The LibCal 2.13 release is on its way, and will be live in all regions by end of the day Wednesday, January 31st (so if you don’t see the changes in your system yet, you will soon).
We’re bringing you a host of quality-of-life improvements to Equipment and Spaces, Exchange two-way sync, gCal sync, and several other improvements, too.
Read on for all the details…
Equipment and Spaces Quality of Life Improvements
We’ve improved the Equipment and Spaces screens to make pages easier to navigate and understand. More on-screen help, reduced clutter and improved navigation – these are the major themes that will make managing your equipment and spaces easier than ever. You’ll see the changes when you go to Space or Equipment links from the orange command bar. Here’s the rundown of the big changes:
- Location and Category Selections “Stick” Between Tabs – We’ve moved the Location and Category selectors up into the header area of the Equipment and Spaces pages so the selections “stick” as you navigate between tabs. You’ll no longer have to select your location/category every time you switch to a different tab!
- Streamlined Availability Tab – Cleaner look of the Availability tab for bookings makes it easier to see the existing bookings and create new ones, from this admin screen. The availability grid is now the focus of the page. The Booking Details area is also updated making it easier to view the details of the upcoming reservation(s).
- Simplified Look for Check In / Out – We reduced the number of icons (yeah, we went a bit crazy with the icons in the past – they were so cute, we couldn’t resist!). But, they created a lot of visual noise so we streamlined all relevant tabs and tables for a cleaner presentation of the information. Some (necessary) icons are still there but many were replaced with hotlinks on relevant info.
- Improved Onscreen Help – In the past, we overdid it with the icons but under-did it with on-screen help and instructions. This balance is changing and it’s a good thing for you, our user. We added relevant on-screen help and labels to help you figure out how to get things done quickly and efficiently on Equipment and Spaces screens.
GCal and Exchange Sync for Spaces
Smaller news first – in the old Room Bookings module (now replaced with Spaces) there was 1-way GCal sync but we somehow missed porting this to Spaces. This has now been fixed to achieve true parity between Spaces and old Room Bookings, i.e. Spaces now has GCal sync so now you can see all Spaces reservations in your GCal calendars.
Now the big news… Picture this – a 2-way sync between Exchange calendars and LibCal spaces – so reservations you make via Exchange will automatically block off availability in the Spaces module, and reservations made via Spaces are automatically pushed to Exchange! Yup, we went there! This is a huge win for libraries with spaces that can be reserved both by the public (via LibCal) and by staff (via meeting requests in Exchange) – our new integration will keep your reservations in sync, no matter where a booking request originates. And your LibCal platform will become a go-to place to get awesome statistics on the usage of your spaces and equipment, no matter where the reservations are made. High-five for this big win!
Here’s another really cool thing about the Exchange support – it will make it even easier to integrate with touchscreen panels. LibCal Spaces offers full read/write APIs for integration with these types of panels, and many of these panels already support integration with Exchange – which means you can potentially integrate LibCal Spaces with these types of panels, without custom coding. This new integration means that availability stays synchronized across all possible booking points, with minimal setup effort – totally amazing!!
For this 2-way Exchange we are releasing the code to everyone but not enabling it on all systems yet – if you’d like to assist us with the final stages of testing Exchange integration (because we want to make sure we cover all different Exchange versions/scenarios) please emails us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Once we are confident that Exchange sync is working for these early testers, we’ll release it for everyone i.e. every LibCal system will have 2-way Exchange sync enabled.
- New “All Locations” View for Spaces – We’ve added a new “All Locations” view for Spaces, so patrons can browse availability at all locations in your LibCal system at a glance. To see it in action, head to the public Spaces booking page and select Location: All Locations.
- Mediated Bookings by LibCal Users set to Confirmed: We heard from several folks that, when librarians (ie LibCal account holders) make a reservation for a mediated space/item, those reservations shouldn’t need to be approved. We’ve made this change, so now when a logged-in user reserves a space/equipment, those requests will be confirmed automatically.
- Event Search for Logged In Users – We addressed an issue with searching for events from the Edit Calendar screen (accessed via Calendar Tab > Edit Calendar) – this should now work as expected.
- Clarified Multi-user Registrations – We’ve improved registration management for sites that allow multiple registrations in a single form (so dad can register himself plus two children for storytime, without filling out multiple forms). Now, these multiple registrations are displayed individually on the Manage Registrations tab, and editing/deleting an individual registration doesn’t automatically edit/delete all associated registrations, so you can manage those registrations individually.