For the past five months, I’ve been working as an iOS Developer on the SimplyE reader app, the e-book reader app for the New York Public Library. Originally developed for the New York Public Library, SimplyE is expanding, and will work with many other libraries over the next few years, which is an exciting development. In order to meet the needs of our growing user base, we are in need of an intermediate level Android Developer. Do you want to know how SimplyE helps people and how you can be a part of that? Keep reading! (no pun intended 🙂 )
The SimplyE reader app consolidates third party content providers into a convenient, easy to use app. Right now, you probably belong to a public library district that provides access to e-books through providers like Overdrive and Bibliotheca, for example. In that case, you would need both an Overdrive and a Bibliotheca account to access books from each provider, and also a separate login to your library account on each app. You can’t access Overdrive content on Bibliotheca and vice versa. SimplyE solves that problem by allowing you to access ebook content in one application regardless of the vendor. Neat, huh?
Besides the cool convenience factor, consolidating third party content also makes it easier for SimplyE to fulfill a much larger mission, and that is to provide information equality to all people, which is a mission that I’m proud to be a part of!
SimplyE is also a part of the Open eBooks initiative. The Open eBooks reader app allows children from underprivileged homes to access, and keep, books that they otherwise couldn’t afford. Imagine how transformative that could be for the life of a child.
In the movie, “Hidden Figures”, there is a scene in which Octavia steals a Fortran programming book from her local library, because back then libraries were segregated and the Fortran book was not in the “Colored” section of her library. Later on, she is shown teaching Fortran to a group of female mathematicians of color, and that enables these women to later get jobs as programmers with NASA. In that scene, we see the power of withholding information, and later making that information available to a larger group of people.
Now, imagine if you could be a part of changing hundreds, possibly thousands of lives, by making information available to all. That is what you could help do by working for the SimplyE project!
Again, besides the Open eBooks reader app, the SimplyE project is planning on expanding its reach to other libraries in the United States over the next few years, and even a few countries outside of the U.S. Although you have to be a patron of these library districts to access their books, there is also a SimplyE collection that you can access within the app, available to everyone regardless of location or income level, which you can keep forever.
SimplyE is open source, which makes it possible for other non-profit organizations to bring SimplyE’s ebook reader format to their communities, like this Rwandan school where the students are enjoying books about princesses!
Audiobooks is on the roadmap for SimplyE, which will make more books available for the visually impaired.
Want to be a part of this? The Android Developer position is through the University of Minnesota Minitex organization, which contracts to the New York Public Library. The position is open to US Citizens, and you can work from anywhere, as long as your work hours overlap with those of your co-workers in New York. If you’re like me, you can work from home in Colorado, and play with your dog on work breaks! The code base is on Github and we communicate through Slack.
Read the job description for more information, and let us know in your cover letter that you heard about this position from this blog post. Check out the existing Android version of SimplyE on Google Play and give us some feedback on the app, and how you can help us improve it!