Personnel Development Resource Materials

Teachers, counselors and other education professionals need different resources for different students’ needs. Students with print disabilities are able to participate fully in their classes when they have access to books in digital formats.

Bookshare® is the world’s largest online library of copyrighted digital books for people with print disabilities. Having the alternative book formats provided by Bookshare mean that students can read in the environment that best meets their needs: enlarged text, Braille, synthesized speech or a combination for a multisensory experience.

What follows are resources for teaching pre-service and in-service teachers other school professionals about Bookshare, thereby equipping them with access to state-of-the-art instructional technologies for accessing heir curriculum.

Bookshare has partnered with the IRIS Center for Training Enhancements at Vanderbilt University to create an online learning module titled: Bookshare: Providing Accessible Materials for Students with Print Disabilities. This module was developed to help educators learn about the benefits and use of digital accessible books and Bookshare. For example, the module can be used as an instructional material in teacher preparation programs or as a resource for inservice teacher workshops.

Bookshare has also created a demonstration account for those who teach others about accessible media.

The Bookshare team is ready to support you with free webinars and other trainings.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction to the module
  2. IRIS Center Training Module
  3. Demonstration Accounts
  4. YouTube “Learn It Now” Videos and Learning Guides
  5. Brochures
  6. For Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments

1. Introduction to the module

As a new classroom teacher, you may work with students with print disabilities. One of the best resources for those students is Bookshare (, an online digital library for people with print disabilities.

A Bookshare membership for qualified students ( provides access to over 135,000 copyrighted, digital books – including NIMAC textbooks - in DAISY (Digital Accessible Information Systems) and BRF (Braille Ready Format) formats, and two free reading tools for reading Bookshare books.

We’ve put together a resource packet here to use as you get started with Bookshare. It includes a short video from the IRIS Center on using Bookshare in the classroom as well as instructions on setting up a demonstration account for downloading and reading Bookshare books using the free reading software (READ:OutLoud or Victor Reader Soft).

The Bookshare site is filled with information and training help. Here are links to some of the most frequently referenced “Learn It Now” YouTube videos and training guides, as well as links to many of the Bookshare brochures. You may freely download and re-print these as you wish.

Questions? Feel free to contact us at:

We’re here to work with you to make the world of accessible materials a better place to read.

2. IRIS Center Training Module

IRIS Module: Bookshare.

The IRIS Center at Vanderbilt University offers special education resources and materials—validated instructional strategies, research-to-practice strategies, best practices and more.

3. Demonstration Accounts

With a Bookshare demonstration account anyone can “try out” downloading and reading freely available Bookshare books without proof of disability.

We ask that you register to use the account so that when there are updates to the Bookshare site we can contact you to update your demo account as well.

There are two demonstration accounts: one for Organizational Members (that allow you to create a sample student rosters and download books for students) and one for Individual Members. Try it out: sign up for one or both of the Bookshare demonstration accounts.

Using the demo account passwords, you can download software from the site (READ:OutLoud or Victor Reader Soft) then download some of the demonstration books and/or “freely available” books. (Find “freely available books” on the pull down under the seventh tab (“Books to Search”) in “Advanced Search”

4. YouTube “Learn It Now” Videos and Training Guides

Find brief “Learn It Now” videos on YouTube. These videos were created by The Bookshare Team and are updated regularly.

In addition to learning how to use ReadOutLoud for Individuals, and for ReadOutLoud for Educators, there is a video about using the Read2Go IOS application.

Questions? Bookshare's Help Portal offers answers to frequently asked questions and training videos as well as excellent online learning guides. You can find additional training with our upcoming webinars. Here are a few of our training guides:

5. Brochures

Bookshare brochures: These are freely downloadable for sharing.

6. For Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments

 How do itinerant teachers sign up students from different schools or districts with Bookshare memberships?

There are two types of Bookshare memberships that teachers can create for their students:

    • Individual memberships
    • Organizational memberships

Individual memberships:

Individual memberships follow students throughout their lifetime, whereas organizational memberships are linked to the school where the student is enrolled. Students can have both memberships and both are free.*

With an individual account, students can download books wherever and whenever they need them (at home, school, etc.).


    • Students can independently download wherever there is Internet access.
    • Students can take advantage of Bookshare’s new web reader.

Help your student sign up for an individual membership. 

1.    Organizational memberships:

As an itinerant teacher, you may work with students from several school districts.

First, find out from the organization where you are employed if there is an existing Bookshare account and ask to be added as a sponsor.  If the organization is a state or local education agency, you can be added to that organization’s account. If the student’s school/district has an existing Bookshare account, you can also ask to be added as a sponsor to that account.
You can also check with the State Education Agency (SEA), Local Education Agency (LEA),  or any other umbrella agency that serves blind and visually impaired students to find an existing Bookshare account.

And, you can always check with Bookshare’s membership department

If there is a Bookshare account for the school/district that oversees your student’s program, then you can become a sponsor on that account and create accounts for the students. Being a sponsor allows you to download titles from Bookshare on behalf of the students you work with. Any staff member named as a sponsor can download books for all of the students registered under the organizational account. To download a book, a staff member selects a student from the student list. That downloaded book is specifically for that student.

    • Does the district have a large roster? You can create a Quick List of the specific students you work with.
    • You can access NIMAC books for students with IEPs.
    • You can create a Bookshelf to organize the books you select for your students—they will need their own individual account to access those books.

If there is not a Bookshare account for the school/district that oversees your student’s program, then you can create an organizational account, create a roster of students, and begin to download books for them. Create an organizational account. 

From time to time, itinerant teachers create multiple organizational accounts across districts. Sponsors on different organizational accounts will need to have a different email address for each account.

*Thanks to an award from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, memberships are free for all students. When the individual is no longer enrolled in classes, the membership is $75 for the first year and $50 annually from then on.

2.    FAQs—Reading Tools for Students with Vision Impairments
Working with students who read braille? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Other questions? Check out Bookshare’s Support Portal . Or Contact Us.