K-12 ARRA Survey Generates New Ideas – (American Recovery and
School districts have many ideas for stimulus funds, but here’s
one that’s well worth considering – services from Bookshare.
Bookshare is free for U.S. schools and students, that’s true;
however, there are many other worthwhile services Bookshare could provide
that we just can’t deliver for free, but that would qualify for
IDEA Part B stimulus funds. (Individual with Disabilities
To find out what school districts want from Bookshare, and to help
us decide about new offerings that would support long-lasting improvements
in special education, we conducted a survey in May and June. Special
Education Directors, Superintendents and Assistant Superintendents of
The survey asked about use of funds, plans to obligate funds, and topics
for professional development in special education, among other new offerings
appropriate to Bookshare.
Bookshare’s role in special education is unique. It offers a
broad nonprofit perspective and works with many vendors to ensure users
have tools and training to take advantage of the Bookshare library.
From this perspective, Bookshare will be offering a mixture of assistive
technology products, professional development and other requested services.
Profit is not the motive; rather our goal is to provide better training
for teachers and better access to assistive technology which leads to
improved outcomes for students with print disabilities.
Watch the Bookshare website in July for more details on new offerings
from Bookshare in conjunction with other partners that support the goals
of stimulus funds. In the meantime, would you like the results of the
Visit Contact Us
and select ARRA (stimulus) Program from the menu
list in the field labeled: “My
question is about.”
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Bookshare Named Authorized NIMAC User
in U.S. States and Territories
To expedite the process of providing accessible versions of textbooks
to students with print disabilities, your state can name Bookshare as
an Authorized User or AU of the NIMAC. Here is the current list of states
that have named Bookshare as an Authorized User: CA, CO, ID, IA,
KS, LA, MA, MD, ME, MN, MO, MT, ND, NE, NH, NY, OK, OR, PA, TN, TX, VT, WA, Guam and Northern Mariana Islands. Is your state on the list?
What is the NIMAC? NIMAC stands for National Instructional Materials
Accessibility Center. It is a federally-funded, central repository created
by the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) to hold U.S.
K-12 digital textbook source files. U.S. textbook publishers are required
to submit files to the NIMAC when the request is made in writing at
the point of print book purchase. The files can then be used to create
a variety of specialized formats for students with print disabilities.
This process helps to make certain that all K-12 students with print
disabilities receive timely access to required
educational textbooks according to the IDEA 2004 Law. (Individual with
Disabilities Education Act)
As an AU of the NIMAC, Bookshare supplements the work of other state
AU’s and can provide timely access to digital accessible textbooks
for students with qualified print disabilities
and IEPs (Individual Education Plan). A teacher
or sponsor can request and receive converted student-ready
textbooks in accessible file formats from Bookshare
in less than two weeks.
In states that have not named Bookshare as a state AU, teachers request
textbooks through one of their state AU’s, who may still assign
the book to Bookshare for conversion. This turnaround process will take
longer, from one to two months depending on the complexity of the book.
“When we find a required digitized book in the NIMAC, we make
a special notation to request it from Bookshare. Within a week, the
books come back in a more reader-friendly format. This is one of the
real benefits of working with Bookshare,” said Valerie Whitney,
Special School District (SSD) Area Coordinator for St. Louis County,
MO and the Missouri Assistive Technology Project.
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Is Your School Leading the Way in
Providing Books in Accessible Formats?
The George Lucas Foundation, founded by the legendary filmmaker and
publisher of Edutopia magazine, is interested in creating a video about
U.S. schools that are leading the way in providing books in accessible
formats and using assistive technologies. We are collecting the names
of leading K-12 schools.
Tell us what your school is doing with accessible books and you could
be part of this historic video. Visit our website
and complete our Contact Us
let us know who you are and give a brief description
in the comments box about your K-12 school’s initiative to access
digital books using Bookshare. We will contact you
in the fall to discuss the plans for this media outreach.
