Bookshare is the world’s largest online library of accessible e-books for people with print disabilities. Through its extensive collection of educational and poplular titles, specialized book formats and reading tools, Bookshare offers individuals who cannot read standard print materials the same ease of access that people without disabilities enjoy. In 2007 and 2012, Bookshare received two five-year awards from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, to provide free access for all U.S. students with a qualifying print disability. The Bookshare library now has more than 425,000 books and serves more than 400,000 members. Bookshare is an initiative of Benetech, a Palo Alto, California based nonprofit that develops and uses technology to create positive social change.
With Bookshare e-books, GLS patrons can customize their reading experience in ways that work best for their individual needs. They can choose to listen to words read aloud with high-quality text-to-speech voices; read with enlarged fonts; see and hear as words are highlighted; read in braille; and more. They can also read Bookshare e-books on a wide variety of devices, including tablets, smart phones, computers, assistive technology devices and on MP3 players using a wide variety of free and purchased apps. Bookshare offers free apps, including Bookshare Web Reader, which can be used on any computer and laptop and Go Read for Android.
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About GLS for the Blind and Print Disabled: A division of Georgia Public Library Service, GLS for the Blind and Print Disabled supports accessible library services in Georgia by promoting the use of assistive technology and by providing accessible reading materials to those who, due to a disability, ae unable to read standard print. GLS for the Blind and Print Disabled is supported in part by a grant to GPLS from the Library Services and Technology Act through the Institute of Museum and Library Services.