Archive for LibCal

LibCal 2.6.2 Now Live!

We have a post-Halloween treat to share with all the LibCal fans out there – the 2.6.2 update is now live! This update includes all treats and no tricks, with updates to the Equipment Booking module and expanded administrative controls in the Events module, including registrations and waiting lists.

Equipment Booking Updates

  • Automatically Cancel Reservations if not picked up on time – If patrons don’t pick up equipment in a timely fashion, release it so it’s available to the public! You’ll find this setting under Admin > Equipment > Edit Location – set the amount of time the system should wait before releasing the reservation back to being publicly available, and LibCal will do the rest!
  • Adjust Due Date If Item Picked Up Early – If patrons come to pick up an item ahead of schedule (and it happens to be available at that time), LibCal Equipment Booking will automatically adjust the due date based on the time the item was actually picked up.
  • New Catalog Layout Options – We’ve added simple customizations for the new Equipment & Rooms catalog pages. Admins can head to Admin > Equipment & Rooms > Catalog Settings to access these new controls – create simple page customizations using mustache templates, and choose how many items to display per page by default.
  • Include Terms & Conditions in Emails – We’ve added a new token for automated system emails, so you can include your terms & conditions as part of email confirmations and reminders that are sent to patrons.

LibCal Event Updates

We have several popularly requested features in LibCal Events to share. Event management is getting some sweet updates this time around, including:

  • Add a new registrant from the Admin side – We’ve made it much easier to manage new registrants over the phone or at the front desk – now, you can register patrons for events from the admin side of the system. Head to the calendar and click on any event that requires registration – you’ll see a new option to “Add Registration”. When you add a new registration, the person you registered will still receive a confirmation email & any other reminders that folks who self-registered receive.
  • Waitlist order can be rearranged on the Admin side – Need to switch around the waitlist order to promote a particular user to the top of the list? Now you can! Just head to calendar and click on any event that includes a waitlist, and use the new arrow options to move someone to the top of the list.

LibCal Equipment Booking is Here!

We have super exciting news to share – the Equipment Booking module of LibCal is ready to be unveiled to the world and we’re confident it will revolutionize how libraries manage equipment reservations. From advertising equipment availability, to managing the reservation process, to managing inventory and check in / check out we’ve got your needs covered.

The LibCal Equipment Booking is an optional module to our LibCal platform. It makes reserving and managing equipment streamlined and worry free. Create an attractive, tile-based public catalog to advertise available equipment, so patrons can browse available equipment at a glance. Patrons can reserve multiple items in a single reservation – whether it’s reserving the camera, tripod, and battery pack, or reserving a study room and a projector, a 3-D printer and maker space… Equipment Booking has you covered. When patrons come to collect their equipment, use the Equipment Booking module to check the item out (and back in again!), and use our handy reminder emails to remind people when items are due back. Even keep track of an item’s entire history – everything from the serial number to replacement cost, to detailed service history notes and checkout history.

There are literally too many things to go on about, so we created a short video to show you the highlights of the new Equipment Booking module:

No time for a video? Here are the top level highlights:

  • Visually Focused Public Catalog – LibCal offers an attractive, tile-based layout, making it easy to display items in an easy to digest visual layout.
  • All equipment information, all together – User manuals, terms and conditions, rules around lending, service history notes, replacement costs, lending history – all information about each item is stored together, so it’s all easy to access.
  • Reserve Multiple Items – If patrons need to reserve multiple items in a single reservation, LibCal Equipment Booking handles things with ease. Patrons add multiple items to a “cart”, and complete their reservation with just one booking form. On the back-end, view all items contained in a single reservation at a glance – no more signing up for individual time slots!
  • Check Items Out and In – LibCal offers a simple check in / check out process, so you know at a glance which items are available, and which are out with patrons. In case you’re wondering, our Check Out process even includes the following nice to have features:
    • Customized Check Out / Check In Alert Messages – Remind front desk staff to check items during check out and check in, to make sure that all pieces of a kit should be included.
    • Hot Swap items – A patron shows up to pick up equipment, but the iPad they reserved isn’t there? No problem – just swap the item for another available item, without needing to edit the entire reservation.
    • Integrated Email Notifications – We’ve included reservation confirmation messages, check out email receipts, “item due soon” reminder email, and an overdue reminder email, so patrons have all the info they need for every reservation.
  • Powerful Lending Rules – Ensure fair and equal access to all patrons by limiting both the duration and frequency of reservations.
    • Support for Hourly and/or Daily reservations – Do you have some items that circulate for 3 hours, and others that circulate for 3 days? LibCal Equipment Booking has you covered.
    • Custom Frequency Limiters – Limit the number of times a patron can reserve items of a particular type by day, week, month, or year.
  • Room Booking Integration – Migrate your existing Room Booking Rooms into the new Equipment Booking module, and your patrons will be able to reserve items and spaces in a single reservation. Hello, reserving a meeting room and projector in the same reservation!
  • Availability Governed by the Hours Module – Our new Equipment Booking module relies on the LibCal hours module to determine when items are available for pick up and return, so there’s no more managing availability on a periodic basis. Just set your lending rules, link your Equipment Location to the correct Hours Location, and you’re set to lend!
  • Integrated with Authentication – We offer SAML, CAS, Shibboleth, Active Directory, LDAP, and SIP2 integration, right out of the gate, so only permitted users can borrow items at your library.

