We’ve reached two major milestones in our work to advance reading equality to underserved populations, and we’re shouting it out to the world!
First, the collection now surpasses a quarter of a million titles, 286,033 to be exact as of today. We achieved this milestone thanks to the sheer dedication of volunteers, our staff, and partnerships with over 500 leading publishers, like Random House, Penguin, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Hachette, Wiley, and many others who donate their digital files.
Did you know that Bookshare also has well over 14,000 textbooks in the collection? Yes, that’s true! We also have vocational, research, teacher-recommended titles, and popular books.
The second milestone is that Bookshare now serves over 310,000 people with print disabilities! This includes students and adults in the U.S., as well as individuals in over 50 countries! This year, we also formed partnerships with Wounded Warriors and VetSuccess.org to provide library memberships for qualified Veterans.
Memberships are free for U.S. students with qualifying print disabilities thanks to awards from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. Members get access to free reading tools that read our accessible ebooks in formats like DAISY Text, DAISY Audio, Braille Ready Format (BRF), and MP3.
Jim Fruchterman, our CEO, founded Benetech, Bookshare’s parent nonprofit organization. His goal with Bookshare was to create a digital library that would give blind users the freedom to read independently, to be more included in society, and to strengthen educational and employment opportunities. Jim says, “These milestones represent a giant leap forward in the number of students and individuals we serve. With the collection expanding daily, we can ensure equal access to the books our users need for education, employment, and social inclusion.”
Leading our charge is Betsy Beaumon, VP and General Manager of Benetech’s Global Literacy Program. Betsy says, “It’s a privilege to know that we’re making a major, positive impact toward reading equality with titles that touch so many people, interests, and needs. We celebrate these milestones with members, students, and their teachers, as well as partners and publishers, universities and schools, our staff, advocates, and volunteers who all work together to make this mission possible.”
You can read Bookshare’s official news release on the PR Web news wire, and as always we appreciate your retweets, pins, and Facebook shares. Thanks!