Dan The Download Guy – Google Calendar, It’s for my patrons too

Dear Dan the Download Guy,

Can I set up an appointment with you to help me learn how to download eBooks and stuff to my iPad/Android/Kindle/Kindle Fire/Sony/Pandigital… ?

eReader in Need

Of course you can! Here’s my calendar, pick a time that I’m working and not in a meeting and we’ll get you on my schedule and on my calendar!

How many of you out there use some kind of calendar app for scheduling yourself and your work stuff? Two years ago, I didn’t need a calendar app. I knew what I was doing and when. Now, well, I’m on committees, have podcasts to record, people to meet, and other things to do. If I don’t use a calendar or a calendar app to keep track of that stuff, I’m going to miss something.

Like millions of others, I use Google Calendar because it really fits my needs and my workflow. I can pick it up on my Android phone, my iPod Touch, the iPad, any computer, and so on. It’s a great tool for helping me remember what the heck I’m doing, when I’m doing it, where, and with whom. Thing is, it’s not just for me, and I suggest that your calendar isn’t just for you.

I’m in the business of helping patrons learn how to use their eReaders. I’ve become a go-to person for inter-branch eReader support and I’ve actually had patrons from other branches show up at my branch because they want my help. It’s a simple process, they email me, we set up a time, and then we meet. Thing is, how do they know when I’m available?

Easy, I send them a link to my calendar.

Look, I’m not a very exciting guy. I don’t live a very exciting life. The things on my Google Calendar are, likewise, just as unexciting as anything else.  Here, take a look. I tell  you, it’s absolute Thrillsville.

What this does is connect my patrons right to my schedule. I tell them to pick a day that I’m working and a time that I’m not in a meeting. From there, it’s pretty easy to get things on the desk schedule (and my calendar).

So far, this entire idea has worked splendidly. There’s no “Well, Thursday is bad for me, what about Friday?” back and forth in emails or on the phone. It minimizes the time between “I need help” and “Hi! I’m Dan! Let me help you with that!”. If you’re using Google Calendar and setting appointments with, well, anyone, I strongly suggest this strategy.

Now, if you’re not sure how to make this happen, here’s a quick step by step.

  1. Bring up your Google Calendar.
  2. On the left, under My Calendars, select the calendar you want to use. You can even create a new one if you want to have a calendar specifically for this kind of thing. Next to the calendar you select, there’s a drop down. Click Share this Calendar.
  3. Check Make this calendar public and, if you like, check Share only my free/busy information (hide details). What that does is show your appointments as “Busy” and not what the appointment actually is. I have no problem showing what I’m doing, but that’s me and not you!
  4. Click Save and you’re taken back to the main calendar page. Now do step 2 again, but this time select Calendar settings from the dropdown.
  5. Near the bottom of the settings page, you’ll see Calendar address: and there’ll be three icons next to it for XML, ICAL, and HTML. I get the link from the HTML icon and that’s what I send to patrons.
  6. Check the link in a browser where you’re not logged into Google to make sure you’re sending out the calendar you think you’re sending out.


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