Notes for ottawa GTT meeting Monday Feb 23 2015 (all about Ottawa Public Library Services) 

Here are the meeting notes from our GTT  Ottawa meeting on Monday February 23.  

Thanks very much to Shelley Morris for providing the notes. 

There were 23 people in attendence.  

We had two special guest presenters, Matt and Tristene from the Ottawa Public library. 


Kim reminded everyone to subscribe to the GTT blog to get up to date notes, resources, meeting announcements for both local and national groups, and more. 

If anyone is having trouble subscribing, let Kim know and she can help you. National conference calls will take place on the second wed of every month.

Next conference:  Wed Mar 11 7:00 p.m.

Daytime  Ottawa GTT group is going well.  It is a smaller group with more individualized attention.  This group takes place on

the third Thursday of each month from 10 AM to noon.

Next Daytime GTT–Thursday March 19 at the CCB national offices, 20 James street.

News, updates and announcements:

Kim said that the VoiceDream  Writer app works well for editing and writing documents on your idevices.  The IOS app for Google Chrome is now accessible.  It  is not crashing and may work better for those having problems with Safari. 

MS Word and Outlook apps now also seem to be accessible on Idevices.  There is no indication that MS office is accessible on the mac. 

The CNIB–direct to player app is a bit buggy but does allow you to download their books directly on to your I device.  it has many great and easy to use features.  They are going to fix bugs in it.  For now, Kim can  help those who are interested in trying it out. this app can take books from your downloaded shelf. It is currently available in iOS only and not available on iPad yet.

Steve Sleigh (CRA) has been meeting with some GTT members  to determine the accessibility of tax preparation software.  We have been trying out some of the programs endorsed by CRA and will have more reports and updates in the coming months. 

Richard Updated on Ballroom Dancing Program:

Richard Marsolais said CCB, CNIB and GTT have been partnering to have a ballroom dancing program.  Feb 26 is the last Thursday for the first session, which has been very successful.  Another session should be starting in March. Interested, contact Richard at 613-563-4021 ext 5029 or at 

Kim announced that

Blind yoga still a drop in on Saturdays here at CCB 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. If anyone is interested in finding out more about yoga, contact Kim at 613-567-0311 or 

Ana Zurita   invited everyone to a digital communication seminar on Saturday March 21at Algonquin College.  There will be 4 speakers related to digital communications; analytics, strategies, design thinking, how to develop user-friendly websites, storytelling, and UX (user experience). Richard Marsolais  announced that he is already working on the 4th annual

CNIB Tech Show to take place on Sept 22 2015. –asked the group to contact him if  we have any new ideas for displays/workshops.

Presentation from Matt and Tristene. 

CELA is the new CNIB library.  

CELA started with the belief that Blind people and people with print disabilities have rights to the same print material as everyone else.

Those who were registered with the CNIB library service before April 2014 can still use the CNIB library web site and service as they have been doing.. CELA stands for Centre for equitable library access.

CNIB and CELA clients can receive in the mail hard copy braille, print/braille, or daisy books on cd.  Alternatively, if they feel comfortable doing so, they can  go online and download books from CELA.

  The web site for CELA is very similar to the CNIB library, the mailing envelopes are different.

If you are new to this service, you have to go through your public library to register for it.  You can also let CNIB know that you are interested in library service. 

 your info goes to the public library and you need a library card. You will have access to everything in the public library.

If you are new to Canada, you may have a longer wait time. There is an annual non-residence fee of $50.00.  to belong to the library if you are not an Ottawa resident. 

You need to show ID to get a library card.  The ID needs to have your address on it.  If you are new to the city and don’t have ID, even a utility bill with your name and address on it will work. 

You will have access to CNIB library plus the collection of the public library.

CELA has access to CNIB library books.

CELA is national and public libraries are local.  

Some public libraries may include the option to search the CELA site when you visit their web sites. 


Public libraries also have a collection of daisy books

CELA uses the CNIB existing framework including their recording studio and volunteers–CELA contracts CNIB

CELA not only serves those who are blind/vision-impaired, they help those who have print disabilities such as dyslexia and those who would have trouble holding books.

In order to use the service, you will not be asked for a doctor’s certificate–it runs on self-disclosure.

Access to  content–bookshare–CNIB will continue under CELA  there is an international exchange of materials put into an accessible format.  For international languages we can request and link to other international libraries.  We should encourage our governments to ratify the Merikesh treaty so that we can have free access to all international  content. 

To find out more about this treaty, visit the world blind union site. 

Charles Mossop is the canadian  representative for World Blind Union and Jim Tokus from CCB is also involved with this  initiative. 

If you would like one of them to present on this, please let Kim know. 

It has been suggested that Kim find more information about this and post it here so that people can find out more about it. 

Canada has signed this agreement but not ratified it.  

OPL services

Overdrive–audio books and ebooks.  If there is a book you would like the OPL to get for you, you can make a suggestion to the OPL to purchase it. these requests are reviewed and responded to.

you can suggest 5 books per month for purchase.

Matt Abbott–selects most of the audio visual items that you see in the library including the CDs.  Some items are available in a described video format.

One of the new services offered by OPL is a streaming video service.  Currently it does not include blockbuster movies just yet–kind of like netfliix–videos and music hoopla

Hoopla is a streaming service.

accessibility features are slowly becoming more and more available.

Freegal is another streaming service available through OPL.

agreements with freegal is a music streaming service.  It is a database which has an agreement with Sony music.  You can download and stream the music in the database. 

you can  build a collection.  

