Continue Federal Funding For Bookshare.org
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To Congress, the name Bookshare probably means just another program that may lose Federal funding. But to me, a blind student, and thousands of other people worldwide, Bookshare.org means so much more. It is a necessity for success, and most of us can't imagine a world without it.
I am a highly motivated, legally blind high school student, who plans to attend college in 2018. I work side-by-side with my sighted peers, and a huge reason for this is Bookshare.org. Bookshare provides books in accessible formats to people with print disabilities, and it is the resource I use to get textbooks, required readings, and also just books to read for fun outside of class, because I love books and I love reading.
With the proposed budget for 2017, there are a lot of cuts to federal funding in different areas, and one of these, will be Bookshare. Cutting funding to this resource would not only hurt those who use Bookshare, it would hurt everyone. Without the needed resources to succeed, people with print disabilities would struggle, and success rates would start to decrease. I have been fortunate enough to have Bookshare throughout my education at least to this point, and I cannot fathom what education would look like without this. In my case, it would be near impossible. I would not be able to find all of the books that Bookshare offers anywhere else electronically, and paper Braille books are often so bulky that one book will take up an entire bookshelf. They also need to be ordered, and can take long amounts of time to come. This would cause me to fall behind in classes, and getting the books to and from school would be almost impossible. Bookshare allows me to read my books on a BrailleNote, which is like a Braille computer. This way, I can still read books in Braille, but I don't have to worry about the time they take to come, or the bulk. With Bookshare, I have never had a time where I was unable to find a book I needed for class, and without Bookshare, I know that finding books for my classes would be almost impossible.
I am not the only one affected by this. 20 percent of people have disabilities, and they deserve the opportunity to thrive just like anyone else. Thousands of people rely on Bookshare, don't take that away from us. We live in the United States of America, yet a large portion of the population may lose their access to books.
I am asking you to please sign this petition so myself and the thousands of other Bookshare users can continue to have access to accessible books.
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