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Educational Conferences - Visit Bookshare
- National Federation of the Blind (NFB), July 3-8 — Detroit
- American Council of the Blind (ACB), July 4-11 — Orlando FL
- LA Assistive Technology (LATI), July 15-17 — Baton Rouge
- 2009 AHEAD, July 20-25 — Louisville, KY
- PA Transition Conference, July 23 — Penn State PA
- Kansas AT Conference, July 30-31 — Kansas
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Transitioning from High School to College
If you are a Member of Bookshare through an organization, (such as
your high school, a local library or the Department of Rehabilitation),
then the summer months are the best time to sign up for an individual
membership. That way you can take Bookshare to your next school with
you, and access your digital books anytime.
Thanks to the OSEP (U.S. Office of Special Education Programs) award,
an individual membership is free to college students. Just like an
unlimited library card, you can select and download books independently
using your individual password on the Bookshare website.
Students under 18 will still need a parent or guardian’s signature,
but it’s easy to sign up. Ask your high school or organization
to help you with the paperwork or check it out on
your own at the Bookshare website: www.bookshare.org/portal/category/signing-up-and-managing-membership
Next Steps – Higher Education Textbooks and Reading Materials
It’s important now to check in with the Disability Student Services
office at your new college during orientation or before school starts
to be sure that your reading accommodations are in place at the beginning
of your classes. Students often choose to have both a college Bookshare
membership, as well as an individual membership so they can access
digital books anytime and anywhere for their studies and for their
reading pleasure. Ask about Bookshare membership and how it might benefit
other university students with print disabilities.
Taking a Break from School? –6 Weeks to Re-register Your Membership
If you are taking a break from school, please note that you have 6
weeks to re-register as a non-student Member.
to re-register. Qualified non-students pay $75 the
first year; ($25 one-time set up fee and $50 membership
fee.) $50 is the yearly membership fee.
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Make Your Child’s Summer Months
Fun and Interesting
School’s out and kids are gearing up for plenty of summer fun.
Make sure that your child’s summer fun includes reading and enjoying
the simple pleasures of a good book. During the school year, students
are often too busy keeping up with their class assignments to read
merely for pleasure. Students tell us about the books they love to
read like Harry Potter, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, The
Aesop for Children and the Twilight series about teen vampires. One
teacher wrote that her students read Maniac McGee by Jerry Spinelli;
a story about a boy from the east side of town whose life experiences
touched the hearts of many of her students. Perhaps you’ll look
for this book in the Bookshare library for your teen.
Summer is the perfect opportunity to match your child’s interests
and hobbies and strengthen reading comprehension
and fluency skills. The Bookshare library offers
over 50,000 digital books, including newspapers,
fiction, non-fiction and best sellers. Start
now! Talk with your child and do a summer
reading book search.
Can’t Find the Book You Want? Request It
Volunteers, partners, and the Bookshare staff work diligently to get
the books that our Members want to read. If you didn’t find the
title you searched for, ask
Remember that your child will need an individual
Bookshare membership to download books at home. If
your child only has a membership through school, please register your
child now for an individual membership for
anywhere, anytime reading all year round.
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Summer Reading Fun - Pique Your Child’s
Plank Tells Tales, by Natalie Babbitt (Ages 6-9)
After spending years at sea, Jack comes to town to
find a new career. Is there any job that is right for an ex-pirate
who is no good at plundering, but loves to tell stories?
Fly High, Fly Guy!, by Tedd Arnold (Ages 6-9)
When Buzz and his family go on vacation, they don't
want to take Buzz's pet, Fly Guy, with them, but
he joins them nonetheless. Though small, the fly proves his mettle
and saves the day with his flying skills.
of A Wimpy Kid: Greg Heffley’s Journal,
by Jeff Kinney (Ages 10-12)
Greg and his best friend, Rowley, adjust to middle
school, where they are undersized weaklings. When
Rowley grows more popular, Greg kicks off a chain
of events that tests their friendship.
The Quest Begins,
by Erin Hunter (Ages 10-12)
Three young bears of different species--one black,
one polar, and one grizzly--travel on a perilous
quest to the Northern Lights, escorting a shape-shifting
grizzly cub whose destiny will affect them all.
