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Spaces & Seats: Preview and activate the search-based booking page style

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What is the search-based booking page style?

We're introducing a new public Spaces interface! 🎉 You can now choose between two Spaces booking page styles:

  • Suggestion Based / Mobile Friendly—the new, opt-in style
  • Availability Grid—the original, default style

You can preview the new interface to see how it will work and—if and when desired—you can switch over to this new design so it becomes the default that patrons see and use. When activated, the Suggestion Based / Mobile Friendly booking style replaces the current availability grid for spaces and seats. It does not apply to equipment bookings.

With this improved, mobile-first option, you select your desired location, category, and capacity, along with the date and time. You can additionally select a zone and include accessibility and power requirements for the space or seat.

When you search, the new interface provides you suggestions based on your criteria in a user-friendly list. Because you've already specified the time and duration, there's no need to select a start time with the conventional grid or to update the end time using the drop-down menu. If the available times don't match what you want, the system will present you with alternatives.

Upon selecting a space or seat, you can optionally add equipment (if part of your LibCal site) and then finish the booking process by completing the form, accepting any terms and conditions, and submitting the booking.

Demo of the new Spaces booking interface on a mobile device.
The new mobile-friendly Spaces interface.

Preview the search-based booking process

Excited to take a look? You can preview the search-based booking page style without fully switching over. Just remember that the preview is fully functional—if you submit a booking, it will create a real booking in your system, so be sure to cancel any test bookings to free up the space.

You can share the preview link with staff, your patrons, or whoever you like. For example, if texting with a student about booking a space, you might send them the preview link in an SMS to provide them a mobile-friendly option.

Access the preview

  1. Go to Admin > Spaces & Equipment.
  2. Click the Settings tab.
  3. In the Spaces Booking Page Style panel, click the (preview) link after the option Suggestion Based / Mobile Friendly.
    • The Suggestion Based / Mobile Friendly preview URL uses your LibCal site's domain plus /r/search, for example: https://yourlibrary.libcal.com/r/search
    • Additionally, there is a (preview) link for the traditional Availability Grid, which may be useful to access after you make the switch to Suggestion Based bookings. This preview URL uses your domain plus /r/new/preview, for example: https://yourlibrary.libcal.com/r/new/preview
The preview link for search-based booking style.

Search for spaces

  1. Use the Select a Location dropdown to choose a location where you'd like to book.
Select a location
  1. You'll see the Search Spaces filters.
    1. To switch the location, select the location icon ( 
    2. The Description panel shows the location description. If and when a category is selected, it will also show the category description.
  2. Optionally choose a Category. Select Show All to see spaces from all categories.
  3. Use the Capacity dropdown to show spaces based upon how many people they can accommodate.
    • Note: if a space is set up with individual seats, you can select "Single Seat Booking" to view all available seats.
  4. Enter a Date by clicking the day, month, or year and entering the desired number.
    1. Alternatively, click the calendar icon ( ) to launch a calendar date-picker to select the desired date.
  5. Choose From and Until times by clicking the hour, minute, and AM/PM values and then entering a new value. The allowed booking durations for the category determine what can be entered here.
    • When the From time is changed, the Until time updates in accordance with the booking durations.
    • When a new Until time is entered, it may be accepted or it will alert you to the maximum allowed time.
    • Note: The time function here requires the use of AM/PM, regardless of the System Time Format. For ease of use, 24-hour clock values will be converted to AM/PM. For example, if the time reads 09:00 AM and you select 09 and replace it by entering 13, the time will automatically update to 01:00 PM.
  6. Select Show more filtering options to reveal additional options.
    1. Use the Zone dropdown to choose a zone.
    2. Check the box for An accessible space/seat is required to show only accessible spaces/seats.
    3. Check the box for Power is required at the space/seat to show only spaces/seats with access to power outlets.
  7. Click Search.
The filters available for Search Spaces.
  1. Select Book Now to proceed to the booking form for the desired space and time.
    1. If available, matches for your selected time and date will appear at the top.
      • If no matches are available for your chosen date and time, you'll see the message, No matches.
      • You may see alternative, upcoming options under the heading Unavailable for selected time, available at other times (see step i), or you can click the Next Available button to find the next available booking times. Be sure to confirm that the suggested date and time will work for you!
    2. Each result shows details about the space.
      • Name: click the space/seat name to see its complete details, including image, full description, and directions (when applicable). Here you can also select the Change Booking Time button to update the time using the original booking grid method.
      • Image: this shows the image set for the space image URL or the seat image URL. If a custom image URL is not provided, you will see LibCal's generic placeholder image. Note: to save space, images may not appear on small browsers but can be viewed by selecting the space/seat name.
      • Category | Zone: these are shown below the name, if applicable.
      • Description: if provided for a space/seat, the description is displayed. Descriptions over 256 characters will be truncated and can be viewed in full by clicking the space/seat name.
      •     : These icons indicate the capacity, whether a space/seat is accessible, and whether it has power.
    3. If exact matches are not available, other suggestions may be offered below the heading, Unavailable for selected time, available at other times.
      • If suggestions are not offered here, click the Next Available button to find the next available booking times.
      • Be sure to confirm that the suggested date and time will work for you!
    4. Alternative booking suggestions list the available time and indicate when a previous booking ends.
The Book Now button on the booking results.
  1. Fill out the booking form.
    1. Confirm the date and time.
    2. To check out an equipment item at the same time, select the Add Equipment button before completing the form. You will be directed to the Equipment catalog to select the item. When you click Checkout, you will return to the space's Booking Details page. The booking form may update to include additional questions that pertain to the added equipment.
  2. If applicable, check the box to agree to the Terms & Conditions, which you can view by clicking the Terms & Conditions link.
    • This appears only if there are Terms & Conditions set for location, category, space/seat, or equipment item.
  3. Select Submit my Booking.
Complete the booking form
  1. For successful bookings, patrons will see the Booking Confirmed page if bookings are approved immediately. If mediation is turned on, the message will state Booking Submitted.
    1. Select Make Another Booking to return to the booking search page for the same location.
The confirmed booking screen

Activate the search-based booking page style

  1. Go to Admin > Spaces & Equipment.
  2. Click the Settings tab.
  3. In the Spaces Booking Page Style panel, select the option Suggestion Based / Mobile Friendly.
  4. Click Save.
    • To switch back to the original grid style at any time, select Availability Grid and click Save.
Activate the suggestion-based / mobile booking interface.