This App Uses the Cloud to Give Students Access to Books All Over the World

While education opportunities are growing around the world, in impoverished areas books are often a rare and precious commodity. They are easy to lose and destroy making it harder for the information to reach students. But now a new tech company has thought of a solution to make this information more available to schools at a low cost.


Sheinman is the director of business development at Library for All, a nonprofit that has built a cloud based library of more than 1,700 books accessed by approximately 1,500 students in Haiti, and an additional 250 students in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Library for All’s software is specifically designed to work in low bandwidth environments, so students with spotty access to 3G networks can download books on their devices (low-cost phones, primarily) and read them offline…

“Our big vision is to build a world where everyone has equal access to knowledge. Where the ability to read is a basic human right,” she says. “I really see being literate and having access to information as the single most important tool in allowing people to lift themselves out of poverty.”…

“We consider ourselves a tech company,” Sheinman says. “We don’t want to be a traditional nonprofit. We don’t want to have to rely on individual support.”

In that vein, Library for All charges schools minimal fees: $3 per student, capped at $600 a school. “Obviously the point of this is not to make a huge profit, but that small fee will help us be self-sustaining in every country within five years,” she says, adding that the organization may soon launch a direct-to-consumer model…

Physical books tend to disintegrate, to succumb to wear and tear to the point where they forfeit their usefulness. But a cloud-based library? Sheinman is hoping that instead of evaporating, it’s a resource that will only continue to grow in value as more books are added and as more students gain access.


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