And there you have it – a robust, attractive, and easy-to-use Equipment Booking system, built seamlessly within LibCal. It’s the best bang for your equipment buck and we can’t wait for you to start using it. To get started, contact your favorite Springy and request a trial today!

PLUS: Join us for a live 30 minute webinar to explore everything the Equipment Booking module has to offer! Choose the date that works best for you and click to register (all times listed are in Eastern time):

Fri, Sept 16: 11am – 11:30am Mon, Sept 26: 3pm – 3:30pm
Tues, Sept 20: 3:30pm – 4pm Thurs, Sept 29: 11am – 11:30am
Thurs, Sept 22: 10:30am – 11am

Train Future Librarians and Request a *Free* Suite of Springshare Tools

Graduating Librarians, Information Professionals, and School Media Specialists are entering a workplace that requires more and more specialized skills, knowledge, and experience. Things like:

  • Experience at building a LibGuide;
  • Knowledge of administering & maintaining a LibGuides system;
  • Skill in using virtual chat reference tools like LibChat;
  • Know-how with coordinating, managing, and advertising library events;
  • Expertise in building and creating interactive instructional tutorials.

At Springshare, we recognize that Librarians-in-Training are the future <cue cheesy music> of Librarianship and we want to help them be as prepared as possible for what’s to come!

To that end, we’re offering a free Suite of Springshare Tools to any and all LIS Programs, School Media Specialist certification programs, or M.Ed Programs, and others. If you’re not sure your school or program qualifies, just fill out the form below and inquire!

With your LIS Suite, students will gain real-world experience using Springshare Tools. Furthermore, it can serve as a living and online archive of their student work – invaluable to future employers.

What’s in the LIS Suite of Springshare Tools?

Each LIS Suite comes with the following Springshare tools and you’re welcome to choose one, a few, or all of the tools to utilize within your program. You don’t need to get the entire Suite if you don’t need it! But, we think you might like to make use of all the tools in your proverbial toolkit!

LibGuides LogoLibGuides CMS:  Students learn to curate knowledge and build multimedia-rich guides by:

  • Creating subject, course, or topical Guides
  • Creating a mock ‘Library Website’
  • Learning about Bootstrap in a user-friendly environment
  • Creating a mock ‘Staff Policies & Procedures’ manual

LibWizard Logo​LibWizard: Students learn to create interactive tutorials, quizzes, surveys, and forms to engage patrons by:

  • Building self-paced interactive tutorials and assessments
  • Assessing patron learning with quizzes
  • Creating engaging feedback surveys
  • Replacing paper forms with mobile-friendly online forms

LibAnswers LogoLibAnswers Platform: Students develop their virtual reference and reference interview skills by:

  • Practicing a live chat exchange using LibChat
  • Creating media-rich FAQs and learning best practices for keyword optimization
  • Practicing their reference interview via email, SMS, Twitter, and more

LibCal LogoLibCal: Students learn how to create engaging library programming and events, manage space bookings, and create their own one-on-one consultation scheduler by:

  • Practicing creating a library calendar with engaging events
  • Communicating and advertising events to patrons
  • Managing library spaces, study rooms, and bookable spaces
  • Creating their own schedule for librarian consultations and advertising them to patrons

Terms of Use – All the Fun Without the Jargon

  1. Your LIS Suite of Springshare Tools may only be used within your library school, educational, or certification program to train future librarians and information professionals on the use of Springy Tools.
  2. You / your designated group of local admins are front-line support for any questions your students or faculty have about using Springshare tools. They / you can have full access to our help documentation and training, but all support questions from students/faculty are routed through you. Basically, you know them better than we do so it makes sense for their questions to be answered locally!
    • If you / your designated group of local admins have questions or need to report any issues, contact Springshare Support.
You may not use Springy Tools to provide services to patrons or end-users.

