Friday, 22 April 2011


I know that QR codes are considered a bit old hat in some circles these days but I think there's still scope for doing interesting things with them in the library. The obvious idea, I think, is for signposting Useful And Interesting Facts about the library. Or at least doing a bit of in-library marketing using out-library resources.

Shelf guiding tends to be one or two words, which isn't a right lot for selling the product on the shelves. You can do a bit more with card inserts and shelf wobblers but after a bit they start getting lost or looking tatty. A QR code, strategically placed on or by the shelving, could add another string to the bow by pointing to appropriate web resources, for instance:

  • A page on the library's web site 'selling' that particular collection.

  • The web site of one of the authors of titles on the shelves, particularly if it's not one of the usual suspects. Many new authors have very interesting blogs which are good introductions to the ways they think and write.

  • A genre blog or web site. Get your chick lit readers looking at sites like, for instance.

  • Appropriate articles available online. Just because a newspaper essay about a particular author or book is a few months or years old doesn't mean it might not be interesting to some of your readers.

  • Appropriate web sites to pique readers' interests in a particular style or subject. There's scope for a bit of creative thought here, especially if it's a good way of spinning strands between Dewey ranges. An article on lumbago and housemaid's knee might be useful to the older reader of gardening books!

  • Or just something random but fun and interesting?

I think this has potential for increasing the library's potential as a serendipity engine, introducing customers to new ideas and/or authors. Especially if the code's used to flag up neglected areas of stock rather than the usual headliners.

OK, the audience is likely to be a bit small and niche but what does it cost? A bit of time to decide what to point at (and/or create a bit of new content if you need something locally-specific) and to create the QR code from one of the many free generators you can find on the web; and the price of printing the code out. Definitely worth having a think about…

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