You have probably seen them without realising it, a small black and white patchwork square in the corner of a movie poster or magazine advertisement. Designed for use with a mobile phone application, the QR code utilizes mobile phone tagging software to link your phone to the corresponding website, video, image etc. Once loaded on your phone the application works like taking a photo, you simply line up the pattern in the viewfinder and the QR software does the rest, linking your phone to the web address.
When you realise that all that is needed is to visually identify the design and ‘photograph’ it to link to online information, you can begin to imagine the applications this could have for libraries and library users of all ages and abilities.
QR codes were initially designed for use in manufacturing, transcending the need for foreign workers to understand the text or language on the machinery or packaging, a quick scan of the QR code, would link them via their mobile device to a relevant video or text that matched their needs and language.
Authors have already caught on to the marketing possibilities building the codes into their cover designs and posters, linking readers to their corresponding websites.
BookBuzzer a marketing blog for authors describes QR Codes as “The newest tool for book marketing.” It is little wonder then that Libraries are also seeing the possibilities. Library Success Wiki lists numerous University and Public Libraries utilizing the use of QR coding for anything from links to mobile phone compatible websites and chat to topic pathfinders for users browsing the book stacks.
What about school libraries? Dr Joyce Valenza, teacher-librarian and prolific education and technology writer has long been promoting QR Code use in school libraries. In her School Library Journal October 2010 article, Joyce lists many great ideas and information on ‘the simple process’ for the uninitiated school librarian.
A quick web search produced the following Blog entries:
Serious Fun Blog - QR Codes: Could you use them in your library?
Hyperlinked Librarian – Includes footage of pupils generating their own codes during a lesson.
Daring Librarian Blog – Includes a QR code tree containing codes for parents to scan.
The answer for some is a resounding YES!
How can we help your school library meet the challenge?