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The Daily Tar Heel

Tech changes come to library

Students now have the option to reserve study rooms in UNC’s libraries online or by using their cellphone.

Due to a recent change in library technology, students can also look up online what computers are available for use in the Davis, Undergraduate and Health Sciences libraries.

Emily King, coordinator of E-Learning Services, said the Student Library Advisory Board suggested the idea for an online booking service for study rooms several years ago.

King said this is the first year they were able to find the proper software.

The software was implemented in stages, going live in the UL in June, Davis in July and the Health Sciences Library in August.

King said rooms can be reserved up to two weeks in advanced and for three to four hours per day depending on the library.

The software, called LibCal, was purchased with funds collected by the Student Library Advisory Board.

Judith Panitch, director of library communications, said the software operates on an annual fee of $1,500.

“This takes the old system, where a staff member had to make the reservation for a student, and puts it directly in the hands of the students,” Panitch said.

King and Panitch said all the feedback they have received has been positive.

“Students seem to really like the ease of being able to reserve a room online,” King said.

“We have had a lot of reservations made since it has been up,” she said.

Jeremiah Joyner, ITS labs and systems manager, said students can now check online to see what computers are available for use before they visit the location with the aid of another software system, Symantec Altiris.

He said the software allows ITS to see if someone is logged on the computer and what applications are in use.

“We can see if students are using Word, Excel or Office,” Joyner said.

Joyner said the software was purchased as a part of an unrelated project for about $35,000.

He said the software wasn’t specifically purchased with this feature in mind.

“We want students to be able to know all options before they actually go to the location,” he said.

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