BY GRETCHEN SCHAEFER

bookshare.jpgFor people with a vision disability, technology can be invaluable. From screen-reading programs to the general accessibility features in an operating system, technology has narrowed the divide in ways that previous generations may not have imagined. However, getting quality books in hand can still be a challenge. Instead of sending cases of cassettes or CDs, or enlarged (and often abridged) books by mail, technology has enabled instant access to books via the web.  Bookshare is an online library that provides immediate access to a huge library of books available in multiple formats for people with vision disabilities.

This isn’t just a lending library of large print books; the books on Bookshare are able to be downloaded and read using a DAISY reader, screen reader, or other tools. You can even order embossed Braille books from the site. The selection is unbeatable, from New York Times bestsellers, Newbery winners, trashy romance, self-help, you name it — the books are there, and they are there when you want them. And the best part?  It’s free for students with qualifying disabilities.  There are some hoops to jump through, of course, but once you’ve jumped, the student has an incredible resource available.  If you have a student that qualifies, start slicing through the red tape now so the books will be ready for class this fall.

Bookshare

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