Tag Archives: Marketing

DIY Library Cards with Barcodes

FOL card front

My library is holding a Friends of the Library Luncheon in April and I am on the committee and co-organizing the event, as well as doing the marketing. Ticket purchases include a year membership to the Friends of the Elizabeth City State University Library, but our cards are out of date. In order to keep event costs down, I am designing a FOL library card that can be printed and laminated in-house and I need to include a barcode to scan on the cards.

I felt the easiest way to accomplish this is to create a mail merge document in Microsoft word using a business card template and importing the barcode data from an excel spreadsheet.

I will give a general walk-through of the process below. It helps if you already have an idea how to do a mail merge with importing excel data. If not, there are many online tutorials available or you may want to ask someone who has experience to help you with your first attempt.

The first thing you need to do is set up your excel spreadsheet so you can point to it in the mail merge. The barcodes can be created in excel using a barcode font and a simple formula. Using this font and formula means all you have to do is paste your desired codes into the first column and the barcode gets created for you in the 3rd column. We decided to do a code that included 2 letters, then 5 numbers to make it easier to create cards later without worrying about duplicates.  So I created the code the 2nd tab in the spreadsheet by typing “aa” in the first column and pasting random 5 digit number strings in the second column.  I generated the number strings using random.org. I then combined the 2 columns into one column using this formula- =A1&B1. Once I had the final code, I could paste it into the first column of the 1st tab of the spreadsheet (with the barcode font and formula).

To make it easier to visualize, you can view a sample of my entire spreadsheet by clicking here.

Once you have the spreadsheet set up, you can create a mail merge template. If you aren’t sure how to do this, here is a tutorial. Just remember that you want to choose a business card template under the labels cue in mailing. I used Avery 8471. At this point, you will be able to add in any text or images you would like, which I added before I inserted the merge fields (ie. the barcode and code text). Once you design the first card, you can click on update labels to make all of the cards look like your first card. Then I finished the merge and chose the option to edit individual items. This opens up a new document with your merged information, which will look like the picture above. Don’t be frustrated if you need to go back and edit your template a few times!

You can also create a second mail merge to print on the back of the cards to include more information. We have a few circulation rules and a signature on the back of our cards. We are laminating our cards before we hand them out, so we are having members sign the card with a permanent pen and putting another clear sticker over the signature, so it doesn’t rub off.

And voilà! You have your very own customized library cards.


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Filed under Circulation, DIY

Music Library Soft Opening

It has been quite a month for me since my last post! I ended up spending most of March dealing with a death in the family, which took me away from work for 3 weeks out of the month and put me behind 2 weeks. Here is what the library looked like before I left:




Basically, I had 1 shelf of cataloged scores, 1 shelf of uncatalogued scores, and a large pile of discards. Once I got back, I was able to rally and modify the location of enough books from the main library to do a “soft opening” on April 22nd. I call it a soft opening because I do not have a complete catalog of items yet, but students can use the Library room and check out items that are available. The shelf of uncatalogued items can be browsed and cataloged on request. There will be a “Grand Opening” in the fall when the Music Library is complete. This will include a small public celebration, which the local arts community will be invited to attend.

In case anyone is wondering about the process of moving the items, here is the general flow:

I spent any work hours at the main G. R. Little Library doing group item modifications and marking the items’ current location to “In Process” in SirsiDynix Symphony Workflows. Marking the items In Process allowed the items to be searched, but let other librarians know they weren’t on the shelf, in case a student needed the item. I would also take this time to double-check if scores were marked correctly in the item categories, for easier catalog searches, and if there were any other issues, such as repair needs, call number errors, etc. The following day I would go back to G.R. Little with a student worker and box up the items (hopefully keeping them in order!) and load 4-8 boxes into my poor Chevy Aveo to transport to the Music Library. Once in the Music Library, I would again scan the books and change the current location to the Music Library. If I hadn’t already stamped the books with the Music Library stamps this would happen now, and I would make sure they were in correct order before they went on the shelf.

It seems like a lot of back and forth, but I needed to make the move gradually due to my limited space. As mentioned in my first two posts, I only have 10 tall shelves and decided to start with the M and ML classification items. Now that I have 3/4 of those items in the Music Library, I can see that I may be able to bring over some voice and instrument methods and theory books, which had been requested by faculty. The music education books will have to stay in the main library, which makes sense as they are being utilized by two departments (music and education).

As of opening week, I am pleased to say that the ECSU Music Library now looks like this:

opening 4.22.13_1

opening 4.22.13_2

opening 4.22.13_3

You’ll see in the last picture that I have some boxes of free sheet music on a table for students to take as an opening week gift. Most of the items are older duplicates or in less than great shape, but can still be useful. It has been very successful in getting people in to visit and see how different the Music Library is from the last time they had access. The faculty have also been stopping by and we even had them helping the students go through the music to pick out the best pieces for them. A very positive start!

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Filed under Facility, Organization