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Bloom

location_on Papua New Guinea

Let's Grow a Library

Bloom is free, open-source software that enables people to create books in their own languages. Even people with modest IT skills can quickly learn to use Bloom to create books in any language and any script. Leveled reading materials created with Bloom help children and adults learn to read. Books can be printed, read online, or downloaded for offline use and translated into new languages.

HundrED 2023
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Overview

HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED Global Collection 2023

2012

Established

4.5M

Children/users

89

Countries
Organisation
Not-for-profit
Target group
All
Updated
November 22nd, 2022
I spent half an hour showing a new typist Bloom. When I checked on him later, he was doing just fine. What other program could he have been able to use with just half an hour's orientation?! (Uganda)
Prossy, Literacy Specialist, USAID Uganda School Health and Reading Program

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

There are more than 7,000 languages in the world. Most have little to no literature. SIL International found that people in many communities were becoming literate and were ready to write their own books, but conventional technology was too complicated for them to use.

How does your innovation work in practice?

Bloom is desktop publishing software designed to be so simple that if you can type and use a mouse, you can create a book. Bloom runs on Windows and Linux computers. Users can add narrated audio and sign language video to any Bloom book, making it possible to create books accessible to the visually impaired and the Deaf.

Books can be printed, read on a computer, in a browser, or offline in a free Android app. Bloom books can also be shared with others through the online Bloom Library. Bloom uses open formats and encourages authors to use Creative Commons licenses.

The Bloom Library website (https://bloomlibrary.org) is a growing collection of more than 11,000 books in 480 languages—more than any other online platform. Users can add original Bloom books to Bloom Library, and any Bloom Library book can be downloaded and adapted into new languages. Organizations and governments can use the Bloom Enterprise service to create curated collections of leveled reading materials.

How has it been spreading?

People in hundreds of communities have used Bloom to create their own books or adapt books created by others. An increasing number of NGOs, governments, and communities are adopting Bloom as a tool for creating and sharing books in hundreds of languages. A set of 623 books in Spanish, Guatemalan Sign Language, and 5 Mayan languages has resulted in nearly half a million reading sessions during the pandemic. A collection of books in the Kyrgyz, Russian, Uzbek and Tajik languages that was uploaded during the pandemic have been read 350,000 times since they became available in December 2021. A collection of books on COVID-19 was launched in February 2020 and now has 370 books in 201 languages. One COVID book was translated using Bloom into more than 100 additional languages.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

Bloom can be downloaded from the Bloom Library site at https://bloomlibrary.org/page/create/downloads. A user forum is available at https://community.software.sil.org/c/bloom, and instructional videos are available at https://vimeo.com/channels/bloomlibrary/videos/sort:preset/format:detail. General queries can be sent to issues@bloomlibrary.org.

Impact & scalability

HundrED Academy Reviews
Since 2012, this innovation has had an impact on several essential areas in education: reading, language and culture. Its ease of use and its local adaptation make this innovation a real value. The number of books produced is very high.
With the online platform and content library this is easy for everyone to use. It can be used on a desk top, tablet or phone so can be used anywhere at any time.
- Academy member
Academy review results
High Impact
Low Scalability
High Impact
High Scalability
Low Impact
Low Scalability
Low Impact
High Scalability
Read more about our selection process

Media

A Milestone Worth Reading About
In December 2021, Bloom reached a remarkable milestone when a supplemental reading booklet was added in Southern Pashto, a language used by 53 million people in Afghanistan and Pakistan, making it the 10,000th book added to Bloom’s collection. 
SIL International wins ‘Enabling Writers’ prize for software solution to children’s book shortage
Imagine going to the library as a young child and finding no storybooks in the language you speak at home. This is the scenario facing many children around the world. Bloom helps address this problem.
ACR GCD awardee SIL LEAD spurs multi-organization effort to create COVID-themed children’s books in 166 languages using Bloom software - All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development
ACR GCD-funded innovator SIL LEAD launched a global effort to translate COVID-19 health messaging, including children’s books, into local spoken and signed languages using Bloom software. Full story here.July 28, 2020
SIL LEAD - All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development
The creation of 420 quality, accessible books in the Soninke and Sénoufo languages of Mali, as well as Malian Sign Language, using SIL's Bloom book creation software. Read the full story here.
Grace in Space launches in a new accessible format on a new platform - All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development
SIL LEAD uploads a new, accessible version of the book to its Bloom Library platform for children who are blind or have low vision. See the full article here.February 9, 2022

Spread of the innovation

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