For example, we have a close relationship with our Distance Education department who use their own LG2 “Group” for faculty LMS training. They have their own additional LibAnswers Queue and use LibWizard too!
The Group and Template features really help us showcase and manage content for different purposes. Let’s say we don’t want breadcrumb on the faculty training LibGuide? With CMS they can be gone – just like that. As you can see, we use a tweaked default home page as our home page as our local customization expertise with CSS is still developmental. But we are so happy with what we can do and how we can support students and our colleagues on campus – because of LibGuides and other Springshare products. The CMS platform makes it so easy to integrate LibAnswers & LibChat, which are important ways to connect with our community.
LibAnswers' Query Spy helps identify what students want and need, which in turn, enables us to better serve them by developing FAQs or LibGuides.
We integrate LibCal and use the registration feature for some workshops.
And things we plan to do:
These LibGuides CMS features assist us in powering our library website:
Groups (both LibGuides and LibAnswers), template customization, CSS (although, as mentioned, we are not too good at this), A-Z Database List, resource icons, private & public guides, next navigation, side and tab LibGuides for different purposes. Images & widgets. The LibGuides community and the SpringShare Lounge. And, of course, the amazing Springshare support team.
Originally we just wanted LibGuides to replace Subjects Plus so that our librarians would be happier creating their content.
When LibGuides CMS became available we saw the opportunity to focus on content and leave the OS and all the security issues to the experts. Although we need another site to house our MySQL databases and scripts, we are gradually transferring all other content to LibGuides CMS.
LibGuides CMS is cost-effective compared to cost of owning, upgrading, and managing our own servers. I don’t think we will ever second-guess this decision.
Our newest toy, LibInsight, has been instrumental in not only in allowing us to easily add integrations to our dashboard but has also helped us finally gather usage statistics more easily with SUSHI harvesting. The ability to add just about any content we need via scripts and iframes (again, the dashboard) allows us to develop out of the boxes. And speaking of boxes, now that we can hide the borders our CSS is a lot simpler, too.
We integrate LibChat with a widget on our homepage, LibAnswers with the Q&A feature, LibWizard with forms and surveys, and LibInsight, which I mentioned above. The ability to keep Google Analytics update in real time on our dashboard via LibInsight is totally fun!
The LTIs are also great, although we can’t use the Automagic LTI because of the way our courses are numbered in Canvas. Having said that, one of our librarians is very good with video tutorials and helps our faculty with adding library content to their online courses. She also assists with managing our Canvas integration LibGuide.
We started with LibGuides in 2009. It didn't take long for our LibGuides (and LibAnswers) pages to emerge as some of the most important components of our library's web presence, but we were never pleased with the obvious disconnect between the look of the site itself and that of our Springshare products. When we learned about the exciting new layout options in LG2, it was clear to us that the platform would accommodate an appealing look and feel while at the same time giving us a chance to consolidate the elements of our web services into one consistent package.
Equally compelling was LG2's Bootstrap integration. We were early in developing a mobile site, and our analytics had shown steady growth in its use through the years. The recognition that Springshare's new platform would enable us to look good on any screen, without having to maintain multiple sites, sealed the deal.
What features of LibGuides CMS assist you in powering your website?
The ability to quickly call up databases and other kinds of assets for inclusion in guides is great--as is the effortless integration of forms and surveys, which opens up myriad possibilities for teaching. And it's a real boon that we can now publish pages under a variety of templates, because entities across campus have over the years come to the library to put content on the web tailored for various events.
We are using LibGuides CMS as our library website because it gives us a lot of flexibility to easily make changes to our site.
We try to keep our site fresh and interesting and the ease of use of LibGuides CMS really allows us to do that.
I like that LibGuides (both CMS and not) are bootstrap based so our website looks great on any device.
Also, CMS allows us to customize the look and feel of individual guides so our homepage that we’ve created in LibGuides can have a look and feel that is unique from the rest of our LibGuides.
