August 2010 Archives

Cecilia Kang of the Washington Post writes:

Blind and deaf consumers, who have fought to make home phones and television more accessible, say they are being left behind on the Web and many mobile devices. Touch-based smartphone screens confound blind people who rely on buttons and raised type. Web video means little to the deaf without captioning.
But legislation is in the works to put pressure on consumer electronics companies that revolutionized an earlier generation of technology for the vision- and hearing-impaired.
"Whether it's a Braille reader or a broadband connection, access to technology is not a political issue -- it's a participation issue," said Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.)

Full story:

One of the disappointments of the past month has been that my co-worker Geneva Vander Poel relinquished her position at Bookshare in order to move on to new professional volunteers-and-rubber-ducks21.jpgchallenges. Before leaving however she submitted an article now posted on the Bookshare blog. It gives some insight into the vibrant volunteer community that I have the pleasure to work with at Bookshare:

Bookshare is proud of its strong community of dedicated volunteers. Since 2002, we have depended on volunteers to keep the library stocked with relevant titles -- books that our members are eager to read. Year round, a dedicated group of people work diligently to grow the collection. Without their efforts, Bookshare would not have as many accessible titles today (more than 80,000) to serve over 100,000 members.

Summertime presents a unique opportunity for volunteering in our Palo Alto offices. Since schools are out of session and student book requests dwindle, we are able to dedicate our energy to training and educating volunteers, a task we all enjoy. Simultaneously, high school and college students arrive excited to devote their well-deserved summer days to improving the collection.  These students gain work experience in a variety of areas, witness the infamous "chopper" at work (the machine that de-spines the physical books that come through our offices) and get a glimpse of how a nonprofit organization operates.

Hundreds of books are processed each day and new publishers come on board regularly with donations of digital files. There is a steady flow of books ordered and sent out to be scanned and proofread. Processing all of these books in varying formats is a welcome challenge for our Collection Development department, so you can see the tremendous benefits our in-house summer volunteers provide.

Now, if you want to understand the photo you will just have to read on here: