Re-post: Statement to CELA patrons and supporters

Hi GTT Program Blog Readers.  I was asked by Karen McKay, Communications Manager, Centre for Equitable Library Access to distribute this statement.


Statement to CELA patrons and supporters


Over the weekend Global News released a story about the absence of federal funding for accessible book production in the 2018 federal budget. CNIB, one of our key production partners, raised the issue in letters to key members of the federal government which outlined the impact this decision would have for the estimated 3 million Canadians with print disabilities.


Federal funding for accessible book production is used to convert published works into accessible formats including human narrated audio, e-text, braille. Since its founding on April 1, 2014 CELA has been managing the collection guided by the CELA Collection Policy and library best practices. Without this funding for accessible book production, CELA’s ability to develop the collection and deliver new materials to patrons would be seriously constrained and would constitute a giant step away from the equitable library service we strive to deliver.


We fully support and thank the CNIB for their advocacy on behalf of Canadians with print disabilities. We were heartened to hear that the federal government has now reconfirmed its commitment to funding accessible book production and that it continues to work towards a long-term strategy for the production of accessible materials. CELA remains committed to providing accessible library services to our patrons through CELA member libraries across the country, and to working with the federal government and all stakeholders to devise a long-term solution.



Guest Post: In celebration of Freedom to Read Week, CELA Gratefully Acknowledges the Federal Government $2.5 million Commitment in the Current Budget for Production of Accessible Reading Materials

In celebration of Freedom to Read Week and on the eve of the release of the next year’s federal budget, CELA would like to gratefully acknowledge the federal government’s ongoing commitment to public library services by highlighting the $2.5 million allocated for the production of accessible reading materials in the current budget. These funds, awarded to our main production partner, CNIB, are used to produce accessible materials for the estimated 3 million Canadians with print disabilities.

CELA’s mandate to provide equitable library services through Canada’s public libraries is supported by a combination of provincial, territorial, and municipal funding. Our efforts focus on acquiring and curating library materials, facilitating and coordinating production and delivery, maintaining the CELA web site and catalogue, and supporting patron and member libraries at a national level.

CELA contracts with CNIB to perform two functions related to public library services for persons with print disabilities, both which are supported by federal funding. The first is original production based on selections by CELA staff – human-narrated audio titles that are not available commercially, braille, and accessible text files.

The second is the physical production and shipping of items directly to the patron’s home – either on DAISY CD or embossed braille. As a service that reflects the values of Canadian public libraries, CELA believes this to be an essential component of our commitment to patrons that may lack the necessary Internet access, equipment or comfort level using online services.

By the end of the current budget year, we anticipate that:

  • Patrons using CELA services will have borrowed, downloaded or accessed over 2.1 million items
  • Over 1 million DAISY CDs and close to 20,000 braille volumes will be delivered directly to the patron’s home
  • Over 450 libraries across Canada will carry CELA DAISY CD deposit collections so that patrons can borrow accessible collections locally or for libraries to deliver via their visiting library service
  • Nearly 7,000 new books, a majority of which are human-narrated audio, will be added to the CELA collection and close 100,000 additional titles will be made available through Bookshare
  • Close to 8,000 new titles in French will be made available through our partnership with Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) to bolster our collection of French titles
  • Over 2,300 new patrons will have signed up for CELA services through their local public library
  • Nearly 500 library staff across the country will have attended webinars and other training opportunities provided by CELA staff.

For more interesting statistics about how government funding supports CELA services, watch our social media over the next few days and consider sharing to educate your patrons about the importance of accessibility.

CELA is incredibly grateful for the annual funding support we received from government at all levels. Canadians with print disabilities would see a dramatic decrease in the quantity and quality of materials available in accessible formats without it. We are also grateful to literacy partners for providing opportunities for Canadians with print disabilities to engage with our national stories and in our national conversations, and our organizational partners for supporting our funding efforts, helping to spread the word about CELA and lending their expertise to the evolution  of our services. Thanks also to our colleagues in CELA member libraries for the incredible work they do in providing CELA services. We look forward to continuing to work with all funders and partners to make the dream of equitable library service a reality.