We wanted the ability to edit our pages independently from our University's media relations department.
We've worked with Media relations to make sure that the Library website fits the University brand, but they appreciate not having to make frequent changes and we appreciate a more granular control over our pages and the ability to design the site we think serves our students the best.
We chose to use CMS because we wanted our "guides" to differ visually from our "site" and the CMS groups did that well for us.
We have a group for our main landing page, another (very similar group) for the other website pages, and groups for research guides that serve a different purpose.
The Library had long wanted a customized site and had been creating supplemental pages in LibGuides v1. When the university's Web site went to a marketing driven design, the new platform limited the use of our library resources and tools thus prompting a decision to migrate the entire site to LibGuides CMS.
The LibGuides CMS templates are a great feature to build from and customize.
The product allows for the creation of web content for our librarians at all levels of web skills expertise.
Currently we utilize LibWizard by incorporating forms throughout the Web site (e.g. “Report a Problem”, Purchase Request Forms, etc). We also link to our group study rooms by using LibCal for the calendar.
With all of the nuances and specialized features that are required in a library website, we needed a system that would allow us to maintain the library website separately from the university’s website. Being a small library with a limited amount of staff, we also needed something that was user-friendly and would allow us to make any necessary changes quickly and easily. LibGuides CMS is easy to use, completely customizable and has a robust support system, making it a great option that met all of our needs.
What features of LibGuides CMS assist you in powering your library website?
Having the LibGuides system built on Bootstrap means its mobile-responsive right out of the box, which is great for making sure we’re meeting the needs of all our students no matter where they are. Features like the built-in navbar and integration with Font Awesome made it especially easy to build a customized site that looked sleek and modern. One of the best features in LibGuides is the templates, which allowed us to completely customize the HTML layout of our website. We also used templates to create consistency in our library research guides, including embedding content like our Ask A Librarian box into the template so that it appears on every guide, which also helps us maintain a consistent level of point-of-need service and availability.
We use LibGuides CMS to power our website because the University CMS doesn't allow us the flexibility we need to allow any librarian to create create pedagogically sound course, subject, and topic guides.
Editorial Note: They make strong use of Springshare product integrations with LibAnswers and LibChat widgets right on the homepage. Plus, they have a LibCal Hours widget always displaying 'Today's Hours'...right on the homepage.
In brief, the LibGuides CMS platform is easy to use, flexible, integrates well with other Springshare products, and most importantly, offers features and can be designed to meet the needs of our users.
We don’t have a large staff of developers to work on our website but we still need a robust, highly customizable site and LibGuides CMS has met that need for us.
LibGuides CMS in particular offers a number of very useful features that the standard LibGuides platform doesn’t, like groups, secure file uploads and password protection, enhanced statistics, and more.
These features are great enhancements to our site both for users and staff and the LibGuides CMS platform is quite affordable for all the functionality if offers.
We’ve also found LibGuides CMS to be a great platform for something as important and user-centric as the library website because as a vendor, Springshare is a pleasure to work with. We think that they do an excellent job answering questions and addressing problems in a timely manner, listen to feedback from their clients, and regularly offer training, updates, and enhancements to their products.
The option to organize guides into groups has been very useful. We wanted to have our more traditional subject and course research guides designed and to function differently than our library homepage. By moving our homepage to its own group we were able to customize it (e.g. use a background image, different layout, etc.) without altering the design of our research guides.
Another option we’ve found useful is the ability to password protect guides. We have some content that, due to licensing agreements, needs to be restricted to specific users and groups. By using the option to password protect guides we’re able to restrict general access and grant it on a case-by-case basis but still present this content on the LibGuides platform with all the functionality, design options, etc. that our users have come to expect.
A third LibGuides CMS feature that’s been very useful is the enhanced statistics options. Being able to track data like sessions, referring URL, screen resolution, etc. has been helpful when making decisions.
