My very own QR codes

10 May

I have been wanting to use QR codes in the library for a while now. I’ve been ruminating over them. Chewing my proverbial library cud, if you will. I wanted to use them in a way that would make sense, but not make more work for myself. Enter the New and Hot display.

We have two bulletin boards to highlight new books in the library. One of them is inside the library area in front of a study desk and the other is in the big glass window facing into the main atrium of the school. I decided to do some scientific observation of the logistics and use of each display.

BOARD #1: Library Area

Hypothesis: Students will see books and will check out books because they look so awesome.

Observations: The in-library display is in a quiet area where people are moving slowly and often sitting right in front of the board. During that time, students often take brain breaks and look (sometimes blankly) at the board in front of them. We have even had requests based on the books currently posted on the board.  

Conclusion: This board is successful.

BOARD #2: Library Window

Hypothesis: Students will crowd around the window, excited and bubbling over with enthusiasm about the new books we have for them to enjoy.

Observations: Window display? What window display?

Nuff said.

Conclusion: Maybe I shouldn’t have paragraphs of information for students to read in an area where students are rushing quickly past. Hmmm.

After this objective and extensive study of student bulletin board behaviour, I decided to keep Board #1 inside the library the same (i.e. with words to read) and change Board #2 in the library window so that it is word free. After all, who would think that a library would want to encourage reading. That’s just crazy talk.

One way that I want to encourage students to pick up books is by highlighting book trailers (like movie trailers, but for books). Some publishers make awesome book trailers for their new releases and others make some not so great trailers. Teenagers are a fickle brood so I try to link to only the great book trailers (even I have been turned off by some really poorly done ones – I mean, if you’re going to make one, I would think that you would actually want to encourage people to read the book, not make it look so lame that no one would want to try it). One of my favourite trailers is Fallen by Lauren Kate.

It is simple, clear and, while the book isn’t the best I’ve ever read, this makes me think maybe it was better than I thought.

Another great one is Incarceron by Catherine Fisher (which actually is also a good book for those who like dystopian fiction).

The Maze Runner by James Dashner has a trailer that looks super creepy. I haven’t read this one yet, but it is on my list of summer reads and the students love it.

Anyways, I have linked some of the book trailers that I have found to our library Facebook page, but they were not being viewed by our students. I decided that this would be the perfect way to try to introduce QR codes into the library.

Before I created my first QR codes, I thought the process would be difficult, but it was actually incredibly easy!

1. Using, I shortened the URL of the video that I wanted to share.

2. I used Kawya QR Generator, plugged the shortened URL in, and saved the resulting QR code to my computer.

3. Next, I simply printed an image of the QR code and posted it in the new display.

Here it is:

(I even included a QR code for our library Facebook page. I’m desperate to get more than 4 followers. Dare I even hope for double digits?!)

It is somewhat ironic that I’m so excited about using QR codes in the library since my phone is so old that I can’t even access them. Oh well, I’ve seen some of the technology hardware that these kids tote around and none of them have a tracking ball held in place with medical tape. Now I will just have to wait and see if the QR codes are used.

Meanwhile, here are some other ways to use QR codes:

1. Record a lab or other special event that occurs in your class. Upload it to the internet, create a QR code, and post it where absent students can easily link to what they missed.

2. Post a QR code of the class blog or class Facebook page for easy access.

3. Create QR codes that have supplemental material or extra practice that students can make use of before a test or the end of a unit.

4. Assign QR codes to each online photo album that you create. Parents can capture the QR code and print off the photos that they want to add to their child’s memory book or photo album.


6 Responses to “My very own QR codes”

  1. Rebecca May 11, 2011 at 4:53 am #

    I have to guess that kids are allowed to use cell phones at your school? Or at least are not tackled by the cell phone police even the edge of a phone peeks out of a pocket or back pack. You have so many wonderful ideas!

    • freshlymintedlibrarian May 11, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

      We try to frown on tackling of the students. In general, students are not allowed to use phones in class but they tend to use them in the library to listen to music or access the internet and they definitely use them in the halls! There are so many things that teachers can do with phones in school – it seems that making the most of them would be so much more effective than banning them. Also, enforcing bans like that are soooo difficult! I guess you have to pick your battles.

  2. Jessica August 26, 2012 at 9:29 am #

    Wow! I absolutely love your new and hot bulletion board with the QR Codes. I would love to use this idea in my library. Do you keep this board up all year round and just change the books every so often?
    Thanks for sharing!

    • freshlymintedlibrarian August 26, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

      I keep it up the whole time and every few weeks I change the books. I like to link the QR codes to the book trailers so that it gets the kids interested in some of our books that may be new or just plain wonderful.

  3. RachelG July 29, 2013 at 6:20 pm #

    Hi Amanda, I love your blog! I found your blog through Pinterest. I am in a librarian program (in my seventh year teaching, no less!) and I want to use the photo of your QR code bulletin board in a presentation. Could you email me your contact info? All I have is your first name and my professor says that isn’t enough. My email is Thanks! – Rachel


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