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?
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.
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.