Saturday, June 1, 2013

Please Help Those Who Can't Read Print Keep Our Right to Read?

I'm sorry for posting so much at once.  I'm using the computer between storms, which are supposed to resume soon.  As I can't afford to replace my computer I keep it turned off and unplugged during storms with a lot of lightning.  If I can occasionally hear thunder there is Always a Lot of lightning and thunder!

Thanks for your patience and please take the time to help.

Bookshare is an organization which makes large print and audio books available free to any legally qualified person with a proven inability to read or understand printed material.  The category of "print disabled people"  includes people who are blind, people with learning disabilities who cannot use printed material, and people who cannot hold a book or turn pages.  The "If you can Buy it you Can't read it" position is ridiculous!  I might order a print book from any number of online sources.  But it's a piece of garbage until I can get it into a format I can Read.  This is greedy and not much more, I think.  Will you please take the time to help us?

Dear Bookshare Supporter,
It’s not typical for us to send you an email like this, but we felt this situation
was so important it was necessary.
You may already be aware, but for years negotiations have been moving forward on
what many have come to call the "
Treaty for the Blind
." The goal of the international treaty is to make it possible for people who are
blind, or have other print disabilities such as dyslexia, to get access to the books
they need for education, employment and inclusion in society—no matter where they
live. It's something we already do, with great success, in the United States through
However, private interests are trying to alter the treaty in such a way that it would
become useless—even harmful. For example, they’re trying to get language adopted
that basically says: “
if you can buy it, you can’t borrow it
.” This is not only an attack on people around the world with print disabilities—it’s
also an attack on libraries, like Bookshare, and could have a drastic effect on the
number of books you have access to.
Our biggest worry is this becoming a treaty that could stop Bookshare from serving
our users in the United States the way we do today.
  We need our government negotiating for a treaty that supports a library like Bookshare.
That’s why we’re working with a coalition of disability and library groups, including
the National Federation of the Blind and the American Council of the Blind, to fight
back against the proposed changes by these private interests. We’ll do everything
we can to secure a treaty that both protects the access we have now and that will
benefit people with print disabilities around the world—but we need your help.
We’re asking you to take a moment to sign a petition on the White House’s website
that urges the President to step up his support:
 If we can get to 100,000 signatures, the White House is required to respond to the
petition and will, hopefully, take positive action. With your help we know we can
reach that number.  We also recommend
the petition
 at the National Federation of the Blind’s site, which is particularly accessible.
Thank you for your time and support. Together, we believe that our collective voice
can make a real impact.
If you’re interested in more background on the treaty, here are some articles and
resources you can review:
Huffington Post
 piece by Jim on how the treaty is being poisoned by private interests:
WIRED Magazine
 article that gives some recent updates on the treaty:
Jim Fruchterman & Betsy Beaumon, Bookshare
P.S. Please post the link to the White House petition on your social media to help
spread the word and get your friends involved! Again, here is the link:
Note: this advocacy effort by Benetech, the nonprofit organization that operates
Bookshare, has not been supported or endorsed by Bookshare funders, including the
U.S. Department of Education.
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