To know Bookshare

Bookshare logoI appear to be on an extended ebook kick as a result of being heavily implanted in accessible instructional material, or AIM, projects these days. But today’s post could have been written five years ago (well, most of it…you’ll see what I mean).

If you haven’t heard of Bookshare, consider this a fortuitous visit to my blog. Every educator needs to be aware of this unique electronic library, particularly now that it has announced Bookshare for Education (B4E). For years, Bookshare has provided ebooks to individuals who are blind or have other print disabilities. It accomplishes this through a community of people who scan and submit books. Bookshare has quality criteria and monitors the scanned books that they receive. Because of copyright exemption that permits the reproduction of publications into specialized formats for individuals with print disabilities, Bookshare now has 37,000 titles, with over 100 books being added every month, not to mention over 20,000 members. Three thousand school groups have discovered Bookshare as a source of core instructional materials for their students who cannot access traditional print.

Until October 1 of last year, schools could join Bookshare for a modest membership fee. All that changed when Bookshare was awarded funding by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) to develop and implement B4E, meaning that memberships for U.S. schools and qualifying U.S. students of all ages including K-12, post-secondary and adult education, are now free. Keep in mind that this is “all you can read” access for a full year (and another four as it is a 5-year award).

For folks who are following NIMAS, you may be interested in the fact that Bookshare is also an Accessible Media Producer (AMP).

I encourage you to learn more about Bookshare. It’s FAQ section is a good place to begin.

2 comments so far

  1. branks on

    Thanks Cynthia, I have been trying to get this across to the Sped Dept. here for a while. I learned about it last fall.

  2. Cynthia Curry on

    You bet. Be sure to spread the word – special education folks need to know, as well as EVERYONE responsible for the purchase and selection of instructional materials.


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