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Investment in Online Reading Platform and Mobile App for Wisconsin Libraries

Thursday, April 23, 2020

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Division for Libraries and Technology is supporting libraries and library users by launching a new statewide online reading challenge platform and mobile app to support summer library programming in 2020 and beyond. The Division will award a discretionary grant for nearly $327,000 to the Wisconsin Valley Library Service to contract with Beanstack on behalf of Wisconsin public libraries. Over the course of three years, this statewide procurement will save over $761,000 when compared to local libraries procuring this service individually. The contract will run through 2023.

Beanstack specializes in summer reading, winter reading, 100 Books Before College, and other reading challenges for all ages, customized for individual libraries. The online platform and mobile app make it easy for patrons to register, track reading, and earn incentives while libraries gain data-driven insights. The statewide Beanstack contract will allow Wisconsin public libraries to enhance virtual connections with patrons. This project aligns with Public Library System Redesign (PLSR) goals related to equity, shared services, and collaboration. Rollout of the Beanstack platform to Wisconsin public libraries will begin immediately, with the launch date of June 15 for the public.

The Division for Libraries and Technology surveyed each library, and determined that this is a necessary step to support the Wisconsin library community and library users across the state during the pandemic and beyond. The Wisconsin Valley Library Service provided integral support to guarantee that this investment would immediately support the programming efforts of Wisconsin library staff. Tessa Michaelson Schmidt, Public Library Consultant for the Division for Libraries and Technology said in her role as coordinator of the statewide summer library program, "I am thrilled that libraries will have such a high quality tool for making virtual connections with library users focused on the joy of reading."

The investment in Beanstack was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, LS-00-19-0050-19.

Written by:
Tessa Michaelson Schmidt
Division for Libraries and Technology




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