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)

Published by

Colleen Eggett

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