Think Outside the ‘Seat’

For many of you, LibCal Seats was the solution for helping you reopen your buildings safely. With built-in occupancy measurements and check-in/out functionality, it allowed you to reopen your buildings with capacity restrictions and functionality for track & trace.

Now that life is slowly starting to return to normal after 500+ days of uncertainty, fear, and stress – many of you might be thinking of other ways you can use your LibCal Seats subscription as restrictions ease.

Well, we wouldn’t be Springshare if we didn’t have some ‘outside the Seat’ examples for you! Read on for other ways you can use LibCal Seats in your buildings.

Reserving Speciality In-Building Hardware/Software

Do you have Bloomberg terminals in your Library? What about a 3D printer? Do only some computers have Photoshop on them? Do you have a green screen room or editing suite? As libraries add more and more technology services to their in-house collections, it might be time to consider a reservation system for managing who can use what technology and when.

Consider using LibCal Seats to manage bookings for speciality hardware or software that’s only accessible on specific computers.

Coveted Spots – The Friends’ Couch

Let’s be honest, if the Friends’ couch existed in real-life, there would be a long line outside that coffee shop as people waited for that coveted spot. There are spaces in your libraries that are the ‘money spot’. Whether it’s those powered comfy chairs by the window, the cafe tables ideal for people watching, the bean bag chairs for lounging, etc. We see our patrons making a beeline for those spots. We see them stalking the occupied seats like lions eying a herd of gazelle. We’ve heard complaints when those spots are “never available” and may even have had to intervene when these coveted spots aren’t being dispensed fairly (“so and so has been there for hours!”).

It’s a-okay to make those coveted spots “reservation only”. If you’re going to transition making these spots reservation only, some suggestions:

  • Display clear signage that these seats are reservation-only. Even if a seat is empty, they still have to reserve it!
  • Consider adding a computer or an iPad nearby so patrons can easily view availability and make on-the-spot reservations.

Enforcing Time-Limiting

Whether its speciality equipment, computers, hardware, or software – LibCal Seats can help you better enforce time limits by requiring reservations. So consider making those ‘time-limited’ items reservable first! The automated emails also help reinforce your time-limit policies so patrons are well-aware that their reservation is limited to a specific window.

The Movie Theater Effect

Does anyone remember what it was like to go to the movies before you could reserve your specific seats? Having to get there 30 minutes early so you could be at the front of the line. Trying to save seats for your friends by throwing whatever item of clothing you had on you on the adjacent seats. Getting there right before showtime and having to sit in the front row.

Now, we don’t have that stress. Whether we arrive 20 minutes early or 15minutes late, we know exactly where we’re going to sit because when we booked our movie tickets – we picked our seats. Plus, we know, before we go, if the movie theater is completely full or half-empty so we can pick and choose exactly when we want to go because we’ll know how busy its going to be before we even get there. This gives us feelings of control and reduces unwanted anxiety and stress around unknowns – and if anything, we need to reduce our anxiety and stress nowadays.

How often have your patrons arrived expecting their favorite spot to be available and it’s not? Or if they want the whole 3D printer lab to themselves but then found out they’re going to have to share it with three other patrons?

Allowing your patrons to reserve seats beforehand not only gives them the control that they’ve come to expect in all other aspects of their life but it also allows them to mediate their comfort. Not everyone is comfortable in crowded spaces and probably even more so now with post-pandemic anxiety. So, by having a reservation system, patrons can see when you’re busy (and when you’re not) so they can pick and choose which times they want to visit the building.

What About OUTSIDE The Building?

When we think of library services and resources, we tend to think inside the building. But, that’s not always the case…. especially in the warm weather months.

Ideas:

  • Prime Parking Spots: Have you thought about making prime parking spots reservable? When Springy Talia was an undergrad, as a young female student, walking to the campus library at night wasn’t always a safe option…. so she didn’t visit the library at night… ever! Having a reservable parking spot in a well-lit area near the building would have made her feel much safer going/leaving the library during the late evening hours.
  • Outdoor Picnic Benches: Do you have beautiful shady trees and some picnic benches? Nothing is more relaxing than enjoying your lunch outside in the summer months. Even better, knowing that you’ve got picnic bench #1 for an entire hour on Friday afternoon… #heaven.
  • Outdoor Movie Screenings: In New York City, Bryant Park shows free movies during the summer right behind the NYPL’s main branch. You have to arrive hours beforehand and when they open the park gates, it is complete bedlam as everyone runs to the center of the park to lay down their blanket and claim their spot. What would have been better? Designated spots that you can reserve in advance so you can enjoy your evening summertime movie without all that stress.

Now with Interactive Mapping

What’s even better than reserving your spot? Seeing a map of exactly where your spot is located! We recently announced that LibCal Interactive Mapping is here! So not only can you offer reservable spots for any place inside, or outside, your building – you can even show them exactly what they’re booking and where. Plus, our consulting team is on deck to help you create beautiful and informative maps.

What Are Your ‘Outside the Seat’ Ideas?

Like your other Springshare tools, flexibility and versatility are at your fingertips. We’ve seen you do some amazingly creative things with your tools like using LibGuides to power your website, using LibAnswers to troubleshoot Electronic Resource access issues, and using LibWizard to create an ‘Escape the Room’ experience.

We have no doubt that some of you are already coming up with some pretty cool ideas for LibCal Seats… and we’d love to hear them! If you’re using LibCal Seats, tell us your creative use-cases via the comments below.

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