Benetech Partners with New York Public Library to Bring Bookshare to Patrons with Print Disabilities

By Benetech, posted on

New York Public Library Offers 375,000 Accessible Ebooks in Its Pursuit of Total Accessibility

Benetech, provider of Bookshare, is proud to announce a new partnership with The New York Public Library (NYPL), making over 375,000 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 much 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.”

We look forward to continuing our collaboration with NYPL and hope 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.

About Bookshare

Bookshare is the world’s largest online library of accessible ebooks for people with print disabilities. Through its extensive collection of educational and popular titles, specialized book formats, and reading tools, Bookshare offers individuals who cannot read standard print materials the same ease of access that people without disabilities enjoy. In 2007 and 2012, Bookshare received two five-year awards from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), to provide free access for all U.S. students with a qualifying print disability. The Bookshare library now has over 375,000 books and serves more than 370,000 members. Bookshare is an initiative of Benetech, a Palo Alto, CA-based nonprofit that develops and uses technology to create positive social change. To learn more about Bookshare, please visit

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—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library serves more than 18 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at