Setting up LibCal for the first time

We know - getting a new system is both really exciting and fairly daunting all at the same time. You have this shiny new system...with nothing in it. What do you do with this totally empty system?? Let's walk through the things you ought to learn & discuss before you start setting up your system and then help you set everything up!

Who is this Springboard for?

While it's initially sent to the first Admin level user created in the system, that doesn't mean only that person should take a look! (Unless you're a solo librarian...then it just makes sense, of course! ;) ) This guide is for anyone who is helping to initially set up the system. Others may or may not be Admin level users in the system, but they can still understand the options and help discuss / form the plan for how you'll use the system, so feel free to share the information!

Featured training sessions

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Join our Springy Training Team for the Planning your LibCal Site workshop, offered regularly. This session is for folks just getting started with a brand new LibCal site - or attempting a total overhaul. We’ll discuss what you need to know before you start setting up LibCal and how to plan your site to work more efficiently.

Visit the Springy training calendar to register for the next available session! While you're there, also check out our sessions focused on setting up Spaces, Equipment, Appointments, and more!

Or, if you're unable to make it to a live training session, check out the recordings of our training sessions anytime in our training video collection.


Step 1. Configure your system settings

Before you start adding user accounts for your colleagues, it can be helpful to get your system settings configured first. This will make sure that all of the settings are the way you want before users start adding content to the system. The most important of these are your Date & Time Settings, as these affect the timestamps throughout the system. This will impact the timing of email notifications, among other things, so be sure to select the proper time zone for you system.

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Step 2. Add user accounts

This is where you can start giving your colleagues access to LibCal. When you add an account, be sure to select the appropriate level of permissions for that user, based upon how you need them to use the system. For example, if you will have other folks helping you manage the system, you'll want to make sure they have admin-level access.

Once you've given everyone access, encourage them to explore the system hands-on and start creating content. Don't forget to share our documentation and training resources, too, in case they need any help!

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Step 3. Customize your site's look & feel

You can customize the appearance of your LibCal public pages. If you're looking to customize the styles of your pages, you can add a banner image, custom HTML header & footer, and/or custom javascript & CSS code. This can be as simple or sophisticated as you'd like. :)

Regardless of how much you want to customize the style of your site, we recommend spending some time customizing your system's homepage. This will be the first thing users see when they visit your site, so it's a good idea to make sure that the most relevant content is front and center. 

You can also customize the layout of your event page and hours page, as well. The event page serves as a template for all of the calendar events in your system, while the hours page gives you a dedicated place for linking to your library's hours.

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  • Customizing the look and feel of LibCal
    Learn how to customize your system's banner, header, footer, and other styles. You will also learn how to customize the layout and content of your homepage, event page template, and hours page.

Step 4. Set up your library & department hours

Setting up your library hours consists of creating weekly hours templates and applying them to your libraries and departments. A weekly hours template lists your operating hours for a particular week. Odds are, your hours change throughout the year so you will likely have more than one weekly hours template in your system. For example, if you're an academic library, you could have templates for regular semester hours, finals week hours, winter intersession, spring break, etc.

You may also have weekly hours templates for different departments or services. For example, if your ILL or reference departments have shorter hours than the rest of the library, you'll want to create templates for each of those.

Once you have your templates created, you're ready to apply them to your libraries and departments. Templates are applied during date ranges. For example, if you have a template for your regular semester hours, you can have those hours start at the beginning of the semester and end at finals week. Along the way, you can specify exceptions to those hours for things like holidays.

After you've set up your hours, you can display them on your LibCal homepage, your LibCal hours page, and just about anywhere else using our LibCal hours widgets.

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Step 5. Set up billing & payment options

If you charge patrons for events, space bookings, or equipment bookings, you can use LibCal's billing functionality to allow them to quickly, easily, and securely pay online during the registration or booking process. By connecting to a third-party payment processor, you will be able to collect credit card payments and deposit them into your library's merchant account. All charges, payments, and refunds are tracked automatically in LibCal so you can easily see the payment history for all billed bookings and event registrations.

Please note: to ensure a smooth experience, billing functionality will be released to all users with a paid LibCal subscription over a phased rollout period (customers with a Free 3/3/3 subscription will not have access to billing). We're starting with a limited number of early adopters before releasing more widely. Please stay tuned to our blog for the latest details!

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Step 6. Set up your calendars & events

Setting up your calendars can be a collaborative effort, especially if you'll have multiple staff members managing events. Just keep in mind that the person who creates a calendar will be listed as its owner. Calendar owners and system admins are the only people who can manage a calendar's settings. All other regular users will only be able to add, edit, or view events on the calendar, depending upon the level of permissions they have. Each calendar can have its own custom set of user permissions, allowing you to give only specific users the ability to add/edit events if needed.

Before people start creating events, make sure you have the permissions set the way you want them. You'll also want to make sure that you set up your Location & Campus Settings, create any custom registration forms you might need, and add some event categories to each calendar.

