Solo Success: Time Management Apps for Solo Librarians

Larry Cooperman

Larry Cooperman

June 29, 2017

Solo librarians need powerful time management tools, since they are running their libraries without paraprofessional staff to assist. I’ve learned that many solo librarians (as well as other professionals) use their smartphones to manage and organize their time. Technology to the rescue!

It seems as if most of the world owns a smartphone—I currently do not. For many years, I did not see the need (or have the desire) to own one, as I didn’t know what I would use it for (beyond the games, social media and selfies that I don’t play, use or take).

The light bulb comes on

Before purchasing my own, I experimented with my wife’s older smartphone (still running on 4G) and was impressed by the number and usefulness of the many apps available, especially those that can help solo librarians manage their time efficiently and effectively. In this post, I’ll write about which relevant apps I discovered and used, and which work best for me—and, by extension, for solo librarians.

The primary caveat here is that what I find favorable and useful in an app, another solo librarian may not—one man’s meat is another man’s poison, to use the old saying. I’ll describe two smartphone apps for time management and explain why they are useful and beneficial for me.

Here’s what works…

I use Dropbox on my desktop computer when I work from home, but I have used the app on my smartphone as well, and I have discovered how wonderful and convenient it is to be able to open and move documents from my desktop’s hard drive to my smartphone. This allows me to work on writing articles or my book wherever I have Wi-Fi access, so if I have some free time, I can write anywhere.

As I grow older, I forget my passwords, and I certainly have too many of them to remember easily. The Universal Password Manager (UPM)—found at—allows for storage of passwords, usernames, URLs, and simple memoranda in an encrypted database, all protected by a single password. A UPM can run on most operating systems (including Mac), as well as allow for database synching across desktops and other devices (via a Dropbox account—another good reason to use Dropbox!) Not having to remember every password for every account is truly a time saver.

To all the holdouts

To conclude, from my ongoing research on time management apps for smartphones, I discovered that the most useful apps provide the most time saved and successfully organized, as well being easy to set up and use. Perhaps my foray into using a smartphone may convert some solo librarians standing on the edge of investing in a smartphone, or who only have one for personal use, into taking the time management plunge. I say, come on in, the water is fine.

<a href="" target="_self">Larry Cooperman</a>

Larry Cooperman

Larry Cooperman has worked as a solo and small library manager and director for the past ten years, primarily in academic libraries, public libraries, and school libraries. Larry’s latest book is Managing the One-Person Library.

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