Tag Archives: New Music Library

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purchases include a year membership to the Friends of the Elizabeth City State University Library, but our cards are out of date.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

Getting To Know You

The Music Library is in its third week of being open to students. We had a strong start with roughly 40 student visits in the first two weeks, which is great considering it is near the end of the semester. To help keep track of visits, we use sign-in sheets with date, time, name and reason for visit. The sheets will help to decide what are the best hours to be open, what are the resources most students are interested in, and provide documentation for Title III funding. You can download a copy of the sign-in sheet here, if you’d like to use it. It is in word document format.

I would also like to take this time to thank the first “crew” of the ECSU Music Library: student workers Justin Garland & Jimmie Rodgers, and Interim Music Librarian Susan Corell-Hankinson.

Music Library Gang1

Justin, Jimmie, Stephanie, Susan



They were such a great help in getting things ready before I arrived, as well as continued support. Of course, we had a lot of help from the G.R. Little Library staff too! Needless to say, we had a great time getting everything together…

Music Library Gang2

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May 7, 2013 · 3:39 pm

Creating a New Music Library

Welcome to the blog for the new Music Library at Elizabeth City State University! This blog will be an ongoing chronicle of our journey to create a new Music Library space for ECSU. The Music Library is a satellite of the main library on campus, the G.R. Little Library. It is housed in the Music Department in the Fine Arts Building. The main objectives of the ECSU Music Library are to provide more specialized reference help and materials to the Music Department and to satisfy NASM accreditation.

When we started, the room was basically a storage room for scores and donated items. An interim Music Librarian was able to sort through the items, weed out items damaged beyond repair and organize the remaining items on the shelves so that they may be browsed by students and faculty. There will be more posts from the interim Librarian on this soon.


You will see from the picture that at this point the room has 6 computer cubicles and a circulation desk. We also have 10 tall shelves, with space overhead for oversized items, a media cabinet behind the circ desk, and 2 rolling carts.

None of the materials in the Music Library are catalogued. The next step is to move catalogued items from the G.R. Little Library here to get the Music Library up and running as fast as possible. Plans are also under way to slightly change the configuration of the room to provide more group study space. I will be going into physical development in the next post.

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Filed under Overview