What is Scout?
Scout is a new way to explore your library, your community, and your world online.
What does this have to do with the library?
The library is all about helping you find the information you need. With Scout, we’re helping you find information you didn’t know you needed – suggesting topics to explore and things to try, and providing a way for you to share your experiences with others.
Scout is funded in part from a $150,000 grant to the Library Foundation from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. The grant was provided to help the library explore innovative ways to engage library users and foster community online.
Do I have to have a library card to participate?
No, but you do have to have a library card to win a prize. And you get points for adding your card number to your account, so we highly recommend it!
How do I play?
You can’t do much in Scout until you have an account, so the first step is to Register. Once you do that, the Site Tour will give you an overview, and you can try out the Badge Basics badge to get the hang of the different types of activities you’ll see in other badges. After that, poke around in the Badges Page, choose one that looks interesting, and get started!
Is Scout for kids?
Scout is for adults, especially those with families. You have to be at least 18 to sign up for Scout, but we fully expect you to have a child (or two, or five) helping you complete activities!
Can everyone see what I post?
Yes. Scout is completely open, so don’t post anything that you’re not willing to make public.
Why can’t I upload my own avatar?
Having users choose from a pool of avatars helps us keep the site visually consistent. Also, we can’t do both – either everyone has to upload a photo, or everyone has to pick from a pool. Uploading an avatar is more work, and we think more people will choose an avatar (instead of just using the default, which is boring) if we provide a pool to select from.
If you have suggestions for how we can improve the avatar pool, please use the Feedback button at the bottom of the page to let us know!
How do I find and add friends?
You can easily add friends from the Members Page, which lists all the users in Scout.
You can also add a friend using the “Add Friend” button on their profile. Anywhere you see a user’s name or avatar (for instance, in the Recent Activity or on the Leaderboard), you can click it to visit their profile.
What’s the difference between my Dashboard and my Profile?
Your Dashboard is where you land when you log in because it’s a great starting point – it shows you your progress and recently earned badges, the latest news, and some handy links for getting started.
Your Profile is where you manage your settings and user information – nuts and bolts stuff like changing your avatar, choosing your email settings, seeing your list of friends, managing your notifications and messages, etc.
Why does my Profile have my username on it?
Your username is not private – it’s used a couple places throughout the site. Other users can mention you in their posts using @YourUsername, and that’s the main reason it’s displayed at the top of your profile.
I don’t see a feedback button!
If you don’t see a feedback button at the bottom of every page, chances are something in your browser settings is preventing it from showing. One thing that can cause this is Internet Explorer’s Compatibility View – you can turn this on and off by clicking the little broken-page icon in Internet Explorer’s URL bar.
Scout tends to work best in Google Chrome (as do most websites), so if you’re having trouble in your current browser, you might give Chrome a try. It’s free!
What’s an ISBN, and how do I find one?
An ISBN is a unique 10- or 13-digit code assigned to every book, ever. Many books have two, a 10-digit version and a 13-digit version, and either one will work for Scout.
Note that Amazon’s ASIN is not an ISBN, and neither is the number on a library book’s barcode sticker.
If you have questions, ask your librarian!
Can I link to a specific activity I posted, so I can share my work on social media?
Yes! Find your post in an activity feed, such as your personal feed on your Dashboard. Then click the red text that says how long ago you posted it (e.g. “3 minutes ago”). That takes you to a page with just your post on it, where you can use the social sharing buttons we’ve provided to share on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+, or you can copy the URL in your browser’s URL bar to share elsewhere.
How can I edit a post after I submit it?
We’re not able to add an edit button at this time, but a lot of folks have asked for one and it may be an option in the future. In the meantime, if you want to be able to redo an activity that you’ve already submitted, just send in some feedback and an admin can remove the activity from your account so you can do it over.
I deleted my post, so why do I still have credit for the activity?
Deleting an activity post only removes it from the activity stream where people can see it. It doesn’t revoke the points you earned or the credit you received for completing the activity. If you want the opportunity to redo that activity, send in some feedback and an admin can fully remove the activity from your account so you can do it over.
How do I clear a notification?
Sometimes notifications go away on their own once you address them, but occasionally they can be sticky. If you have one you need to get rid of, go to your notifications list in your profile and click the “Read” link next to that notification.
My notifications number in the top bar is wrong!
Sorry about that! The notifications list that drops down when you hover over that number shows bundled notifications – e.g. “you have 2 new friend requests” – rather than listing all notifications. For some reason, the number up top is the number of bundles, instead of the number of individual notifications. It’s kind of silly, but that’s how it works at the moment.
How can I see what my friends are posting?
If you only want to see the activity that your friends have posted, go to the Recent Activity page and click the “My Friends” link above the feed.
Why can’t I send a private message to this person?
Private messages can only be sent between friends. The only exception is site admins – they can send messages to anyone, and anyone can send messages to them.
Just read this page? Earn some points!