Developing Unique Study Room Reservation Systems: Examples From Teachers College and Stony Brook University

Developing Unique Study Room Reservation Systems: Examples From Teachers College and Stony Brook University

Laura Costello (Stony Brook University, USA) and Shafeek Fazal (Stony Brook University, USA)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2676-6.ch008
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Room reservation systems are important in an increasingly collaborative library environment. This chapter explores two case studies of libraries experimenting with room-bound, electronic reservation kiosks. Teachers College, Columbia University built a native app to run on room-coded iPads, while Stony Brook University developed custom code to run Steelcase's RoomWizard system in a university environment. This chapter will discuss the particularities and challenges of both systems while addressing the solutions from other libraries discussed in the literature. Room reservation systems are a challenge for libraries of all types and many diverse solutions, from using vendor solutions to creating tools from scratch, have emerged in recent years. This chapter will explore two stories on that spectrum with attention to the potential applications and solutions emerging in this area.
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There are several examples of libraries customizing their own web-based reservation systems on top of existing technology using open source software, WordPress Plugins (Smith, 2016), and other tools. There are also examples of libraries taking on this task from scratch with teams of developers and sharing them with the community. Ball State University Libraries built a web system for room booking called OpenRoom (Arthur, Robert, & Bradley, 2010) which later added the capability to book rooms via mobile (Kim, 2013). The Cabell Library at Virginia Commonwealth University also adopted Ball State’s OpenRoom (Doherty & White, 2012). Ball State’s OpenRoom is a good example of a room reservation technology that was built for a specific library, but was then made open source and adapted to several other libraries. This model represents a good way to mainstream library created technologies to institutions that may not have the infrastructure to support from-scratch development.

These web and mobile systems increase accessibility for patrons reserving rooms in advance, but many room reservation systems also include technologies to benefit the onsite user including electronic displays of events and onsite booking from kiosks or display tablets. This group includes the examples from this chapter’s case study, the iPad-based Roomer system from Teachers College and Steelcase’s RoomWizard product at Stony Brook University. An example from Tallinn University of Technology Library in Estonia also describes an integrated room reservation system built into an informational kiosk that users could access from onsite (Järs, 2014). Addressing the needs of onsite users is an emerging need in study room reservation systems. Brigham Young University also developed a lower-tech solution to this problem using QR codes linked to specific rooms in the reservation platform so when students scan the code outside the room they are taken to the reservation page for that specific room (Whitchurch, 2012).

There are also examples in the literature of libraries building additional features into their room reservation platforms to enhance user experience. D.H. Hill Library at North Carolina State University created a system called GroupFinder that integrates into their room reservation system (phpScheduleIt) to let groups publicize their locations to other members of the group on the eboards throughout the library and on the GroupFinder site and mobile site (Ryan & Boyer, 2011). Though this system does not allow booking from onsite tablets, it benefits the onsite user by showing them additional information about their reservation and other reservations in the library. Library room reservation systems and the technologies surrounding them are diverse and represent a dynamic market of production that includes vendor-created, open source, and home grown technologies.

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