With the digitalization of education, visiting libraries has become rare. E-books and digital libraries have made reading more comfortable. Readers can now browse and select the books with ease.

And when we talk about physical libraries, there are a couple of factors that refrain from keeping the ambience reader-friendly.

Firstly, it is tedious to search for a book from the bulky library catalogue. Plus, even if it’s a digital catalogue, readers will not want to wait in queue while the other person searches for their book. So, you need a quick and easy way of spotting the book they want.

Secondly, it takes too much effort from the readers to access library resources. You do provide links of online study material of a book, but not many will type the link in their browser to get the material.

And, as the head of a library, you too face some challenges. For example:

You keep yourself updated with your staff performance and maintain records. This could be for attendance tracking, efficiency check, or to identify challenges. But it is not easy to analyse the data, especially if it is collected in paper forms.

Plus, to promote your library, you use print media creatives such as pamphlets. And here, you add your website link or app link. But how many people do you think, actually type and go to that link in their browser.

So, it’s time to make libraries more engaging. And to make library management easier.

One of the solutions is to introduce QR Code technology. QR Codes are modern, tech-savvy, and sustainable.

Scroll down to know more.

A. Why use QR Code in libraries

QR Codes are 2D barcodes, which are easily scannable via a smartphone. The QR Code wave has already entered the educational sector. Today, QR Codes are used to make the classroom environment more engaging.

And when it comes to libraries, QR Codes are already in vogue. Here are the reasons why you should use QR Codes:

1. Make book search easy for readers

QR Code in libraries

QR Codes can link unlimited information. So, you can link your library catalogue to a QR Code. All you need to create is a Website URL QR Code and place it at a convenient place such as book store entrance.

Upon scanning, readers will directly go to the catalogue and spot their book.

See how QR Code in libraries are used for this purpose:

a. San Diego State University

San Diego State University has made book research very easy with QR Codes. As the reader goes on their website, and scroll through the catalogue, there is a QR Code with every item record.

Upon scanning, the reader can know the title of the book, which floor is it on, and if the book is available.

b. Central Library, India

Central library IISER in Bhopal, India uses QR Codes which link to the library catalogue. The QR Code is placed in a plastic frame on the main desk.

c. Bath University library, United Kingdom

The library in Bath University has added QR Codes on catalogue records. The QR Code provides basic information about an item in the record such as location and contact number.

2. Provide instant access to reading material

QR Code in libraries: e-books

You can link help material, book guides, or e-book of a book/topic to a QR Code. And place this QR Code on suitable bookshelves.

Upon scanning, the reader will be redirected to the encoded link, PDF, or the landing page with all the text you want.

Here are some examples of QR Code in libraries for this use case:

a. Half Hollow Hills Community Library

Half Hollow Hills Community Library in New York uses QR Codes to provide subject guides related to the topics of the book on the shelves. So, if the books on a shelf are based on topic ‘cooking’, the QR Code placed will direct readers to a guide on food and drink.

b. Derby Academy, Massachusetts

The library in the academy uses QR Codes extensively to provide information. QR Codes are placed on book covers. Here, they link to book trailers posted on the author or publisher website.

Students can grab an ipad in the library and scan the QR Code to watch videos.

3. Promote your library efficiently

library promotion

If you use print media to promote your library, then using QR Codes will make it actionable and trackable.

That is, you can create Dynamic QR Codes. With this, you can track the scanning activity of your QR Code. And get time, region, district, and browser specific data from where the QR Code was scanned.

Here is some ways you can use QR Codes to promote your library:

Once you create, you can print it on pamphlets and brochures.

So, readers will not have to manually type the web address to visit your website/app. This way, you will increase traffic. Plus, tracking will allow you to get analytical data and help you gain useful insights.

Here is a few examples:

a. Contra Costa County Library, California

Contra Costa County Library, California, made fantastic use of QR Codes. They collaborated with Tri Delta transit and provided access to library services on the go. But only the library cardholders could avail this privilege.

The QR Code has linked 550 audiobook titles. Upon scanning, the library cardholder who is travelling in the bus, can choose from the books and wirelessly download it to their cell phone.
And listen to it while completing the rest of the journey.

Furthermore, the library also uses QR Codes on popular books to recommend further reading.

b. Tompkins County Public Library, New York

The library uses QR Codes to advertise it’s e-book service. Besides, it links QR Codes to its social networking sites. Upon scanning, the visitors can easily follow/like the social media accounts.

