Tell Us Your Story: "I Can Read Anywhere"

Finalist 7 of 14

From the time I was in second grade, I loved books. My teacher was very good at encouraging her students to read books.

As I grew older and began reading more, whole new worlds were opened to me--far away lands, different cultures, love, intrigue, history, and science fiction.

Then the world of computers came along. I found myself further and further out of sync with what was being read by my friends.

This was especially true as I had become a Christian, and there was not that much Christian material available. When my husband gave me my Braillenote for Christmas in 2002, I was thrilled with the possibility of being able to download books from Bookshare.

A couple of months later I began downloading and reading books, and sometimes just browsing to see what was available. It was like going to a huge virtual library. It was like going to Powel's Bookstore in Portland. I have sometimes just browsed for hours at a time, so excited by what I could read. When I go on a trip, I no longer have to make room for bulky braille books or tapes and my clunky talking book player. I can take my MPower and my Victor Stream and read anywhere.

Last year while visiting my mom, I went to my niece's fifth grade class. She was having her students listen to a book, so a couple of hours before I went to her classroom, I found the book on Bookshare, downloaded it and read the chapter to the class that day. I will also be helping to lead a women's Bible study this next fall, because I was able to download a book by Beth Moore that we will be using. The freedom, the enjoyment, and best of all, being able to read books along with my sighted friends is totally wonderful.

Last night I won a print book as a door prize. I'm looking forward to seeing if it is already available on Bookshare, and if not, sending it to a friend who submits books to Bookshare. Not having a scanner of my own, I so deeply appreciate all the volunteers who make reading all of these books possible.

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