Partnership to Bring Bookshare to People with Print Disabilities

Americas, June 29 2016

PALO ALTO, CALIFORNIA: Benetech, provider of Bookshare, is proud to announce a new partnership with Georgia Libraries for Accessible Statewide Services (GLASS), making over 425,000 accessible ebooks available for free to patrons who cannot read printed books due to blindness, low vision, dyslexia, and other print disabilities. GLASS is the statewide network of talking book centers that provides library services for the blind and others whose physical abilities require the use of books and magazines in digital audio formats or in braille.

GLASS square logoBeginning July 1, every Georgian with an eligible print disability will have free access to Bookshare’s vast Logo for Georgia Libraries for Accessible Statewide Services (GLASS)online library including bestsellers, literature, non-fiction, picture books, educational texts, career guides, and much more as GLASS patrons.

“GLASS is happy to be able to offer access to Bookshare as a library resource at no expense to eligible library patrons,” said Pat Herndon, MLIS, Director of GLASS. “Georgia is only the second state to offer this program to its eligible readers. We are thrilled to make this valuable resource available to GLASS patrons and Georgians with a certified print disabilities.”

Currently, all U.S. students with qualifying disabilities can access Bookshare’s library for free under an award from the Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). This new partnership serves eligible Georgia patrons of all ages, whether they are students or not.

Girl reading digital book on electronic deviceWith Bookshare ebooks, members can customize their reading experience in ways that work for them. Members can 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. Further, members can read on a wide variety of devices, including tablets, smart phones, computers, assistive technology devices, and MP3 players using a variety of free and paid apps. Bookshare offers free apps including Bookshare Web Reader, which can be used on any computer and laptop, as well as Go Read for Android.

“We are proud to partner with GLASS to open up new horizons for Girl reading a book on an electronic deviceGeorgians with print disabilities. Bookshare offers them access to an extensive collection of accessible ebooks free of charge and for use on a wide variety of devices,” said Brad Turner, Vice President of Global Literacy at Benetech. “We look forward to continuing our collaboration with GLASS and are working to set up similar agreements with other public library systems across the U.S. so that all persons with print disabilities have full access to the world of books.”

This partnership is the second of its kind between Bookshare and a large U.S. public library. The first, with the New York Public Library (NYPL), provides unlimited downloads of accessible materials for patrons’ personal use and more than doubles the number of titles available to NYPL patrons with print disabilities.

Beginning July 1, Georgians with qualifying disabilities who wish to sign up for free access to Bookshare should go to the GLASS website for more information, email, or call 1-800-248-6701.

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