Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Thing 8: Google Calendar

I confess. I do not know how I would get out the door without Google Calendar. I've been using it in a personal capacity for a while. I have also encouraged my son's school to use it, rather than the hideous website calendar they use, complemented by a paper-based newsletter full of things to remember each week. The suggestion didn't go down so well. I am persistent. I will try again!

As for my own workplace. We fall at the first hurdle. Google Calendar is no longer supported on IE6. And yes we are in the last 2% of the UK population who are still using IE6.

The second hurdle would be that providing a library service to an internal workplace, use of Microsoft Outlook is quite ingrained in the culture. It also links in to other software products we use like BT Live Meeting to manage conference and video calling. I'm also fairly convinced that a move to promote Google Calendar as a useful tool wouldn't got down well with our IT department. I'm pretty sure it would be swiftly blocked.

But it did encourage me to think about how we could use the 'calendar concept' to promote what we do. Here's the list I came up with:

  • Promoting our Information Skills courses. Customers could search the calendar for courses to find out the date and time of the next session.
  • Raising awareness of planned downtime of key resources.
  • Advising customers of online training sessions available via our paid for online resources.
  • Asking for feedback - Letting them know when we have a team meeting and inviting feedback on our services for discussion.
  • Posting the dates of our service evaluations, and product evaluations. These all require conversations with our customers, and usually result in plea's from us for feedback and comments.
We're not a traditional library service. We don't have a lending collection. We do however borrow books through the UK inter-library lending system. One of the biggest issues we face is getting our customers to return these books on time. The books aren't logged on a catalogue, so sending traditional automated reminders isn't possible. But sending a calendar appointment may provide the additional prompt they need to pop the book back in the post to us.

So Google Calendar won't be conquering our workplace. But I think a few more appointments might suddenly appear in our team calendar tomorrow as I put these idea's to the test.

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