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Step 7. Set up your space and/or equipment bookings

When setting up your space and/or equipment bookings, the first step is to add one or more locations to the system. Each location represents a place where you provide spaces and equipment. You could have locations for different library buildings, departments, service points, etc. Each location has its own operating hours and settings, which can affect the availability of your spaces and equipment. You can either set up custom hours for each location, or you can link to a library or department in your hours module.

At this point, you may also want to spend some time setting up any custom booking forms you'd like your patrons to use when submitting a booking online. If you would like to track overdue fines using LibCal, now is also a good time to start setting up your fine templates

Once you've added your locations, the next step is to add categories for your spaces and equipment. Categories help you organize the different types of spaces and equipment you have available. For example, you could have broad categories for spaces like study rooms, recording rooms, and computer labs. For equipment, you may have categories like laptops, video equipment, or tablets.

The last step is to add individual space and equipment items to your categories. Each category defines the booking limits for the spaces and equipment assigned to them. As you add spaces and items, you can include additional information descriptive information that displays on your public booking pages.

Note: Equipment Bookings is an add-on module to LibCal. Interested in adding it to your LibCal subscription? Contact our Springy Sales team for a quote!

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Step 8. Set up appointment scheduling

Before you start enabling Appointments for you and your colleagues, you'll want to spend some time configuring your system's Appointments Settings. This is especially important if you want to use appointment categories, as it allows you to create and configure those categories before people start setting up their availability times. 

From there, you can also set up groups for your users. Although optional, groups can make it easier for your patrons to identify the right staff members for their needs. For example, you could group users by subject area, location, or service type.

Once you have your Appointments settings configured, you are ready to enable it. Appointments is enabled on a user-by-user basis, so you only need to enable it for those users who will be scheduling appointments with patrons.

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Step 9. Customize your site's HTTPS settings & domain name

Out of the box, each new LibCal site has its own unique libcal.com domain name. If you're happy with that domain name, great! However, if you're interested in customizing your domain name so it fits in with the rest of your institution's web sites, you can work with your IT staff and LibApps admin(s) to change it.

For example, let's say your domain name is springylib.org. Instead of using springylib.libcal.com as your domain name, you could change it to libcal.springylib.org. 

Whether or not you decide to customize your domain name, you may want to consider setting up HTTPS support for your site.

  • If your site uses a libcal.com domain name, you can begin viewing your site over HTTPS right away. Your LibApps admin can configure your site to always load over HTTPS (which is recommended).
  • If your site uses a custom domain name, then you first need to work with your IT staff to update your DNS records. LibApps will automatically obtain and manage an SSL certificate for your domain name (though you can upload your own if you prefer). Once the certificate is installed, your LibApps admin can configure your site to always load over HTTPS.

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Setup Checklist

Before you go, consider reviewing the following checklist to make sure you have everything set up and ready for action. If you missed something, no worries! Check out the sections above for help tying up any loose ends.

System settings and accounts

  • Have you configured your system settings, such as your access rules and proxy URL?
  • Does everyone who needs a user account have one?
  • Did you want to customize your site's domain name?
  • Is your site set to always load over a secure, encrypted HTTPS connection?
  • Do you plan to sync your calendars, space bookings, or appointments with Outlook calendars? If so, have you set up your Azure OAuth 2 integration?

Look & feel

  • Have you customized the basic look & feel for your system the way you want, such as your banner image, header, and footer?
  • Did you add any custom code to your site that was needed?
  • Did you customize the content and layout of your homepage and hours page?
  • Did you customize the layout of your event page template?

Library & department hours

  • Have you added all of the libraries and departments you want to provide hours for?
  • Have you created the weekly templates you need for different times of year?
  • Did you apply the templates to your libraries & departments for the appropriate dates?
  • Did you add exceptions for specific dates that have different hours, such as holidays?
  • Have you created and embedded widgets everywhere you want to share your hours?

Billing options

  • Have you set the appropriate currency for your location?
  • Have you connected to a supported payment processor to collect online payments?
  • Have you set up optional discount codes to provide certain patrons with discounted payments?
  • Have you set up billing charges for all appropriate spaces and/or equipment?

Calendars & events

  • How many calendars will you need for public events? Internal events?
  • Does each user have the permissions they need for each calendar?
  • Have you set up your calendar locations, campuses, categories, internal tags, and/or audience types?
  • Are there any types of events where an event template might come in handy?
  • Have you customized each calendars settings and email templates as needed?

Space & equipment bookings

  • Have you set up the appropriate locations for your spaces and equipment?
  • Have you set up your categories for each type of space at each location?
  • Have you added the individual spaces to each category?
  • If you have the Equipment Bookings module, have you set up your categories and items? Don't forget to also add fine templates, as appropriate.
  • Have you customized your public booking page settings and availability grid colors?
  • Are you linking to your public booking pages where needed? Don't forget that you can also embed space booking widgets, too!

Appointments

  • Have you enabled appointments for each user who needs it?
  • Have you created the appropriate locations and groups for your staff?
  • Have you set up appointment categories and durations, if needed?
  • Has each user set up their availability times and customized their scheduler options?
  • Are you linking to your public appointments pages where needed? Don't forget that you can also embed appointment booking widgets, too!

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