SC4 Library decided to use LibGuides CMS for our library website in 2012. It allowed us the ability to maintain a consistent look and feel throughout the system, store a repository of content re-usable by our librarians, and keep all library web content in one central location.
Internally, asset management is simpler and more centralized for sharing among librarians. Plus, the platform is designed for libraries & integrates well with other systems that SC4 library already uses, including other Springshare products.
Having a strong library focused platform to jump off of has given us more time to focus on customizations and integration than we would have had if we had built the library website from the ground up. The system is user friendly and fun to play with, and is a great system to learn and develop your own web design skills!
"The college used to manage the library’s web presence, and as the library expanded its online offerings, it became apparent that the library’s website would need some major updates to help maximize the use of its subscribed tools and resources.
I was working part time at the reference desk at SC4 & the full time systems & technical services librarian position became available. I decided to do a little something extra for my interview. I created a mockup of a new library website using LibGuides.
The library director has since told me that my website mockup was a big selling point in offering me the position.
So, thanks for helping me land a job Springshare!"
In today's marketing oriented education market place, the Library is lucky to get any real estate on the front page much less, be in a position to be able to arrange their resources in a way that fit the user and not the marketing department.
Using Springshare as our main digital presence is a way of not only presenting a user friendly face to our students, but also collecting data on how they are using it. This is critical in the assessment hungry environs Libraries now exist in as every move and expenditure needs to be justified.
Before our current website, we had a Wordpress page as the initial landing page for our website, the content pages of our site were created in LibGuides.
We knew we needed to change our website because we were experiencing frequent outages of our Wordpress page, and because it was managed by an outside consultant, we were at the mercy of their availability to get our landing page up and running.
The committee looked at different options for our website, but decided to go with LibGuides for its stability and because most of our content was already handled through LibGuides.
I will say that having the ability to create different formatting in LibGuides through the use of html, bootstrap and CSS makes it pretty easy to program the main structure of the page. Having the overall framework/infrastructure (content boxes) of LibGuides also helps because we already understand that model.
We really like being able to handle changes to our website in-house, which we couldn’t do before. And we like the immediacy of changes. The SpringShare tutorials/webcast videos and notes were incredibly helpful in me being able to program this page and have it look like something cohesive.
The main reason for moving our website to LibGuides CMS was the new redesign of our college website. The focus for this new college website was for marketing and recruiting new students.
The library’s focus is instruction and research, and we wanted a site that reflected this focus and improved upon our old homepage. Control of our content and the ability to make necessary changes in our given timeframe were also key factors.
With control, we are able to keep our content fresh and current. I like the ability for multiple content providers (librarians, library staff, and faculty) to produce and edit our website instead of just one or a few experts doing all the work.
I love the ability to manipulate the layout of pages using templates. It is great that you can customize your pages and get additional help from SpringShare. The Forms/Surveys module (LibWizard Lite) is very resourceful for our library. I am so excited about the LibWizard and can’t wait to see what some of our instruction librarians create with the Tutorials tool.
We just got LibCal and are currently using it for scheduling rooms at our Joint Use Library. The staff likes it so much better than the software we were using. We are working on setting up our library hours using LibCal. I am sure we will find some other uses for it when we get more familiar with it, as well.
Using LibGuides CMS for our website, makes it easy to own the content and keep it up to date, as we can now manage the updates ourselves, without relying on other teams within the institute.
With the customizations we feel we have successfully been able to implement our institute's branding through use of color, while still having control of the look and feel of the website.
The abundance of features and options allows us to customize our website and make it attractive and easy to use. Using CMS means we can easily separate the look and feel of our website from that of our guides (and potentially other pages too). And it is quite simple to manage even with our small library team.
It is simply the only product in the market that has the simplicity, flexibility and power to deliver all our library information, resource access, and robust discoverability to provide our users with the best possible experience.
CMS version is structured so that content is easily reusable, saving time and effort, and maintaining consistency throughout the site. It caters specifically to library content, such as the book content boxes, database A-Z central management, proxy integration, and allows us to be completely independent of IT department workflows.
