Wednesday 11th December 2019, National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI) is delighted to report over 200 students have already signed up to the Bookshare platform since it was launched on 14th November 2019. Bookshare Ireland is the country’s largest digital accessible library and funded by the Department of Education and Skills.
Bookshare Ireland aims to build a more inclusive and equitable system for all students in third level education with visual impairment and print disability. The digital library is specifically designed to support students attending higher or further education by providing instantaneous access to over 500,000 academic books in the student’s preferred format (DAISY Audio, DAISY with images, digital braille, PDF and Word).
Chris White, NCBI CEO said “It is heartening to already have so many active students utilising Bookshare.ie, it clearly demonstrates the need for students to obtain books and information in accessible formats so they can continue their studies like their peers. Previously, students with a visual impairment requiring access to materials were left waiting for months to get their books in their preferred format, with Bookshare.ie access is almost instant.”
Of the 210 students already signed up, 120 have a reading difficulty such as dyslexia, 86 have a visual impairment or blindness with the remaining users registered as having a physical disability.
Minister for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor said “I am delighted to support and fund this initiative as it is so important to create a level playing field for students with disabilities. Improving their participation in 3rd level and in turn in the labour market is a priority as it benefits the individual as well as the Exchequer in the long run. Bookshare.ie is a vital investment to help students now and into the future to perform the best they can.”
Sean Walsh, Carlow College student said “I find the Bookshare platform both saves me time and stress because previously I’d have to spend ages in the library trying to source resources that I could read. Now with the Bookshare search engine being so flexible and comprehensive I can download books onto my device in seconds.”
Already Bookshare Ireland is pleased to welcome O’Brien Press, Gill and Oak Tree Press to the new platform and will continue to work with other Irish publishers to increase homegrown content available to readers. To register students for this new service, please Sign Up at Bookshare.ie or contact l[email protected]