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QR Codes in the Library


The University of Texas Arlington Library proves how libraries can successfully utilize cutting edge technology and incorporate it into their book reservation and cataloguing system. The university’s Central Library is the latest to use Quick Response Codes, in an effort to give library users more convenience.

Thanks to QR codes, university students who have smartphones can now easily look up books in the library or make reservations for group-study rooms.

According to Heather Scalf, the interim coordinator for access services, the Central Library started using the two-dimensional matrix barcodes last spring so students can easily reserve rooms for group study. There are codes for group-study rooms that, when scanned, lead to the library’s mobile site. The site contains a list of available rooms, or practically gives students a look at the room schedules so they would know when a particular room is free for use. Students can then choose a room and the time they want to reserve it. Their reservation is finalized after logging in with their UTA NetID.

Scalf added that, currently, around 10% of group-study room reservations are made through QR codes, and the number continues to rise.

The codes can also be found at the ends of the library’s bookshelves. Scanning the codes will lead students to the mobile book catalog. They can then do a keyword search to locate the specific book and see whether it’s still available or has already been reserved.

Scalf said that the Central Library will be using QR codes in more areas of the library building. For one, they are adding the codes to ‘dummy books’ in electronic holdings. Scanning a code for a specific journal title will take students to the electronic holdings.

They will also be making a poster with a map of the library and its various service points. Each service point will have a code that takes students to YouTube videos where they will learn how to reserve study rooms and to see the writing center’s schedule.

With more and more students having smartphones and with more and more of them wanting to spend less time looking for the books they need in the library, the Central Library’s use of QR codes has seemingly hit two birds with one stone. Well, three birds, considering how the codes also make it convenient for students to reserve a study room with just a few clicks on their phones.

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