The Bookshare Bulletin: News and events for the Bookshare Community
Issue 2 :: Winter 2009 Subscribe | Forward to a Friend
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The New Bookshare – The Inside Story

Bookshare student member Alex Clark

Bookshare student member Alex Clark.

By Betsy Burgess

Here’s a question, "What recent project took Benetech more than a year of effort and more than 20 content specialists?" The answer, "Redesigning, rebuilding, and testing the new Bookshare library!" The project began in late 2007 with a wide-open opportunity. Benetech CEO Jim Fruchterman challenged our team to rethink the design of He asked us to create a new site that would offer better-organized information, establish best practices for accessibility, and simplify processes so that no action required more than a few clicks. With these requirements in mind, the team got to work on designing a new interface. A lot of thought went into selecting the new logo, the colors, the layout, the location of each menu item, and the placement of buttons. After multiple iterations, the team agreed on the design you now recognize and use.

The Inside Story continues

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Bookshare Partners With Publishers

By Robin Seaman

Bookshare partners with publishers to make thousands of digital books available to people with print disabilities. The Publisher Partnership Program allows Bookshare members to download best-selling books simultaneously with their release in print.

Learn more about Bookshare publishing partners.

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Bookshare Member A.J. Snitko

A.J. Snitko

Bookshare student member A.J. Snitko, who attends the University of Alabama, is taking classes towards a degree in mechanical engineering.

By Mario Oliveros

Last December, the Huntsville Times newspaper of Huntsville, Alabama published a story about Bookshare student member A.J. Snitko. The story noted that A.J., a talented young man with cerebral palsy, uses Bookshare to access reading materials for his college classes at the University of Alabama. Before he had access to Bookshare, A.J. relied on his parents to read and study. "At home, Mom and Dad are his hands," his mother Shelly Snitko told the Huntsville Times.

Read more about Bookshare member A.J. Snitko.

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The Bookshare Team Expands

By Ann Harrison

Bookshare added two key members to its team this winter. We are pleased to introduce Betsy Beaumon and Amy McNeely who both play important roles in the continuing expansion of the Bookshare library.

Learn more about's newest team members.

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University Partners

By Cherie Miller

In 2003, Indiana University shared over 500 scanned books with Bookshare and created the first Bookshare university partnership. Since then, other colleges and universities have followed suit, contributing over 1,000 books for use by post-secondary students worldwide.

Learn more about Bookshare's university partners.

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Textbooks For Students When They Need Them

By Susie McKinnon

Chad, a high school student from Santa Teresa High in San Jose, CA, is looking forward to college in a few years. Once he graduates and moves on to college, Chad hopes to continue studying history, his favorite subject. Chad has cerebral palsy and reading bound print books is physically challenging for him. He has often torn the pages of his books while trying to turn the pages, and on many occasions has resorted to having his mother read books for him.

Learn more about textbooks for students.

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Accessibility Tips From Bookshare Volunteers

By Pavi Mehta

Bookshare's growing library owes a great deal to its virtual community of over 1400 volunteers. Logging in from remote locations all over the country, these dedicated individuals scan and proofread books for the collection. Since many Bookshare volunteers have print disabilities themselves, we asked them to help us come up with five key accessibility challenges that they commonly encounter on websites. The Bookshare library has incorporated many of these features and suggestions into its new design. The perspectives of our volunteers are deeply informed by their personal experience. Below are their observations and suggestions.

Get your accessibility tips.

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Bookshare Story Contest

Want to share your best Bookshare experience? Has Bookshare changed your life in a unique and significant way? Enter your story for a chance to win!

Find out more about how you can win.

Bookshare Training Webinars

Upcoming trainings will include more information on how to read and download books using our free e-book reader software, Victor Reader Soft and READ:Out Loud. We will also feature a future webinar on how to get textbooks from the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC).

Learn more about training.

New Bookshare Videos

Bookshare completed ten new videos last year that profiled student members plus their parents and teachers. Some of these videos also demonstrate how Bookshare is used and provide a "How-To" look at Bookshare in the classroom.

Check out our new videos.

New Bookshare Stats

  • Number of Books in the Bookshare Library – 44,917
  • Individual Bookshare Members - 5770
  • Organizational Members - 46,728
  • Total Bookshare Members - 52,498

Hot Books

The most sought after titles in the Bookshare collection are the Harry Potter books which continue to be the top most requested books in the library. Other popular books during this winter season are titles from the New York Times bestsellers list including: Plum Spooky, by Janet Evanovich, The Associate, by John Grisham, and Animals Make Us Human, by Temple Grandin.

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