Click to search the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library Skip Navigation

Barrier-Free Library

Announcing Bookshare: A New Partnership for Accessible eBooks!


NYPL is proud to announce a new partnership with Bookshare, making 370,000 accessible e-books free to patrons with print disabilities.

Back of the head of a woman who is wearing headphones and holding a tablet with large words on it, some are highlighted. She sits outside on a terrace and there are trees and buildings in the background.

Every New Yorker with an eligible print disability will now have access to Bookshare’s 370,000 accessible e-books— bestsellers, literature, non-fiction, educational texts, career guides, and more—for free with their New York Public Library card or Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library membership.

Bookshare's e-books can be magnified and read aloud by a computer or mobile device. Members can choose from different voices, adjust the speed, choose what color the text and background are and whether you want it to highlight the words as it  reads.  Bookshare titles are always instantly available to members. Additionally, members can  request any title be made accessible or join the volunteer program to help make it happen, and Bookshare will create accessible versions on demand for titles students are assigned in class. This new partnership serves eligible patrons of all ages, whether or not they are a student.  If you have trouble reading text or holding a book, you may be eligible.  

Better Serving You

Hands are poised on a refreshable braille display blanaced on a black-clad lap, on one finger is a black pearl ring. On the bench next to the woman is an iphone displaying large text, one word of which is highlighted in yellow.

NYPL serves people with print disabilities throughout New York City and Long Island in two ways: through the services of the Andrew Heiskell Library (part of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped) including free audiobooks, audio magazines, and audiobook players by mail, download website, or mobile app, as well as assistive technology coaching,  and now with Bookshare. For more information on all these services and how you can sign-up, see

Print disabilities include visual impairment or legal blindness, physical disabilities affecting the ability to hold books or turn pages (such as Parkinson’s, severe arthritis, cerebral palsy, or paralysis, among others), or a reading disability (such as dyslexia)  that is physically based.

This partnership is the first of its kind between Bookshare and a large U.S. public library. (A program providing a one-year-only membership to Bookshare through Overdrive's LEAP program had been in place previously, but was discontinued. Eligible students also can receive free memberships through the U.S. Department of Education.) Learn more about how print disabilities can affect students here

Video tutorials are available online, and in-person workshops on signing up for and using bookshare will be offered at the Andrew Heiskell Library on 40 West 20th Street in Manhattan,  which offers many free workshops and assistive technology coaching on a wide variety of related subjects year round. 

For more information, see




Patron-generated content represents the views and interpretations of the patron, not necessarily those of The New York Public Library. For more information see NYPL's Website Terms and Conditions.

Free Bookshare Membership

This is wonderful news.

Glad you're happy about it

Glad you're happy about it Norberto!

Downloadable audiobooks

A regular local library user with dyslexia has expressed annoyance that seems to her....e-books are plentiful and e-audiobooks not as plentiful. Her preference is to hear books, though no eye sight issues. She uses iPhone, Win 7 laptop, and iPOD. Prefers the iPOD as she listens while doing other work.

yes, we do that!

Hi Kathleen, thanks for the comment. If it wasn't clear, Bookshare does exactly that - provide 370,000 e-audiobooks (synthetically voiced) simultaneously with text. I would also recommend that the patron sign up for the Talking Books service for the Andrew Heiskell Library, which provides over 30,000 professionally narrated audiobooks via mail, or via web download, or via iphone/androis apps, free to people with print disabilities. Check for details. Thanks!

Post new comment