Google Sharing Aggregated Library Events From Third Parties

Last week I discovered today that Google’s right side panel is displaying a list of events for my library (search “library name”).

When clicked upon, it takes you to a new page listing more events. Highlighted below that is a map and a link to whatever source site Google is pulling from.

In my research, most of the source sites are aggregator sites that scraped our events calendar. Some sites link back to the original post, others do not. This could potentially cause some headaches with our registered events which require you to sign up through the website.

I talked with some other library web people. For my site at least, the scrapers appear to be drawing the data through our iCal feeds. I’ve asked our system admin if we can edit the iCal feed (and only it) to include text about “To register, visit our website at….” The links embedded within our event descriptions seem to work on some scraper sites.

Library On-Boarding Plan

There was a post in a library group for advice on what to include in staff on-boarding documentation. Since I got carried away, I thought I’d share it here as well. My five years as a UX librarian influences how I view these topics, so your mileage may vary.

Point of View from a Marketing/Communications POV:

1) How we present ourselves to the community with hospitality (our library’s favorite term)? That is, making eye contact, greeting people, etc.

2) How we talk about the Library and its mission. What do we strive to do? What do we value? How do we do work towards our goals?

3) Never badmouth anything in the building (AKA “Oh, yeah. That computer is always acting up….”)

4) How to communicate in various formats. e.g. do we all sign our emails answered from a desk email? Or is it just “Reference Desk”? (I’m a fan of putting at least your first name)

5) Let’s look at signage. What signs are appropriate, where can you find signs, how do we adhere to our branding?

6) What do you do when you see something that is off? e.g. broken sign holder

7) Here’s all the ways we communicate with our patrons. People can sign up in these ways (or at least, they need to be able to find the information).

8) Let’s go over the website. This is an important portal for how people get to know the library. You need to explore it, use it, and get familiar with how it works. Don’t hide in the ILS since patrons don’t have that same access.

9) Are there any words we don’t use or don’t fit our communications? e.g. we try to avoid saying free since donations paid for everything

10) If you have marketing ideas, send them to the marketing person. We’re always ready to hear a fresh perspective, learn about a new audience, or any cool giveaways you saw somewhere else that really wowed you.

Other things I’d include in a general sense:

The building’s appearance is the responsibility of everyone. If you see some trash on the ground, pick it up. If you see a mess in the bathroom, report it.

We don’t expect you to know everything that’s going on in the building, but you need to know how to look it up.

Try to avoid sending patrons running about the building. This goes with the above. For e.g. if wireless printing is on the second floor, don’t send patrons to the lower level.

Here’s a list of which department is responsible for what. This really isn’t patron-facing, but you should know that the STEM lab is managed by the children’s department, not reference.

In your onboarding book/intranet, it doesn’t hurt to have a list of staff and what they’re responsible for. This can be general (since we’ve all got a million hats on), but it’d be nice for staff to know who runs social media or who to see about email problems. This is especially true if you have more cutesy titles which aren’t obvious as to what they mean.

Details about who to see about getting their email setup, their name badge, their schedule, etc. This should be routine, but there are so many details that they can get lost.

List of jargon used. Include both library specific (ILL, ILS, periodicals) as well as your organization specific (e.g. our reference department is not called that!).

Map or detailed tour of the building.

What are the safety protocols? Can anyone grab a fire extinguisher if needed? Where do you keep the wet floor signs?

Here’s how we usually handle bad weather at this library (be honest if you tend to close or you hold out to the bitter end).

This is how we handle alarming patron interactions.

If you’re hiring non-librarians (or people who’ve never worked in a library before), you should have a plan in place to TRULY educate them on your values. It’s one thing to say, “Oh, we protect patron privacy,” but you need to explain why it matters. Why is this so important to our profession? Why should you deeply care and honor that trust? What do you mean by diversity, inclusion, non-political?

Import Cell Data Into Another Sheet In Google Calendar

I’m not sure if this is the 100% best way to handle this, but it is the method that finally worked for me. I have one Google Sheet which has multiple sheets (tabs). In the overview tab, I want to pull in data from the other sheets which may change. I don’t want to worry about constantly keeping it updated, so I wanted to automatically pull that data in. This is the formula that worked for me:


Step One
Replace in this instance refers to the URL of your spreadsheet. Look to the top and copy everything after, but stop before you get to /edit#. Take that string of characters and put it in the formula instead of the phrase REPLACEME.

Step Two
The 2018 in my formula is actually the name of the sheet that I’m pulling from. Replace 2018 with your tab’s name that you want pull data from. Note: you may need to add underscores if there are spaces.

Step Three
Replace D41 with the cell that you actually want to call in.

If there are better, faster methods (because that first import is slow), leave a comment and share!

