GLASS offers over 425,000 accessible ebooks in its pursuit of total accessibility
Benetech, provider of Bookshare, is proud to announce a new partnership with Georgia Libraries for Accessible Statewide Services (GLASS), making over 425,000 accessible ebooks available for free to patrons who cannot read printed books due to blindness, low vision, dyslexia, and other print disabilities. GLASS is the statewide network of talking book centers that provides library services for the blind and others whose physical abilities require the use of books and magazines in digital audio formats or in braille.
Beginning July 1, every Georgian with an eligible print disability will have free access to Bookshare’s vast online library including bestsellers, literature, non-fiction, picture books, educational texts, career guides, and much more as GLASS patrons.
“GLASS is happy to be able to offer access to Bookshare as a library resource at no expense to eligible library patrons,” said Pat Herndon, MLIS, Director of GLASS. “Georgia is only the second state to offer this program to its eligible readers. We are thrilled to make this valuable resource available to GLASS patrons and Georgians with a certified print impairment.”
Currently, all U.S. students with qualifying disabilities can access Bookshare’s library for free under an award from the Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). This new partnership serves eligible Georgia patrons of all ages, whether they are students or not.
With Bookshare ebooks, members can customize their reading experience in ways that work for them. Members can listen to words read aloud with high quality text-to-speech voices, read with enlarged fonts, see and hear as words are highlighted, read in braille, and more. Further, members can read on a wide variety of devices, including tablets, smart phones, computers, assistive technology devices, and MP3 players using a variety of free and paid apps. Bookshare offers free apps including Bookshare Web Reader, which can be used on any computer and laptop, as well as Go Read for Android.
“We are proud to partner with GLASS to open up new horizons for Georgians with print disabilities. Bookshare offers them access to an extensive collection of accessible ebooks free of charge and for use on a wide variety of devices,” said Brad Turner, Vice President of Global Literacy at Benetech. “We look forward to continuing our collaboration with GLASS and are working to set up similar agreements with other public library systems across the U.S. so that all persons with print disabilities have full access to the world of books.”
This partnership is the second of its kind between Bookshare and a large U.S. public library. The first, with the New York Public Library (NYPL), provides unlimited downloads of accessible materials for patrons’ personal use and more than doubles the number of titles available to NYPL patrons with print disabilities.
Beginning July 1, Georgians with qualifying disabilities who wish to sign up for free access to Bookshare should go to the GLASS website for more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 1-800-248-6701.
Bookshare is the world’s largest online library of accessible ebooks for people with print disabilities. Through its extensive collection of educational and popular titles, specialized book formats, and reading tools, Bookshare offers individuals who cannot read standard print materials the same ease of access that people without disabilities enjoy. In 2007 and 2012, Bookshare received two five-year awards from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), to provide free access for all U.S. students with a qualifying print disability. The Bookshare library now has over 425,000 books and serves more than 400,000 members. Bookshare is an initiative of Benetech, a Palo Alto, CA-based nonprofit that develops and uses technology to create positive social change. www.bookshare.org.
Benetech is a different kind of tech company. We’re a nonprofit whose mission is to empower communities in need by creating scalable technology solutions. Our work has transformed how over 400,000 people with disabilities read; made it safer for human rights defenders in over fifty countries to document human rights violations; and equipped environmental conservationists to protect ecosystems and species all over the world. Our Benetech Labs is working on the next big impact. Visit www.benetech.org.
A division of Georgia Public Library Service, Georgia Libraries for Accessible Statewide Services (GLASS) supports accessible library services in Georgia by promoting the use of assistive technology and by providing accessible reading materials to those who, due to a disability, are unable to read standard print. GLASS is supported in part by a grant to GPLS from the Library Services and Technology Act through the Institute of Museum and Library Services. www.georgialibraries.org/glass