Benetech, provider of Bookshare, is proud to announce a new partnership with The New York Public Library (NYPL), making over 370,000 accessible ebooks free to their patrons with print disabilities. Every New Yorker with an eligible print disability will now have free access to Bookshare’s vast online library including bestsellers, literature, non-fiction, picture books, educational texts, career guides, and more with their New York Public Library card or Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library membership.
This partnership is the first of its kind between Bookshare and a large U.S. public library. 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.
This new partnership serves eligible patrons of all ages, whether or not they are students.
The partnership provides unlimited downloads of accessible materials for personal use and more than doubles the number of titles available to NYPL patrons with print disabilities. All of Bookshare’s ebooks can be used in a wide variety of ways, depending on user need and preference, and on nearly any computer or mobile device. Books can be enlarged on screen and read aloud using high quality text-to-speech voices. In addition, users can hear and see highlighted words on a screen and also read every book with digital braille.
“We are proud to partner with the NYPL to open up new horizons for New Yorkers with print disabilities by offering them access to Bookshare’s extensive collection of accessible ebooks free of charge, for use on a wide variety of devices including mobile phones and tablets,” says Brad Turner, Vice President of Global Literacy at Benetech. “This is a major step forward towards our shared vision of barrier-free access to books for all.”
Benetech looks forward to continuing the collaboration with NYPL and hopes 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.
New Yorkers with qualifying disabilities who are interested in signing up for free access to Bookshare should go to the NYPL website for more information or call 917-ask-nypl.
Bookshare is an initiative of Benetech, a Silicon Valley nonprofit technology company that provides software tools and services to address pressing social needs. Each of Benetech’s program areas—Global Literacy, Human Rights, and Benetech Labs—offers the greatest social impact on funds invested. Social entrepreneur and MacArthur Fellow Jim Fruchterman founded Benetech in 2001 and leads the organization as its CEO.
About The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library is a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 92 locations throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming and more.