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Special Education

Accessing Digital Text and Audiobooks

  1. Start by searching the online libraries of Bookshare for digital text or Learning Ally(previously Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic) for audiobooks.

  2. If you do not find the book at Bookshare or Learning Ally, try searching the National Instructional Materials Access Library (NIMAC).

  3. If the book is available at the NIMAC, follow the instructions below to request it from Bookshare or Learning Ally.

    BookshareComplete Bookshare's online form: Select "Requesting a Book" under "My Question is About" and fill out the online book request form. Bookshare will contact you within 2 business days to provide an update on the status of your book request. In order to submit a book request you must be logged into your Bookshare account. For further information about how to request a book from Bookshare visit Bookshare's video tutorial How Do I Find and Request Books from Bookshare?. Note that although both educators and students can request books, only educators can actually download a NIMAC-sourced textbook. For information on how to download a book and share it with a student, see Bookshare's video tutorial How to use Reading Lists for Organizations.

    Learning Ally (formerly Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic) - Send an email to with the book title, author, publisher, and ISBN, along with your school's Learning Ally member name and ID. In approximately two weeks, Learning Ally will email you a zip file with a student-ready version including electronic text with synthetic audio, plus any images provided by the book's publisher. Note that the file will be sent to the teacher who requested it. The teacher will then need to "unzip" the file and transfer it to the student's device and/or computer. For further instructions on how to listen to the zip file on a computer, mobile device or DAISY device, please contact Jennifer Dougherty,, 617-500-2712

  4. If you do not find the book at the NIMAC, you can ask the book's publisher if digital files are available. The publisher may be willing to send the files to the NIMAC or to your school.

  5. Remember, to ensure that materials will be available when you need them, your district's purchasing contracts with publishers should require the publisher to send NIMAS files to the NIMAC.

For more information, see National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard.

Last Updated: February 24, 2014

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