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Join Bookshare’s Worldwide 10th Anniversary Celebration!

Yes, Bookshare is now 10 years old, and we invite you to join a virtual worldwide celebration!

For a decade, we’ve been bringing reading to life for people with print disabilities, and we’ve been bringing reading to the lives of many who were hungry for access to content, be it for school or reading pleasure. We’ve accomplished this by knocking down barriers to access, collaborating with great partners, and inventing new, easy-to-use technologies. We pioneered a new approach to libraries for individuals with print disabilities and we let Members decide what they wanted to add to the collection.

To remind ourselves how far we have come, we gathered stories from early Members about the “old” days and published them in Arkenstone and early Bookshare blogs, shared them at a recent ATIA party with attendees and long-time partners – Don Johnston, Kurzweil, Freedom Scientific, HumanWare, Plextalk, and Texthelp, and even produced a fun and entertaining Anniversary video.

Video Marks Ten Years of Innovation
Video Marks Ten Years of Innovation

And now we want to celebrate the progress with our Members, partners, educators, and friends around the world. However, since our work is not done, we want to use this occasion to generate more awareness and support for the work that lies ahead.

To involve as many as we can, we invite you all to join a worldwide virtual celebration! We plan to make the celebration last all year. Every month there will be a different theme, and with every theme, there will be suggestions of activities, of things you can do in your communities and schools to bring others into the mission and help the mission achieve even more breakthroughs in the next 10 years. For example, this month to celebrate you could:

  1. Tweet or post an anniversary greeting as a comment on this blog, Twitter or Facebook.
  2. Buy cupcakes in honor of Bookshare for your school principal and teachers.
  3. Print the Bookshare data sheet from our site and give it to your local librarian.
  4. Subscribe to this blog to follow the themes and activities every month.
  5. Visit our Contribute page and make a small donation to help us bring more accessible books to people with print disabilities.

Our joy in this anniversary comes from the joy we have brought to others. Let’s have fun and celebrate!

16 Comments

  1. Valerie

    Looking forward to the next ten!

  2. Barbara Lopez

    Any news about accessible high stakes tests? My son’s High School is giving me a very hard time with the CAHSEE (California High School Exit Exam). they will not let him do it on Test Talker, they say he can have an aide read it to him, or dictate his answers to an aide, but he doesn’t talk, he types! He needs to do the test on the computer. The site security problems and copyright problems as the reason for not allowing the test on Test Talker. They claim these restrictions are from the CDE (California Department of Education, but I have yet to see anything in writing directly from CDE to confirm this. Prior to this year “Text to Speech software” was listed as a standard modification on the Matrix of allowable test variations. On this year’s Matrix all the places that used to say “text to speech software” now say “Speech to text converter” Which is an entirely different animal, for an entirely different disability.

    • Betsy Burgess

      I have no information about accessible tests and wish I could help with the change in modification. I do know that it is a problem and is being discussed at multiple levels.

  3. Chris Nusbaum

    Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday dear Bookshare, happy birthday to you!! I’m a relatively new Bookshare member, and so far it has helped me tremendously with everything from school textbooks to pleasure-reading books! Bookshare has truly broken down many barriers to access for those of us who are blind, and (let’s not forget) other print disabilities. Congratulations to everyone at Bookshare for a very succesful decade of breaking down barriers and enabling us to read our books in an accessible format just like our sighted peers!!! Keep up the great work!!

    • Renee jones

      I aggree! Look forward to the next ten.

  4. Chris Nusbaum

    Sorry, another comment. In response to Barbara Lopez’s comment ab accessible test-taking: Barbara, you might want to contact the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) about this. It sounds like a legal problem, so it might be good to have an NFB advocate at your next IEP meeting if things start to get worse. I’m not a parent, but I’m a blind student and an NFB member. I have heard plenty of stories about how the NFB and its advocates have helped parents of blind children and blind students in their fight to get the services and accomodations we students need to succeed, and they probably will be able to help with this. Just a suggestion. I’m sorry you’re having to deal with an uncooperative school system, and I hope your future interactions with them go well!

    • Barbara Lopez

      He’s not blind, but he does have a print disability. He has convergence insufficiency and requires large print for sustained reading. Do you think they would still help? He accesses his textbooks with Text to Speech software, and he does almost all his school work on Test Talker, anything that requires writing, because it allows him to type his answers. He can’t write, I don’t really know why, something distorted about his visual motor integration. But he is able to answer fill in the blank worksheets with short phrases and sentences, if he can type them and have a talking word processor.

  5. Llewellyn Jones

    Happy Birthday to you!! As a teacher of the Visually Impaired, you have made my life easier, but more importantly, you have greatly enhanced the educational opportunities of many of my students. Being able to download their text books to an iPad has let them be known as the geeky kid instead of the kid lugging around LP books. One of my Braille readers has now tested on 19 AR books this year (and 1/3 of the year is left). Last year it was a real chore to get him to read 8 or 9 books. He has choices – he can choose a book and then we Braille it for him. He loves to listen to books on tape, but these 19 books have been books that he read, as we are still working on improving his reading abilities. Another low vision kid downloads 3 – 4 books a week on her iPad. Before I was doing good to get her to read one book every couple of weeks. You have changed lives. Thank You!!

    Llewellyn Jones

  6. Carlos Lopez

    I’ve been using Bookshare for about a year now. It’s been awesome! However, is it possible to have school textbooks on Bookshare?

    • Betsy Burgess

      We have a lot of textbooks, but if we don’t have the ones you need, you can request them. Just login in to your membership, go to http://www.bookshare.org/contactUs, fill out the form. Select “Requesting a school books” from the “My question is about” drop down menu. We process several hundred school book requests every month.

  7. Carlos Lopez

    I’d be nice to have school textbooks on Bookshare. I download books onto my Braillenote Apex. It’s great! Not only is it fun downloading books from Bookshare, but it makes reading easier, especially since I can read books electronically. Now I don’t have to get books brailled on paper. Instead, I can just log into my Bookshare account, find the book I want to read and download it within minutes. Any Braillenote user can access it once they have created an account. Thank you!!!

    • Barbara Lopez

      Hi Carlos, we have found some of my son’s High School textbooks on Bookshare. A History book and the Novels that the class is assigned for English. It really helps him keep up. He reads a page or two from the book and then 20 more pages on Bookshare, and he is able to keep up with the class. Keep looking, at first I didn’t find any of the textbooks we needed, but later on, I did searches for the same books and found them.

  8. Congrats and best wishes!!! Thanks for making literature accessible.

  9. Linda VandeVoort

    Happy, Happy Birthday, Baby! (insert music here)

    In all seriousness, I am so thankful to have Bookshare on my side! My students who struggle with reading are enjoying the ability to participate in grade level Battle of the Books. It is sooo wonderful to watch them get excited about something academic! Thank you Bookshare; and may you have another 10+ years to make a difference.

  10. Juan Aguilar

    Hay, bookshare!
    You rock… You know that right?
    You should…
    I’m really glad you guys are here.
    Happy Birthday Bookshare!

  11. Renee jones

    Happy Birthday Bookshare!

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