By: Melissa Marin, OverDrive Marketing Specialist

Many libraries have shown renewed interest in connecting readers with their digital titles using QR codes, especially after reading the recent article Digital Wallpapers Open Doors in American Libraries Magazine. That article highlights San Antonio Public Library‘s ongoing Digital Library Community Project and how they use QR codes on highly customized large scale posters created by their graphic design team to provide access to their digital titles.

QR codes

It is easier than ever to share links from your OverDrive site directly with users to promote your digital collection. All it takes is a quick copy and paste if you’re sharing on your social media accounts. But if you are creating print materials, typing in a long URL is not the most attractive option – this is where QR codes come in. Users scan a QR code with an app on their phone or tablet and right away, they’re taken to the exact URL you wanted to promote.

It’s simple to create a QR code that link to titles, genres or collections on your OverDrive site for your marketing campaigns, big or small!

Visit the title details page for a book in your catalog that you want to highlight – for example, Wild by Cheryl Strayed – and copy the URL. I’ve visited the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library and the URL for Wild is: You can do this when searching by subject or collections, as well. On Toledo’s site, here’s a direct link to their Available Now Audiobooks collection and books with the subject designation of Biography & Autobiography.

Use a QR code generator/URL shortener like There are many free options available if you do a search but we most frequently use Copy the URL that you want to link to and paste it where it says “Your original URL here” and then choose “Shorten URL”.

Click the 3 dots that appear next to the URL when you hover to see additional options. For the Google URL shortener, you’ll see Analytics Data, QR code, and Hide URL.

Select QR code and right-click (or take a screen capture) to copy or save the QR code. The codes generated by Google are 150×150 in size and can be added to marketing materials.

A bonus of creating QR codes is that it can give you insight about the traffic to that URL. Google allows you to view analytics data to view clicks, referrers, browsers, countries and platforms.

Here are the codes for the 3 URLs referenced above. Use a QR code scanner app on your device to test these out and see how easy it is to link directly to specific books, genres, and featured collections.

Doing something creative to promote OverDrive at your library with QR codes? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter. We’d love to share your story!

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