BOOKSHARE PUTS 30,000 ACCESSIBLE BOOKS ONLINE FOR DISABLED READERS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Palo Alto, CA, November 8, 2006 – Bookshare® announced this week that its network of volunteers has succeeded in scanning 30,000 books creating the world’s largest accessible online library. Thousands of Bookshare volunteers, including educators and librarians, select their favorite books and legally convert these texts to digital formats that can be used by people with print disabilities such as dyslexia and visual impairment.
The entire Bookshare online library can be downloaded to Braille printers, portable Braille devices and software that reads aloud in a synthesized human voice. Among the titles are bestsellers including Criss Cross, the 2006 Newbery Medal winner for children’s literature. Information about the latest titles can be found at http://www.bookshare.org.
“There are thousands of people who couldn’t read this literature without something like Bookshare, it opens up a whole new world to them,” says Bookshare volunteer Matthew Devcich, 16, of Chantilly, Virginia. “You are helping people across the nation and it’s a great way to learn today’s technology.”
Devcich, who has a visual disability, created an Eagle Scout leadership service project that organized 21 mostly teenage volunteers to scan and proofread 24 books. Devcich listens to the Bookshare ebooks which allow him to reduce eye strain while he reads the text online in an enlarged font. "It helps me read a great deal faster," says Devcich.
The subscription-based Bookshare digital library is the first literacy program developed by Benetech®, a nonprofit based in Palo Alto, California. "It's people like Matthew who have made 30,000 books available at Bookshare today," said Janice Carter, Director of Benetech's Literacy Programs. "Thanks to the ongoing support of the Bookshare volunteer community, we continue to add about 100 new books each week."
The Benetech literacy team will present their library of accessible books and periodicals at the annual conference of The International Dyslexia Association conference held at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, Indiana from November 8-11.
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