What About Content on Other LIS Systems?

Since 2011, we’ve realized the importance in providing access to LibGuides for Librarians-in-Training. If you’ve created content on these systems, we’ve outlined your options below.

Request Your LIS Suite of Springshare Tools!

Ready to get started? Request your LIS Suite of Tools today!

 

LibCal 2.4.5 – MyScheduler Updates Now Live!

Oh boy, we have some fun MyScheduler updates to share! With this release we’re aiming to make life easier for admins, and what better way to keep your sanity intact than to add centralized MyScheduler management and a whole new way of presenting your MyScheduler appointments to the public? We’re excited to hear what you think, so let’s get right to it!

MyScheduler Groups

Have you ever wished for more control over the way your site’s MyScheduler appointments are shown? Maybe you’d like to display appointments with librarians based on higher level groupings, like showing all librarians from a particular branch/campus together, or show a breakdown of librarians by subject speciality. Well we have good news – now you can now create “Groups” of My Schedulers within your LibCal system!

When you create groups using the new options, patrons will see an accordion list of all of the “groups” you create. Patrons can browse available groups, select an individual librarian within a group, or use the “No preference” option to sign up with any available librarian in that particular group.

myscheduler

To try out the new MyScheduler groups, admins can head to Admin > MyScheduler Groups. And when you’re there, you’ll also find a couple of additional new MyScheduler features, including…

Centralized MyScheduler Management

One of the most frequent requests we hear from Admins is for a way to centralize managing MyScheduler settings and appointments for other users. We’ve heard you loud and clear, so today we’re thrilled to make life easier for site Admins and announce this new feature – Admins can now view and edit MyScheduler availability and appointments on behalf of other users. You’ll find these new options in two places:

  • In the MyScheduler Groups page – Admin > MyScheduler Groups
  • In the Manage Accounts page – Admin > Accounts

With these new options, Site Admins can now add and delete appointment availability on behalf of other users, so you can make sure availability information stays up to date. Site Admins can also view upcoming appointments, and can edit/update appointments for other users in case of a staffing emergency.

Even better, we’ve also added centralized statistics tracking for MyScheduler appointments! Admins can now view individual MyScheduler stats reports for each librarian. We’ve also added a consolidated MyScheduler stats report to give you the full picture of appointment bookings in your library on a year by year basis. You’ll find these stats reports under Stats > MyScheduler > Overview / Per User.

Room Booking Updates

We also have a couple of small-but-helpful settings updates for Room Bookings:

  • Allow a single user to reserve multiple rooms in the same booking – This setting is key for folks who have flexible meeting spaces – perhaps 2 smaller rooms that can be combined into one larger meeting space. Previously, LibCal would prevent booking multiple rooms with the same email address – but now, you can control this behavior with a new system setting! Head to Room Bookings > Settings > Edit Group > Restrictions and look for the checkbox – “Multiple rooms can be booked at the same time by same user”.
  • Customize Room Capacity Ranges – We’ve added an option to control the room booking capacity ranges that are displayed in your LibCal Room Booking page. This setting filters rooms based on the “capacity” setting you enter under Rooms > Edit Room > Capacity. Head to Room Booking > Settings > General Settings to create custom ranges.

As always, thanks to everyone who pitched in ideas and thoughts on this update. We’re very excited about the new MyScheduler features and can’t wait to see the new features in action and hear what you think!

LibGuides 2.1.12 Update – Unified Search and LTI updates are here!

The LibGuides 2.1.12 update has rolled out, and we have several big updates aimed at helping you unify the user experience across Springshare’s tools! Our huge new LTI update is now available for LibGuides CMS clients – it’s ready to help you deploy targeted guide and help content across hundreds of courseware pages, all from a central and easy to use interface. Our Unified Search has also rolled out and is available to all clients, so you can present search results from across your Springshare tools, plus integrate search results from 3rd party sources like your library catalog and discovery service. We’re stoked to see how folks use these new tools in the wild, so enough with the small talk – on to the updates!

