Technically my mobile phone counts as a “smart phone” because it can do a whole lot of smart things, like accessing the internet, maps, apps and email. But unlike an iPhone, my old Nokia does these things very, very slowly, so I tend to only use the smart functions when I really need to. Usually this is when I get myself lost and need a map.

Given that my smart phone is not the quickest, I was pleasantly surprised by how quick and easy it was to find a free QR reader app, download it, install it successfully and put it to work. Even my slow old Nokia was able to quickly scan a code and open the link. I might actually use this function from now on.

As for where they could be usefully employed at the library, for now I think they will be best employed on posters or other materials aimed at teenagers and the tech-savvy, (the people with the right phones/devices and the know-how to use them). For Information Services they could perhaps be employed as a way to get people to the online databases page, or to specific databases, (eg. have a shelf-talker or poster near the medical encyclopedias with a QR code that links to a page of medical and health databases). They would also work well as part of a library treasure hunt (each QR code would link to a question, the answer of which would provide a clue to finding another QR code… perhaps with little prizes along the way to keep people interested). A trivia-treasure hunt could be a fun way to encourage exploration of the reference section and show off some of the gems in the collection which might be used more if more people knew they were there, (admittedly, a trivia-hunt through a reference collection may not be everyone’s idea of fun, but hey, I’m a nerd and I’m proud of it… and other nerds are one of the groups that we should be encouraging to engage with the library more often and in new ways. Nerds are amongst our natural allies and advocates…)

Anyway, the possibilities for using QR codes are almost endless; they could be used to promote events, story-times, competitions, blogs and any page of the library website, or the library’s social media pages. In the coming weeks we could use QR codes on posters or flyers in the library to link to information about RFID (ie. explaining what RFID is, how and when it is being implemented, and what the benefits will be).

Also, as I’m someone who is navigationally challenged, I think QR codes like this one could be usefully added to all of our flyers:

Library location map

Finally, I think I should end this post by apologizing to my long-suffering mobile phone. It does in fact have a strength (literally) that many other smart phones lack. It has been dropped on concrete from height several times (at tram stops, usually) and still continues to work. I’d like to see your fancy high-end smart phones do that!