Celebrating #NationalLibraryWeek with the Free Bridges Helpdesk
What is Bookshare?
Bookshare is a service that provides accessible books to qualifying individuals. Bookshare provides a wide range of titles including textbooks, bestsellers, children’s books, career resources, and more. As of March 26, 2021, Bookshare offered 968,601 titles from which to choose!
You can search Bookshare’s digital library before joining the service by using the search function at www.bookshare.org. The basic search allows you to look for books by title, author, or ISBN. The advanced search allows you to tailor your search more narrowly.
Who can join Bookshare?
A qualifying individual is one with one or more of the following conditions: visual impairment, including blindness, learning disabilities that affect reading, or other physical disabilitirs. In order to join Bookshare, an individual must be certified as having a qualifying disability.
How much does Bookshare cost?
Bookshare is free for K-12, post-secondary, and rehabilitation program students in the U.S. Other qualifying individuals must pay a $50 yearly fee (unless they have another organization providing free Bookshare access).
Note that students can have TWO Bookshare accounts for free: one through their school and an individual one. Each of these accounts has different features, and it’s great for students to have BOTH kinds of Bookshare accounts. To find out more, please contact the Free Bridges Helpdesk via the contact information below.
What am I actually downloading from Bookshare?
Once you join Bookshare, you will have the opportunity to download books you find through their search engine. There are six formats in which a book may be downloaded. You may download the same book in one, two, or more formats. Please contact the Free Bridges Helpdesk if we can help you in any way.
Is there a limit on the number of books that can be downloaded?
Yes, but… There is a default limit of one hundred (100) books that can be downloaded during a thirty (30)-day period of time. However, if you need to download more than that, simply contact Bookshare with a request for more, and they will lift the limit for that month. The Free Bridges Helpdesk is happy to assist you with this process.
Follow the Bridges Helpdesk Facebook page for more transition tips, and please contact the Bridges Technical Assistance Center’s Free Helpdesk for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Transition Students, Families, and Educators anytime using:
- Our Accessible web form
- Email: Helpdesk@IMAGEmd.org
- Text or Leave a Voice mail message: (410) 357-1546
- Bridges Helpdesk Facebook page or Facebook Messenger
This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.