Looking at Bookshare.org

I visited Bookshare.org this today. I was surprised to find that they have quite a collection. Just looking at their most popular books, I see classics like Of Mice and Men, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Catcher in the Rye to popular fiction series like Harry Potter, the Hunger Games, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

I was curious to know how a person can qualify for their services. The requirements are strict. It basically comes down to whether a person can enjoy a normal book like a typical person. The more trouble a person has with reading, the more likely he or she is qualified for membership. They even mentioned that they probably only serve about 2% of the population. Since they are serving such a small percentage, they are exempted from U.S. copyright laws.

Membership required some proof of disability. It will require some sort of certification from a medical expert. Many learning disabilities might not qualify, but if it is severe enough, they might. That seems subjective.

I started to think about all my students. The interesting thing is that I always proctor the exams for all the students with some kind of IEP. I have a pretty good idea of all the students with a special need in my school. With over 3600 students, there might be about 40 students with a special need. Of these 40, I can really think of 5 that might even qualify for membership with Bookshare. One of them is severely visually impaired, but has an impressive writing skill. I often look for his articles in the school newspaper. If I bump into him, I think I would see if he uses Bookshare.

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2 Responses to Looking at Bookshare.org

  1. bkbiblio says:

    It is interesting that the size of the population exempts bookshare from copyright regulations! I really appreciate your ability to think proactively about students that this service could benefit. How lucky your future library will be to have you!

  2. Marilyn Arnone says:

    I agree with Mary, Jonathan! I appreciated your thoughtful post.

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