Preparing LibAnswers, LibCal, and/or LibStaffer for holidays or changing schedules

When preparing for holiday schedules, you may need to plan for periods when your library is closed or has reduced hours of operation. If you subscribe to LibAnswers, LibCal, and/or LibStaffer, you have some helpful tools already at your fingertips to ensure a smooth transition between schedules.


LibAnswers

There are several ways you can prepare LibAnswers for a change in schedules, primarily focusing on letting your patrons know when they can expect a follow up to their questions. Check out the links below to learn more.

For Admin users

  • Customize a question form's off-hours success message
    Learn how to create a special confirmation message that patrons will see when submitting a queue's question form when your library is closed. This can let them know that you are closed and when they can expect to receive a response.
    • Please note: there is not currently an option for sending an auto-reply to tickets submitted via email. The off-hours success message only applies to question form submissions.
  • How to set up auto-responders for after-hours SMS messages
    Similar to your queue's question form, you can also set up a special off-hours message that users will receive when submitting an SMS when your library is closed. Again, this can let them know that you are closed and when they can expect to receive a response.
  • Set up customized ticket alerts to easily monitor for problems
    One way you can keep an eye out for possible emergencies is by setting up customized ticket alerts. For example, you could create a keyword alert to notify you if tickets contain "outage" or "emergency". Or, you could create an alert to notify you if a certain number of tickets arrive within a given timeframe (e.g. 10 unclaimed tickets within 15 minutes).
  • Set up LibChat sign-off schedule rules to ensure all users are signed out before leaving
    To prevent users from accidentally remaining signed into LibChat, making your chat widgets appear as online to patrons, you can set up sign-off schedule rules to make sure all logged-in users are signed out at a specific time.
  • Add a message or alert box to your LibAnswers homepage
    One easy way to let users know about upcoming schedule changes is on your LibAnswers homepage (i.e. the homepage of your default FAQ group).
  • Customize your queue's email signature
    Depending upon your queue's email settings, one way you can let user's know about changes to your hours is by customizing your queue's email signature, which will appear at the bottom of ticket reply emails.

For all users

  • Set your Out of Office status for ticket replies and transfers
    If you are personally taking a vacation or planning time away from work, consider setting yourself as Away in LibAnswers. When enabled, other users will see you listed as away and will be unable to assign tickets to you. In addition, if a patron replies to a ticket that you own while you are set to away, the ticket will automatically be given a status of Open and unclaimed.

LibCal

With LIbCal, it's important to make sure that your Hours, Appointments availability, and Space & Equipment bookings hours are updated to reflect your new schedule. Check out the links below to learn more.

For Admin users

  • Add hours exceptions for specific dates
    If you use the Admin > Hours page to manage the opening hours for your libraries and departments, you can add exceptions for specific dates where you'll be closed or have different hours. For example, if you'll only be closed for a couple of days, but will then resume your normal schedule, you can quickly and easily add a couple of one-time exceptions so you don't have to adjust your entire schedule.
  • Use weekly hours templates for special schedules
    If you use the Admin > Hours page to manage the opening hours for your libraries and departments, consider creating weekly hours templates for special schedules.
    • For example, if you will have special winter break hours during December and January, you can create a weekly template to use.
    • For each library and department, you can then create a date range to apply that template, allowing you to automatically resume your normal weekly hours template afterwards.
    • You can also include one-time exceptions for specific dates where you might be closed (such as New Year's Day).
  • Update your custom hours for space & equipment bookings
    If you have not linked your space & equipment locations to a library or department from Admin > Hours, you will want to make sure that your booking location hours are updated to reflect your new schedule. 
  • Add an alert box to your homepage and/or hours page
    Consider adding an alert box to the top of your LibCal homagepage and/or Hours page, letting users know about upcoming changes to your schedule. (This is similar to a Standard box type, but can with an attention-grabbing blue, green, yellow, or red background.)

For all users

  • Update your Appointments availability times
    To prevent patrons from accidentally booking appointments with you while you're out of the office, be sure to update your availability times in your schedule.
    • Syncing with Outlook or Google Calendar? If you add events to your Outlook or Google calendar that show you as "Busy", and you are checking your free/busy times in LibStaffer, then this is another way you can prevent patrons from booking appointments with you without having to remove existing availability times from your schedule.

LibStaffer

With LibStaffer, the important thing is to make sure that you've updated your schedules according to changes to your library hours. It's also a good time to make use of the Time Off feature to avoid scheduling people who will be away. Check out the links below to learn more.

For Admin users

For all users 

  • Adding a single time off request
    Depending upon your system's settings, if you are personally taking a vacation or planning some time away from work, you can submit a time off request. (These may require mediation by an Admin prior to approval.)
  • Overlaying time off for a schedule
    When viewing one of your assigned schedules, you can display approved time off alongside the shifts on the schedule. This can help you know who is out on a particular day and time.

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