Catherine Biss

Chair, Board of Directors

Centre for Equitable Library Access


CCB-GTT Edmonton Summary Notes, Accessible Library Apps and Bluetooth Devices, June 12, 2017

Summary Notes
GTT Edmonton Meeting June 12, 2017

The most recent meeting of the Get Together with Technology (GTT) Edmonton Chapter was held June 12 at 7pm at Ascension Lutheran Church 8405 83 Street in Edmonton.
21 people attended.
Note: this was the final meeting before summer break. Our next meeting will be September 11, 2017.

June Topic – Library Apps and Blue Tooth Devices

Hoopla App
Lorne demoed the free Hoopla app on his iPhone, also available as a website, which allows members of the Edmonton public library, (and other libraries from across the world), to get access to movies, music, audio, and eBooks. The app is very VoiceOver accessible, and get’s it’s audio books from the same professional publishers as places like Audible, etc. You loan out your book for 21 days, and then it automatically returns if you don’t return it manually. When listening to an audio book, you have controls for skipping forward and back by 30 seconds, 5 minutes, or the standard scrub controls for going 10% at a time. You can also set bookmarks, and there’s a sleep timer.
You can find out more information here:
Edmonton Public Library Hoopla Resource

and here is the link to download the app from iTunes:
iTunes Hoopla App

and here is a list of all the amazing free online resources like Hoopla that you get access to with an Edmonton Public Library card:
Edmonton Public Library Resources

as well as a list of the Edmonton Public Library Assistive Services for clients with disabilities:
Edmonton Public Library Assistive Services

New Dolphin EasyReader App for CELA Library Books
Russell gave a brief introduction to the new Dolphin app, EasyReader on his iPhone. He played a book he downloaded through the CELA library, but explained that it may be several weeks before CELA books are available for everyone to use through the EasyReader app. He encouraged people to go ahead and download the app now as Bookshare materials are available through the same EasyReader app providing you have a Bookshare membership.

Find out more about the EasyReader app at…
Dolphin EasyReader App

Use Blue Tooth to Extend Life of Older Stereo/TV Equipment
Carrie demonstrated two inexpensive Blue Tooth devices to enhance her older TV and stereo systems. Below is Carrie’s summary of how she uses them:
To make my old tech wireless I purchased 2 pieces of Bluetooth equipment.
First an OT Adapt Bluetooth Receiver which I plug my old computer speakers or headphones into and they become wireless.
And second, the Indigo 2 in 1 Bluetooth Transmitter/Receiver which converts my old picture tube television or stereo into a Bluetooth audio sending device. In the end, the combination of these two devices allows me to play music from my old stereo component to my old computer speakers on the deck. Or, listen to the old picture tube TV in private via headphones while I’m in the kitchen making dinner. The OT Adapt receiver by itself can receive audio from a Bluetooth enabled device like my iPhone to listen to audiobooks or if connected to my stereo auxiliary input it can pipe my electric piano through the home speaker system. Both devices plug into the standard 3.5mm audio jack or a digital audio jack and make the devices wireless. This saved me having to buy Bluetooth headphones, Bluetooth speaker system, Bluetooth enabled stereo components or a Smart TV with Bluetooth. Approximately $125 for both from London Drugs. Now I notice they are available on Amazon. You do not need both so if shopping around, have a good idea of what you want to make wireless. A good salesperson will help you out. Remember one device must transmit and one must receive. Most Smartphones, laptops and Smart TVs already transmit a Bluetooth audio signal, it just must be turned on in the device settings.

Next Meeting (Monday September 11 at 7pm)
• As usual, we will provide one-on-one training especially iPhone and DAISY players. If you have other training requests email your interests to us so we can try to accommodate you.
• As always, for help with technology bring your devices and/or questions to the meeting.

