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SpringyNews - Broadening Horizons

November 2022

Tips & Tricks -Things You Didn't Know You Could Do with LibGuides

Sometimes broadening your horizons can be achieved by simply reframing or trying something new with a tool you already LibGuides! It's likely that you already know how to build a guide, but this month's Tips & Tricks will inspire you to use guides in unconventional ways and explore features you may not have known are available. 

1. Create a kiosk with LibGuides CMS

HTML/CSS Knowledge Required


Setting up a dedicated public computer to allow patrons to search the catalog, book a study room, or make an appointment with a librarian is an excellent way to increase access to library services and empower patrons to help themselves to your library's valuable resources. Setting up a kiosk allows you to point directly to the most used resources, reducing confusion for patrons and lightening the workload for library staff. 

Tips for Building a Kiosk:

  • Create a kiosk page layout template - some simple modifications will create a self-contained and easy-to-navigate template, perfect for a kiosk guide. We suggest removing the public header, breadcrumbs, and guide search. This will create a cleaner look but also keep patrons from navigating away from the specific resources the kiosk is designed to display. Changing a template's layout requires modifying HTML code, so having some familiarity with HTML is important.
  • Go with the Side Nav - clearly point to important resources including the library catalog, calendar, appointment booking, space booking, library map, or whatever else your patrons ask for regularly.
  • Design for location - you may find different locations in the library call for different resources. Once you've created a solid template, use it to build custom guides for specific needs. 
  • Create a group - Admin-level users can create a group to keep all of the kiosk guides together, control access, and make group-level changes. Page templates can be applied at the group level to keep everything looking consistent. 
  • Create LibCal widgets and add them as media/widget assets to seamlessly connect your LibCal event calendar, library hours, and appointment booking so those update automatically. 

Creating a Kiosk with LibGuides Video Get started with this recorded training session!

  • Consider using a browser or browser mode that is specifically designed for kiosk mode such as open kiosk to make sure patrons stay on your guide and don't use the computer for browsing.

For more ideas and detailed instructions, check out this recorded training session on creating a kiosk LibGuide

2. Using Polls to teach AND engage



It's no secret that interactive design promotes active learning. How can you quickly make your LibGuides even more interactive? The small but mighty poll asset! Each poll contains a single, multiple-choice question with up to 10 possible responses.

Ideas for using polls: 

  • Get them to your guides - ask students to fill out a poll during an instruction session to make sure they can successfully navigate to a specific guide. Who knows, once they're there, maybe they'll look around! 
  • Teach while you learn - add URLs to polls, so students and patrons have an opportunity to learn while they submit feedback. 
  • Deploy passive polling - add polls to your website to help with navigation or passively gather opinions and feedback from your patrons. 

Creating a Kiosk with LibGuides Video Poll results display after an answer is submitted

3. Create a single-page “Wikipedia-like” guide



The creators of Wikipedia were definitely on to something when they designed their iconic one-page articles. Having all the information on a topic on a single page with linked in-page navigation makes it easy to explore, without having to bounce around from one page to another or scroll to a specific place on a longer page. This kind of design is especially useful for instructional content, as it allows users to jump directly to the topic or step they need.

Creating a "Wikipedia-like" guide is easy with the help of two specific kinds of links: 

1. Linking to specific LG boxes

We do this all the time here at Springy HQ! In fact, most of the side navigation menus you see in this newsletter use direct links to boxes! 

  1. Find the box and click on the pencil () icon in its header. Copy the Box ID number at the top of the Box Info tab.
  2. Use the box ID to create a link fragment: #s-lg-box-[box id]. The final link you share will look like:

2. Linking to a block of text using an anchor

To direct a user to a specific place on a page, you can add an anchor in the rich text editor and create a link using that. We've been known to use this in the newsletter and in our Support Documentation. 

  1. In the rich text editor, place the cursor where you want the anchor to go and click the Anchor (flag) button.
  2. Give your anchor a unique name, which will create a link to that anchor.
  3. Click save and a red flag icon will appear next to it when editing the Rich Text/HTML content item.
  4. To link to an anchor, enter the full URL of the page followed by a hash and the anchor's name:

4. Improve SEO and discoverability

Creating useful and informative guides takes valuable time, so making sure those guides are easily discoverable should be a top priority.... but how do you do that? It's likely that patrons are using either the search function in your LibGuides system or a general search engine as a starting point and there are some basic ways you can improve functionality for both. 

  • Start by looking at your LibGuides statistics, specifically the search statistics - these will give you a breakdown of exactly what terms your patrons are searching for. You may find subject terms, specific course names or numbers, content that doesn’t exist yet, etc.  
  • Identify recurring keywords and phrases and make sure that existing content is using those words and phrases. 
  • Create descriptive and concise guide, page, and group (CMS) titles and add friendly URLs that accurately reflect them. This will help both humans and search engines navigate your guides. 

Search Engine Optimization for LibGuides

  • Add/update guide and page descriptions. Both are visible to search engines, as well as to humans. 
  • Use Tags! Tags are an excellent way to pull groups of guides together and create more granular search options for specific subjects. They also appear as facets on the search results page, which is handy for filtering results. 

 Learn more! We have in-depth recorded training sessions on Improving SEO for LibGuides and Using Subjects and Tags.

5. Add Dismissible Alerts with Bootstrap

HTML/CSS Knowledge Required


Emergency closures, upcoming holiday hours, and special announcements. There are many reasons you might need to add an alert to a specific guide or your LibGuides Homepage. While basic HTML knowledge is required for this tip, using the Bootstrap library that is already built into LibGuides makes it relatively easy to create a dismissible alert with a distinct look and feel, without extensive CSS. If you're new to HTML, check out this training tidbit for detailed instructions.

  1. Choose your text! You can transform any text including headers, paragraph text, and links into an alert. 
  2. Add a standard box in your storage guide for easy reuse.
  3. Head on over to the  Bootstrap 3 Components Library to check out the code required for each of the alert classes and the option to make your alert dismissible. You might end up with a snippet of code that looks something like this:
     <div class="alert alert-warning alert-dismissible" role="alert">
      <button type="button" class="close" data-dismiss="alert" aria-label="Close"><span aria-hidden="true">&times;</span></button>
    <p>The library will be closed today due to a power outage.</p>
  4. Add a Rich Text/HTML element to your box and drop the code into the HTML editor.
  5. When complete, you can reuse or map the box in any guide! 

Advanced Tip: Admin-level users who are comfortable with HTML can create custom homepage templates that include alerts. This is a good option for adding alerts about seasonal hour shifts, etc. to your LibGuides Homepage. Once the template is created, it can easily be applied and removed when the alert is no longer needed.