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National Network for Equitable Library Services and You

Our national library network is very important. In Saskatchewan we have partnered with National Network for Equitable Library Services (NNELS). I have copied and pasted information on NNELS (as published by Saskatchewan Libraries) below. You may want to ask your provincial or municipal libraries to consider this alternative for resources.

You may also want to ask your MLA or MPP or even your MP and, of course, you may want to ask your local CNIB or CNIB library why they are not part of this growing network. the Association for the Blind of Western Australia is a member so why not Canada’s CNIB or maybe they are but I do not see them in the partner list. (smile)

We do not need several systems in this country and this system is well under way. Check it out.

Robin East

National Network for Equitable Library Services (NNELS)

It is estimated that there are more than three million print disabled Canadians, but less than 5% of published material is available in accessible formats. Improvement in digital delivery provides libraries with an opportunity to make additional materials more widely available to this underserved population.

The National Network for Equitable Library Services (NNELS) provides access to a growing collection of downloadable audio books and other accessible formats restricted to the print disabled, made available through the SILS catalogue in Saskatchewan.

NNELS materials are being housed in a digital repository called the Canadian Accessible Library System (CALS), built by the BC Libraries Cooperative, with the support of the Provincial and Territorial Public Library Council (PTPLC). Additional content is also being made available through membership in the Commonwealth Braille and Talking Book Cooperative (CBTBC), a service provided by the Association for the Blind of Western Australia.


Who can access NNELS material?

NNELS materials have been produced for the print disabled community. A print disabled patron is defined in the Canadian Copyright Act as a person with an impairment that prevents or inhibits them from reading a literary, musical, dramatic or artistic work in its original format and includes a disability resulting from:

a. Severe or total impairment of sight or hearing or the inability to focus or move one's eyes b. The inability to focus or move one's eyes c. An impairment relating to comprehension

A person meeting one of these criteria can fill out a Self-Declaration form at their local library. The print disabled status will be added to his/her card and the corresponding barcode and PIN can be used to access NNELS material.

How can I find NNELS material?

NNELS material can be found in the SILS catalogue. Patrons can search the SILS catalogue on their local library websites or at their local library. The results of a keyword search can be limited in the left hand column under format. NNELS material is available in the following three formats: RESTRICTED EAUDIO, RESTRICTED EBRAILLE, RESTRICTED ETEXT.

How much material is available?

In October 2013, over 500 records were added to the SILS catalogue. New material will be added to the catalogue on a monthly basis with a projected total of 20,000 items by summer 2014.

What kind of content is available?

Material is available currently in adult fiction Daisy audio, from Australian publishers. There is some juvenile e-Braille and e-Text by American authors.

How can I listen to an NNELS talking book?

Print disabled patrons can download the restricted e-Audio file onto an existing listening device including an iPod, iPad, iPhone, Tablet or Victor Stream Reader.

Contact for more information

Kimberley Hintz
Public Library Coordinator
Provincial Library & Literacy Office


This blog is curated by the AEBC, but welcomes contributions from members and non-members alike. The thoughts, views, and opinions expressed in the Blind Canadians Blog are those of the contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the AEBC, its members, or any of its donors and partners.


500 titles! That's amazing. So, how much has PTPLC, the governments of BC and Saskatchewan put on the table to support this initiative; less than $1 Million; but that's not public information because this initiative isn't accountable to anyone except the individual libraries who support NNELS.

And, how much is spent on equivalent services for non-print disabled Canadians? conservative Estimates tell us that it's in excess of $100 Million in Canada's smaller provinces and likely closer to considerably more when agrigated across Canada.
If you happen to be among one of the many Canadians who doesn't have access to the internet where can you turn for accessible content? Your public library? Maybe one day soon, but right now, not much other than popular best sellers is available here. So, once again, it's the CNIB library who delivers.

Until publishers start to realize that making their content accessible isn't bad business then anyone unable to read due to a visual, physical or perceptual disability will still be marginalized when it comes to participating in Canadian culture.

The question of library access is merely a stage. Canadians who are unable to read must start demanding that newspapers, magazines, publishers and even public websites which publish news must become more inclusive.

ZZ - Disregard this link; it is used to trick spammers.