California NLS Libraries Offer Free Subscription to Bookshare.org
Thanks to a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), California NLS network libraries in Sacramento, Los Angeles, Fresno, and San Francisco will be continuing with the second year of a two-year pilot project for Bookshare.org, a nonprofit service of downloadable electronic braille and text-to-speech (synthetic voice) audio books with a current archive of 600,000 plus titles in all genres. Although some titles overlap with the NLS collection of roughly 100,000 titles, Bookshare exponentially increases the number of books for people with print disabilities, including fiction and nonfiction of all types, and scholarly works. This year we have secured 500 total seats or licenses (up from 325 in year one) for eligible Californians, and we are offering seats to new, eligible users as of September 1, 2018 and lasting through August 31, 2019. Existing participants may continue their subscription uninterrupted, but anyone who wishes to stop using the library-provided membership should contact us ASAP so your seat can be given to another patron. If the program continues to be successful, we hope to secure additional funding for extending the grant-based service.
If you are an enrolled student in primary, secondary, or post-secondary (college or graduate) school, you are eligible for a free Bookshare membership under a U.S. Department of Education grant and can indicate your school when applying for an account directly via Bookshare.org.
Because Bookshare is an online, download service, patrons who are comfortable and experienced with computers and file management, including BARD subscribers or current Bookshare subscribers with limited resources when their accounts are about to expire, are most encouraged to partake of this ordinarily fee-based service. The books are available in electronic braille files that can be read on refreshable braille displays, text-to-speech (TTS) DAISY files, and TTS MP3 audio files that can be played on the NLS Digital Talking Book Machine in addition to several third party commercial players. There is a free online DAISY player software to listen to DAISY TTS files on one's computer as well. Please visit Bookshare.org to read more about this great service.
If you would like to receive a one year free Bookshare subscription, please call 800-952-5666 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be accepting new participants throughout the 12-month grant timeline until all seats are filled. The seats will be divided with approximately 225 seat licenses available for BTBL patrons.
Participants will be required to take a brief online survey prior to receiving a license/subscription code to begin Bookshare service. Feel free to contact us with any questions.