Meeting Location and Logistics
• Ascension Lutheran Church 8405 – 83 Street NW, Edmonton.
• We meet in the basement hall. There is elevator access.
• Enter the church from the back door. There is parking at the back and drop off space for taxis, DATS.
• Meetings are every second Monday of the month at 7pm.
• If you have someone helping you your assistant is welcome to remain for the meeting.

GTT Edmonton Overview
• GTT Edmonton is a chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB).
• GTT Edmonton promotes a self-help learning experience by holding monthly meetings to assist participants with assistive technology.
• Each meeting consists of a feature technology topic, questions and answers about technology, and one-on-one training where possible.
• Participants are encouraged to come to each meeting even if they are not interested in the feature topic because questions on any technology are welcome. The more participants the better able we will be equipped with the talent and experience to help each other.
• There are GTT groups in Ottawa, Toronto, Kingston, Northern Ontario, Pembroke, Halifax, Sydney, Regina, Calgary, Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Victoria, Nanaimo, Vancouver, and more to come.
• There is also a national GTT monthly toll free teleconference. You may subscribe to the National GTT blog to get email notices of teleconferences and notes from other GTT chapters. Visit:
There is a form at the bottom of that web page to enter your email.
[End of Document]

Guest Post: Dolphin Releases the EasyReader App for iOS, a new Direct To Player audio book reading app

June 9, 2017

Dear GTT Members,

Earlier this week Dolphin released their latest app that will allow CELA patrons to access Daisy books directly into the app. Below are two helpful links, the first will take you to the Dolphin Web Site where you can access a YouTube video and other sources of information about the Dolphin EasyReader App, and the second one will take you to the App Store where you can download the app into your iDevice for free.

Dolphin EasyReader Direct to Player App for iOS:

Where to purchase EasyReader from the iOS App Store:

Once you have downloaded and installed the app, you may log in to your CELA account by typing the following in front of your six digit CELA ID Number:


Follow that with your password in the password field and you should be able to try out this great new app.

Thx, Albert Ruel, GTT Coordinator
The Canadian Council of the Blind
Mobile: 250-240-2343

For a Cool Blind Tech article on this app check this link:

BC May 9th Election and CELA/NNELS Library Funding Talking Points

Dear CCB/GTT participants,

Here are the “Talking Points” circulated by CNIB following a conference call with their CEO, John Rafferty on Wednesday, May 3, 2017 where blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted Canadians were invited to learn more about the state of CELA Library funding in BC specifically, and in other parts of Canada. Please use these talking points if you intend to contact candidates running for office in your community, and if you live in other parts of Canada, use them when you meet with your elected Provincial representative.

Quoted text:
Key Messages – Accessible BC Library Services

Access to alternate format materials has been a long-standing barrier for Canadians with print disabilities. Today, Canada’s answer to this challenge has manifested through two very different models of service – CELA (Centre for Equitable Library Access) and NNELS (National Network for Equitable Library Services).

Accessible alternate format materials include many different medium given an individuals reading or literary preferences. This could include high quality natural voice audio books, literary or braille books or braille music and access to current electronic and news papers/magazines. This content, as with that provided through Canada’s public libraries must be easy to access, either through a library service point, through Canada Post delivery or via direct to player download.

For a system to be considered truly equitable and accessible, the unique needs and individual preferences of patrons must be at the forefront of the delivery model. A one-size fits all approach, will further marginalize those who do not fit into a uniform service delivery model.

In order for access to CELA services to continue, we are asking that you contact candidates running in next weeks’ election and ask them to commit to fully funding CELA as your library service provider. Currently, the Government of BC has fully funded NNELS and CELA receives very limited financial support. This is both wrong and cannot be sustained.

To continue CELA services, $135,000 is required. This will ensure that the residents of British Columbia who have downloaded or received over 38,000 items via Canada Post last year can continue to do so in the future.
End of quoted text.

Thx, Albert Ruel, GTT Coordinator
The Canadian Council of the Blind
Western Canada