Enjoy Online Reading Challenges Year-Round!

By Emily S. RSS Fri, January 26, 2024

You may have heard of our citywide Summer of Wonder program full of activities, programs, and prizes for all ages, but did you know that the Free Library offers an Online Reading Challenge that runs all year long? And if you’ve participated in the Summer of Wonder online, you already have an account!

The Free Library’s Online Reading Challenge is more than just a virtual summer experience; it provides an online reading community for the city of Philadelphia. Using the Beanstack online platform and smart device apps, it's easy to keep track of your reading throughout the years.


new beanstack logo


Here are just a few of the benefits of signing up:

  • Keep your very own virtual bookshelf. This is a great way to keep track of what you read throughout the year, and it’s perfect for kids who have to submit a weekly book log at school!
  • Track minutes with a built-in timer. In the app, this feature makes counting your reading minutes easy. It’s simple enough for kids, and appealing for adults who read a lot, too!
  • Follow your reading streaks and annual stats. On Beanstack, you can easily see how many days in a row you’ve logged your reading, how many minutes you’ve read in a year, or how many titles you’ve completed since you opened your account! Celebrate your wins.
  • Read peer book reviews. Get insight and recommendations from fellow Free Library readers of all ages! Find your niche or explore something new. You can even write your own book reviews.
  • Access book lists that link directly to Free Library holdings. Our online program makes it easy to find titles in our curated lists, from wordless picture books to spooky stories. Place them on hold at your neighborhood library or read them online with just a few clicks!
  • Enjoy some friendly competition. Using the Leaderboard feature, you can track minutes with your friends or family to see who can read the most. You decide on the rules and prizes — even if it’s only bragging rights. 
  • Explore free, seasonal activities all year. Stay tuned for special seasonal mini-challenges and activities designed for the whole family to do together. There’s more than reading in our online challenge! 
  • Discover more Free Library resources. Learn about all that you can access with your Free Library card in a fun and interactive way as our online program guides you along.
  • Stay motivated to learn. Tracking our reading progress helps us remember to keep it up!
  • Nurture Philly’s reading culture. Be a part of the Free Library’s mission and help to grow the reading culture of our vibrant city. Learn about local history, read local authors, expand your connection to the Free Library, and contribute to our citywide reading minutes goal!


Is it really year-round?

The Free Library’s Online Reading Challenge is available every season. Find each seasonal challenge below for reference — but remember, you can join a challenge anytime!

  • Fall Online Reading Challenge: September through November 
  • Winter Online Reading Challenge: December through February
  • Spring Online Reading Challenge: March through May
  • Summer of Wonder Online Challenge: June through August 


What ages is the Online Reading Challenge for?

Everyone! Keep track of your reading habits, or chart your whole family’s progress on one shared account. If you have a group read-aloud, you can even log for multiple readers at once. Log your littlest learner’s steps toward literacy when you sign up for 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten. Teens and tweens love the timer feature on the app, which takes the guesswork out of reading minutes, or competing with their friends. Our adult readers love building their virtual bookshelves and delving into resources. Find your favorite way to take part!

How do I get started?

Register online with Beanstack and download the free app for iOS and Android devices. Once you’ve signed up, log in to join the current seasonal challenge you're interested in. Then start logging! Your account will save your reading from here on out. It’s as simple as that.


Have questions? Reach out using the Beanstack contact form.

Happy reading from your friends at the Free Library!

Have a question for Free Library staff? Please submit it to our Ask a Librarian page and receive a response within two business days.

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