The Library Services Team has confirmed Zoobean, LLC. is continuing access to Beanstack for all Wisconsin public libraries and school districts at no cost through April 2025. Our staff is widely sharing this information, so you’ll probably see it a few times.
If you have questions about this access, please reach out to email@example.com.
DPI staff, as always, will continue to be available for any clarification or support.
Original Article Posted 1/26/24
Statewide Beanstack Contract Notice
As of May 1, 2024, the contract between the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and Zoobean, LLC., for statewide access to the Beanstack reading engagement tool for public and school libraries will end. Communications in April 2023 shared information about a procurement process initiating a one-year contract from May 2023-April 2024 with the option of an additional one-year renewal. This renewal will not be executed. The Library Services Team is sharing key decision points to increase understanding throughout our Wisconsin library community.
Due to increasing operating expenses, the Library Services Team has carefully reviewed current Library Service and Technology Act (LSTA) funded projects to avoid going over budget. All LSTA projects are evaluated in multiple ways: using available data, seeking stakeholder feedback, and consideration of total percentage of the budget. At times, this has resulted in making difficult decisions to discontinue previous LSTA projects. Making Beanstack available to all public libraries and school districts in Wisconsin from May 2023 through April 2024 cost over $225,000. This was a discounted price negotiated with Zoobean, LLC., and also a significant portion of the LSTA budget.
The original purpose of Beanstack was to provide an online resource to assist summer reading programs during the onset of the COVID pandemic in Spring 2020. The DPI expanded the contract to include offering Beanstack to school libraries in fall 2021. The intention was to provide an additional tool for school libraries to support literacy in their districts and to promote and encourage collaborative relationships between school and public librarians.
Data collected for both public and school libraries demonstrates Beanstack is not meeting expectations for statewide implementation. In analyzing Summer Reading Program and year-round usage of Beanstack in public libraries, there has been a steady decline of libraries and youth meaningfully interacting with the product since its introduction. Implementation in school libraries, with intentional promotion and support, has not been adequate. Although the “tandem” feature, a unique product feature highlighted for library collaboration, was effective when utilized, only a small percentage of communities embraced this opportunity.
Considering usage data and feedback from the field, the Library Services Team has determined the purchase of Beanstack is no longer a responsible use of Wisconsin LSTA funding, as it does not adequately support the current goals in our LSTA Strategic Plan. Data indicates better-resourced libraries and schools, especially those with higher staff capacity and technology access, are able to utilize Beanstack significantly easier than others. The money being spent for statewide access does not truly support the diverse needs of all our public libraries and school districts.
The Library Services Team understands there are a number of schools and libraries that have experienced great success with Beanstack. We also understand this change presents potential challenges for future planning. We do not make this decision lightly, and are working to provide support for libraries who want to continue using Beanstack after April 30, when access will end.
The Library Services team is dedicated to supporting our stakeholders by answering additional questions. For public librarians with questions, please contact Public Library Consultant, Chris Baker (firstname.lastname@example.org). School librarians with questions should contact School Library Media Education Consultant, Monica Treptow (email@example.com). For public libraries seeking additional support in developing a Summer Reading Program: please contact Public Library Consultant Jeni Schomber (firstname.lastname@example.org).