Citizens with print disabilities will now have increased access to free digital library resources through the National Network for Equitable Library Services (NNELS) project, thanks to an $100,000 investment by the Government of Saskatchewan in the 2013-14 Budget.
“The Government of Saskatchewan is committed to providing equitable access to programs and services for all citizens across the province,” Education Minister Don Morgan said. “This project has expanded digital talking book collections in every library across the province, enabling all citizens with print disabilities to pursue their passion for reading and engage in life-long learning.”
The Saskatchewan Provincial Library and Literacy Office has partnered with B.C. Libraries Co-operative to develop the Canadian Accessible Library Services (CALS) repository as part of NNELS with other provincial partners including British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba.
Saskatchewan is the first province to launch the new service, currently providing access to more than 800 NNELS resources, through the province-wide Saskatchewan Information and Library Services (SILS) catalogue. Another 40,000 new titles will be added by this summer and integrated into the SILS catalogue over the next year.
“People with print disabilities strive for equality and respect every day,” Saskatoon Public Library Outreach and Access Services Co-ordinator Gwen Schmidt said. “Providing vibrant and equitable service to people with print disabilities through public libraries should be our goal. National Network for Equitable Library Services and the Canadian Accessible Library Service database goes a long way in helping us to do that.”
Patrons with print disabilities can visit their local library to enable access to NNELS resources which include talking books and electronic Braille files. Print disabilities are severe or total impairment of sight, the inability to move one’s eyes, the inability to hold or manipulate a book, or an impairment related to comprehension.
For more information on the NNELS project visit www.lib.sk.ca/NNELS, https://nnels.ca/welcome-cals or visit your local public library.