Again, looking for a district literacy initiative when I saw Open Ebooks from Firstbook. I decided to download and test drive before I pushed out to parents. The registration process was easy and the response time to receive my login was very quick. I was able to download the app, was very excited to scroll through the catalog and even managed download a book…cover. Ya, I was only successful in downloading bookcover but could not get subsequent chapters. I call 800# and staff is very courteous and helpful. It was suggested that I uninstall and try again, which I did, but then my logins didn’t work. Firstbook is forwarding all glitches to NYPL who manages the app. Apparently, there have been several issues and hopefully I will get a callback sometime soon. (Update 2 weeks later, issues still not resolved.)
I was delighted to see Bookshare for people with print disabilities. Hopefully, I will have better luck with Bookshare. I have a fifth grader who is legally blind and once I saw that Bookshare had ALL the Dork Diaries, I happily registered. Organizations such as public schools can register for free. Once registration is complete and I faxed in my signature, I was delighted to receive email from Bookshare within 24 hours. I was able to preview books and play with font size before I presented to my student. I did call the 800# for help with student login and had no problem receiving quick, efficient service. The picture books include full color illustrations and the scrolling to next page is by vertical scroll bar or down arrow, not arrow to the right. Once I had some sense of the navigation required, I brought student to library. I adjusted font, to 70 which she indicated she could read if she got really close to screen. The font size can be set for each student in students account settings. Downside: there are login protocols and instructions that are not in 70 font so student will need assistance from sighted person to get started. Not really a problem since student has 1:1. Other minor downside, audio is computerized and sounds very clipped. Overall, I am very happy I was able to offer product to student and teacher was happy as well. The verdict is still out from student since reading has been, logistically, cumbersome in the past, she is not much of a reader. However, I suspect that between the classroom teacher and I, we will be able to offer her more opportunities and books to read. And as I am typing, I realize I need to reach out to her parent so that student’s mom can encourage as well.