Tell Us Your Story: "Five Stars"

Finalist 4 of 14

Hello! My name is Chela and I've been a Bookshare member since August 3rd, 2006 and became a Bookshare volunteer in 2007.

As a visually impaired reader, I really love the Bookshare community because of their encouraging words to me in the midst of scanning and proofreading difficulties. I've grown curious about learning how to perfect my scanning and recognition capabilities using Kurzweil 1000 and have profited a great deal from the guidance of those who have used it for years. Being a volunteer in the Bookshare community has increased my enthusiasm to pursue more challenging areas. Scanning a paperback biography containing small print, photos and tiny captions and then to proofread a book for a massage student that is 832 pages long is new territory for me.

I've also learned a lot about the people behind Bookshare, their likes, pet peeves and interesting books they've recommended. The fact that they are so helpful is like giving a newbie a warm welcome to the family. It puts a smile on my face to know I'm part of a thriving team that never ever quits.

I use JAWS and Kurzweil for reading and proofreading books along with a Pac Mate and its 40-cell Braille display which I can use on both the Pac Mate and the desktop. The Bookshare site is very organized and easy to navigate. The volunteer team is fun to be around; they want to know more about each other, including knowing what kind of books they enjoy reading and music they like to listen to. There have been occasional Off-Topic discussions which turn out to be loads of fun just to get away from scanning and proofreading stress. It is like having a Starbucks boost for me. I hear they have activity nights like a game night which I'm going to try to take part in soon.

Bookshare rocks and without it, many people like myself would still be waiting for three months worth of hard-bound Braille books-- and these books contain many errors. Whether you're taking a course in k-12, or at the university level, this delay in getting your texts, can put you behind in the course by 3 or 4 chapters. Thanks to Bookshare, I've gotten my books on time for my English courses I've taken and they were all error-free!

I now use Bookshare for general reading purposes since I'm not in college anymore and have been reading recommended books by the volunteers. I give them 5 stars! Thanks for continually being a part of my life and keep those books coming!

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