Have you ever wondered how Bookshare builds such a rich and varied collection of titles so quickly in the library? Each month, we add more than 3000 titles to engage the hearts and minds of members of all ages. We currently have 223,000+ (and counting) titles in the collection. Educational and general interest trade titles in English comprise the majority of our collection, but our goal is to bring Bookshare services to many more people with print disabilities in more geographies and languages. To that end, we’re working hard to expand partnerships with the international publishing community.
That’s where Robin Seaman, Benetech’s Director of Content Acquisition for our Global Literacy Program, steps in. Robin’s job is to engage publishers and other industry stakeholders in a deep conversation about the power of ebooks to change lives both in the U.S. and around the world. Thanks to the generosity of publishers who grant us the rights to distribute their books internationally, people with print disabilities in nearly fifty countries around the world have access to over 100,000 of the books in our collection.
In pursuit of making Bookshare a worldwide resource, Robin travels across the country and around the world to talk with publishers from every sector of the business about making their content available through Bookshare and giving us the rights to distribute internationally.
Last November, Robin took a long flight to attend the Sharjah International Book Fair in the United Arab Emirates’ (U.A.E.). This prestigious book fair is organized by the U.K. Publishers Association and more than 35 countries were represented. Robin kept a journal of her travels, including wonderful photographs, and wrote about her journey on Benetech’s Blog. Robin says, “In the U.S., Benetech and many others are making excellent strides toward solving the ‘accessible book famine.’ However, we know that our work to meet the global need for accessible content has just begun. I’m excited to talk with new publishers about our Bookshare International initiative and extend an open invitation to the publishing community to join us in this quest.”
Are you or do you know a Bookshare student member in grades K-12 who enjoys filmmaking? Do you use Bookshare to help with your studies at school? If yes, President Obama has a super cool contest for you!
Enter the White House Student Film Festival!
The White House is holding its first ever film festival to showcase the power of technology in schools and students who win may get to visit the White House!
We know that you use Bookshare to learn all sorts of amazing things. Do you use Bookshare Web Reader to read and listen to your textbooks and do projects or experiments?
Does Read2Go help you keep up with assignments wherever you go?
Are you accessing more books with Bookshare and a braille display than you ever did before?
This is your chance to let President Obama and the rest of the world know about it. Finalist videos will be featured on the White House website, YouTube channel, and social media sites.
Here’s a fun video by Bill Nye, the Science Guy describing the contest.
How to Enter
- Create a short video (3 minutes or less)
- Address one of these themes: 1) How you currently use technology in your classroom or school, or 2) the role technology will play in education in the future.
- Read the official rules to make sure your entry is valid, and visit the White House Film Festival website for more information.
Entries are due by January 29, 2014. So think of a good idea or script, grab a video recorder or smartphone, and start filming!
We’re excited to see what you create. Feel free to share your videos on the Bookshare Facebook page as well.
The Bookshare Team
As 2013 comes to an end, we want to send our heartfelt thanks to all educators, sponsors and Bookshare Mentor Teachers who continue to partner with us to provide accessible educational opportunities to their students. With that sentiment, we’d like to share this letter from Theresa Brousseau, a teacher of the visually impaired, who wrote us this letter.
“Thanks to Bookshare, I feel good that I’m able to help more students with print disabilities achieve their goals, make progress and be successful! As a VI teacher, the students I work with require reading assignments in accessible formats to access the curriculum. We find many teacher-recommended books and K-12 textbooks readily available in Bookshare in formats such as DAISY Text, DAISY Audio, MP3 and BRF (Braille Ready Format) to meet their needs.
“In the past, finding required schoolbooks took time at the expense of students, who would wait for books with long delays. Now, they receive their books at the same time as their peers, making learning more uniform and equitable, especially when it comes to doing research and homework.
“Bookshare provides access to both the digital formats and the reading technologies they need to keep the pace. Many students are more engaged in learning and there are no more excuses about not having appropriate materials to do class assignments or homework.
“Bookshare is great for students who are visually impaired, as well as for students with print disabilities who are struggling readers, such as those with severe dyslexia. Now, these students can perform on grade level with audio materials that have text-to-speech.
“I also appreciate all of the portable devices that support students’ individual preferences and learning styles. Using technology is more socially acceptable, and students feel good about tapping into digital accessible books versus being seen as different using audio books on tape or CDs.”
About the Bookshare Mentor Teacher Program
The Bookshare Mentor Teacher program began in 2010 to support the nation’s top teachers and assistive technologists with training tools to engage educators, parents, and students in the effective use of Bookshare’s online library and reading technologies. Since that time, over 500 educators and specialists have joined the network. They work in their local communities and schools to advocate on behalf of students with print disabilities. They also develop and share best practices across the United States.
Learn more about the Bookshare Mentor Teacher program at: http://communications.bookshare.org/mentor-teachers/
This blog is contributed by Bookshare member and staff person, Liz Halperin.
Hi everyone! I’m an avid reader and proofreader for Bookshare and work in the Collections Department. I’ve had the great fortune to read books that I might not have read otherwise. This blog is about the books for adult readers I’ve recently read. These books took my breath away with the haunting power of their stories and quality of writing.
Alert! Bookshare members might find some of these reads disturbing because of their sheer intensity. My suggestions are NOT light-hearted books. If you are looking for something creative, intense, and well written, I hope you’ll read some of these titles!
Beloved, by Toni Morrison, 1993. I remember this book was popular when it was first published, and friends were telling me to read it. I thought it was going to be a typical adult-meets-adult story: they work through conflicts and end up together. So I didn’t bother with it. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s a story about slavery and one woman’s astounding actions. This one haunts me with its ethical questions. https://www.bookshare.org/browse/book/443463
Room, by Emma Donoghue, 2011. This book amazed me with its creativity in building an environment for two special characters. A mother, held captive with her five-year-old son, creates his whole world in their one room. The book was unsettling to read, then became a literary déjà vu when three women were found trapped in a basement by two brothers. They had been captives for 10 years. https://www.bookshare.org/browse/book/681710
Johnny Got His Gun, by Dalton Trumbo, 1939. I knew this story was based on a stage play, so I assumed it would be light-hearted and upbeat. But the book was a standout because it was written completely from the perspective of a man terribly wounded in war. The added forewords by the author in 1959 and again in 1970 are thought-provoking. https://www.bookshare.org/browse/book/735460
Little Bee, by Chris Cleeve, 2008. Chronicling the immigration of Bee, there are serious surprises here. Some reviews warned of a very gruesome scene. But this was one action scene that was important to the plot, and it did not strike me as worth scaring readers away. This story exemplifies maximum loyalty. https://www.bookshare.org/browse/book/510094
The Girl Who Fell From The Sky, by Heidi Durrow, 2010. Rachel is the daughter of a Danish mother and an African American G.I. When she is the only survivor of family tragedy, her African American grandmother takes her in. It’s the 1980s and the girl must find her way, both internally and in her community. This may sound like a trite coming-of-age story about racial issues, but believe me, it has reason to be on my “hits the solar plexus” list. https://www.bookshare.org/browse/book/344300
Many thanks to Liz for her top picks!
The Bookshare Staff