Bookshare: Providing Accessible Materials for Students with Print Disabilities
The world’s largest online accessible library, Bookshare provides digital books and software applications to people with qualifying print disabilities. The service is free-of-charge for qualifying U.S. students. The library contains more than 300,000 digital resources: fiction and non-fiction books, textbooks, supplemental educational materials, children’s books, newspapers, and magazines. Bookshare’s goal is to make materials available to students who have print disabilities at the same time that their classmates receive their materials. The table below summarizes important information about Bookshare. To view more details, roll your mouse over each of the table’s sections.
This blue table provides the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How of Bookshare, summarizing the information given throughout the module. The far left margin of the table has images of stacked books. The table is divided into five rows, with the titles of each row—Who?, What?, When?, Where?, Why?, and How?—written sideways next to the text. When the mouse is scrolled over each row, additional information pertaining to each title topic is displayed on an image of an open book.
- For the Who? row the following question is asked: Who is eligible? Two bullet responses are given as follows: school/organization memberships; individual memberships. When scrolling over the Who? row the following additional text is provided: In order to qualify for Bookshare’s services, individuals must have a certified print disability. A print disability can generally be described as any disability that makes it difficult to access standard text.
- For the What? row the following question is asked: What Will I Get? Six bullet responses are given as follows: newspapers and magazines; special collections: award-winning books, teacher-recommended reading; textbooks; NIMAC books; books in Spanish and other languages; software tools for reading. When scrolling over the What? row the following additional text is provided: Bookshare currently has over 300,000 titles, including textbooks, with over two thousand added every month.
- For the When? row the following question is asked: When Can I Use This Service?. One bullet response is given as follows: anytime, available 24/7. When scrolling over the When? row the following additional text is provided: Unlimited access to the Bookshare Web site allows people with print disabilities access to reading materials anytime.
- For the Where? row the following question is asked: Where Can I Get This?. Four bullet responses are given as follows: www.bookshare.org; any computer connected to the Internet; downloaded to a USB portable drive; compatible technologies, apps, Web reader. When scrolling over the Where? row the following additional text is provided: Members can access the Bookshare Web site at home, school, or anywhere he or she wants to read!
- For the Why? row the following question is asked: Why Do I Want to Use this Service? Two bullet responses are given as follows: increased access to materials; to read a variety of materials. When scrolling over the Why? row the following additional text is provided: Bookshare makes it easier for students with print disabilities to access and read books and educational materials.
- For the How? row the following question is asked: How Much Does it Cost? Two bullet responses are given as follows: free for any student who has a print disability; individuals who have a print disability who are not students can pay $50 per year. When scrolling over the How? row the following additional text is provided: Currently membership is free for qualifying U.S. students thanks to a generous award from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP).
Revisiting Initial Thoughts
Think back to your initial responses to the following questions. After working through the resources in this module, do you still agree with your Initial Thoughts? If not, what aspects of your answers would you change?
If you were Mr. Keurig, what would you want to know about students who have difficulty accessing print?
Mrs. Shell mentioned an organization called Bookshare that provides text in alternate formats. What do you think alternate formats are? What further information would you want about this service?
What classroom considerations should Mr. Keurig take into account in order to meet the needs of his students who use alternate text formats?
When you are ready, proceed to the Assessment section.