By Ginny Grant, Senior Product Manager, Benetech Global Literacy Program
Have you noticed something different about Bookshare’s Special Collections? They are much easier to use and you can subscribe to them like a Reading List! After hearing how much people enjoy building their own Reading Lists, and seeing how teachers are using and sharing Reading Lists in their schools, Bookshare went the next step to make Special Collections even easier to use.
Special Collections are customized Reading Lists that are curated by the Bookshare Collection Development team. The staff is actively looking for books that members will enjoy and organizing them into fun and interesting lists. Here is a preview of some of the many lists available:
- Books to Film
- Alternate History
- Stay Financially Fit
- Resources for Returning Veterans
- Mark Zuckerberg’s “A Year of Books”
- As well as popular lists like New York Times Bestsellers, Pulitzer Award Winners, and more!
Altogether, there are more than one hundred collections that you can access via the Browse link on any Bookshare page.
Select Lists and Subscribe
The newly designed Browse page has book cover images for visual users and links and section headings for members who use screen readers. Select a list and download or open any book with Bookshare Web Reader as you normally would. The new, exciting improvement is that you can now subscribe to a Special Collection, and it will appear on your own view of My Reading Lists for easy access. As the Bookshare team adds more books, they will automatically appear on your view of the list.
For those of you who are educators, you can assign lists to students who can read every book on the list using their Bookshare Student Login. You can also make a copy of a Special Collection and add or delete titles as you wish. Note that copied lists will no longer receive updates from the original Special Collection.
Another helpful feature is that you can discover other great titles by seeing if a particular book is listed on multiple Special Collections. For example, Henry’s Freedom Box is listed on these two Special Collections — AFB Braille Bug® Reading Club Favorites and Caldecott Award Winners — where you’ll find terrific lists of other books that might whet your reading whistle.
Special Collections for School Districts
We have also started to create Special Collections for schools, including Reading Lists provided to us by districts around the country. You’ll be able to subscribe to or copy those for your own use, and, if you have a really incredible list of Bookshare titles that you’d like to share with other members or educators, please drop us a line. We will try to honor all requests to share your lists through the Special Collections feature, and if the demand is high, we can train volunteers to assist as well.
With over 550,000 titles, you need effective tools to help you discover and find books. Let Special Collections be a guide. As always, we love feedback from our members and from parents and educators of student members, so don’t hesitate to share suggestions for improvements, handy-dandy tricks that you’ve found, or joys you’ve had when discovering the myriad of titles available on Bookshare.
What are you waiting for? Dive into your favorite Special Collections today!