I gave an online presentation Tuesday on how we are using QR codes at my library. We are doing some unique things with our QR codes, and I thought I’d share them with you along with a select few of the slides from my presentation (NOTE: The presentation is viewable only by Florida college librarians).
Before I go into how we are using QR codes, let me answer a question I have received on numerous occasions from various staff and even librarians, “But why use them at all?” They are asking a very valid question, “what’s the point?”
The point is this:
QR Codes make information mobile
They enable mobile access to information from static starting points: T-shirts, hand-outs, posters, signs, temporary tattoos, etc. These are all static, non-electronic items. Enter one mobile device equipped with a scanner app, and voila! The information embedded in the QR code comes to life in your mobile device, where you can always have it with you anytime, anywhere. Putting a QR code on a handout for your library instruction enables students with QR code scanners to have ready access to the information on that static sheet of paper, which could get lost or damaged. Eventually we can toy with the idea of doing away with handouts altogether and just display a QR code on the overhead screen, but for now, the percentage of folks with smartphones is only nearing the 50% mark but growing substantially, and the media tablet percentage is much smaller. So we enrich the learning experience for the “haves” without taking away anything from the “have-nots.”
TIP: It is important to provide only mobile friendly information via a QR code. Otherwise it sort of defeats the purpose and can be a turn-off to the end-user. I like to link my Libguide subject guides to QR codes, since Libguides provides a mobile-friendly interface which is quite nifty.
Using QR codes also provides us with an increased opportunity to connect with our students.
QR codes provide us with the opportunity to serve our users at their point of need. Imagine a student lost somewhere deep in the stacks and frustrated at being unable to locate the subject material sought. Perhaps there could be a QR codes at the end of the stacks linking to subject guides (i.e.Libguides)
QR codes provide us with the opportunity to connect with mobile users. Our society is becoming increasingly mobile. Studies show a marked increase in the percentage of people purchasing mobile devices and using mobile applications. We are at a watershed of technological change, and libraries must evolve in order to provide services that will continued to be used by our patrons and their changing needs.
QR codes “enrich reality.” They add a layer of depth to the reality around us, providing us with more information and abilities than we had before. Imagine you are staging an art exhibit at your library. By each piece you include a QR code that links to additional text, audio or even a video providing more information about that particular work. It enhances reality and adds value to the experience.
TIP: Only use QR codes that add value to the experience. Whenever you consider using a QR code, ask yourself, “How will this enrich the experience for the end-user?”
I’ll be going into how we use QR Codes at my library in the next post, so stay tuned!