We learned how to make QR codes this past week in class. QR codes are everywhere – from billboards, to books, to magazines, to schools, and can take the one who scans it to webpages. My university has QR codes on the buildings, which when scanned take you to further information about the building and its history. Why not get the library in on the fun?
Inspired by the QR codes around the SU campus, it makes me wonder if librarians could post QR codes around the library to give patrons a better sense of where they are and where the resources that they seek reside. I work part-time in my local public library, and frequently see patrons struggle to find what they need. Many times they try to avoid seeking help from staff, for a myriad of reasons. My library is great with lots of signage and helpful staff, but QR codes could be a way to further aid patrons. People often feel confused by organization in the Non Fiction section AKA the Dewey Decimal System. It can be sometimes confusing as sections aren’t always logically arranged. For example, if someone was searching for resources on relationship advice he or she might find some relevant books in the 306s and the 646s. A librarian might understand the nuances for this separation, but a patron might just see it as madness. In my Reference and Information class, we learned that a downside to having both print and electronic reference materials, is that they aren’t stored together. QR code generation and placement could be used in a variety of ways to direct people to further information whether that’s with QR links to Dewey cross references, a Dewey (or other organizational system) guide, maps, further subject resources, or other vital information. It (couldn’t) and should never be a substitute for librarians, but allows patrons who prefer to avoid staff help to do so more effectively. Tech savvy patrons just might scan the QR codes for the heck of it and in turn become more library savvy. This QR code aid could prove especially helpful in school libraries, in which students are sometimes afraid to ask for help, but who are often familiar with technology.
QR codes shouldn’t only be the tools of the library staff. As educators, library staff should teach students how to use technology such as QR codes to add to theirs and others’ learning. For class, we read several articles describing QR code use in the classroom. QR codes are used in some schools to reduce paper waste, as teachers place documents online and post QR codes for students to scan. Educators can also create use strategically placed QR codes in the classroom or library to link students to web resources, including videos, and create educational games or scavenger hunts for students. Furthermore, students can create their own QR codes to share their own content or useful resources with their peers.
QR codes are surprisingly easy to create from URLs, using Google URL shortener/QR creator or many other similar sites.