QR codes in libraries

I went to a good presentation by Marriott Library and Eccles Health Sciences Library on QR codes. QR stands for quick reference, btw. The notion is to have a code that someone can take a photo of with their handheld device, and the device will translate that code to the information represented underneath.  A QR code is a two-dimensional barcode that can be small or large. It can be huge, as on the side of a building.

Here’s a QR code about my Trading Spaces Mentoring Program: trading spaces qr code

Libraries can use QR codes in all kinds of ways:

  • Paintings or photos in the building
  • Map of the library
  • Search the library catalog
  • Place holds on books
  • Summer Reading signup
  • Upcoming events
  • New book arrivals
  • Contact information
  • Any text at all
  • If you can print, post, or tweet it you can QR it

In order to access QR codes people need:

  • A handheld device with a camera and the internet such as a smartphone, iphone, droid, one of the many products that are widely used today
  • A QR app which can be found at the app store or at a variety of places on the internet

It’s really easy to create QR codes. You need a QR code generator and there are so many that are free, it’s easy to get one.  Just look online. The one that I used to make the above QR code was Delivr. The one that Eccles is using is BeeTagg.

There are tips for creating QR codes, for example, don’t have a long url, the image will be too finely grained. Shorten it first using a url shortener within your  QR code generator, or use another such as bit.ly or tinyurl.com

Also, make sure you are pointing to a version of something that is made for handheld devices. A url to a very large website won’t be readable on the handheld once they get it, so that’s lame.

There’s more,  I hope to hold a training on QR codes in the near future. Stay put.

Sincerely, Colleen (p.s. here’s my contact info, try it out on your iphone)

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Colleen Eggett

Colleen Eggett is the Library Resources Program Manager for the Utah State Library in Salt Lake City UT.

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