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Bookshare Touches Lives All Year Long

Suraj, a student in Pune, India, reads a braille book while listening to the audio narration with help from Dr. Homiyar
Suraj, a student in Pune, India, reads a braille book while listening to the audio narration.

The goal of Benetech’s Bookshare initiative is to make reading accessible to everyone. Bookshare is the world’s largest accessible online library that serves over 400,000 members with print disabilities. In September, Bookshare reached a significant milestone when it delivered the ten millionth book downloaded. That’s an awful lot of accessible ebooks making reading possible for individuals with blindness, low vision, a physical disability, or a learning disability like dyslexia.

Another way we are bringing the benefits of Bookshare to a wider audience is through partnerships with public libraries. Libraries in New York, Georgia, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia now offer free Bookshare memberships to patrons who qualify, and we are actively pursuing additional libraries.

Bookshare’s membership extends well beyond the U.S. border. Thanks to a Google Impact Challenge award in April, the team is implementing Bookshare and conducting teacher training in India and other underserved countries. The project includes adding local language books in accessible formats to help individuals with disabilities overcome barriers to reading. Bookshare now has books in twenty-five languages and members in over seventy countries.

Throughout 2016, the Bookshare blog shared stories about students and adults whose lives have been changed by Bookshare as well as teachers and administrators who brought Bookshare to their schools. The blog also highlighted books from the incredibly vast collection of fiction, nonfiction, textbooks, children’s literature, vocational manuals, bestsellers, newspapers, and much more. Take a look at some of the highlights below:

Bookshare Members and Advocates Share the Joy of Reading

Robert Lewis broadcasting the news at the radio station.
Robert Lewis broadcasting the news at the radio station.
  • Robert Lewis, a Bookshare member and Executive Director of the Maryland School for the Blind’s Radio Reading Network
  • Seth Gast, an accomplished boy scout with dyslexia who loves animals and nature
  • Debbie Campbell, a parent advocate who dispels myths surrounding ebooks
  • Philippe Ernewein and Anthony Slaughter, school administrators who implemented Bookshare throughout the entire Denver Academy
  • Bill Powell, a Bookshare member who helps adults with visual impairments receive vocational training

Bookshare Salutes Teacher Heroes

Bookshare Adds New Features to Improve Usability

Bookshare’s Collection has Titles for All Interests and Ages

Thank you, Bookshare Champions

To all of the Bookshare members, educators, parents, volunteers, and advocates, we appreciate all the work you do to make accessible reading a commonplace experience to enrich the lives of people with print disabilities.

We invite you to connect and engage with the Bookshare community now and in 2017 by:

  • Subscribing to the Bookshare blog using the field in the upper right corner
  • Following Bookshare on social media using the icons below
  • Becoming a parent ambassador or mentor teacher

Warmest wishes for a happy holiday season from all of us at Benetech.

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