Library staff are currently busy testing Booking features in Aleph. Booking allows for materials to be reserved in advance for future use. For high use items like Reserve readings, rooms, and equipment, Aleph Booking can be an ideal way to ensure that these items are available for use when our patrons need to use them. While not yet available to our users in production, plans are underway to enable booking for our users in the very near future.
How does Booking work? For an example, say a faculty member wants to Reserve a video for class use during the 6th week of the semester. Library staff can book the request for the faculty member, but it is also possible for the faculty member to make the booking request directly within MNCAT. When booking an item, Aleph provides a schedule that allows users to view time slots that are already booked as well as ones that are still available. The booking can be for the full length of the normal loan period, but can be shortened as well. Once a booking request is in place, the video can continue to be loaned to other users, but as the 6th week approaches, any loan that would overlap with the booking period is automatically shortened by Aleph so that the faculty member will be able to have the video to show in class. As the date of the request approaches, staff at the owning library receive a report of the upcoming request from Aleph so that it can be delivered to the faculty member in time for the classroom showing. Reminders can even be sent to patrons letting them know that their requested date is approaching.
While our staff are testing Aleph Booking, the Duluth campus has been using Aleph Booking in production for the past six months. Their assistance and advice has been invaluable during our testing.
If you have items and/or equipment in your collection that you believe could benefit by being available for booking, please contact Chris Rose.
~Submitted by Chris Rose, IADS Aleph Coordinator