Happy Gal-entine’s Day! Love is in the air so let me spread some love about QR codes. This is one of the many technologies that makes me feel like we’re living in the world of The Jetsons. These fancy square barcodes hold a code that once scanned with a smart phone app link directly to a URL. What a fast and easy way to market your digital collection! Just stick that square code on posters or bookmarks around your library and out in the community and quickly direct traffic to your Virtual Branch.
We’ve seen some great examples of libraries using QR codes in innovative ways over the past year. A few months ago, Broward County shared their success using a QR code on a large display at the airport so any travelers could scan the bar code and be linked to their Project Gutenberg collection of eBooks. Many other libraries and schools have adopted this tactic to raise awareness in places like bus and train stations, around a school campus and even local businesses. Frisco Public Library in Texas added a QR code to a flyer that they posted around their area, including right in storefront windows (as seen in the accompanying photo).
Now you’re probably asking, “Melissa, this is all great but this kind of fancy technology is too complicated for me.” But I promise it’s not. My valentine to you is just how simple (and free!) it is to create QR codes. You can use free services like Google’s URL Shortener (http://goo.gl) or Bitly (http://bitly.com) to instantly create QR codes – all you need is your digital collection URL. You can then save the graphic that is created and paste it right onto promotional materials. It’s that easy! All users need is a smart phone or mobile device with a camera that supports applications. They can download a barcode scanning app like Shop Savvy or Barcode Scanner. Once installed, they can go out and scan any QR codes they see.
Once you know about QR codes, you’ll start noticing them all over the place (magazines, billboards, even on the back of ketchup bottles!) You can join in and use this free marketing tool to make it even easier for patrons to be connected with your digital titles.
Learn more by visiting our Social Networking PDF and keep an eye out for our new Community Outreach training coming soon!
Melissa Work is a marketing & outreach specialist at OverDrive.
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