Bookshare Free Accessible Online Library for US Students
Bookshare is digital platform initiated by Benetech non-profit organization engaged in using technology to address social challenges. Under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, the “Bookshare and Innovation for Education” initiative offers more than 390,000 free titles for US students who have visual impairments, physical or learning disabilities.
This Accessible Online Library allows people with print disabilities to access their contents by utilizing a range of different special formats. Some of them include:
- High quality text-to-speech voices
- Hearing and seeing highlighted words
- Digital Braille or enlarged fonts
- Physical braille or large prints
- Reading from web browsers
Besides from the potential impact of Bookshare as a source for allowing disabled individuals to read and access a wider variety of contents, the system has been used in schools to elaborate an integral curriculum for students. For example, the Getting Ready for the Outside World (GROW) program offered at Riverview school in Massachusetts, engages these students in a ten-month vocational program that supports them for gaining relevant work experience and learning to function independently.
Access to the library is also possible for individuals and organizations in at least 70 additional countries. Discounted fees are offered for lower income countries.