QR Codes – a trial or a trial?

I had a play with QR Codes a while ago, but only recently has my library undertaken a  trial in using them. Its informal, there has been no big song and dance about it, but if nothing else comes about as a result of this experiment, we have at least raised awareness about them.

Its interesting to see what people are saying about them in the library landscape and elsewhere.  On the more supportive side:

on the more sceptical side there is

So what are we doing with them and why, if they are ‘going to fail’?

CCLC QR CodeWe have started with creating a QR Code for our website and our Facebook page. We put them up on our website and on signs in our branches advertising our online presences.  At the same time, we did introductions to QR Codes for our staff and an article in our monthly newsletter for library users.

We have no indication at this point how well they are being used, if at all, but if nothing else we have taken a step in the education process. I know from discussions with staff, that they appreciate having explained to them the black square boxes that they have seen appearing in marketing everywhere. Hopefully, its the same for our users. As librarians know, its the information literacy that is always the hardest part.

So far, we are happy with what we have done – it hasn’t taken much time or effort to produce.

The next step is to create new shelf talkers to advertise our online resources in the appropriate on-shelf collections, so its very simple and straightforward to create a QR code to take users straight to the resource.

I can understand the scepticism about QR Codes, after all, it takes knowledge and software to use them. The fact that it is being used widely in advertising, will help its adoption. It doesn’t hurt us either, that the library is using something which could in time, be considered cool.

If it doesn’t gain that widespread adoption, its no great loss. It hasn’t taken much time and its been quickly absorbed into things we would normally do anyway. If it succeeds, then we will look at expanding its use into other areas – and there are many.  Some of these include:

It’s very gratifying seeing lots of libraries trying these out and will be interesting to see where they go, both in libraries and in the general world.

Is your library using or planning to use QR Codes? Why/why not? I would love to hear your experiences of how they are being used or why they’re not.




    • F.W.M. on December 9, 2011 at 5:18 am

    Just yesterday, a coworker and I were discussing this. We have a variety of art and exhibits in our library, and we’re considering a self-guided art tour using QR codes. We would still offer traditional tours, but those seem limited to field trips and tourists. A code-based tour could create some spontaneous interest in our everyday patrons.

  1. A lot of museums, including Australia’s famous Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, are doing exactly that. Good luck in your endeavour.

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