It is estimated that there are more than three million Canadians with print disabilities, but less than 5% of published material is available in accessible formats. Improved digital production and digital delivery options available through NNELS and SILS provide libraries with the 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 for public library patrons who cannot read traditional print because of a visual, physical or cognitive disability. The restricted material is made available through the SILS catalogue in Saskatchewan and at nnels.ca.
NNELS is an interprovincial collaboration between British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon. The BC Libraries Cooperative, a non-profit Community Services Cooperative, is a service partner to NNELS.
In April 2013, Regina Public Library Outreach Services staff asked Irvin to talk about his use of the Outreach Services department and NNELS specifically.
Swift Current Public Library Branch Manager Andrea McCrimmon was recently interviewed for an article about services available through the public library for people with print disabilities. See the September 11, 2015 article published in the Prairie Post below.