This year, 2012, marks Bookshare’s 10th anniversary! Thank you for your help and support through the years—you have made Bookshare what it is today. We hope our 10th anniversary will inspire more growth for our mission. Watch for ideas of things you can do in our blog. Please follow the blog by email.
We’re introducing a new free app for Bookshare called Go Read! This app reads Bookshare books on Android devices and is optimized for visually-impaired readers, and usable by anyone.
Unlike Read2Go, which is used on the Apple iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch, Go Read is an open-source technology for Android that anyone can help us improve. We invite you to download Go Read and give it a try. You can help us make it better by suggesting improvements on the Go Read forum and letting others know that they can contribute to the future development of the app. Download Go Read today!
Other Site Improvements:
- Starting to convert books to MP3! Bookshare has started to provide titles in MP3 formats that can be read on any MP3 player. During this initial period, it may take some time to prepare your book when you request it. Please be patient as we continue to further develop this feature and speed up conversion times.
- My Book History, already here! You may have noticed a new addition in your task bar after you log in called “My Book History.” This cool feature allows you to see all the books you have downloaded for yourself or your students (if you are an educator), sort them by title or date downloaded, and select a book title so that you can download it again. For best results, especially for organizational members, try viewing your My Book History in Table View rather than List View!
- Organizational Downloads Report, now live! This great administrative tool is located in “My Organization” and allows Primary Contacts to view downloaded books for an organization’s members. This report is available only to the Primary Contact for the organization, not for sponsors. This useful feature will be particularly helpful for reporting!
To kick off our 10th anniversary, in March our Advisory Board and honored guests gathered at the U.S. Capitol in Washington DC with Senator Tom Harkin (IA-D), Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pension Appropriations Committee.
To honor our veterans for their service, we have created a Special Collection with books of interest.
- A Returning Veteran’s Special Collection
Two other new Special Collections are:
To find all Special Collections, select Browse, Special Collections.
Teachers across the U.S. are sharing stories of evidence that Bookshare is improving student outcomes! Victoria (Tori) Foreman, an Assistive Technology Coordinator from Evanston, IL spoke about students’ accomplishments.
“My student, John, a 15-year-old freshman, lost his right hand and has a reading disability. He was failing his classes and frankly hated school. With Bookshare he now has B’s and is, for the first time, enjoying reading.”
“Donald, an 18-year-old senior, has been a member of Bookshare for three years. Prior to this, his grades were D’s and F’s in English and History. Using the library and reading technologies, he was able to pull his grades up to A’s and B’s. Bookshare and Read:Out Loud (text-to-speech) helped him understand the concepts of what he was learning.”
“Our school recently implemented an Earned Honors Credit system for Humanities, which meant that a large group of students who previously would have been tracked into lower level English and History classes were included with students in higher reading levels. One student, Logan, a freshman, was determined to succeed. He didn’t want to go down a level to Enriched Humanities, so we introduced him to Bookshare, Kurzweil and Read:OutLoud. These resources, along with his hard work and great attitude, helped Logan pass all of his classes and today he is a role model for his peers.”
Did you know that Bookshare has a very active program of over 360 Mentor Teachers and 30 Local Experts? Read blog…
Here’s a story and video about a student taking Bookshare with her in transition from high school to college.
Rushelle, (watch video), a high school senior in IL has dyslexia and reads below grade level. She has acute listening skills. From the first moment she was introduced to Bookshare and heard a digital book read aloud, she was hooked! Rushelle completed her nursing (CAN) certification and intends to go to community college in the fall and find a good nursing position. Her teacher said, “Rushelle would not have passed her health certification without Bookshare and the ability to comprehend text through text-to-speech or TTS.” To learn more about TTS, read Who Needs Text-to-Speech and Why?
We’re thrilled to announce that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Trade and Reference Division has signed an agreement to provide books to Bookshare!
Founded in 1832, HMH has published such renowned names in American literature as Nathaniel Hawthorne and Mark Twain to Willa Cather, Caron McCullers, Philip Roth, Paul Theroux, Robert Stone and Jhumpa Lahiri – and J.R.R. Tolkien! HMH also publishes the American Heritage® dictionaries, the Best American® series, and the Peterson Field Guides. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group publishes such great contemporary authors and illustrators as Chris Van Allsburg, Lois Lowry, Steve Jenkins, Joyce Sidman, Brian Lies, Sy Montgomery, and Allen Say. Houghton Mifflin is also home to some of the best-loved children's book characters: Curious George, Lyle the Crocodile, George and Martha, Martha of Martha Speaks, and Tacky the Penguin.
Also on board is the prestigious academic publisher Guilford Press, who publishes in psychology, the social sciences, and education. Many of their books are widely adopted textbooks which will be of particular interest to the community we serve.
Red Wheel / Weiser just signed with us. Their imprints include Conari Press, the publisher of Random Acts of Kindness, which has sold millions of copies (inspired by words scrawled on a restaurant placemat, which launched the movement that prompted people to be kind to one another) and Hampton Roads, the publisher of Mark Nepo’s The Book of Awakening, which became a #1 New York Times bestseller last year after being championed passionately by Oprah Winfrey. Hampton Roads is well known for its Conversations with God series by Neale Donald Walsch and titles by Eckhart Tolle, Byron Katie, Richard Bach, Amit Goswami, Fred Alan Wolf, and Linda Goodman.
Bookshare's international program welcomes three more partners: The National Library of Korea's Support Center for Individuals with Disabilities quickly recruited 100 Koreans with print disabilities to join Bookshare. XML-Tekst of Denmark contracts with the Danish government to provide accessible books to secondary and university students. The South African Library for the Blind provides library services to the general public and also works with the school libraries of 22 schools for the blind.
The recent CSUN / International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference in San Diego saw robust international attendance. We met members and partners from many countries including Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Kenya, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, Thailand, and the UK.
Good news from Kenya
Bookshare works with Samasource and one of its service providers, Daproim, a data entry social enterprise in Kenya. Check out this video of Daproim employee Jackie, who digitizes books for Bookshare. With the skills and experience Jackie gained at Daproim, she was recently able to graduate to a new job at an IT firm. Jim Fruchterman posted a blog about his visit to Africa in July 2011 where he talked with Jackie and the rest of the Daproim team. We love seeing the mutual benefit at work – disadvantaged workers, most of whom have disabilities themselves, in Africa helping print-disabled readers around the world and vice versa! Watch the video of his trip.
We’ve launched a new Facebook page with “Staff Picks.” Please visit Facebook!
Welcome Marcy Goot who just joined our staff as the new Marketing Director. Marcy has an extensive marketing background in educational publishing and social media. Read more…
Brian Meersma and Marsha Drenth have joined our Bookshare Advisory Board as the latest student user members to give their perspective on Bookshare issues and direction.
Brian, a NJ high school sophomore diagnosed with dyslexia at an early age, reviews technologies and writes his own blog. Read more…
Marsha Drenth, a postsecondary student, is an exceptional advocate on disability issues. She participates on many active listservs in Maryland, Texas, and Pennsylvania. Marsha is articulate, passionate, and well-versed in technology. She’ll provide a great perspective on college student issues.
Visit us at these upcoming conferences.
- April 11-14 — Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) – Denver, CO
- April 12-13 — AHEAD , San Antonio, TX
- April 21 — EdRev 2012 – San Francisco, CA