To get this robust functionality in any other way, would mean trying to piece together various applications and at a significantly higher cost – Libguides simply makes our work so much easier, and the user experience more satisfying.
We did a complete system migration (away from local servers) and needed a cloud-hosted solution for our website. We were already using LibGuides v2 and the A-Z list.
This was an opportunity to bring consistency to our web presence.
We used a Discussion Board during our web design phase. It proved helpful in cutting down on emails and the ability to track changes and suggestions.
The tutorials and documentation allowed us to create an interface that links to a great deal of content while maintaining a clean interface. Support was also available to help when trying out some of the more advanced editing features available through Bootstrap and Custom CSS. The Group feature is valuable for creating custom templates and access control.
We are using the LibCal tool to display our daily hours. We use LibCal Room Bookings for our study room/Mediascape reservations and My Scheduler for one-on-one appointments for librarians. Room/Mediascape Reservations and Meet with a Librarian are links in our toolbar. We use a link on the homepage for Faculty to schedule Information Literary sessions and we have plans to use forms to update our Make a Suggestion page (currently using a Google form).
Our Library Strategic Plan included a library website re-design plan and we researched various options for hosting our new library website which is separate from our University’s website. We needed a content management system that would allow content authors to create layouts that are responsive and more accessible to our users.
We chose the LibGuides website platform initially to create our subject guides and found it to be intuitive, functional and flexible. We continued to incorporate all LibGuide elements which enabled us to roll out a responsive enhanced design that better meets the needs of our users.
As LibGuides is a CMS designed specifically for libraries, we felt it contained all the tools necessary to provide the type of content that suit our users’ needs. The embedded content throughout the website helps us maintain a consistent level of point-of-need service and availability.
LibGuides provides us with the ability to create our own styles, scripts, and custom layout templates. We’ve used LibGuides CMS to create our library homepage and other guides by using groups, templates and tweaking our CMS with the help of Bootstrap. We like that LibGuides is built on the Bootstrap 3 Framework and is mobile responsive which ensures our users can access our website anywhere using any device for faster and more convenient web browsing.
LibGuides CMS empowers our staff to edit and revise website content without complex training.
We find using the LibCal hours widget efficient and user friendly. We have the option to display opening hours for all libraries in one area e.g. our homepage or individually on our LibGuides for our libraries which are located off campus.
Similarly the LibAnswers product provides an excellent platform for maintaining an intuitive, user-focused knowledge base that integrates seamlessly with the rest of our site. We have received requests from colleagues in other areas of the University enquiring about the potential of using both LibCal and LibAnswers for use-cases beyond the library.
A new feature for us is the online room booking system via LibCal, a service we previously provided manually at our reception/information desk. This service is ideal for students who wish to book group study rooms at a time of their choosing.
Tracking our website statistics in LibGuides gives us some insight into how our users are interacting with our content and helps us see what they are searching for on our website.
LibGuide features such as copying and mapping content and re-using content without having to re-create that content has saved us time in our busy schedules.
The built-in link checker allows us to view and repair any broken links keeping our content regularly up-to-date and we like that there is a single sign-on across all LibApps features.
Other LibGuide tools that make customisation or content creation easier include the blog which we use as our public news feed, a gallery box containing scrolling images for library announcements, and an intranet blog where library staff can peruse internal activities/discussions.
The reasons we're using LibGuides CMS to power our library website are numerous but I guess the main ones are, it’s simplicity, it’s built on bootstrap (mobile-friendly), it’s customizable, it’s rock solid reliable and I have to say this, the support is of the gold standard.
It’s like having your own team of web developers on call. We could not of achieved half of what we have done without the Springy support. Going back to the early days when Laura practically held our hand with others chipping in like Talia, Valentina, Zinthia, Anna, Derik to the more recent gurus like Tim, Brody, Cindi, Carrie et al.
