As part of the library’s commitment to enhancing patron experience, the Orland Park Public Library, 14921 S. Ravinia Ave., Orland Park, recently upgraded the reservation process to its available meeting rooms. (Supplied photos)

As part of the library’s commitment to enhancing patron experience, the Orland Park Public Library, 14921 S. Ravinia Ave., Orland Park, recently upgraded the reservation process to its available meeting rooms. (Supplied photos)

Orland Park Public Library goes digital

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As part of the library’s commitment to enhancing patron experience, the Orland Park Public Library, 14921 S. Ravinia Ave., Orland Park, recently upgraded the reservation process to its available meeting rooms.

By Kelly White

Orland Park Public Library is riding the digital wave.

As part of the library’s commitment to enhancing patron experience, the library, 14921 S. Ravinia Ave., Orland Park, recently upgraded the reservation process to its available meeting rooms.

The once paper-based Meeting Room Reservation Use & Agreement forms have been phased out and replaced by an entirely online-only booking system. Recognizing the evolving needs of the community, this shift aims to streamline the reservation process, said Jackie Boyd, Communications Manager for the Orland Park Public Library.

“For me personally, this is a win that I can be proud of,” Boyd said. “It means that the library is becoming nimbler and more efficient. We are keeping up with the times and serving a community need. I can think of at least ten community group leaders that I was proud to tell about this process improvement.”

There are three meeting rooms in the library, and they are used for meetings by outside groups, as Boyd said.

There is large meeting room in Room 104, the multipurpose room and the board room in Room 104A.

“We had 42 requests to use the meeting rooms in November,” Boyd said. “Requests to use meeting rooms are trending up. We hit a slump during COVID, but we are back to pre-pandemic numbers. Sometimes the numbers are even higher than before 2020. We have had 355 meeting room requests in 2023. It’s something staff members and patrons have been wanting to do for efficiency and paper reduction.”

In the past, patrons would have to pick up a form at the library called the Meeting Room Reservation and Use agreement form. They would have to fill out the form completely and check the box that they agree with library policies. Then, they would sign the form and drop it off at the library.

“The biggest trouble as a patron trying to reserve a meeting room was that they were shooting in the dark asking for reservation dates without being able to check availability online,” Boyd said. “We saw the community need for this change. We needed patrons to be able to see the meeting room availability in real time. We had heard patrons ask if they could just fill out a form online quite a bit.”

With the library’s previous online calendar, staff just did not have the technology to take meeting room reservation requests online. When a new calendar vendor became available, staff made the switch to a new vendor.

“It was more complicated than flipping a switch though,” Boyd said. “It has been a multi-year roll out for the new online calendar. First, we launched the calendar with patron education on how to register online for a program, now we are transitioning to reserving meeting rooms online, and in the future, we are looking at having patrons reserve study rooms online.”

Patrons who have previously utilized library meeting rooms will no longer need to fill out the traditional Meeting Room Reservation Use & Agreement form. Instead, they can now reserve meeting spaces through the library’s user-friendly online calendar system accessible on the library website at https://www.orlandparklibrary.org.

Online there are pictures available of the rooms available and their seating.

The online calendar can check with the library’s online register of patrons to also make sure that a library patron is in good standing when they attempt to reserve a meeting room.

“Now that we have gone digital with the meeting room reservation process, it’s so much simpler,” Boyd said. “Patrons can go to the online calendar, click ‘reserve a room’, and see which rooms are available at what times in real time. Patrons can select which meeting room they want. They can put in their library card number and a few details about their meeting – like whether they will be needing a projector and laptop. Once they click submit, they get an email notification that their reservation status is pending. We go in and click approve, and they get another email that their meeting room reservation is complete.”

Patrons are more than pleased with the updated process, including Orland Park resident and troop leader, Jennifer Hahn, who reserves meeting rooms at the library for Girl Scout Troop 65640 of Orland Park.

“I am very excited that the library is offering an online booking system,” Hahn said. “This will be a very convenient way to view when rooms are available when reserving space for our Girl Scout Troop meetings.”

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