New Agreement Simplifies Access to Textbooks for Disabled Students at California Community Colleges

'AccessText Network' Gives Students Better Access to Alternative Texts

Sep 15, 2010, 12:33 ET from Association of American Publishers

WASHINGTON, Sept. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- California community college students with disabilities such as blindness and dyslexia now have quicker and easier access to alternative college textbooks, as the result of a new agreement to provide the alternative textbooks to the state's 112 community colleges.

The agreement provides the Alternative Text Production Center (ATPC), a program of the California Community College Chancellor's Office, with a membership in the AccessText Network, a national online database of alternative college materials. The AccessText Network makes it quicker and easier to get the alternative electronic textbooks to students with disabilities such as blindness, dyslexia, or physical impairments that prevent the use of traditional hardcopy textbooks.

"For years California has been a leader in the field of providing accessible materials for students," said Tom Allen, president and chief executive officer of the Association of American Publishers, who donated almost $1 million to launch the AccessText Network. "With the ATPC membership in the AccessText Network for California's community college students, the state will once again serve as an example to the nation on how to ensure all students are able to achieve their higher education goals."

The AccessText Network is operated by the Alternative Media Access Center (AMAC) in Atlanta. The Network has more than 500 colleges and universities in 49 states enrolled to participate in the system. There are more than 360,000 textbook titles available through the Network.

Christopher Lee, director of AMAC, said the new network is fulfilling orders for students in about four days on average. "In the past, the system was so slow and bureaucratic that students with disabilities were often still waiting for their alternative textbooks several weeks into the semester," Lee said. "That's an unacceptable scenario for any student striving to succeed in college."

An estimated 123,800 Californians ages 16-20 have a disability, totaling 4 percent of the state's population of young people either at or nearing college age, according to the most recent statistics compiled by Cornell University.

"Textbook publishers are dedicated to helping all students succeed," Allen said. "We are proud to see the AccessText Network being utilized in the California Community College System to make higher education a reality for thousands of students in the state with disabilities."

AccessText Network

AccessText is a membership-based online database system that provides quick access to information about publishers' course materials and speeds the process through which institutions request electronic versions of course materials for students with print disabilities or the permission to scan these course materials.  The AccessText Network can be found at  

The Association of American Publishers

The Association of American Publishers is the national trade association of the U.S. book publishing industry. AAP's more than 300 members include most of the major commercial publishers in the United States, as well as smaller and non-profit publishers, university presses and scholarly societies.  AAP's Higher Education group represents the needs and interests of member publishers who produce instructional materials including textbooks and digital products and services for the post-secondary educational market.  


The Alternative Media Access Center (AMAC), an initiative of the University System of Georgia, is committed to removing barriers and providing access to knowledge for individuals with physical, sensory, and learning print-related disabilities.

SOURCE Association of American Publishers