4. Provide library contact information effortlessly

QR Code to share contacts

To get contact details of a library, visitors have to manually type all the details. And then add it to their phonebook. But with QR Codes, you make the whole process effortless.

You can add contact information in a QR Code. This could be the name of a concerned person, designation, contact number, and email address. And create a VCard QR Code.

You can then print this QR Code on membership cards of the readers. Upon scanning, all the contact information will automatically be saved in the reader’s smartphone.

Here is an example of QR Code in libraries for this use case:

a. Syracuse University Library, New York

Syracuse University Library, Learning Commons, in New York is creatively using QR Codes for this purpose. The library created bookmarks for their patrons, which have a QR Code at the bottom.

The QR Code, upon scanning, redirects readers to the Research Assistance page on their website. From here, the end user can add the contact information to their list easily.

5. Make library environment more engaging

QR Code in libraries for engagement

QR Code in libraries can add an element of fun. See how:

  • You can encode a quiz in their QR Code. This could be on a topic, author, book, or theme
  • Everyone likes reading anecdotes. And you can link one in a QR Code. For example, you can tell an interesting fact about an author and place this QR Code against the author’s books on the bookshelf
  • You can also play games with QR Code. For example, you can play QR Code Scavenger Hunt game
  • You can link QR Code to audio files providing important information

See how libraries are using it:

a. Lafayette College Library, Pennsylvania

Lafayette College Library in Easton, Pennsylvania, used QR Codes to help students learn about the library. They created a QR Code treasure hunt game to make learning fun-filled.

The game was called ‘Carmen Sandiego’s trail’. Here, students had to pursue Carmen’s trail to find a sword. The game entailed visiting different stations located throughout the library. Librarians standing at each station gave students a QR Code encoded with a clue.

In this manner, going along the way, students learned some useful tips about using the library.

b. Harold B. Lee Library, United States

Harold B. Lee Library at BrighamYoung University uses QR Codes to take students on an audio tour. The library uses 21 QR Codes located in an area of 665,000 square foot building. These QR Codes are located in those areas, which the students need to know to pass the post-tour quiz.

Upon scanning, students can listen to the audio relaying the necessary information.

6. Provide additional information about library quickly

Providing guidelines

You can create a QR Code to provide any new change in the library. Plus, you can also relay information on library rules and regulations in a QR Code.

For this, you can create a Rich Text QR Code. And place it in suitable places.

Besides, you can use a QR Code to provide quick access to membership forms and feedback forms. All you need to do is—encode the form link in a QR Code. And place it on the counter for book issue.

Here is how libraries are using it:

a. Biblioteca Rector Gabriel Ferraté, Spain

The library uses QR Codes to provide additional information about the library. Besides, QR Codes are used to link to suggestion forms. Upon scanning, visitors can suggest changes and rate library services.

b. Derby Academy, Massachusetts

In 2015, Derby Academy in Hingham, Massachusetts used QR Codes to show orientational videos. These QR Codes were placed on different locations in the library.

Students could use the library ipad to scan the QR Code and view the videos. This way, they learned about the library procedures and collections.

‘Students enjoyed moving around and accessing the information on their own with a friend — way better than listening to last year’s PowerPoint presentation!’
—Barbara S. Zinkovich, library media specialist, Derby Academy

So, you just read a list of diverse use cases of QR Code in libraries. Other than this, you can use a QR Code to facilitate payments. QR Code based payments are commonly used and are quick, and secure.

Besides, you can design your library architecture with QR Codes. This will make your library both engaging and interactive.

Plus, with QR Codes, it will become easier for you to analyse performance data. To know more about it, you can refer to this detailed guide.

In order to create QR Code for your purpose, you can choose a best QR Code generator tool such as Scanova.

In case, you want to create QR Codes in bulk, you can refer to this detailed guide. 

But, before you go on to create QR Codes, keep some best practices in mind for best results.

C. QR Code—Best Practices

Follow these best practices to generate QR Codes flawlessly:

1. Add design to QR Codes

Since QR Codes act as a point-of-engagement for your library, you should customize them. That is, you can add a logo, a background color, or a background image to the QR Code. And make them look completely branded.

Add help note to QR Code on brochures

You should especially follow this if your use case is promotional. Colorful QR Codes attract 50-200% more scans as compared to black-and-white QR Codes.

2. Add a CTA element

Add a help note to tell them what they will get after scanning the QR Code. A simple line such as ‘Scan to get study material’ will do.

This will act as a CTA element. And prompt users to scan the QR Code.

So. QR Code in libraries can make them interactive and engaging. Create QR Code now and form a perfect blend of education with technology.

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