If you currently use SignUp to manage your library programs and events, but you aren’t taking advantage of the following features, you could be getting more from this tool. We asked Tracy Johnson, a member of the Evanced Implementation Team and one of our resident SignUp experts, to share her top five pro tips.
1. Use event templates.
“The fastest way to create events is to use templates. If it is one of those events that you do over and over—like storytime—instead of retyping it every single time or copying an old one, you create the template. It always says the same thing, and then all you have to do is change the date and time,” Tracy explained.
Watch our SignUp “Adding an Event” training video for details. (At about the 2:15 mark, creating templates is explained.)
2. Add images to your event listings.
You can also easily add images and even video to your event listings—and doing so will help make your programs better stand out to patrons. Adding your own hosted images is easy, and this part is also covered in the “Adding an Event” training video.
3. Use the available widgets.
The Events Feed enables you to display a specific list of events on your website by date range, event type, age group, and other variables.
“Some libraries use the Events Feed widget, because, within their websites, they have tabs for different age groups. For example, they’ll do an Events Feed for their teen programs on their ‘Teens’ page or an Events Feed for their adult programming on their ‘Adults’ page,” she explained.
Another popular widget is TinyCal—a small calendar typically embedded on a library’s main homepage. Patrons can click on a specific date on the TinyCal widget calendar to see all the events taking place on that date. Here’s how to set up the TinyCal widget.
You can also visit our demo website to see an Events Feed—look for “Upcoming Events”—and the TinyCal widget in action.
4. Allow patrons to self-register.
When adding an event in SignUp, you always have three registration options: no registration necessary (default position), patron-and-staff registration, and staff-only registration. By selecting the patron-and-staff registration option, you enable patrons to self-register for your events online. You can even allow—for certain events such as storytimes—group registration on the patron side.
“That allows staff to focus on creating more programs, rather than standing there and registering people into the computer,” Tracy noted. Giving your patrons the option to register for your programs from anywhere and at anytime is more convenient for them, too.
When Pickering Public Library began allowing patrons to register themselves for events online, the average number of self-registrations per month nearly doubled. The Ontario-based library also has enabled the Events Feed widget with good results.
5. Enable RSS feeds.
Tracy saved one of the more complex options for last. As with widgets, setting up RSS feeds will require someone with some IT know-how, but it is well worth the effort.
Enabling an RSS feed means your calendar content becomes dynamic. Want to showcase a few special events each month? You could set up a feed that automatically populates a large display area on your homepage. You can also use RSS feeds to automatically push calendar listings to some of your social media accounts. (Like magic!)
Check out our SignUp “Widgets and Website Integration” training video for details.