Posted by: bluesyemre | November 2, 2012

50 Great Apps for Librarians by Richard Le and Tom Duffy

  • 46% of American adults own smart phones.  By 2016, 10 billion will be in use worldwide.  By the year 2013 there will be 81.4 billion apps.  The average download of apps per device is 51.  The average time spent on apps per day is 81 minutes (HOLY MOTHER—THAT’S A LOT).  This changes the landscape of our information environment.  People are using their smart phones to check local weather, find local businesses, get information, check sports scores, get traffic info, coupons, and info about their local community.  Americans are working harder—but on their own time, taking their work home.  80% of people continue to work after leaving the office.  68% check email before 8am in the morning, and 50% of them check their work email while they’re still in bed (GUILTY AS CHARGED).  Apps have changed the way we search for and access information.  The mobile platform is the preferred way to access information on the go.  We can integrate information and add value to our work with better and richer content.  Most of the apps featured today are free. Richard recommends the Android apps.  Tom recommends the iOS apps.



iOS apps

  1. Wolfram Alpha – excellent for information and comparative data
  2. Reference USA (for iPad only)
  3. Farlex – pretty cool dictionary with audio pronunciation
  4. DuckDuckGo (browser that doesn’t track your history, no filter, awesome)
  5. Article Search – searches Google Scholar, JSTOR, etc.
  6. Job Search
  7. iReader
  8. Epicurious – recipes and shopping lists
  9. Cam-Dictionary – translates text on the fly from one language to another, also with audio pronunciation
  10. Shazam – love this app for identifying music
  11. RedLaser – owned by eBay, lets you scan a barcode and find the item online quickly with both places to buy it or check it out from the library (for reals, the library is listed—nice!)
  12. TurboScan – $1.99
  13. OverDrive – recommends it for audio books especially
  14. Kindle – great user interface (yep)
  15. Moo, Baa, La la la! – kids book with good animation
  16. PopOut! Peter – can click the word and hear it spoken, or read it yourself. Highlights the words as they’re read.
  17. iTunes U – university level education for free. Yays!
  18. Khan Academy – video tutoring that lets you browse by subject, app comes for the iPad too
  19. Mango languages – ESL classes & other language classes
  20. Biblion
  21. GoodReads – just like the website, in other words awesome
  22. AppAdvice – recommended apps
  23. Apps Gone Free – a list of apps that used to cost money but are free now
  24. Library Books – hook it up to your library, works with a lot of library systems, shows you your loan history, checked out items, etc.
  25. Nimbulist – simple note-taking app

Android apps

  1. Merrian-Webster – does offer audio pronunciations
  2. – shows popular and local trending searches, includes a thesaurus and spelling suggestion
  3. Urban Dictionary – 6.5 million definitions
  4. White & Yellow Pages
  5. YP – also gives you local deals and events
  6. AccessMyLibrary – Gale databases
  7. Loclaicious – searching nearby business and points of interest with maps to the place
  8. Merck PTE HD – periodic table of the elements
  9. CamScanner – Turns your smart phone’s camera into a fax machine, copier, and scanner. You can share what you scan.
  10. Google Goggles – Search for stuff by taking a photo, works for artwork, barcodes, products, popular images, etc. Also will translate text in French, Italian, and Spanish. Also works really well on headshots of people—don’t know who someone is? Take their photo and Google Goggle stalk the crap out of them
  11. Google Translate – translates text between 64 languages. Can translate by speaking in 17 languages.
  12. AllRecipes – can mix and match by what ingredients you have and limit by cooking time, has nutritional info as well
  13. BigOven – Searches 250,000 recipes, and gives you ideas to use up leftovers
  14. Holy Bible – Comprehensive database of all of the popular translations and versions, includes an audio version as well
  15. TripAdvisor – quick city guide for travelers, works offline (yays!)
  16. Congress – facts about lawmakers and bills, see how your local representatives vote
  17. – product recalls, can scan product barcodes or search by name
  18. FirstAid – from the American Red Cross with step by step instructions and training videos
  19. WebMD – quick medical and health information, find local doctors and hospitals
  20. Fooducate – can scan the barcode and see what ingredients are in it, highlighting both the good and the bad and giving you healthier alternatives
  21. ShopSavvy – scan and find the best online and local prices. Can use it for another way too—scan books and create reading lists you can email to yourself or your patrons.
  22. Bloomberg – finance news and data, stock tracking, etc.
  23. Relief Central – world facts about 266 countries including disaster guides, Medline citations, etc.
  24. World Factbook – CIA World Factbook mobile style
  25. SportsTab – assess scores, news, and team info



  1. Hey would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re working with? I’m planning to start my own blog soon but I’m having a hard time deciding between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design and style seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique.
    P.S Apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!


    • Hi;
      I use WordPress’s Ocean Mist template, good luck:)


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