(Maximum Ride #5),
by James Patterson (Ages: 10-12)
Maximum Ride and the other members of the Flock have
barely recovered from their last arctic adventure,
when they are confronted by the most frightening
by Stephenie Meyer (Ages 12 and up)
17-year-old Bella meets an exquisitely handsome boy
at her new high school, and realizes that he is not
by Alyson Noel (Ages 12 and up)
Since a horrible accident claimed the lives of her
family, sixteen-year-old Ever can see auras, hear
people's thoughts, and know a person's life story
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Parent and Organization Conferences:
Visit Bookshare Staff
- Region 1 Parent TA (Technical Assistance) Center Conference,
June 15-17 — Providence, RI
- Family Connect (NAPVI), July 17-19, Costa Mesa, CA
- TA Alliance, July 22-24 — Milwaukee, WI
- EKOM at Ross School, September 15 — Ross, CA
- LDA of Kentucky 2009 Summer Conference, June 10 — Shepherdsville,
- Region 5 Alliance for TA Parent Conference, June 25-27 — Denver,
- National Federation of the Blind National Convention, July
3-8 — Detroit, MI
- American Council of the Blind 2009 Convention, July 3-11 — Orlando, FL
- NAPVI's Families Connecting with Families 2009 International
Conference, July 17-19 — Costa Mesa, CA
- Region 4 Parent TA Center Annual Conference, July 22-24 — Milwaukee, CA
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National Press Club Event
In April, we gathered in Washington D.C. at the National Press
Club to announce our partnerships with U.S. colleges, universities,
Read the latest
about our partnerships to grow the Bookshare collection
with legally scanned books and digital files.
In this photo, Benetech CEO Jim Fruchterman is standing along the
National Press Club hall of fame adorned with photos of legendary
media people, politicians, presidents and celebrities. Jim and our
distinguished panel spoke to the press, the disability community
and government officials about the benefits of our new partnerships.
Jim set the tone of our event when he told the gathering, “Digital
media is the future for learners and individuals
with print disabilities. Working directly with book publishers
and universities, we have an extraordinary opportunity to knock
down the barriers and raise the floor of access to ensure that
all individuals have access to read print publications at the
Important Points of Jim’s Speech
- Bookshare is growing fast by harnessing the power of people,
organizations, schools, authors, volunteers and
businesses to lower the barriers for individuals
with disabilities to access print materials. Our
educational goals are adding 100,000 books and 100,000 Members
by 2012. You can help us get there!
- Eleven U.S. universities and colleges now provide legally
scanned books to Bookshare through our University
Partnership Program. We also have more than two
contributing digital files to the collection.
Joining Jim on the panel: Jim Marks, President Elect of the Association
on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) and Director of Disability
Services at the University of Montana; Eugene Skonicki, a student
Member of Bookshare and a recent graduate of the Georgetown University
Law Center where he co-founded the Disability Law Society; and Allan
R. Adler, V.P. for Legal and Governmental Affairs at the Association
of American Publishers (AAP).
Panelist, Jim Marks
Jim Marks spoke about the university partnership. His message focused
on cost savings and efficient use of federal dollars and resources.
Jim validated our Bookshare mantra, ‘scan once, share many’ and
talked about the compounding effect of our partners’ contributions
to increase the quantity of books in the library.
“In addition to building a substantial collection of accessible
books, this program can ease the burden and the financial cost for
university scanning operation. We can serve thousands of students
while saving our institutions time, resources and tens of thousands
of dollars in scanning costs,” said Marks.
Eugene Skonicki talked about his individual membership and how
he uses the library for his graduate studies.
Allan Adler’s presentation pointed to concerns from the print
publishers’ perspective and the situation publishers face
as digital content expands.
All of our guests were excited about our new partnerships with
colleges, universities and publishers. Read
a featured story in e-Campus News.
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New Member Stories
Special thanks to Ashley Seymour (photo right, above),
a college junior at University of Michigan-Flint
and Megan Krapfl (photo right, below) a 10th grader
at Williamsburg Junior/Senior High School, in Iowa
for sharing their great stories with us.
