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Equipment: Add and manage equipment booking categories

To manage your equipment categories:

  1. Go to Admin > Spaces & Equipment.
  2. Under the Locations tab, find the location containing the category you want to move and click on its link in the Equipment column.

Example of navigating to a location's equipment


Adding a new equipment category to a location

Categories allow you to organize your equipment by type. For example, you could create separate categories for laptops, video cameras, DSLR cameras, headphones, etc. Each category has its own booking durations and limits, which will apply to each item in that category.

Before you can begin adding individual items, you must first create at least one category.

To add a new equipment category to a location:

  1. Click on the Add New Category button.

Screenshot highlighting the Add New Category button

  1. In the Add New Equipment Category dialog box, give your category a name.
  2. Click the Save & Continue button. This will take you to the Edit Category page so you can configure the booking limits for your new category. See the next section for information about each option.

Example of adding a new category


General category options

  1. Category Name: this is the name of the category as it appears throughout LibCal.
  2. Category Type: this will be set to Equipment Bookings since it is used for equipment.
  3. Access: this allows you to control the availability of your category.
    • Public: this will be displayed on your location's booking page.
    • Private: this category can only be viewed by those who know its URL. It will not be displayed alongside your location's public categories.
    • Admin Only: this category will not be accessible via your public booking page. Bookings can only be made via the Equipment > Booking Grid & Availability page.
  4. Friendly URL: giving your category a friendly URL can make it easier to link directly to its booking page. This will replace the default URL, which typically consists of ID numbers which will be more difficult to remember and advertise.
  5. Terms & Conditions: if this category has its own terms & conditions which are different from your location's, you can add them here. When you add terms & conditions to a category, they will be displayed in addition to your location's terms & conditions.
  6. Custom Booking Form Questions: if you have a custom booking form you'd like to use for items in this category, you can select it here. The questions from the selected form will be combined with those of your location's booking form.
  7. Mediation: you can choose whether or not to mediate new booking requests. When enabled, designated staff must first approve a booking request before it can be confirmed.
  8. Who can Mediate Bookings: when mediation is enabled for this category, you can select which users can mediate bookings just for this category.
    • The users you select here will receive email notifications when bookings are pending approval.
    • Users you select here will not be able to mediate bookings in other categories, unless you have selected them as mediator's in your location's settings.
    • If this is left empty, then any regular or admin user can mediate room bookings for this location. No users will receive email notifications when bookings are pending approval.
  9. LibAuth Group Rule: if you have enabled LibAuth in your location's settings and your authentication method supports group permissions (such as CAS or SAML), you can select a group permission to apply to this category. For example, this could be used to restrict bookings in this category to faculty and staff.
  10. Fine Template: if you wish to charge overdue fines, select the fine template you wish to apply to items in this category. Otherwise, select No fines applied/disabled if you don't want to charge fines. 

