Christopher Kenneally recently did an interview Brad Turner, the Benetech Vice President, who is overseeing the company’s Global Literacy Program. Benetech's mission is to help people with print disabilities and other learning challenges have access to materials in an accessible format. Turner notes that 3% and 5% of the general population need material in an accessible format, which translates into millions of people in the U.S. and worldwide.
I found this conversation to be quite interesting. First, it interested me because because I had not heard of Benetech before. Second, I know how important meeting the accessibility needs of our community is. Acquiring material for your library does not automatically mean that everyone in your community can use it. The person may not be able to use the material's native format. Third, I know that this work has become easier because content can be placed in a digital format or is being created in a digital format. In fact, Benetech was founded by someone interested in pattern recognition, which is the foundation of OCR.
If you're interested in accessibility or how a rocket scientist got involved in making print accessible, then I hope you will listen to or read the interview. This 15-minute interview is available as audio and text on the Beyond the Book website.