To be honest, our library homepage wouldn’t be what it is without the fantastic support from Greg who came up with the script and CSS to keep all our boxes equal height and Anthony who created the magic for our LibCal events calendar.
In fact, I feel like a fraud even suggesting it is our work.
Some of the key things that we have taken advantage of are the customizable templates (the homepage is a template I had to fool around with) and groups for different look and feel. Check-out the Special Collections & Archives Group or the CMS Group we use for our touch screen infoPoints.
These aspects allow us to create a different look and feel to meet a particular need while maintaining a consistency throughout the system/pages. With LibGuides CMS V2 you have the flexibility to make your pages look a lot less like 'LibGuides'. We have also recently switched to using the LibGuides system blog from Google blogger. We've used blogger for about 12 years but we took the plunge and switched to the LibGuides blog.
When we looked at our old webpages we noticed we had pages for stuff like ‘Borrowing rights’ and ‘How to’s’ which all became FAQs when we got LibAnswers so there was no point in having webpages with the same info on them. Our homepage provides the launchpad to our catalogue, room bookings, etc. But all of the information is provided via LibAnswers, and the LibAnswers search box on our homepage. LibAnswers has literally replaced the hundreds, if not thousands, of webpages we had that 'answered' students queries......which they had to find by 'guessing' their way around the old site’s navigation. Now, they just type in a word into the LibAnswers search box and the autocomplete does its job.
Our LibAnswers stats have increased ridiculously since we adopted this approach. Our knowledge base is averaging 15-25,000 public views a month. Our old webpages came nowhere near this. Not to mention face to face enquiries, telephone enquiries have dropped significantly.
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.
LibGuides is a known entity in the library world! And we anxiously awaited the release of the CMS product. The Library selected LibGuides CMS in order to replace an outdated library website that was not user friendly, created barriers to access, and did not meet modern accessibly standards.
We were attracted to the flexibility of the CMS; we choose the system as we could create an entire library ecosystem which powered both a new library interface and an ever growing repository of research guides in the same system.
As we serve multiple institutions, we also needed a solution that would allow us to uniquely serve each institution in a global manner; the CMS product allowed us to do this with Groups.
We use the Groups feature quite a lot to help us organize guides according to their use. This allows us to apply unique styling to the groups, but also helps when we need to generate statistics on use for just the link assets that are used in those groups.
Another great CMS feature is page templates. We don’t yet have a lot of public pages that use customized page templates, but we see the need for this growing. We have several internal groups where templates are in heavier use. Future versions of the library website will most likely incorporate multiple templates.
We rely heavily on the Publishing Workflow, to ensure consistency. While we can provide training to all of our librarians on how to build accessible guides, we cannot expect them to be accessibility experts; therefore, we are using the Publishing Workflow to review each guide for both content and accessibility prior to publishing.
LibGuides CMS is easy to use, easy for admins to customize, extremely flexible, and responsive to a user’s device. We emphasized these attributes when we proposed using LibGuides CMS for the library’s website. We stressed how it would equip us to better support the educational mission of our institution, and compared this against the limitations of the university’s web platform. The powers that be acknowledged its value and approved moving our library website to LibGuides CMS.
“When are you open?” was a frequently asked question and LibCal made it extremely easy and visually appealing to share that information with our users on our front page. LibAnswers has helped us provide answers to frequently asked and not so frequently asked questions. Since it logs queries both submitted and not submitted, it has helped to identify questions our users have but don’t share for one reason or another.
We are using LibGuides CMS as our website due to the specialist nature of the CMS.
We originally were going to use LibGuides simply as a host for our reading and resource lists, but when we spent more time with the site, we got a better understanding of how we could utilize its flexibility to really customize the look and feel.
We believe that using LibGuides CMS fully would allow us a very clean, flexible website, rather than having an additional site, or by using the the widgets on another website.
Why try and make two sites look and feel seamless, when we could do everything we needed in one.
