Does your library work primarily with paper calendars and newsletters to share event information with patrons? Have you struggled with using generic calendar software like Google Calendar, Eventbrite, or Trumba? Calendar programs can increase patron engagement and allow you to simplify your events workflow. A transition to a calendar program with displays and features designed specifically for libraries provides one of the most excellent returns on investment you can make.
Here are some reasons to consider an integrated library events and reservations management system:
View Options and Mobile Displays
More and more library users are seeking out information from their library online, particularly on mobile devices. Events should be a prominent part of your web presence and easy for users to navigate no matter what device they use. For example, Library Market’s LibraryCalendar platform has upcoming, monthly, and weekly calendar views, meaning patrons (and staff) can look up event information in the format they find most useful.
Libraries offer a wide range of programs for different ages and interests to serve as many people in their community as possible. From an individual user’s perspective, they aren’t interested in everything the library offers; they want to find information relevant to them. With an online event platform like LibraryCalendar, you can set up customized categories for age group, topic, and location; patrons can then use the categories to filter down and only see events they are likely to attend. Calendar entries can also be color coded to help users parse the different kinds of programs.
The easier it is to register for programs, the more likely it is that patrons will do so. But, libraries also need to be able to restrict registration (by requiring a library card or setting an age limit for registrants, for example) and ensure privacy and security for patrons using online forms. Library-specific calendar software offers registration forms that can be adjusted per program and are designed with libraries’ needs in mind. Generic calendar software doesn’t take the registration needs of libraries into account and requires lots of staff time and coordination to maintain.
Libraries that make rooms available for patrons (as a free service or with a fee) have to balance the library’s use of spaces with patrons booking rooms. Trying to find available meeting times while avoiding conflicts is tricky, especially if you manage this manually. A library-specific calendar platform offers several features that simplify the process for staff and patrons:
- Room conflict validation shared with the events calendar
- Configurable rules for room hours, soonest/latest allowed reservations, length, and the total number of requests, allowing you to automatically enforce related policies
- Options to include room setup configurations and equipment as part of reservations
- Appropriate staff notified when patrons make requests so they can approve or decline
Library-specific calendar software platforms include automated notifications for patron event registrations and room reservations. LibraryCalendar sends out confirmations, status updates, and reminders for events and room bookings with options to insert custom messages globally or per entry as needed.
Getting an event from an idea to reality requires lots of logistics and staff time, especially when you consider the need to market programs. Specialized calendar software allows staff to spend more of their time developing quality programs on a centralized system instead of struggling with multiple management and promotional platforms. Multiple staff can enter their programs (with the option to have those approved by an administrator before being made public), share programs to Facebook and Twitter, and use feeds to display information on other platforms.
Reports & Statistics
Unlike generic products, library-specific calendar software is built with the understanding that libraries will need to collect specific kinds of data for reporting purposes. The ability to quickly and easily add a number of attendees after the program and then run reports for attendance regularly is built-in. For our product, LibraryCalendar, we have six different standard reports available, each with a wide array of filtering and sorting options.
There are several library-specific calendar platforms available. If you’re interested in exploring these options for your library, please make sure to request a demo of LibraryCalendar!