Earlier this summer, I asked our Twitter community for ideas about how to reserve spaces in the library during all school intervention and “open” time. Four days a week, my high school has “academic support time” where students can visit teachers for assistance, study in classrooms, and work on group projects. Students can visit the library to study, check out books, use the makerspace equipment, access recording supplies including green screens, and find a quiet nook to decompress. However, our space has limited seating and we would like to keep the atmosphere purposeful while also welcoming.
Once I posted on Twitter, several people responded with great ideas. I was able to try several tools and evaluate how they would work in my building.
When looking at these tools, I was looking for the following features:
- Easily accessible online for students
- Ability to limit the number of students
- Customizable features
- Ability to schedule multiple days and times
- Cost efficient
Google Forms with Choice Eliminator: Using Google Forms and the add-on Choice Eliminator, students would sign up for a spot in the library. Choice Eliminator removes an open spot each time a student submits the form. I would be able to limit the sign-ups to a specific number.
Pro: Free, familiar.
Con: Would need to replicate for each day.
LibCal: This service is provided by Springshare, the creators of Libguides and Libchat. LibCal allows you to set up a calendar with events, the ability to book equipment and make appointments with the librarians.
Pro: User-friendly interface; provides a lot of support.
Con: Expensive. This service provides a lot of options that may seem overwhelming.
SignUp.com: Similar to Signupgenius, this site is great for events and individual classrooms. It may be a good option if you have the same event each day at the same time. My building has the “open” time at a different time each day so it is not an option for my building.
Pro: Interface designed well and user friendly; made for educational purposes.
Con: Cost. It is pricier than some other options. You will need to make a lot of customizations to make it work in a library setting.
YouCanBook.me: With cloud calendar integration like Google Calendar or Outlook/Office, users can set up multiple days and times. It also allows users to limit by number.
Pro: Free version and paid version available; paid version provides more customization; great customer service.
Con: The customization we needed was not available in the free version.
We decided to use YouCanBook.me premium version with one calendar option because of the ability to set up the school year schedule at one time and set a limit of participants. The cost was also a factor as it was the most cost-effective option.
What tools do you use that allows students to make appointments or schedule in the library?
Author: Becca Munson
Becca Munson, Librarian, is a National Board Certified Teacher with over 23 years of experience in education. She is currently a school librarian at Blue Valley West High School in Overland Park, KS. Becca continues to find ways to positively impact student learning with literacy initiatives, technology integration, and building rapport with students and staff. Follow her on Twitter to view the library in action @bvwlibrary and @beccamunson .
Categories: Blog Topics, Technology
I love and appreciate that librarians network to share about possible resources to solve problems such as this one. The library is a busy space and being able to have a resource to schedule time with the librarian, use of materials such as a 3-D printer, podcasting spaces, green screen room, etc. I think it’s important to also mention that while free seems like a bonus, we must also be mindful to ask about data protection and privacy concerns. If we are asking users to sign up with their personal information, do we know what the various products are doing with our students and teachers information? The same is also true for paid services. I just wanted to mention this because as professionals, we all sign acceptable use guidelines with our school districts that typically address this.