LTI Updates

We’ve revamped our LTI tool so that you can offer tailored subject-specific resources inside courseware pages across hundreds or thousands of courses. Use the new LTI tool to deliver a customized library landing page displaying subject-specific LibGuides, Databases, E-Reserves, and subject-expert librarians right inside your Blackboard, Moodle, Canvas, or any LTI-compliant LMS platform.

Take it one step further, and integrate point-of-need help with LibChat and LibAnswers FAQs. And then knock it out of the park with the ability for students reserve study rooms and book consultations with librarians using LibCal integration. All of this, with full usage statistics, on one scalable, customized, auto-generated Library Resources page inside your LMS. LibApps admins can head to LibApps > Admin > LTI Tool Builder to see all the new LTI features!

Curious how this works? Check out a great video that explains all of the new functionality!


Unified Search

Our new search interface options are now available in both LibGuides and LibAnswers, and can show a unified search results view . You can also include search results from any 3rd party source – such as your library catalog, individual databases, etc. – any resource that offers an open search API can be integrated directly in your LibGuides and LibAnswers system!

Even better, you’ll be able to select from multiple layout options for this search. Choose whether to show search results from multiple sources either in multiple tabs on the search results page (1 tab per resource), or use a bento search display, where results from each source are displayed in an individual box on a single page.  We’re confident these new options will revolutionize the way users search your Springshare resources – and best of all, all of these great new search features are included as a standard part of every LibGuides and LibAnswers subscription!

Setting Up Unified Search

LibApps admins can configure their search settings and integrate 3rd-party tools by going to LibApps > Admin > Manage Search Sources. We’ve automatically added all of your Springshare apps, including LibGuides, LibAnswers, your A-Z list of databases, and even LibCal events; use the Manage Search Sources page to customize the title and description of each of these resources. You can even control the relative search weight of fields within each of these resources, ex for your A-Z resources, you can assign a higher “weight” to your Best Bet resources so they appear earlier in the list.

Plus, use the new Manage Search Sources tool to configure custom search sources. Any resource that offers an open search API is fair game, and anyone familiar with using these APIs will be able to set up custom search results from your library catalog, discovery sources such as EBSCO EDS, and many more! Select your source type, fill in the required fields, and voilà: your unified search is configured. Use our on-screen help language to walk you through the process and remember to consult with your library IT department for information on 3rd-party APIs.

Once you’ve configured your search sources, head to the Search Template customization area to set up your new custom search page! In LibGuides, admins can head to Admin > Look and Feel > Page Layout > Search; in LibAnswers, head to Admin > FAQ Groups > Edit Group Settings > Pages > Search Page.

SEARCH PAGE TEMPLATE CHANGE

If you’ve created a custom template and want to take advantage of this new functionality, you’ll need to make a quick update to your template code.

Change this: To this:
<div id=”s-lg-srch-cols” class=”row”>
         <div id=”col1″ class=”col-md-4 center”>
                {{search_filters}}
         </div>
         <div id=”col2″ class=”col-md-8 center”>
                {{search_results}}
         </div>
</div>
<div id=”s-lg-srch-cols” class=”row”>
         {{content}}
</div>

Tabbed Search:

searchtabbedlayout1

 
Bento Search:

searchbentolayout-1


A-Z Search Improvements

While your A-Z search results page won’t look any different on the outside, we’ve rolled out some great under the hood features to improve the results returned. Our new search engine will address many frequently requested improvements to the A-Z database search results, including:

  • Increased field indexing – We now index more Database fields, including Subjects, Database Types, Vendors/Providers, and the More Information field.
  • Custom field weighting – Thanks to the new search customization options available to LibApps admins in LibApps > Admin > Manage Search Sources, you can now customize the search weights of different fields for even better results.
  • Improved wildcard searching – Search terms will no longer need to occur in the precise order entered to retrieve results – a search for the phrase “ebook mobile” will now return results that include “Mobile friendly ebooks”, etc. Plus, a search for agr* or agr will now return results for agriculture, agricultural, etc.
  • Support AND/OR search – Include AND or OR in your search phrases, and LibGuides will handle the terms accordingly.

LibCal 2.4 Update Now Live!

