Prossy, Literacy Specialist, USAID Uganda School Health and Reading Program
HundrED shortlisted this 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 email@example.com.