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Steve Hill
Reservation System
by Margaret Mellinger, Engineering Librarian
ave you ever tried to use poorly designed soft-
ware? Did you have to ask for help? Were you
frustrated? That was the experience of numer-
ous students when trying to reserve study rooms with the
previous reservation system purchased from a library ven-
dor. Library staff also were frustrated with the convoluted
workflow and dozens of mouse clicks needed to manage
the study room system. Thanks to the efforts of Steve Hill,
student programmer extraordinaire and senior in Com-
puter Science, students and staff now have a user-friendly
way to reserve and manage study rooms.
The system launched in September right before classes
started. So far, students and library staff are finding it a
great improvement. When a staff member showed a stu-
dent who had used the former system how we make reser-
vations now, the student said, “Wow, that took no time at
all! I don’t believe I actually made a reservation—it was
too quick.” Another student was impressed with how she
could now add a group name to her reservation, allowing
her study partners to find the reservation for their group
study time.
Steve spent the summer coding the system, based on
open source software created at Ball State University Li-
braries. He worked closely with all library faculty and staff
and with the room reservation team of Susan McEvoy,
Kelly Holcomb, Victoria Heiduschke, Kristin Swetland,
Ryan Ordway and Margaret Mellinger. The team defined
user requirements, tested the software, recommended
features and improvements, and helped conduct usability
testing with staff and student users.
Along with programming and problem-solving skills,
Steve brought enthusiasm, curiosity, and professionalism
to the project that made him a delight to work with. He
will continue working on the system with a team of stu-
dents in his senior design (capstone) project in Computer
Science. They will be developing features such as a mobile
interface and an easier way to circulate the room keys,
while receiving course credit for their efforts.␣
Steve is one
of many students who contribute to the success of OSU
Libraries and a great example of the excellence of our
student workers.
Making Life Easier for
His Peers
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What excites you about Computer Science?␣
I like problem-solving and seeing the results of what
you make.␣
It’s kind of like building a bridge.␣
Once you
are done, you can see the whole picture. The challenge
is what makes it fun.
What was it like to work at OSU Libraries and
I didn’t feel like a student worker, I felt like I was part
of the library. I worked on an important project and
there was a good balance between working on my own
and interacting with library staff. Working at the library
was the first time I’ve enjoyed waking up in the morn-
ing and going to work.
Why was working on
the study room reserva-
tion project important
or rewarding?␣
It propelled me forward! I
learned an enormous
amount and improved my
coding skills, which
helped in classes I took
last fall. Also, what I
learned at the library
helped me get two other
positions. I’m currently working at the Center for
Genome Research and Biocomputing here on
Next summer, I have a coop position in soft-
ware engineering at Weyerhaeuser. I found it easy to
talk about the library project in my interviews as a way
to illustrate my technical skills and problem solving
abilities as well as my people skills. I wish more com-
puter science students would work for the library—it
would help them a lot.␣
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