Exciting news, the LibCal 2.4 update rolled out early this morning, and we have lots of fun new features to share!

LibAuth Integration in Events & MyScheduler

Are you familiar with LibAuth? It’s our full authentication management system, designed to fully integrate your existing authentication systems in Springshare’s products. LibCal is our first product to offer full patron authentication integration in all modules – now, you can set up event registration and MyScheduler booking requests with LibAuth authentication!

If your LibApps Admin has already set up LibAuth authentication for your Springy products, here’s how to extend the integration to events and MyScheduler:

  • Calendars: Head to the Calendar you’d like to auth enable, and select Settings > Calendar Settings > Set Default LibAuth Authentication Configuration. This setting will apply to all event registrations in the calendar you choose by default – however you can also change this setting for individual events.
  • Events: Customize LibAuth integration in individual events – head to Create/Edit Event, select Registration Required, and you should see the new option to Enable LibAuth Authentication (LDAP/Shibboleth/CAS etc.)
  • MyScheduler: Enable LibAuth Integration for MyScheduler requests – head to MyScheduler > Appointment Scheduler Settings > Appointment Form Settings and select Enable LibAuth Authentication.

JSON-LD Business Hours Integration for Google Business

Does your library rely on Google as a means of publishing your library’s open hours? We’ve heard from many folks that Google is still a major traffic driver, especially when it comes to informational searches for things like your library’s open hours. Most folks we’ve talked to use Google Business to keep this information up to date, but as with so many things, there’s a problem – it’s easy to add your library hours on a one-time basis, but when it comes to exceptions to your standard hours, the process becomes much more time consuming.

Hearing this, we got to thinking – all of this information can easily be managed in LibCal’s Hours module – is there anything we can do to make life easier, so you only have to manage your hours information in one place? Well, we’re all about making life easy, so we’re super pleased to add JSON-LD support in LibCal’s APIs! Admins, head to Admin > Hours > JSON-LD Data. This new data API will return data suitable for JSON-LD using standard schema.org vocabulary, which is perfect for Google Business integration. End result? Manage your hours from one place, and any change to those hours populates everywhere, automagically – in widgets, API calls, and now even on your library’s Google search results page!

Open Graph metadata for Facebook

We’ve added open graph metadata to all event pages, which makes it that much easier to share events via Facebook! You won’t need to enable anything for this new integration, as it’s already live in all systems. To try it out, head to an event you’d like to publicize and click on the Share to Facebook icon – you’ll see all relevant info from the event is pulled into Facebook, no work required!

ShareFacebook

MyScheduler Updates

We’re making it easier to follow up with patrons after MyScheduler appointments! We’ve added 3 features to help with managing communication with patrons following a MyScheduler appointment:

  • Automated Email Follow-up – Create an automated email to send to patrons after they’ve had an appointment with your service. This is a great way to remind patrons of the all of the library resources and services you offer, plus it’s perfect for soliciting user satisfaction feedback!
    • To enable this option, head to MyScheduler > Appointment Scheduler Settings > Follow Up Email and select Follow Up: 1 hour / 1 day / 1 week after appointment.
    • Once the option is enabled, you can create a default email template to use via that same screen.
    • Once enabled, you can also customize this message per appointment. Head to My Appointments > View Details > Follow-up Email. Customize the email message to include resources you discussed during this session, further resources, and even user satisfaction surveys.
  • LibWizard Integration – Did someone say user satisfaction feedback? One awesome way to collect feedback is with a standard user satisfaction survey, and LibWizard is the perfect place to build and manage surveys! You’ll see the new option to Insert LibWizard Survey as part of the Edit Follow Up Email settings.
  • Internal Notes – This is especially useful when you’re managing ongoing meetings and appointments – we’ve added an internal notes field to make it easy to keep track of any internal information you’d like! Head to My Appointments > View Details > Internal Notes to add a note attached to each appointment.

Thanks to all folks who’ve contributed ideas for this update. As always, we’re excited to hear what you think, so please let us know what you think about the new features!

LibCal 2.3 Update – A New Look and a Whole Lot More!

The LibCal 2.3 update just rolled out, and we’re thrilled to introduce a whole new way of looking at Calendars and Events. There are so many things to love in this update – everything from the updated/modern look for calendar, event, and homepage displays, to the new tools that make it easier to find events, and the new event publishing workflow for managing the publication of events at larger libraries. Excited? Us too!