Substituting Multiple Strings in Airtable

Thanks to W_Vann_Hall over on the Airtable Forums, I was able to figure out the formula I needed. The task is this:

* In JotForm, people select book covers to indicate which book they like.
* A Zapier zap takes that submission and puts it in my Airtable.
* However, the data appears at a bad URL with added to the front of it. Worthless for our purposes.
* So to change that info, I need to substitute the long junk URL to the name of the book.
* I created a new column and added this formula:

SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE({Name of Column — leave in brackets},’’,’Little Red Riding Hood, ‘),’’,’Three Little Pigs, ‘),’’,’Cinderella, ‘)

* Output: Little Red Riding Hood, Three Little Pigs, Cinderella,
* Note that I added a comma and a space at the end of each item. I’m sure I could try to figure out how to check for any leftover items, so there isn’t an extra comma, but eh.

I’m sure there’s more work to be done and something will break, but I’m grateful to get at least this much figured out.

Google Campaign URL Builder

I’ve been having trouble with getting my URL campaigns to show up consistently in Google Analytics. Fortunately, after talking over on some forums, they pointed me in the right direction. Though only two fields are required when using the Campaign URL Builder, you’ll want to feel out the first four fields at minimum.


I recommend keeping a spreadsheet to track all your campaign names and to develop consistent naming habits for your source and medium fields. For our end of year fundraising email, I made the mistake of using end_of_year_fundraising and eoy_fundraising as campaign names. If I had used the same term, the results would look nicer in Google Analytics.

For the campaign that worked, I get the campaign name of lnap_2018. When I click on it, then I see all the sources listed. It was helpful in knowing immediately that most people were clicking through to the registration form from the front of the website.

Bitly Integration

I should note that we have a (free!) custom URL through for our URL shortener. I grab a URL, take it to the Campaign URL Builder and add in my elements. Then I copy the generated URL into Bitly to give me a unique URL. Then when I look at my report later, I can see clicks from eblast, social media (should break this down to platform), website, etc.

Prepopulate JotForm Fields via URL

We use JotForm for our library’s website. It’s fairly easy to customize, their customer service forums are fast, and they provide lots of integrations.

One feature I had been musing on was how to pre-fill a field on a form. For instance, in an email I’m promoting the patron to borrow a book for their book club. Usually they’d click the link and then have to add the book title in the form. However, with a little URL magic, you can do this bit of work for the user.

How to prepopulate fields

* Go to, login, and select your form (you have to scroll).
* On the form, enter the info you want prepopulated.
* Click on Generate URL at the top.
* On the next screen, you’ll see a custom Full URL.

If you’re just linking directly to the form

* Just copy the URL generated by step 4.
* Make sure to not send people this link as displayed above. Instead, link the text like so.

If your form is embedded on the website

* Copy only the text starting with the ? the very end.
* You’re copying something like: ?book=Twilight
* Pull up the website page which has the embedded form on it.
* Paste the text you copied to the end of the URL. It’ll look something like this:
* Make sure to not send people this link as displayed above. Instead, link the text like so.

Planning Overall Library Program Themes for the Year

One of my jobs as publicity manager is to help departments find opportunities to work together on programs and services. As such, I found out their general program themes for the year. I then grouped these together in our wiki under two organizational schemes: by department and by season.

The information is pretty general so it remains flexible. For instance: Summer Reading Kick-Off: June. It doesn’t list the program theme or the actual start date. I arranged the seasonal information by ABC order. By department, by time.

I then immediately made use of the new resource by linking to it in an email for publicity planning, “Need help thinking ahead as to what we’ll be up to in this time period? View the seasonal program guide.”

New Census Bureau Tools for Businesses

I just saw a very exciting update from the U.S. Census Bureau. The Census Bureau has two new features for businesses:

* Regional Analyst Edition (click on My Location to have it auto-generate the location)
* Census Business Builder: Small Business Edition

These tools will help businesses better target their customers. I’m interested in this thanks to my previous work with my colleague, Mallory, on tools librarians can use to help their business patrons.

Wanted: Help Archiving the EPA Website

I’ve found a way to make myself useful. I’m adding pages from the EPA’s website to the Internet Archive. As such, I’ve found perhaps hundreds of pages which are not archived yet. This bookmarklet is easier to use than the official one. Why? It does it within the page w/o opening a new one.

What to Do
* Install the bookmarklet above to your browser.
* Go to a page of links (like the first one in the following section) and then CTRL + left click on all the links.
* Then go through each page clicking the bookmarklet.
* When you’re done, work your way back across each open tab by clicking the back button. Then scroll down and look for additional links + PDFs.
* Close the tabs as you work your way back across them.
* Sometimes it’ll time out so you need to hit the back button, then try the bookmarklet again.

Things to Know
* If it’s a PDF, it usually downloads to your computer. Annoying. Right now I don’t know how to get those in the Internet Archives, but hold onto them.
* If the PDF is hosted online, you can click the bookmarklet to add it to the Internet Archive.
* If the website/page doesn’t allow robot.txt, you can’t add it to the Archive.
* If you notice that you’re working through pages which have been recently archived, go find another set to go through. It’s a better use of your time to find pages which have never been archived before. These random reports haven’t gotten any IA love before.

Pages to Start With
* Air Research Products in the Science Inventory
* Science Inventory pages

If you’re interested in strategically going through the EPA site with me, let me know. We can make a plan of action to go through and get the pages in.