As Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, or RFB&D, proudly proclaims on the front page of its website, it has the largest library of digital textbooks in the country. That fact truly is something of which to be proud; producing thousands of new digital texts and audiobooks every year is not immaterial in the least. The website, with its easy-to-use and pleasantly designed interface, is rich with materials and relevant news items. Just on the front page of the site alone there are testimonials, newsletters, social networking links, a plug for the Access and Achievement Blog, and even a training and support center.
Before delving into the particulars offered on the site, it’s worth learning about RFB&D as a service. RFB&D is a nonprofit organization that is funded through the U.S. Department of Education, state education programs, individuals and corporations. It also flaunts more than 5,400 volunteers across the country. Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic partners with publishers and publishing companies to help bring books and materials to disabled students. The library catalog includes K-12 materials as well as many adult learner titles. The audiobooks and digital texts are used by school systems throughout the country, but they are also used in individual homes at the students’ own level and pace.
Individuals and families are offered free access to the library and schools are presented with specialized packages to best suit their needs. The free individual membership includes access to the library, narrated audiobooks, 24/7 phone support, and downloadable materials.
With the simple book catalog search, users can find nearly any title imaginable by entering the author’s name. There is also a product catalog, which allows for the searching of playback devices and software — tools many students with blindness, visual impairment or dyslexia desperately need to optimize learning. It’s not as if the books aren’t quality, either. New additions for January 2011 include J.R.R. Tolkien titles, for example.