Fun Productivity and Educational Tools for Librarians

Lauren Hays

Lauren Hays

September 12, 2023

I know many of you do not work in an education environment where August and September are “back to school”, especially if you are a special librarian in a corporate, government, law firm, medical, or nonprofit setting.

However, I feel that much of the year is actually built around the school calendar, even outside academia. The traditional vacation time ends as fall approaches and we turn our attention to other endeavors. Therefore, I want to share some of my favorite productivity tools and things I find fun, but also educational.


  • Sounds of the Bodleian: When I need to focus, I cannot listen to music as I find it too distracting. This live stream of sounds of the Bodleian Library is the perfect background noise I need to stay-focused, but not be distracted by words or silence. 
  • A Book weight: I have used a book weight for years. It is the one random gift I have gotten that I use again and again. It keeps books open while I reference content from them and work on the computer. 
  • Wireless mouse: I find that using a trackpad on a laptop slows me down. Instead, I prefer to use a mouse, so I carry a wireless one with me at all times. 

Fun, but educational

  • Conversations with Tyler Podcast: Tyler Cowen interviews individuals from a wide range of areas. His interviews are fast-paced, insightful, and well-researched. I always come away having learned something new.
  • Spelling Bee: The only game I play with any regularity is Spelling Bee from the New York Times. I can become a bit obsessed with getting to the Genius level. I feel the game keeps my brain fresh and energized. 
  • Substack Subscriptions: There are many different substacks you can subscribe to. The ones I have been reading lately are Michelle Miller’s newsletter and Minding the Gap by Natalie Wexler.

This is just a short list, but I hope it will introduce you to something new. If you want to share any of your own productivity tools or fun educational resources, please place them in the comments. 

Lauren Hays

Lauren Hays

Dr. Lauren Hays is an Assistant Professor of Instructional Technology at the University of Central Missouri, and a frequent presenter and interviewer on topics related to libraries and librarianship. Please read Lauren’s other posts relevant to special librarians. Take a look at Lucidea’s powerful integrated library systems, SydneyEnterprise, and GeniePlus, used daily by innovative special librarians in libraries of all types, sizes and budgets.

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