General category settings


Booking limit options

  1. Bookable Type: choose whether items in this category can be booked by the hour or by the day.
    • If items or rooms in this category will be booked for less than 24 hours at a time, select Hourly Bookings.
    • Otherwise, select Daily Bookings to allow items to be booked for one or more days at a time.
  2. Booking Containment: this determines the end date of bookings and varies between hourly and daily bookings.
    • For hourly bookings:
      • Select Bookings end at closing time to ensure that items are due back when your location closes.
        • For example, imagine that your have laptops that can be booked up to 4 hours at a time. If a laptop was booked at 10pm and you close at 12am, that laptop could only be booked until 12am (not for the full 4 hours).
      • Select Bookings extend to next business day if you want to allow items to be booked overnight.
        • This can allow bookings to extend to the next day, depending upon your maximum booking duration and opening hours.
        • For example, imagine an item has a maximum booking duration of 12 hours and you book it at 10pm. If you open at 8am the following day, then that item would be due back at 10am -- 12 hours after your booking started.
        • However, if you had booked that same item at 5pm, then it would be due back at closing. Why? Because the 12 hour duration would end at 5am, when your location is closed.
    • For daily bookings:
      • Select Bookings span from Opening to Closing time if you want items to be due back at closing on the due date.
      • Select Bookings start from user selection and span to the same time following business day if you want the item due back at the same time of day it was checked out. (For example, if you booked a camera at 4pm on Monday for 1 day, it would be due back at 4pm on Tuesday.)
  3. Patron Allowed to Select Start Time: for daily bookings with the "Bookings start from user selection and span to the same time following business day" containment option, select this checkbox if you would like to give patrons the ability to select a valid starting time when placing their booking.
    • Note: when you select this option, you would also be shown the Patron Allowed to Select End-Time option. Enabling this will allow the user to also customize the end time for their booking.
  4. Fixed Start Time: if the "Patron Allowed to Select Start Time" checkbox is not selected, use this dropdown to select the start time for all bookings in the category.
    • The time you select will also serve as the due time on the due date. For example, if you select 12pm, then bookings will start at 12pm on the first day and be due by 12pm on the final day.
    • If the selected time is outside of your category's scheduled hours, Libcal will adjust this to the nearest valid time automatically.
    • For example, if you select 12pm and the category does not open until 1pm on the first day of the booking, then 1pm will be used for the start time.
    • Similarly, if you select 8am and your category does not open until 10am on the due date, then 10am will be used as the due time.
  5. Patron Allowed to Select End Time: if the "Patron Allowed to Select Start Time" checkbox is selected, selecting this checkbox will also allow the user to select the end time on their due date. Otherwise, the start time that the patron selects will be used.
  6. Booking Start times available every X mins: for hourly bookings and daily bookings that start from user selection and span to the same time on the due date, this determines how often new bookings can start.
    • For example, if you select 15 minutes, a user could book an item starting at 9:00am, 9:15am, 9:30am, etc.
    • If you select 1 hour, then a user could only book an item starting at 9:00am, 10:00am, etc.
  7. Booking Maximum Duration: this sets the maximum duration of each booking.
    • For hourly bookings, enter the maximum number of minutes (e.g. if a laptop can be booked 4 hours at a time, enter 240 minutes).
    • For daily bookings, enter the maximum number of days.
  8. Booking Minimum Duration: This is the minimum amount of time a person can book an item. For example, if you set this to 60 minutes, then patrons will be unable to book this for less than one hour. If you leave this at zero, then the system will determine an appropriate minimum.
  9. Booking Default Duration: when a patron is placing a booking, this allows you to choose the default end time for the booking. For example, if you set this to 60 minutes, then a patron will be presented with a default end time of 1 hour. However, they can increase or decrease this to any time between the minimum and maximum duration.
  10. Booking Lead Time: this option determines how far in advance of the booking's start time a user must book an item. 
  11. Padding Before and After Booking: this allows you to add gaps between bookings, which can be helpful if you need time to recharge or reset equipment before it can be booked again.
    • For example, if you select a padding of 30 minutes, an item due at 3pm would not be available again until 3:30pm.
  12. User must cancel by: you can limit how far in advance a user can cancel a booking. For example, if you select "1 Hour Prior", then users will only be able to cancel their booking up to 1 hour before the start time.
  13. Duration Limit: if you'd like, you can limit the total amount of time someone can book items per day, week, month, year, or at one time.
    • If you do not wish to set a limit, simply enter 0.
    • Please note that weeks start on Sunday for duration limits.
    • You can choose to apply this limit to items only in this category, in this one location, or system-wide.
  14. Frequency Limit: you can also limit the maximum number of items that can be booked per day, week, month, year, or at one time.
    • If you do not wish to set a limit, simply enter 0.
    • Please note that weeks start on Sunday for frequency limits.
    • You can choose to apply this limit to items only in this category, in this one location, or system-wide.
  15. Back to Back Booking Limit: you can specify how many hours must elapse between the end of one booking and the start of another.
    • For example, if you enter a value of 4 and a patron's booking ends at 1pm, their next booking could start no earlier than 5pm that day.
    • If you do not wish to set a limit, simply enter 0.
    • You can choose to apply this limit to items only in this category, in this one location, or system-wide.
  16. Window Limit: this allows you to define how many days in advance users can book items in this category.

Booking Limits settings


Partial email templates

Each category has a set of email templates that allow you to customize the email notifications sent for items in that category. These are partial templates which can be included in your location's full email templates using the {{{CATEGORY}}} tag. Wherever that tag is inserted in your location's email template, the partial template for your category will be displayed.

One way you can use this is if your category has special instructions. For example, if you want to remind patrons to make sure they return chargers with their laptops, you can add that to your laptop category's template. That way, it's only included in reminder emails when a person books a laptop.

  1. Under your category's Email Templates tab, click on the partial template you want to edit.
  2. Enter your text into the template. Remember: this will be inserted into your location's full email template -- it won't replace it -- so you don't need to recreate the entire email message here.
  3. Save your changes.

Email Templates settings

  1. To control the placement of your category's partial template, edit the corresponding email template in your location's Email Templates settings and insert/move the {{{CATEGORY}}} tag accordingly. Where that tag is placed, your partial template will appear.

Example of inserting the category tag into a template 


Managing categories

You can find the options to manage a category by clicking on its Cog () button. From the dropdown that appears:

  1. Click on Edit Category to modify the category's settings.
  2. Click on Move Category to move that category and its items to another location.
  3. Click on View Public Page to view that category's items on the public bookings page.
  4. Click on Delete Category to permanently delete the category. 
    • When deleting a category, you will be prompted to confirm.
    • Please note: deleting a category will permanently delete its items and stats, so be careful!

Example of options for managing categories


Move an equipment category between locations

To move a category and its items to a new location:

  1. Go to Admin > Spaces & Equipment.
  2. Under the Locations tab, find the location containing the category you want to move and click on its link in the Equipment column.

Clicking on a location's link in the Equipment column

  1. Click on the category's Cog () button and select Move Category from the dropdown menu.

Clicking a category's Move Category button

  1. In the Move Category window, select the new location for this category from the Location dropdown.
  2. Click the Move Category button.
    • Once a category is moved, it will inherit the new location's settings, email templates, and hours.

Selecting a new location in the Move Category window

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