QR codes and orientation Print E-mail
By Catherine Farrell   
At the commencement of each year, as part of a larger orientation program to the college the Genazzano library runs an orientation lesson and activity for year seven. This helps the girls become familiar with the layout of the library, the staff and various features. In the past this was done by using a ‘passport’. A passport sized booklet with information and questions about the library was filled in by the students as they discovered different areas and services within the library. When the girls completed the booklet correctly, they received a small chocolate prize.
This year we decided that we would incorporate the use of the class set of library iPads into the task. The girls would scan QR codes placed in strategic locations around the library to find the answers for the questions posed in the passport.
This meant that we needed to revamp the passport to suit the slightly changed task.
Firstly, we identified the areas of the library that we wanted to highlight:
  • The Circulation Desk
  • Printer
  • Library Prefect
  • Library Staff
  • History Room
  • Middle Years Fiction
  • Non Fiction
  • Later Years Fiction
  • Returns Chutes
  • Reading Area
  • Multimedia Office, and others
Then we identified the various formats that we wanted to use to impart information about each particular area. We tried to have a variety of media and various forms of presentation.
The forms that we used were: 
  • Videos – stored on the library Youtube channel 
  • Wordles,
  • PDFs
  • Images – all stored on a library blog
  • Glogs (using Glogster)
(This is only limited by your imagination! There are so many ways that the information could be presented. If it can be stored electronically, it can be used for this task.)
We then prepared the information.
In order to introduce the library staff and library prefect, short welcoming videos were made, using an iPad. Videos were also made that highlighted some of the major aspects of the library - the multimedia office, the History room, the ROAD reading area. 
We then stored these videos on the library YouTube channel.
Wordles were used to identify each of the main collections in the library, with the collection name in large print and some of the most well-known resources from each collection included in the display. We used the snipping tool to take a snip of these wordles and saved them as images.
For information about the printer/photocopier, a PDF was produced with the relevant information displayed.
These images and PDFs were inserted into the library blog and links to each entry were recorded.
Images were taken of the returns chutes and opening hour’s signs and inserted into a glog. 
Questions were reviewed to ensure that the answers had been provided in the information supplied. Some questions were removed and new ones added as required.
Once all the information had been prepared and checked and stored in an accessible format, the QR codes were generated.
A QR code is a barcode that can be scanned and provides a link to a URL.
We used www.qrstuff.com to generate our codes.
By following the instructions on the website we quickly and easily generated a QR code for each of our pieces of information. We downloaded these and then printed them in A5 format.
We placed the QR codes in acrylic A5 pamphlet display holders and placed these in the appropriate areas around the library. 
Each of the library iPads had to have a QR code reader app installed and checked to ensure that they were charged.
During the orientation classes, girls were given an iPad and the passport and sent off to discover what they could about the library. It appeared to be an enjoyable task for the girls which engaged as well as informed the students. It was also a great learning task for the library staff!
Catherine Farrell is a teacher-librarian and ICT expert with a responsibility to the Early and Middle Years of Schooling at Genazzano FCJ College, Kew.