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SpringyNews: Inspired Instruction

September 2015

Make Scheduling & Staffing Your Instruction Schedule a Breeze

Scheduling and coordinating instruction sessions or workshops can be an absolute bear of a task. 

  • Getting daily email requests for workshops / sessions.
  • Coordinating schedules. Who's available when, and for what session?
  • Advertising and communicating workshops/sessions to your general community or to specific classes. 
  • Rinse and repeat. 

Well, it's time to get inspired and rethink how you're coordinating and scheduling instruction.

Applicable to all library types.


Empower Users - Putting Instruction Bookings Online

Scheduling instruction sessions usually involves a lot of email. Emailing the teacher/faculty/stakeholder to schedule a time and internally emailing librarians to see who's available, and then hoping no one has a conflict. Or else, it's back to the drawing board! 

Use LibCal's Room Bookings to take email out of the equation and allow users to book instruction sessions.

Benefits:

  1. 1. Transparency - Users can see when instructions sessions are available. Stop the back and forth emails suggesting dates & times.
  2. 2. Mediated Control - Let the users suggest a time, and with mediation, give yourself the final say. 
  3. 3. Security - With Authentication, Private Statuses, and Domain restrictions, you control who has access to booking your instruction spaces.
  4. 4. Be Proactive - Customize your booking form to gather all the information you need before the session takes place.
  5. 5. Communicate Policies - Do sessions have to be booked 3 days in advance? Do you need 48 hours' cancellation notice? Enforce and communicate policies right from within the tool.

Step One: Setting Up Your Instruction Classroom for Online Booking

Group Setup:

In LibCal, navigate to Room Bookings and create a group for your classroom(s).

  • Create a custom booking form so users can provide instruction request details, such as what they'd like covered during the session.
  • Give your group a friendly URL to ensure easy findability.
  • To control visibility, mark your Instruction Rooms as 'private' - only users with the direct URL will be able to access it.
LibCal Room Bookings Instruction Form

Room Security Features:

  • User Authentication - Route your group of rooms through Shibboleth/CAS/LDAP authentication so that only approved users can book that group of rooms, based upon their user affiliation.
  • Mediation - If you want to moderate all incoming requests, enable Booking Mediation.
  • Domain Check- If users have a dedicated email domain like @faculty.school.edu, you can limit bookings to that domain.

Room Setup & Availability:

  • Adding Rooms - Add room information like pictures, technology available, capacity, and even seating.
  • Room Availability - When are librarians available, and for how long?

Step Two: Scheduling a Session

LibCal Room Bookings Image

Here's how instructors would schedule a session:

  • Advertise your new booking system via your friendly URL
  • Users select a date & time > fill out the form > Done!
  • Note: They will receive a confirmation email that their booking has been received.

Step Three: Mediating a Request

If you've set up mediated bookings, approve/deny that request on a case-by-case basis:

  • Is there a scheduling conflict? Change the time!
  • Is the requested librarian not available? Change the date!
  • Need to send a confirmation note? Use the email notes field!
  • Need to record internal info? Internal notes are just the ticket!
  • How often as Prof. Richards requested a class? Get detailed stats!

Seamlessly Staffing Your Instruction Schedule

Once your instruction requests have come in, how do you organize sessions while keeping in mind staff schedules, vacation times, meetings, and more?

Using LibStaffer, of course!

​Here's how you do it:

Create an Instruction Schedule inside your LibStaffer and assign teaching librarians to that schedule.

Mimic your Instruction Schedule time-slots by creating shifts.

Whenever a new instruction request comes in via LibCal Room Bookings, login to LibStaffer and assign the requested librarian to that shift. You'll only be able to assign available librarians, so you don't have to worry about double-booking or scheduling a librarian during their time off.

In the shift notes field, paste in any classroom/session instructions.

Assign multiple staffers for co-taught sessions!

Pro Tips


  • Use the 'Email' feature to push out instruction schedules.
  • Advise teaching librarians to grab an iCal feed of their schedule and feed it directly into their Outlook/Google Calendars for seamless integration.
  • Need emergency coverage? Teaching librarians can seamlessly swap 'sessions' on the fly.

LibStaffer Assigning Shift