Before I started using a Personal Library App…

I would carry around a book list in my purse. It contained the books I already owned and books I would like to purchase or borrow from the library. That way, if I saw a book that looked good in a store, I could check to see if we already owned it (yes, I accidentally buy duplicates if I do not double-check). This method worked okay for me.

Next step- I typed my tattered lists into Excel. This worked better. I could sort and alphabetize the lists. Excel is a good option for many people but I didn’t like re-printing my “book list” very often, so the list I carried with me was often out of date.

My little book-buying world changed when I started using a personal library app!

Why I LOVE using a personal library app:

  • I always have my book lists (because I always have my phone)
  • My picture book lists are updated
  • I do not have to print anything
  • Pictures of the book covers are included in the lists
  • It is easy to search books by title, author, series, keywords
  • I can rate books and include personal notes
  • I can also easily search picture books in specific genres

Give a personal library app a try

It is easy to download and start using a personal library app. If you are a picture book addict like me, it is a must. Here is more information for apps I have used on an android phone and IOS phone.

Android: My Library

My Library app logo with app designer's name, Julien Keith.
This is what the App Icon looks like. It is not available for iPhones.

When I had an android phone, I used the app My Library. Here are some of the app features (taken from the Google Play app information page)

My Library allows you to :
– Add a book to your library by scanning its barcode (title, author, cover, summary, published date, publisher, …)
– Add a book to your library via its ISBN number or by keyword
– Add a book to your library manually
– Look for a book in your library
– Sort your library by titles, names, categories, read / unread, …
– Export your library within an Excel file
– Import a library from a previously exported library
– Manage your wishlist
– Display some statistics

This app is free and it does not contain ads.

I love the barcode scanning feature when I am adding a new book to my library. The scanner will not work for older books but you can look them up by ISBN number or search them up online and then add the book from a list. It is rare for me not to find a book when I search by title but in those rare cases, you do have the option to add the book manually.

If the book you scan does not come up with a book cover, you can add one with your phone’s camera (while in the app).

Here is a great article covering more information about this app:

IOS (iPhones/iPad)- BookBuddy Pro: Library Manager

In December I switched from my android phone to an iPhone. I was SUPER sad that I couldn’t keep using the app My Library, but I found an app I like just as much (maybe more) for IOS.

BookBuddy Pro: Library Manager. This app is $4.99 and it does not contain adds. You can opt for the regular version for free. It has all the same features but it is limited to 50 books.

Here is list of features from the Apple App store:


* SLEEK & FUNCTIONAL: BookBuddy is cleanly designed and simple to use.

* BUILT-IN SYNCING: Seamlessly sync your BookBuddy library across all your devices using iCloud or Dropbox. Your data stays in sync so that you always have the up-to-date version of your library on all your iOS devices.

* BE PRODUCTIVE: Multitask seamlessly on iPad with full Split View support in iOS 9.

* HIGH PERFORMANCE: BookBuddy easily supports large book collections. Some of our users manage more than 10,000 books!

* ONE-STEP ADD: You can add books to your BookBuddy library by simply scanning the barcode or by searching Google Books.

* KEEP TRACK: Keep track of where your books are, which books you’ve borrowed, and to whom you’ve loaned books.

* PERSONALIZE: Create your own categories for organizing your books, maintain your own Wish List, mark your Favorites for instant access, and add personal notes about any given book.

* QUICK FIND: Instantly locate any book in your BookBuddy library by entering a search keyword or by scanning the book’s barcode.

* EASILY SHARE: Share your favorite books using Facebook, Twitter, and email. You can even export all or selected portions of your BookBuddy library in standard file formats for colleagues and friends to view on their computer or any other device.

* RELIABLE BACKUP: Keep your hard work safe by backing up your entire library to the cloud using Dropbox service. If you ever lose your iPhone you can restore your BookBuddy library on any iOS device, instantly!

* IMPORT 3RD PARTY DATA: Import from other popular book catalog apps, such as Google Books, GoodReads, LibraryThing, Shelfari, and Anobii to ensure that your BookBuddy library is always up-to-date.

* AND MUCH MORE: Assign multiple tags to books, sort books by any field, arrange books in a series, manage each book’s reading status, easily print information about selected books to AirPrint-enabled printers, and much much more!

This app has a very similar process for scanning and adding new books to your library. It does allow you to keep track of any books you have “Loaned Out” and has a quick access wish list feature.

You can read more about this helpful app and see reviews here:

Good Luck & Happy Scanning

Depending on the size of your library, the scanning process will take some time. Stick with it, it will be worth it! (just make sure you are exporting back-up files or uploading to the cloud periodically).

Let me know in the comments below if you have a different personal library app that has worked well for you!

Jamie Bills