Feature Writer Alena Roberts – Urge the US Government to Help Make the Written Word Accessible to Everyone

Information is power. As we all know, the more information we have access to, the more likely we are to be independent and successful. Access to the written word has improved tremendously for those in the United States especially now that the Kindle collection is accessible, but the same is not true around the world. There is currently a treaty that most of the world plans to sign that will give blind people around the world access to more written material then they have ever had. The treaty though may end up restricting access rather than adding access if for-profit companies have their way. This week I received an email from Bookshare urging me to sign two petitions to keep the treaty in its current form so that libraries like Bookshare won’t be in danger.

One of the proposed changes to the treaty is a clause that says if a book can be purchased then it can’t be borrowed. This clause could potentially eliminate services such as Bookshare, and possibly make it impossible for blind people around the world to have access to material that is loaned rather then bought. Part of the text from the petition on the White House’s website reads as follows: “Less than 1% of printed works globally are accessible to the blind. This is because laws around the world bar printed material from being turned into formats useable by the blind and visually impaired, or for such material to be shared across borders. That’s why 186 countries will soon convene in Morocco to finalize a Treaty that would empower the world’s nearly 300 million blind citizens with the same rights to read, learn, and earn that the sighted enjoy. However, huge and powerful corporations – many wholly unaffected by the proposed Treaty – are working to fatally weaken it or block its adoption.”

There is also a petition that you can sign from the NFB. Find it at this link: https://nfb.org/civicrm/petition/sign?sid=2

I am grateful to live in a country where my access to the written word continues to grow, but I think that we have to give that same access to every blind person around the world. Please add your name to these petitions and help our government realize how important this issue is.

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  1. RT @matildaziegler: New post: Feature Writer Alena Roberts – Urge the US Government to Help Make the Written Word Acces… http://t.co/Pxmt…