For the first two weeks of school the display in our street-facing window is a giant QR code that links to the library website. I want to challenge people’s idea that the library is the place where the books are stored. We offer so much more in terms of collections and services.
While there are no statistics about smart phone ownership amongst students, I see that many of our students have iPhones (and a small, but growing number have Androids). I like that it encourages curiosity and exploration. Also, QR codes are starting to take off in marketing campaigns in Canada. I especially like The Big Wild’s poster campaign in a bunch of Canadian cities.
I asked my coworkers for ideas of what text could accompany the QR code. “More than just books” was rejected, because the physical materials, including artists’ book collection, are important to some staff and users. I considered the library standby of “check it out!” but dismissed it because it’s not really funny or interesting. Someone suggested listing all the collections and services we have. This would have been too expensive to get all the vinyl lettering cut, and would have looked really cluttered. One of my clever coworkers suggested making the QR code huge, and keep the rest of the window simple. She used some fabric to extend the pink from the website into the window, and taped the QR code to the window so that it could be read. She did a way better job than I would have.
I added QR code signage around the library in various places: the new books display, the artists’ files and artists’ books (which are in locked filing cabinets, so you can’t see what’s inside). Today I’m printing a few more: one for our hours on the door, for a display of rare magazines from our special collections, and for our feedback form.
I made a mistake with the size of the large QR code. It was 40″x40″, and the foam core was 40″ wide. The QR code went right to the edge and was not readable by my phone. Putting scrap paper underneath made the QR code readable. I remembered that the white border is a necessary part of the QR code. I got another, slightly smaller one, 38″x38″, cut. This worked fine.
QR codes are a way to link the physical spaces and collections with our electronic and virtual collections and services. I’m thrilled to work in an environment where I can experiment and quickly try out new creative ideas.