EIFL has signed a three-year agreement with Benetech, a technology company based in Silicon Valley, California, USA, for access to Bookshare, the world's largest accessible online library for people with print disabilities.
Bookshare is an online library for people who read differently because of disabilities that affect their use of traditional print, for example, blindness, visual impairment, learning disabilities, and physical disabilities, such as Parkinson’s disease and paralysis.
The books on Bookshare are available in different formats, for example large print, audio and audio synchronized with highlighted text, and in standard formats such as Microsoft Word, ePub and Braille. They can be read on mobile devices, computers, and assistive technology devices using a variety of accessible reading tools.
OPEN TO LIBRARIES IN 41 COUNTRIES
The Bookshare agreement, covering up to 420,000 titles, is open to libraries from EIFL partner consortia in 41 countries:
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Cambodia, China, Congo, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Georgia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Lesotho, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malawi, Maldives, Moldova, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Palestine, Poland, Senegal, Serbia, Slovenia, Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
“We are delighted that people with print disabilities in EIFL partner countries can benefit from discounted access to Bookshare’s collection of e-books,” said Rima Kupryte, EIFL Director. “EIFL is committed to increasing access to reading material for people with disabilities. We support ratification by governments of the Marrakesh Treaty for persons with print disabilities, which will give organizations like libraries the right to reproduce printed works in accessible formats and to exchange these works across national borders,” continued Kupryte.
Currently distribution of Bookshare’s e-books outside the USA is achieved through individual publisher permissions. When the USA ratifies the Marrakesh Treaty, copyright restrictions on international distribution can be lifted and the number of titles available through Bookshare to other countries that have ratified the Treaty can be increased.