In addition to LibGuides CMS, we are using LibCal in a number of ways, we use the My Scheduler for one-to-one appointments for our Academic Librarians, Academic Skills Advisors and our Digital Learning Specialists. We have recently rolled out the My Scheduler system in a pilot project for a Business School academics to allow students to book personal tutorials. We run a number of calendars for public and private workshop bookings, this has improved our internal processes immeasurably. Also, we use the room booking tool. We use this as it should be used for Group Study Pods for students, and for staff to book our training suite. We also use it in a way that it wasn’t designed. We have setup some equipment as rooms, allowing academic staff to book the audience response (clickers). We had email chats with Spring support about this last year, and it is good to see the release of the equipment booking module.
We use most of the available features, and we make extensive use of the ability to use custom CSS, we have made Libguides look very much like a different website, mainly to compliment our University’s website. This ability using Groups allows us to have a different look to each of our websites sections. We also make great use of the ability to create widgets, we pull through a lot of content via widgets to our University intranet and VLE. As these widgets are dynamic, any content changes, new guides created etc. automatically appear on other sites. We are also using the new Blog tool as our main blog linking to our social media sites.
Our Library Services website underwent a much needed update in September 2015. We were already using LibGuides v1 for our Database A-Z and subject guides. Rather than adding another system, it made sense to use LibGuides CMS for all of our webpages, integrating our other services with the Database A-Z and subject guides.
We also began using LibAnswers to manage our askalibrarian enquiry service as well as powering our FAQs.
With so many systems to manage - seven at the last count – styling LibAnswers to seamlessly interact with LibGuides has significantly improved user friendliness. We’ve applied the same stylesheets, headers (including navigation) and footers to LibGuides, LibAnswers, our link resolver and Journal A-Z, and have plans to update our other systems with the same styling.
LibGuides CMS has all the features we require of a CMS, with the added benefit of managing our Database A-Z. New developments pop up frequently, with major features such as blogging capability and unified search added this year. An upcoming job is to migrate our existing blog (on an in-house developed template) over to Springshare’s template. Reffie, our resident raptor and Library Services mascot, is looking forward to settling into the new blog.
Our students and staff have been very pleased with the changes we’ve made to our website, and often comment about how much easier it is to use.
Integrating our different resource searches, which we call Library Search, into a single tabbed box on our homepage has been very positively received. Hits on our website have increased by 240%, our subject guides page views have gone up 35%, and over 90% of hits on our discovery layer now come through our website. Having Library Search on the homepage has made it possible for us to locate timely messages where they will be most read, which is absolutely key when communicating access issues and changes to services.
We think LibGuides CMS is the cat's pajamas because it allows us to provide a consistent, unified experience to our patrons across not only Walden Library's website, but across the University. LibGuides is extremely intuitive, our staff love using it, and the framework is accessible, responsive, flexible, and customizable. Plus, support is hands down the best of all our vendors, so it really was a no-brainer to go "all in" with our website.
In fact, other academic departments at Walden took notice of what the Library was doing, so we now happily share LibGuides with 14 departments and host over 22 independent sites. The improvements to groups, access, and account permissions in LGv2 have made it possible for us to effectively share content in a single system.
We have nearly 4,000 active guides; it's pretty amazing!
Not only do we use LibGuides to power the Library's website and instructional content, but our dedicated librarians maintain course reading lists and assignment help in 2,500 course guides.
We embed LibApps content into our guides whenever possible, including: a University-wide FAQ search (LibAnswers); upcoming library webinars (LibCal); student doctoral research appointments (LibCal's MyScheduler); chat service and hours (LibChat and LibCal Hours module); library system alerts (LibAnswers Status Management module); and a "report a broken link" form (LibWizard).
What we're most excited about though is the new unified search that brings together our guide content, A-Z list, LibAnswers FAQ, and our discovery service, which we recently launched on the Walden Library's homepage and throughout our website.
