The ubiquitous book display is a mainstay of traditional collection promotion in public libraries. How many of these have you made over the years? Frankly, I've lost count.
Book displays increase item circulation because they attract patrons' attention and provide them with immediate gratification without their having to search for what has caught their interest. The books are right there; just grab them and head for circulation to check them out. Nothing could be easier.
But what if the books are carefully wrapped-up (say, for a banned book display, which we did a couple of times), and patrons can't read the back cover descriptions? For ordinary book displays, is there something more visually engaging that could appeal to patrons than just having to read the book jackets? That's where book trailers could help "sell" the book. Wouldn't it be nice if patrons could watch the book trailers while they're looking at the books on a display?
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We combined book trailers and book displays by incorporating QR codes and wireless projection from a laptop to a television screen or computer monitor.
QR (quick response) codes enable patrons to use their mobile devices to scan a matrix printed on paper, which would automatically take them to a specific destination on the Internet. QR codes look like this:
QR Code for MPL Book Trailer #125
Mike Nelson's Death Rat!, by Michael J. Nelson
QR Code for MPL Book Trailer #89
The Lost World, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
QR Code for MPL Book Trailer #17
Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
QR Code for MPL Book Trailer #6
Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes
These particular QR codes are linked to several of our book trailers (as described above). We printed them onto paper and placed them across the outside front covers of corresponding books on display, so patrons could simply scan the QR codes and watch the relevant book trailers on their mobile devices as they stood by the book display. If we piqued their interest, they might checkout the book.
How can patrons use their mobile devices to scan QR codes? A patron will need to download a QR scanning app from their device's app store. These are most often free.
Some patrons don't want (or don't know how) to scan QR codes to watch book trailers. For these folks, a more passive approach is required. Enter the television screen/computer monitor, connected to a laptop equipped with a wireless projection device.
We have a television monitor running Powerpoint-style slideshows above our adult information desk. We commonly show local historical images and descriptions, as well as slides showcasing library programs or services. The TV can also be used with a laptop computer that has wireless projection capability. What appears on the computer screen is transmitted to a receiver connected to the television, which reproduces it on the big screen. So you could set your library videos (book trailers, in this instance) to play on the laptop, and patrons could watch them while looking at the books on the display, which in our instance was situated just a few feet away. This has been known to attract patrons' attention, especially when they're waiting in line to checkout items at the circulation desk, which is also just a few feet away from the TV screen.
For many libraries, this added technology may not be practicable. But for those who can employ it, these features can enhance circulation of displayed items. Higher stats are always welcome. If these measures won't work at your library, you've always got the old-fashioned, but reliable, book display. Nothing works better than putting a book within a patron's easy reach.