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Pickups: How to schedule a pickup time in LibCal

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When a patron has items to pickup, they can schedule a pickup time using the public booking page for the LibCal Spaces category associated with their branch.

In LibCal, you have the ability to customize the Friendly URL to that booking page, making it easier to link to. (For example, yourlibrary.libcal.com/reserve/pickups or yourlibrary.libcal.com/reserve/downtown-pickups.) If you are able to customize the hold pickup notification emails in your ILS, you could add a link to that page in the email. That way, patrons can click right over to the booking page to schedule a pickup time.

The category's settings is also where you can:

  • Set the booking page's access level: by default, when a category is associated with a Pickup Manager branch, it's access level is set to Private. This means it can only be accessed directly from its URL (it won't be appear in the Category dropdown on the public booking page). However, you change the status to Public or Admin Only.
  • Add a description to the public booking page: the category's description can include text, images, links, lists -- everything you need to provide instructions or directions to patrons. The content you add to the description will display above the availability grid where the user selects their times.
  • Add terms & conditions: you can choose to display terms & conditions to patrons when they submit their bookings.
  • Enable booking mediation: if you would like staff users to review and approve bookings, you can enable mediation. Bookings will not be confirmed until approved by a staff member in LibCal.
  • Define booking start times, durations, & other limits: a category's Booking Limits is where you define how often pickup time slots begin, how long they last, and how far in advance patrons can reserve them. You'll also find options to limit the number of bookings a patron can submit by frequency, total duration, or back-to-back.

On the category's booking page, patrons will see a list of the individual spaces in that category. Each space represents a pickup area at the associated branch, such as a parking space, a curbside location, or some other designated zone where patrons should wait when they arrive. LibCal will show which times are available and unavailable for each space in real time.

By default, these spaces will be available during the hours of their parent location. However, LibCal does give you the ability to set up different hours for a category or individual spaces. That allows you to make your pickup spaces available during different times from the rest of the spaces in your location (such as study rooms or computer labs).

Using the public booking page

When a patron visits the public booking page, they will first be prompted to authenticate using their library ID/barcode and password/PIN. This validates with your ILS that they have a patron account and have holds ready to pick up.

patron validation screen

Next, the patron will see a list of the items available to pick up, followed by the location/category descriptions (if provided) and availability grid. The grid will list the time slots for each space, indicating which times are still available to reserve.

The patron begins the booking process by clicking on an available time slot in the grid.. Their chosen time will display in the Booking Details section at the bottom of the page. (If you added terms & conditions to your category or location, they will be presented after the patron clicks the Submit Times button.)

selecting times from the availability grid

Finally, the patron will be prompted to enter information into the category's booking form. At a minimum, this will include their name, email, library ID, and mobile number (for SMS notifications). However, you can add custom booking form questions, as well.

Once the booking is submitted, the patron will see an on-screen confirmation and receive a confirmation email. In Pickup Manager, a new pickup ticket will be created with the information from the booking.

booking form fields

Patron holds data retention

When Pickup Manager validates that a patron has holds ready to pick up, the held items are temporarily stored in the pickup ticket that is created after they reserve their pickup time. This allows branch staff to view the list of items in the pickup ticket, via the Pickup Manager dashboard. Once the pickup ticket is completed, Pickup Manager automatically deletes that holds data.

Add a booking via the staff interface

Another way to create a booking is via the LibCal staff interface. Admin users and Regular users with permission to create bookings can access this page by clicking Spaces in the navigation bar. Next, under the Booking Grid & Availability tab, select your location (top of the page) and category, then click the Go button.

To start a new booking, click on an available start time from the grid. Just like on the public booking page, you'll be prompted to submit your times, complete the booking form questions, and submit the booking. There's even an option to send the patron a confirmation email, as well.

the Booking Grid & Availability tab

Once the booking has been created, a new pickup ticket will be created in Pickup Manager with the information from the booking.

Want a full overview of creating space bookings in LibCal? Check out Spaces: Add single and recurring bookings via the staff interface.

Arriving for a scheduled pickup

When a patron arrives at their scheduled pickup time, they can alert library staff by:

  • Sending the keyword to the branch's SMS number. Both the keyword and SMS number are managed in the branch's settings.
  • Using Pickup Manager's online chat page. LibCal can provide a link to this page in the confirmation email. You can customize the welcome message in the branch's settings.

the web chat interface

To provide patrons with an easy pickup experience, we recommend that a LibCal Admin customize the email templates for your pickup location(s) to include instructions for what to do when a patron arrives. This could include not only the web chat link, but also the SMS number and keyword to use.