These student Members worked with us to prepare
articles for local and national news and magazines
about their use of Bookshare. Read
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Tell Us Your Bookshare
Story – 2009 Member Contest
Twenty-two Bookshare Members sent us wonderful stories
about how their lives have transformed since they began
reading books in digital formats. We enjoyed hearing from
you and reading your stories about how Bookshare has made
your reading experience more memorable.
Selecting our finalists was tough, but we now have a grand
prize winner through our Member voting process. She is
Sofia Gallo, who wrote a story entitled, “Twilight
at 2 a.m.” Sofia selected a Victor Reader Stream
by HumanWare as her grand prize. Check
story and all the stories written by our contest
Thanks again for telling us your story!
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Bookshare just launched its international program in India
to support some of the more than 10 million people with
print disabilities. While computers and the Internet are
widely available, less than 5% of the books are in accessible
formats. Braille is expensive and students with print disabilities
often walk several kilometers, braving the scorching summer
heat or monsoons, to reach a school where books will be
read to them by sighted volunteers. Our mission is to help
students worldwide have a better quality of life by providing
them with easy access to educational and informative books
in accessible formats.
In the absence of disability laws that allow for books
to be produced in alternative formats for individuals with
print disabilities in India and other countries, Bookshare
approaches publishers directly to obtain permission to
offer their books online in the Bookshare library. We are
pleased that we now have global permissions from several
publishers in India, including Orient BlackSwan, Seasons
Publishing, Oxford University Press and East West Publications.
We have also partnered with the DAISY Forum of India to
obtain content for our website. DAISY stands for the Digital
Accessible Information System.
In order to extend services to our India Members, Bookshare
has partnered with three NGOs (non-governmental organizations)
in different parts of India. These include Saksham Charitable
Trust in the North and the East, Xavier’s Resource
Center for the visually challenged in the West, and Worth
Trust in the South.
Bookshare is also working in the UK, Canada, and South
Africa. We will continue to bring you more news about our
International focus in the coming months.
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Volunteer Circle – NEW!
Bound for Books e-Newsletter and Blog
As always, we remain grateful for the support and unwavering
dedication of the Bookshare volunteers. We are excited
about the launch of our new e-newsletter, Bound for Books.
Please send us
to receive this newsletter. Bound for Books will
bring our volunteers the latest scanning and proofreading
guidelines and policy changes, while offering a
view into the efforts and spirit behind the people
who make it all come together. The
spring issue now features an interview with Bookshare
volunteer, Monica Willyard.
We’ve also launched the Bound by Books blog. Read
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Book Quality – Reprocessing
and Fixing Errors
Have you noticed problems with books in READ:OutLoud or
Victor Reader Soft? In some cases, the problem is not with
the software, but with the book. We have a major initiative
underway, including reprocessing the entire collection,
to bring the quality of all books up to the highest standard.
Reprocessing will fix some issues, but we need your help.
In late 2008, we implemented a new feature on our website
for Bookshare users to provide direct feedback about the
quality of the books they download. When you select a book
title and go to the book’s information page, you’ll
find a box in the upper right corner called Quality Issues
to report a book issue you encountered while reading. Please
report any errors you find. You’ll hear back from
us quickly as to when the errors will be corrected.
Here’s how to report a book issue:
Select “Report book quality issue” in the
right hand corner of each book page. A form will auto-generate
with the basic information about the book (title, author,
etc.). Fields will also appear to enter comments and contact
information, which is kept anonymous. Please note specific
examples or pages that you are reporting about. This information
is helpful for us to assess book issues properly.
Within 24 hours, a report is logged on our system and
you can check the status of your issue by going to http://quality.bookshare.org
or by selecting “See all reported book quality issues” on
the book’s download page.
Educational books with quality issues are fixed within
one month. Books of non-educational content are fixed within
2 months. Once a book quality issue is resolved, we will
contact you if you have opted to receive notification.
Thanks for helping us constantly improve the quality of
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- We passed a major milestone this past month: 50,000
- 1592 volunteers worldwide contribute their time
and talent each week
- More than 1000 books are added every month thanks
to volunteers, authors, publishers, universities,
colleges and production partners
Have a terrific summer!
The Bookshare Team
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