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Category: Volunteers

Volunteer related news and activities

GoogleServe Volunteers Write Image Descriptions

On June 14, Google invited Bookshare to participate in their annual GoogleServe volunteerism week.  We were warmly welcomed by Googlers, Seth Marbin and Kat Pham-Ouyang, who set us up in a computer lab. Before I had read through the instructions, our highly astute group of volunteers had already registered on the Poet image description tool and delved into the guidelines. Nineteen Google employees participated in the highly successful event (two remotely).  In just four hours, Google volunteers wrote over 1,200 descriptions for images in four different text books!  With the great success of this event, we plan to host many…

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Volunteer for Exciting New Image Description Project!

A cutting-edge image description project is underway at Bookshare. Funded by the Leveraging Impact through Technology (LIT) award from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, this pilot project uses Poet, an open-source, crowd-sourcing image description tool developed by the DIAGRAM Center, another OSEP-funded project operated by Benetech and its partners. This innovative pilot project needs volunteers. Poet makes it easy to create accessible image descriptions and add them to DAISY books. Volunteer describers log into a website, select the book they are working on, see its images, and enter descriptions for the images in the appropriate…


Bookshare Mentor Teachers and Local Experts Bring Reading Alive

Did you know that Bookshare has a very active program of over 360 Mentor Teachers and 30 Local Experts? This dedicated group of volunteers gives their time to bring reading alive for students with print disabilities in their schools and districts. Mentor Teachers provide resources and training for other teachers, parents and students. For example, some Mentors facilitate group and one-on-one trainings with teachers, parents and students on anything related to Bookshare.  Others have developed online training tools and video tutorials, conducted in-service professional development, and worked with school and district leadership to get Bookshare implemented. Many participate in a listserv…

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The Early Days of Bookshare

Eagerness, excitement, dedication, and pride characterized the early days of Bookshare. Many of the early Bookshare Members with disabilities were also volunteers who dedicated long hours to scanning and proofreading books, prior to submitting the books to Bookshare. These volunteers literally opened a book and pressed the pages one-by-one, onto a flatbed scanner, hoping the scanner would accurately recognize the text on the page. We’ve gathered some stories from early Members and volunteers to remind ourselves what Bookshare was like and how good it was! Members are welcome to contribute more to this retrospective through Comments in this blog. “It…


6th Grade Volunteers at Bookshare Surprised!

Three sixth graders from Jordan Middle School in Palo Alto, CA, never thought community service would be so much fun. They volunteered to spend several hours helping organize the collection at Bookshare. However, the students didn’t know very much about Bookshare and what they’d be doing, nor did they realize that they’d also learn how students who can’t read print, (those who are blind or have low vision, a physical disability, or a severe learning disability like dyslexia) can read a digital accessible book. When they arrived, they were introduced to the process Bookshare uses to convert many print textbooks…

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Hidden Gems

Many thanks to Judy S., a Bookshare member and volunteer, for this guest post! If you have a horse-crazy kid, or were one yourself, you’ve undoubtedly discovered the standard horse book fare, ranging from Walter Farley’s The Black Stallion to Dick Francis’ best-selling horse-racing mysteries in Bookshare’s collection. But did you know that Bookshare’s library contains many other hidden gems relating to horses? Here’s ten of my favorite lesser-known horse books, ranging from young-reader chapter books to adult mysteries to non-fiction titles. For the younger set, don’t miss Kristin Earhart’s Big Apple Barn series.  It’s a great introduction to the…


Act of Generosity Results in More Books and More Members!

A long standing fan of Bookshare, Carole Lake, has once again made a substantial $5,000.00 donation to be used to build Bookshare’s collection. Her generosity is multiplied by the many ways in which these funds are used for books that our Members want to read. Last year, Carole’s donation went towards funding the purchase of books for two of our programs: Bookshare’s Wish List. One longtime Bookshare volunteer, affectionately known as Grandma Cindy, maintains the Wish List of books that volunteers and members would like to see in the collection. Volunteer Recognition Program. Each year Bookshare’s top volunteers are recognized and given the chance…

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A Family with Disabilities Volunteers for Bookshare

Hello Bookshare Readers! Our family has taken so much pride in volunteering for Bookshare. I want to thank everyone who makes volunteering such a joy! Before Bookshare, our family could count on one hand how many books we had read together.  I have severe dyslexia, my husband, Doug is a quadriplegic and my daughter, Nichole, has cerebral palsy. We first became acquainted with Bookshare about six years ago when our older daughter, Cindy, wanted to be able to read books in a digital format. She passed away four years ago at the time Nichole, our second daughter, was starting to…

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Top Talent!

The Bookshare Volunteer Program is very pleased to have the continued assistance of Dr. Scott Rains, the well-known author and consultant on topics about travel and issues in the tourism industry of interest to people with disabilities. The operations team appreciated Scott’s energy, creative new approach, and leadership so much that they decided to extend his interim contract and keep him on board as a Fellow. To support the growth of the Volunteer Program, Scott will develop a curriculum and training materials for volunteers, in addition to recruiting volunteers. For those of you who don’t know Scott, he is the…

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