Generating QR Codes

In our last installment, we discussed how QR codes could be used to allow patrons with mobile devices to watch book trailers while browsing a library book display.  But how can you generate a QR code to print and affix to a display book?

You will need a QR generator.  This part is easy.  There are many QR generators available on the Internet.  Some of the most popular are QR Stuff,, Kaywa, and Visualead. Some are free and others are by subscription.  Some simply generate the QR code, while others allow users to customize codes with logos or graphics and to track traffic and other statistics.  Corey Wainwright wrote a helpful blog post in 2015 explaining how QR codes can be generated, suggesting some do's and don'ts while walking readers through some examples.

Let's say that my library has a display featuring books about disasters and survival.  It includes the book To Stay Alive: Mary Ann Graves and the Tragic Journey of the Donner Party, by Skila Brown (Candlewick Press, 2016) (ages 10 and older). Conveniently, we have a book trailer.

MPL Book Trailer #360
To Stay Alive: Mary Ann Graves and the Tragic Journey of the Donner Party
by Skila Brown

To generate a QR code for this book trailer, you'll need the book trailer's URL (uniform resource locator) that sets the video's unique address on the Internet.  Beneath the video on YouTube, there's a "share" tab that will show the video's URL.  Highlight and copy (CTRL-C on the keyboard) the URL, which will temporarily store it in your computer's (or mobile device's) "clipboard."

Click Images to Enlarge

Now go to the website of the QR generator you're going to use.  As an illustration, we've used QR Stuff.

There are four basic steps:

  • Select the data type (in our example, YouTube Video);
  • Paste the book trailer URL (CTRL-V on the keyboard) into the line marked "Website URL" (leave radio button set to "static");
  • Choose a foreground color for the QR code (we used black against a white background); and
  • Under "Output Type," click download, or click the blue download QR code button on the right side of the screen (beneath "QR code preview").
The QR code will then be downloaded to your computer or mobile device.  Ours looks like this:

QR Code for MPL Book Trailer #360

Now, test the QR code by scanning it with your mobile device (using a QR scan app).  It should take you promptly to the video on YouTube.

Since you downloaded the QR code as a PNG (portable network graphics) file, you may insert it into a Microsoft Word (or other word-processor) document that you may print and attach to your display book.  Then patrons may scan the QR code and watch the book trailer while considering whether or not to checkout the book.

This may seem like a lot of work for a simple book display, but it will provide patrons with a visually engaging experience to help them choose desirable reading material.  Not everyone will take advantage of this enhancement--they'll be satisfied simply looking over the actual book--but for those who are comfortable with the technology, watching a book trailer while considering the book could make the difference between a checkout (good for your statistics) or having the book gather dust on the display.  It's your call.


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