Calendar & Event Redesign

We’ve rolled out a new design for calendars and events. The new layout is more focused on events themselves with easy to use filters and search options to help users find events of interest.

 

NewListView

 

The new stuff includes:

  • Event Search – Integrate a new event search box on your LibCal homepage, and folks can search for events of interest!
  • Browse and Filter for Events Across Calendars – These changes also mean your users can view, browse, and filter for events across multiple calendars in your system! Browse and filter all calendars, or limit to just a couple of calendars in your system.
  • List View and Monthly Calendar View – As users search and filter for events in your calendars, they’ll be able to quickly switch between List and Monthly view and see their results in the format that makes the most sense.
  • Perma-linking to Search & Filtered Results – Now you can link directly to calendars with filtered search results.

Exciting right? Along with these new public page updates, we’ve also redesigned the Create Event screen to make it faster and more intuitive to create new events. We’ve added new features here too, including:

  • Event Draft Mode – Not quite ready to publish an event you’re working on? Event Draft Mode is here to save the day! You’ll see this option at the end of the Add Event screen – as you save the event, you’ll see the option to set the event status to Published, or to Save it as a Draft so you can come back and finish it later!
  • Featured Images – Looking for a way to make your events pop? Add a featured image and help each event stand out from the rest!
  • Redesigned Day & Date Controls – We’ve retooled the layout and controls for date and time entry, making the process of entering date and time faster and more intuitive.
  • Related LibGuides – Select a related guide from your LibGuides system, and we’ll show a link to this guide below the description field.

With these new features, it was also time to redesign the standard Event Template and associated template editing screen. You can see an example of the new template in the screenshot below – to update your site to this new template, Admins can head to Admin > Look and Feel > Event Page Editor > Edit Template, then click the option to Restore Default Template.

 

NewEvents

 

Homepage Redesign

With the awesome new look of the calendar homepage, we figured it was also time to revamp the look of the LibCal homepage. You can view a live sample of the new homepage layout on our demo site at http://springylib.libcal.com/ – our goal was to create a layout that’s clean, informative, search-friendly, and just plain gorgeous!

If you’re ready to switch to the new homepage layout, it’s easy! Admins, head to Admin > Look and Feel > Homepage Editor and click the “Reset” link. This handy button will update your homepage to the new look with just one click, and you can then add desired content & options to make it look exactly the way you want (e.g. add library contact info, a carousel of featured events, etc.).

a screenshot of the homepage editor with the Reset link highlighted

Event Publishing Workflow

We’ve added a new tool to help admins establish and maintain more consistency in the events being published in your systems! Modeled after the publishing workflow in LibGuides CMS, the new publishing workflow will help sites maintaining a large number of events keep track of everything being published in your system, and ensure that standards are followed.

Here’s how it works: Admins, head to any calendar in your system and select Settings > Publishing Workflow. Select as many reviewer accounts as necessary to approve events within this calendar – these folks will receive an email each time a new event is submitted; they’ll also see a notification on their LibCal dashboard alerting them to any new events that require approval. If you’re not an approver in a calendar, all events you create will require approval prior to publication.

Calendar Permissions

If your LibCal site is managing multiple event calendars, then this feature is for you! We wanted to give sites who manage lots of calendars more fine-grained controls over which users in your system can add and edit events in specific calendar. This is particularly useful for sites using calendars for multiple branches, or even multiple libraries – now you can limit folks to working in just the calendars they need.

How you ask? Easy! Admins, head to any calendar in your system and select Settings > Calendar Permissions > Custom Permissions List. You’ll see a list of all of the regular-level account holders in your system, and you can assign each user one of 3 permission levels:

  • Event Admin – Allows the user to create/edit ANY event. These users can’t change Calendar Settings.
  • Editor – Allows the user to create/edit their own events only
  • Read-Only – Allows the user to view events only (but not create new events or edit any existing events – this is an informational-only account level)

Event Import

Are you considering migrating from another calendar system to LibCal? Well heck, we want to make it easy for you! In this update we’ve added the option for a one-time event import from other calendaring systems.