After working with different content management systems and using LibGuides v1 for subject guides, we decided to move to LibGuides CMS for our website for several reasons. Most importantly, we recognized the necessity for flexibility and customization in v1. Now, those traits are more evident in LibGuides CMS.
The ability to create Groups in LibGuides CMS was also an appealing feature. With Groups, we can organize content according to the needs of our patrons, and we are no longer constrained by external systems.
LibGuides CMS empowers staff to edit, update, and revise our website without complex training. Simply put LibGuides CMS does exactly what we need it to do – that was not always the case with previous content management systems.
For our users, LibGuides CMS is an attractive easy-to-use destination, showcasing the Library’s resources: content guides, databases, discovery service, catalog, and staff. Because LibGuides CMS offers seamless transitions, our website is clear and consistent, making navigation a cinch.
We are using LibGuides CMS as our library website because it offers a great balance of customizability and ease-of-use. Because of the ability to include our own styles and scripts, and create custom layout templates, we are able to make our site look and act the way we want, but at the same time we get to take advantage of lots of helpful built-in features (drag-and-drop content organization, image management, wysiwyg editing) that make maintaining and updating the site quick and easy.
We chose to use LibGuides CMS because it represents the best of both worlds. It provides a flexible CMS environment with responsive and accessible design features, together with library-specific features like A-Z database management that you won’t find in more general CMS products. It also allows us to consolidate our research guides, LibCal, and our website into one seamless user experience.
The more the LibApps ecosystem of products grows, the more this integration will work in our favor.
I think we’re taking advantage of virtually every LibGuides CMS feature! Groups functionality, database management, templating, and LibWizard forms are all used.
In addition to responsive design and accessibility features, LibGuides pages are structured out of the box in a way that feels very organized and easy to manipulate with code without breaking pages and creating a mess. I had a lot of fun “riffing,” if you will, off of standard LibGuides page code to create a new look and feel; it’s much easier than coding a professional-looking layout from scratch.
Custom code support also allowed us to create interactive features like the new books carousel, the drop-down menus, the mobile view side menu, changing the order of the homepage boxes in mobile vs desktop view, custom typefaces, and the buttons that change when you hover over them.
Because of its ease of use and its access control/user permissions features, we also use LibGuides CMS for many internal functions on campus that require content management such as creating and processing faculty applications to renew their employment contracts. In this way, Springshare has helped to further elevate our library’s importance and image on campus.
One thing that makes us very happy about using LibGuides CMS is Springshare’s incredible support. Whenever I have a question or problem, they respond very quickly.
Springshare has also been very proactive about library feedback and future-proofing their products. For example, when the news about Google Chrome and HTTP-related security warnings came out, Springshare was all over it by adding security certificate installation features for those of us using custom domains, and then by adding a HTTPS redirect feature to ensure that users always use the secure version of the site. Clear and ample documentation before and after the release of these features made me feel positively spoiled.
Academic libraries have a hard time fitting their web sites into the content management systems of the colleges and universities they serve, and usually have to run their own.
Being a small library staff, we didn't want the responsibility of trying to integrate a beast like Drupal with our online library services, and LibGuides had a lot of the CMS elements and workflows that libraries require already designed and ready to use.
With code widgets for headers, footers, and the ability to load in our own JS and CSS, theming was pretty quick. Our front page with the Holy Grail of the single search was standard HTML and a little Bootstrap. The rest is adding and linking content.
The more we've worked with LibGuides CMS, the more we find ways to reuse content and automate linking and list building. It's getting kind of addictive and we all need to stop and get back to our other library work.
The features we like the most are templates and the ability to map existing pages and content boxes in different guides. They are great time savers and help us maintain consistency across the site. And then there are the widgets for code snippets, at the site level and at the guide level for minor tweaks and overwrites. The widgets open just enough of the code that matters to us.
We just got started, and our developer has been on vacation the whole time, so we're looking forward to seeing what he can do with it. That said, you don't need a developer to make LibGuides CMS do the heavy lifting for your library web site. And it will only get better as the community gets behind this product.