FAQ

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About Beanstack

WHAT IS BEANSTACK?

Beanstack is a free service provided by your local library to help families discover books and apps based on your child's age and interests. Our goal is help prepare your child for school and ensure that he or she is reading at or above grade level by third grade. All books recommended are available for free at your library.

WHAT MAKES BEANSTACK DIFFERENT?

Beanstack only includes children's books and apps that have been selected by your local librarians. These books and apps have been cataloged using over 3,000 tags, like "Daring to be Different" or "Not So Pink Girls," that require a human being's expert consideration. Recommendations are then made based on each individual child's age and interests. Plus, each recommendation includes a learning tip to give you ways to help your child excel in school.

DO I NEED A LIBRARY CARD TO SIGN UP?

No. You just need to be a resident of the community served by this library.

WHAT IS INCLUDED WHEN I SIGN UP FOR BEANSTACK?

With a Beanstack profile, you'll receive one recommendation per week of a book matched to your child's age, interests, and background.  We include easy-to-use learning tips and activities for each book selected.

If you have a library card, you also gain access to our full database of specifically selected books and apps. You may also view our themes, which are learning guides that include tips and activities on subjects ranging from "Exploring Egypt" to "Say No to Bullying!"

Setting Up a Profile

WHAT IF I WANT TO CHANGE PREFERENCES LISTED FOR MY CHILD"S READING LEVEL AND INTEREST?

You may change your preferences at any time. The book selected will match whatever you have set at the time of your next recommendation.

CAN I SIGN UP FOR MORE THAN ONE CHILD?

Yes. You can set up as many profiles as you like.

HOW DO I CANCEL MY FREE ACCOUNT?

You can cancel your Beanstack account at any time. Just go to one of your individual profile pages and click on "Edit Profile" then "Cancel Your Profile." If you change your mind, you can always reactivate your account.

Book Recommendations

ARE ALL OF THE BOOKS RECOMMENDED AVAILABLE AT MY LOCAL LIBRARY?

Yes. Books recommended are included in your library's collection and may be checked out for free. If the book is currently checked out by another patron, you can put it on hold to check out in the future.

WHAT ARE THE RECOMMENDED AGES FOR YOUR BOOKS AND APPS?

We catalog apps and books in our library for children ages 0-13. We also provide weekly recommendations for ages 0-13.

DO YOU RECOMMEND eBOOKS?

Yes. We base recommendations on your child's age and interests along with what the library has available in its collection. When you click "Get This Book" you'll be able to see all of the different formats available at your local library, including eBook versions.

WHAT IF I ALREADY OWN THE BOOK SELECTED FOR MY CHILD?

You can just ignore that week's recommendation, though the learning tip may still be useful. Adding books that your child has already read to the "Completed Items" list in his or her profile will also help. Any books marked as "Completed Items" will not be recommended.

Learning Tips and Guides

HOW DO LEARNING TIPS WORK?

Most of the recommendations that are personalized to your child's age and interests will include a learning tip. These learning tips are provided in a single paragraph, which often encourages Every Child Ready to Read practices. They are linked to the specific book recommended but may be helpful in general.

IF A BOOK ALSO HAS A LEARNING GUIDE, WHAT ADDITIONAL INFORMATION IS INCLUDED?

Some books included on Beanstack have longer learning guides that you can access through your child's profile. These guides provide tips and activities for building literacy with your loved one. They include everything from STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) connections to arts and crafts projects. All guides are digital and optimized for viewing on mobile devices.

See one of our learning guides for an app here or a book here.

WHAT IS A THEMED LEARNING GUIDE?

Each themed learning guide is created by an individual curator on a topic about which they are passionate. Themed learning guides include book and app recommendations along with background information, discussion starters, activities, suggested family experiences, and additional resources.

See one of our themed learning guides here.

App Recommendations

DO YOU ALSO SEND ME APP RECOMMENDATIONS?

No. We provide library cardholders with a database of specifically recommended apps along with learning tips. You can search this database on your own.

HOW DO I GET THE APPS? DO YOU PROVIDE THEM?

We provide information about the apps along with learning tips. You choose whether to get the apps on your own if they look like good matches. In some cases, your library may have the apps loaded on devices that you can borrow while at the library.

ARE THE APPS YOU RECOMMEND FREE?

Sometimes but not always. Many quality apps for kids are not available for free. Free apps often contain advertising or paid upgrades and may only be free for a limited time.

Saved & Completed Items

HOW SHOULD I USE THE SAVED AND COMPLETED ITEMS FEATURE OF MY CHILD'S PROFILE?

Saved Items and Completed Items are separate sections of your child's profile where you can add books and apps that we recommend or that you discover through the Beanstack database. This way, you can more easily track the books and apps in which your family is most interested. You can also mark the books and apps that your child has completed to keep a record of his or her progress. 

SO, IF I MARK AN ITEM AS "SAVED" OR "COMPLETED," WILL YOU RECOMMEND IT TO ME?

No. The list is there primarily for your benefit to separate out the books and apps that your family likes most.

Sharing

HOW CAN I USE BEANSTACK TO COLLABORATE WITH TEACHERS AND FAMILY?

You can share access to your child's Beanstack profile with family members and teachers so that they can see your list of selected books, apps, and learning guides. This can be useful for keeping them up-to-date on what your child or loved one is reading. 

HOW DO I SHARE MY CHILD’S PROFILE WITH OTHERS?

Through your child's profile, just click “Share.” You can then add the email address of the person(s) you want to invite. You’ll be able to see when they have accepted your invite and can also revoke their access at anytime.

I HAVE A SHARE CODE. HOW DO I USE IT?

Just go to the sign up page for a free account and enter your share code. From there, you can access the child’s profile to update preferences and access learning guides.

The Beanstack Database

WHAT KIND OF APPS AND BOOKS DO YOU CURATE?

We ask our experts to only select apps and books that they would want for their own child, student, or loved one. After that, we catalog each entry, using over 2,000 common-sense tags ranging from "Adventure" to "Zany."

HOW DO YOU CHOOSE WHICH BOOKS AND APPS TO CURATE?

We have a team of librarians and experts across the country catalog books and apps that they have found really useful for the families they serve. From there, your local librarians curate additional books and apps and decide which of these to include in the database and recommendations provided to your specific community.

Contact Us

I HAVE A QUESTION. HOW DO I GET IN TOUCH?

Click on "Contact Us" at the bottom of this page.

I KNOW OF A GOOD APP OR BOOK THAT’S NOT LISTED. CAN I RECOMMEND IT?

Absolutely! We are always looking for great apps and books, so if you know of one and don’t see it listed, please recommend a book by clicking on "Contact Us" below. Currently, we will only consider cataloging books that are in the collections of at least 25 public library systems.