Here’s one more screenshot of the new calendar look, just because it’s so pretty… 🙂

 

NewMonthView

 

 

As always, a huge thanks to all the LibCal clients who helped us make this update a reality, with their awesome suggestions, tips, and ideas. Keep ‘em coming, please… we’re on a mission to create the best calendaring platform for libraries and this LibCal 2.3 update is another step in this direction, with many more to follow… Thanks and Happy Holidays to all! Don’t forget to update your LibCal calendars with Holiday hours and listing of Holiday events 😉

Using LibCal to Create Dynamic Digital Signage

The University of Hull’s Brynmor Jones Library runs a program of drop-in sessions to cater to new and returning students. The sessions are over a 6-week period with up to eight individual sessions each day. In 2014, upcoming sessions were displayed on digital signage manually. The manual nature of updating the digital signage resulted in updates being missed and past sessions being shown. So, in 2015, the Library decided to do something different using LibCal Calendar Widgets! Mike Ewen, the LLI Online Coordinator, reached out and let us know what they’re doing!

Digital Signage at Hull University

Digital Signage @ Hull University
using LibCal Calendar Widgets

LibCal Calendar Widgets to the Rescue!

A specific induction calendar was populated with the drop-in sessions and each session assigned to one of four categories to allow the widgets to target them specifically. The visibility of the calendar was set to internal as only widget access was required. (Springy Note: You can create an internal calendar and still utilize public-facing widgets if you only intend to display the widgets, and not the full calendar, to your public.)

LibCal Calendar Widget Set-Up

The following widget settings were used:

  1. Widget Type – Upcoming Events List
  2. Filter by categoryRelevant drop-in category
  3. Event Details – Simple List
  4. Widget Request Format – JavaScript

Widget: JavaScript & CSS Tweaks

The  LibCal Calendar Widget JavaScript code provides the required data but for our purposes we only needed to display the next three events with time and date. To achieve this we made two small changes in the JavaScript, highlighted in red below:

Calendar widget embed code

Changing “ul” to “br” switches the formatting from a bullet list to a series of lines breaks. And changing the “l=5” to “l=3” means that only the next three events would display in the widget.

We created separate webpages for each drop-in category and embedded the LibCal Widgets in them. We then applied the following CSS to each page to style the widgets to our liking:

Custom CSS code

 

The Result?

LibCal Calendar Widgets: Before & After

LibCal Calendar Widgets: Before & After

Creating the Digital Signage

Finally, we displayed the separate web pages with the embedded LibCal Calendar widgets, using multiple webpage plugins, in our digital signage solution. The final output is displayed below.

Once the signage was set up we could leave it to run knowing that as soon as an event had ended, it would automatically be replaced by the next upcoming event! Bye bye manual, hello automation! 🙂

University of Hull Digital Signage

University of Hull Digital Signage using LibCal Calendar Widgets

 

Big thanks to Mike Ewen and the folks at the University of Hull Brynmor Jones Library for sharing this awesome LibCal Calendar usage!

Got Questions? Contact University of Hull Library!

Mike Ewen

Carl Barrow

LibCal + iPads = Happy Students @ Duke University Libraries

Student booking a study room using LibCal on mounted ipads

Booking a project room using LibCal on mounted iPads

When we heard that Duke University Library was doing something cool with their surplus iPads, we had to find out more. In a nutshell, they upcycled several gen1 iPads to create touchscreen room booking interfaces, using LibCal, outside their reservable Project rooms.

Bottom-line, students love the convenience of booking a Project room when, and where, they need it. They can see when a room is available, when it’s booked, and they can reserve their time slot directly on the iPad.

Booking a Project space is literally just a few ‘touches’ away. 🙂

Tell us about these Project rooms! How are the used by students and for what purpose?

Project rooms are a special feature of The Ruppert Commons for Research, Technology and Collaboration (also known as “The Edge”), a new research facility at Duke University Libraries that opened in January 2015.

Teams working on collaborative, interdisciplinary research projects can apply to use these rooms on a shared, long-term basis. Project rooms have writeable walls, large screen hookups, configurable furniture and lockable storage. When a room is not in use by a project team, it is open to be reserved by the general Duke community using the LibCal system.

Why did you mount iPads with LibCal on the outside of the rooms?

iPad Room Booking Interface

Mounted iPads with LibCal Room Booking displayed

The iPad project (as this came to be known) was originally envisioned by a IT staff member at the library who wanted to find a use for a set of generation 1 iPads that were headed for surplus. The iPads just needed to be able to access wireless, so it doesn’t matter that the OS can’t be updated–we only run LibCal and a free Kiosk software on the devices.

