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150,000 Student Members, 125,000 books, and a New OSEP Award

We are excited to announce that Bookshare now serves over 150,000 student members and has over 125,000 books in the collection.  Of these, 80,000 are educational titles that continue to pour into the library from publishers, as well as hundreds of student textbook requests that are fulfilled every month!

These are major milestones that we have achieved a year ahead of schedule as part of our 5-year Bookshare for Education (B4E) award from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). We look forward to continuing our support of students with print disabilities.

To this end, Benetech, the parent nonprofit for Bookshare, has received a new 1-year award from OSEP for a project called Leveraging Impact Through Technology (LIT).

The LIT project, in partnership with the American Institutes for Research (AIR), will advance the work delivered under the B4E project in the areas of new content, tools and increased utilization, with a focus on these key areas:

  • Open-content, publicly available and freely shared image descriptions and reusable graphical models to enhance accessibility in NIMAC books and Common Core titles.
  • A free, open source Android ebook reader and a free web-based ebook reader along with an accessible bookshelf in “the cloud,” enabling teachers to more easily assign books to students and enabling parents and students to add books, accessible from multiple devices.
  • Access to Bookshare books in MP3 and DAISY audio.
  • Free professional development for selected districts across the country to increase utilization, leveraging AIR’s experience in practice and delivery and Bookshare’s proven hands-on Professional Development Workshops..

To learn more about Bookshare’s recent accomplishments and the LIT project, read the official press release!


  1. Does “Free nationwide professional development” mean there is no longer a cost for a workshop to be held in our state? Prior to this, I believe there was a fee.

    • Betsy Burgess

      Bookshare has always offered multiple levels of professional development, including some free training for states. Where are you from? We have not been able to go to districts for free; there are too many districts. We have offered free webinars to states, districts, basically any group that needed it. This new award will allow us to provide free training in a select number of districts. Later we’ll announce how those districts will be selected. Please stay tuned.

      • I am located in Nebraska. Not sure what you mean by “districts”?

        • Betsy Burgess

          By districts, I mean the organization of multiple schools under 1 superintendent. Some states manage districts by county lines; some have very small districts aligned with towns.

          • I guess what I’m wondering is if you would consider coming to the state of Nebraska for a workshop that would include folks brought in from all over the state? How do you determine, as stated above, who the “select number of districts” will be ?

            I feel strongly there is a definite need here in our state!

            Thanks for considering this,

          • Betsy Burgess

            I will forward your comment to the person in charge of the workshops. I’m sure you’ll hear from someone soon.

  2. wow this is indeed a good news for everyone. lucky student who avails this will surely have a brighter future.

  3. Congrats, I’m glad to see such a large number of student members. Although this is only a fraction of the student population, much room for growth!

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