Smarter. Faster. Simpler. Many new advancements in technology focus on removing barriers to get people what they want or need. Often, that "barrier" is another person. Today, you can order and pay for food with an app. People can check in and out of a hotel room using a kiosk. It's even possible to get a sweet treat in some cities through a cupcake ATM. Some speculate that there may come a day when you won't have to actually deal with another human being at all.
Simultaneously, we see the popularity of FaceTime, Skype and Marco Polo, whose apps allow people see their distant friends and loved ones. There are more online classes being offered than ever before, often using webcams and video to create a classroom environment. Profiles are important. People are still social, and we see it in libraries, too!
Face-to-face interactions will always be a popular choice. And while we have zero problems with a cupcake ATM, Springshare wants to give you the best of both worlds by helping you make it easy for your patrons to get together with you.
Meeting with patrons or students and faculty should be a practice you cultivate at your library. This one-on-one time is invaluable to building a relationship where you learn what is relevant to the community you serve and, more precisely, what sort of support they want from you.
In our Brunch & Learn Series, we've had speakers share their experiences with Simplifying Library Instruction Scheduling with LibCal and also how LibCal Appointments Improves Services. But perhaps, the teaching tool that deserves to be developed into a true piece of that learning pie -- is making appointments. It should be a part of the education ecosystem.
LibCal Appointments let you set up availability in different locations and create specific durations for types of consultations. You can sync your appointments with LibStaffer, Outlook and Google calendars. It's mobile friendly so even if people are running around, they can still book a sit-down. There have been several new updates to LibCal's Appointments, read about them in our blog.
One of the most important things you do is teach classes. Springshare provides you with an effective way to schedule which librarian is teaching which class on a given day. LibStaffer allows you to build an unlimited number of schedules in the system. So, besides the ones you have for who is working at the Reference or Circulation Desk, you should also create schedules for
Plus, you can use the LibStaffer Workflow Forms to create Request for Instruction forms that will alert the appropriate person(s) on your team when, for instance, someone asks for a citation workshop.
You have a librarian suddenly call out who was scheduled to teach a class. You can quickly look at the LibStaffer Available Hours Report to narrow down your options for finding a replacement. You'll be able to see which people are scheduled to be at work during the class time.
With clock in and out options, the ability to email schedules to your team from within the system, and a feature that lets you have a multi-schedule view where you can select all your Instruction Schedules, you can keep your teaching librarians in the know.
When the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) McGoogan Library of Medicine announced its closure for space renovation, the first thing the Education & Research Services (E&RS) team thought of: how do we keep in contact with our user populations? The McGoogan Library serves health professionals, students, and staff located on five campuses located across Nebraska, as well as online students and faculty that live around the world. LibCal Appointment came to the rescue.
E&RS team members include six health science librarians on the UNMC Omaha campus and a University of Nebraska-Lincoln academic librarian located at the UNMC Lincoln campus. Each E&RS librarian has their LibCal Appointment account, with customized availability to match their embedded locations and days of service. E&RS librarians market their link on respective LibGuides, the Library’s liaison page, and in email signature blocks. Using the appointment scheduler in LibCal has it made it easy to connect with users across campus and beyond, meeting with them while the central library space is closed for improvements.
The Appointment links have been well received, affording an immediate and easy to use method to set up an appointment, whether in-person or using Zoom or Skype. As one faculty member said after using LibCal Appointment to set up a meeting, “that online booking thing is a whiz!” Students find the system easy to use, and appreciate the reminder messages.
The E&RS team is confident that the user populations will be well-served while the Library is in the cloud.
Teresa Hartman, MLS -- Associate Professor -- Education & Research Services Librarian
Danielle Drummond, MLIS -- Assistant Professor -- Education & Research Services Librarian