The LibCal Appointments module allows patrons to schedule one-on-one appointments with library staff, both in-person and virtually/online. Staff can define which dates and times they are available. Patrons can then browse a list of available staff members via an online booking page or widget and schedule an appointment slot.
Before going live with the Appointments module, we recommend setting up locations, groups, and (optionally) appointment categories. As you'll learn below, each can help you better organize your appointments and provide individualized services to patrons at different locations. Admin users can find these settings by going to Admin > Appointments.
Depending upon your library, you may have library staff who work across different locations, departments, or other designated groups. They may also have different availability times at each location, as well. This is why LibCal gives you the option of setting up Locations and Groups for your Appointments module.
You can create as many locations as you need, whether you have just a single library or multiple branches. Not only can you organize staff by location, but this also makes it easy for a single staff member to set up different availability times in multiple locations and in locations that are set up for online meetings versus in-person meetings. Within each location, you can create one or more groups for the different services or departments offering appointments. For example, you may have just a single group for your reference department, or you may have multiple groups for specific subject librarians, the Writing Center, Archives, Special Collections, etc. And then you may also have another location set up for online meetings with your reference department staff.
Each location and group has its own public booking page, too, making it simple to direct patrons to the right place. You can also create widgets for locations and groups, as well, which you can embed in the location's website, a LibGuide, or another webpage.
- Create and manage appointment locations and groups
Learn how to create, customize, and assign users to appointment locations & groups.
- Add and delete availability times from your appointment schedule
Learn how users can add availability times to their appointment schedules by location and/or group.
If you offer different types of appointments, you can set up appointment categories. For example, you could offer a category for general reference questions that is 30-minutes long. For more in-depth research help, you might also have a category that is 60-minutes long. If you have a Writing Center in your library, then they might have their own categories of appointments, too. You can create as many categories as you need, each with its own duration and padding time (i.e. time added to the end of an appointment, giving staff time to prepare for the next one).
Best of all, you can configure your groups to offer only specific appointment categories. That way, if you created categories just for Writing Center appointments, patrons won't see those as an option when booking a research appointment with your Reference group.
By default, appointment categories will be disabled. This allows each individual user to define their own durations and padding times for their appointments. When categories are enabled, these options will be hidden from each user's personal appointments settings. That's because the durations and padding times will be defined by the categories available to them. An Admin can disable categories at any time in your systems' Appointments settings, which will allow users to set their own durations again.
- Create and manage appointment categories and durations
Learn how to create, enable, and manage appointment categories for your LibCal system.