Even before opening The Edge, students had given us feedback that they wanted a visual indication of a room’s availability when they were physically present at the room.  They enjoy the calendar view, which makes it easy to see when a room is available and when it is booked. It can be difficult to make the reservation on an iPad due to the small touchscreens, so we attached styluses to each iPad to ease the process.

Tell us about implementation!

Michael Daul, one of the library developers built a custom display for the LibCal Room URL.Reserving a Project Room using LibCal. We are wrapping the LibCal room URL in a Drupal template in order to display the Duke University Libraries (DUL) website header and to insert Google Analytics. We’re loading the LibCal URLs in using an iframe.

LibCal room bookings displayed on an iPad

Reserving a Project Room using LibCal

How are students liking the setup?

Students find the system very easy to use and enjoy how simple the booking process is compared to other reservation systems in place on campus. It sometimes takes students a little while to enter reservation information on the iPads (even using a stylus), so we’ve made the reservation page available for online use as well.

LibCal v2.2 Update Now Live

We’re super-excited about this LibCal v2 code update. It brings major new functionality to the system as well as several nice-to-haves and bug fixes:

  • 2-Way Sync with Outlook for MyScheduler. With the previous update which covered Google Calendar 2-way sync, we now have full integration with two most widely used enterprise calendar platforms. You can embed MyScheduler widgets on any webpage so that your patrons and faculty can easily schedule research consultations and other appointments with librarians, without concerns of booking apointments during the time your Outlook calendar shows another commitment. LibCal will give you detailed statistics how many appointments you had, when they happened, with whom, etc. – a great way to keep track of your time and show evidence of building one-to-one relationships with patrons and your community.
  • Expanded SAML Authentication Support. With LDAP, CAS, SAML, and Shibboleth support (we’re members of InCommon), you can easily restrict access to room bookings (and events) to only the members of your community. The expanded SAML support  now enables admins to fine-tune permissions for groups i.e. to book specific groups of rooms in your system by SAML group affiliation attributes.
  • More features: This update also brings improved mobile-view for room bookings pages, more customization options for button widgets, updated page templates for room bookings, etc.

Here’s more detail about each of these…

Outlook Integration with LibCal’s v2 My Scheduler

You can now push your Free/Busy Times from Outlook/Exchange into My Scheduler! This update is similar to the Google Calendar integration we announced last month. Many of you use Outlook for your personal calendaring, and until now, you had to manually remove availability times from My Scheduler whenever a new meeting came up. Duplicate that effort no more!

Configure My Scheduler to check your Outlook Calendar, and your busy times will be removed from the public side when someone books an appointment.

LC_exchsync_Make_Appt

On the Admin side, those busy times are shown to you when you click “Add New Booking”.
LC_exchsync_Add_Appt

For more details & help getting this awesome new feature set up, check out our guide to My Scheduler / Outlook information (authentication required).

We know you’re wondering–what about Calendars and Room Bookings?!  It’s not possible for those to sync automatically from Outlook into LibCal at this time due to the complexity of Events and Bookings, but we will be looking into more possibilities in the future.

Please note that Outlook Calendar Sync and Google Calendar Sync features are not available in LibCal 3/3/3 free installations.

Restrict SAML Users within Room Bookings

We recently announced authentication support for Room Bookings, and the feedback so far has been great! We’re continuing to expand this integration, and have great news for folks who are using SAML to authenticate users. You can now permit access to book specific groups of rooms in your system by SAML group affiliation attributes.

This is perfect for sites who permit only specific groups of users (like Faculty, Undergraduates, Users) to book specific spaces. Let’s say you have a group of instruction classrooms which should only be reserved by Faculty and Staff, but you also have a group of study rooms that should only be reserved by Undergraduate and Graduate students, this integration will be right up your alley!

Additional Updates

We’ve also added a few additional items in this release, including:

  • Button formatting for both MyScheduler and Room Booking widgets – create a graphic, button-y widget with fully customizable colors and button text
  • Improved Mobile-optimized view for the public Room Booking page
  • Updated Room Booking Email Templates – added a new token for Group Nickname
  • Room Booking Admin View – Now when you add availability for particular date ranges, the calendar display will show those dates in bold font (so you know which days do/don’t have availability added)

As always, thanks to everyone for your ideas and feedback!