Attendees at past, in-person ALA conferences know that one of the best ways to learn about new programs or software offerings is by walking the exhibit hall floor. You may not have arrived that day looking for a new summer reading incentive program or a unique tool to facilitate community engagement, but the vendors are there to show you exactly that!
The Library Marketplace attempts to recreate the sense of booths, but the virtual environment does make those accidental encounters harder to come by. The benefit to the virtual format is that you can watch on-demand demos of products or services at any time. One example is the presentation on Beanstack 365 for Libraries and Schools.
Besides providing an overview of what Beanstack is and does (an online and mobile app platform designed to motivate communities of readers through streaks, social connections, and reading challenges), this presentation provides screenshots of the application in use and offers viewers access to a free trial of the product. It focuses particularly on a new aspect of the program, which allows school and public libraries in a city to create tandem connections in Beanstack. This allows users the simplicity of a single platform and reduces family frustration over conflicting or duplicated summer reading programs between the two systems. With examples such as the Atlanta Public Library and schools, Beanstack is convinced these collaborations will result in increased circulation and an increase in overall readership.
Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.