Freegal can be very unfriendly for those with low vision. 

we have been asked to try it and let the OPL staff know what we find in terms of accessibility with Freegal and Hopla (the video streaming service). 

freegal and other companies provide these services for all libraries–we should give the feedback and we could ask for improvements when they renegotiate the contracts with Freegal and Hoopla.


Hoopla–has agreements with Warner and Universal

videos and music are streaming on a desktop

there are apps for these too which can be found in the App Store.

you will need a library card from OPL to access these services. 

Hoopla asks you to create an account. 

The provision of descriptive video is up to freegal and hoopla to negotiate with the studios–the descriptive video exists which is very frustrating as it isn’t always made available to us. Libraries are not responsible for making the third parties compliant with the AODA.

If GTT members lobbied we should say that we want access to it.  We need DVS. Most libraries now have the video and music streaming.  

Hoopla also has classic tv shows.  

Accessible status.  Those of us with (all) disabilities have a 6-week loan period as opposed to three weeks for non disabled library patrons.  Unfortunately, our status needs to be confirmed and a form filled out by a health care professional to get the OPL card that says we have a disability. Hopefully, a CNIB card may suffice in the future.  

We discussed the Access to Entertainment card available through the Easter Seals Ontario–for more information about this, contact them directly.  This card would allow you to bring a guide to a movie.  The cost of the card is $20.00 five years.  

Overdrive and screen readers

Overdrive has been accessible in the past but is less accessible now.  Please point this out to them. 

When using the overdrive app or overdrive on your computer, the  book disappears after 2 weeks.   Could this be extended?  

They are considering extending the loan period.  

Overdrive does not work with the  Booksense digital talking book player.   

it was hard to know within the  IOS app where you were in the book when you were  reading it.  Some apps let you navigate through a book much more easily.  These would include voicedream reader and audible.  Also the new CNIB Direct to player app is very good. 


Audible is good if you don’t mind paying for books. 


Assistive technology is available at all branches of the OPL. 

They have Kurzweil 3000, (this does not work well for totally blind people.  It is more designed for people with learning disabilities.) We pointed out that they should get Kurzweil 1000 for scanning and OCR. They also have  Jaws, Dragon Naturally Speaking, Zoomtext, BrowseAloud. accessible keyboards, wide screen monitors and accessible tables. Please make sure that they have the Kurzweil version most appropriate for blind/vision-impaired users (version 1000).

you can book a time  to use this accessible equipment. 

 reserved–can be booked online or call.  

Some GTT members have used it and needed some help signing into the computer initially. 

  you can ask when you go in the branch.

Could you scan library material and put it onto a memory stick  and take it away with you?  

Yes.  There are no macs at the library. They use Windows.  

They are not planning on getting macs.

There are work stations that have the adaptive equipment.  

Homebound services are for those who want to use the library but can’t visit.  You need to get a 3 months registration  at the least. 

They can be great if you are injurred or  great for winteritme. The materials are delivered to participants’ homes.

Daisy books collection works side by side with homebound services.  Call homebound and register–you give them your library card for the time which you are registered. .  This is used so that they can sign the books out for you. 

They work very hard. 

There are 3 people serving 500 clients.  

There is no limits as to what you can have access to with the home bound service.   It is request based and you can place holds–you complete a form so that they will know what  you would like to borrow.  

At the front of the library, there are shelves called express. 

Express copies are those that you cannot place a hold on-usually new items — based on feedback from different branches and popularity of books.  the popular DVDs are on express for 6 months.  There are 33 library branches.  Express shelves are usually in a prominent place in the library and include things like best sellers.  

checking out books:

how accessible is this?  there is always staff to help people to check out.  We cannot use touch screens–the staff will help you if you are having difficulty.  All branches are at different stages of automation–the staff are trained to help.  There are  always information desks and that’s where you should go if you need help. 

When we walk into a library we don’t know what the layout is.  Could this be explained online so that we can know before we visit?    

All branches are different.  It might be a good idea of their individual  layout be put on the webpage as an MP3 and text file.   The city is doing this with community centres and should be done at libraries too. 

City of Ottawa has a wayfinding app that they are implementing.  


you can now get it free if you are a member of CELA/CNIB library. 

This service is great  and has lots of titles.  download them onto your device or your phone.  Some of the new digital talking book players (the  victor stream, plextalk linio)  With these players you can search and download directly Voice dream reader is a great app to use with bookshare.  

using Voicedream reader–you can not  select the format in bookshare that you want to use. It just downloads it in one format. 

Voicedream reader has many voices–one comes for free but you can download different voices in many different languages.   

Some suggestions for  using Voicedream Reader:

Voicedream reader

You can create a folder for books or other materials and name it whatever you like. 

Go to that folder, under the add button, go to web browser to add Cnib library books. 

Go to bookshare to add those books. 

Go Read is the Android version.

many people put things into MP3 when using bookshare.  You can choose from text, text with graphics or audio–it takes a few minutes to produce but the quality is better than daisy. This is for use from the web site using your computer. 


It was suggested that we have a workshop on voicedream writer. 

Voicedream reader is a book reading app for IOS.  The writer can be used with a braille display–has a built-in spell checker and dictionary.  It can also use dictate.  It uses this markdown language for formatting.  Could you print from voicedream writer?  you would have to export the file first.

Access note is another notetaking app that has gone free and is quite easy to use.

Voicedream writer is very user friendly and costs $10.00.  You can select text and when you double tap it lets you cut, copy, paste ETC.  

a tip for voiceover–when you are on the status bar at the top of your screen swipe up with 3 fingers and it will say control centre.  In that centre you can easily turn on and off, bluetooth, wifi, do not disturb, orientation lock, ETC. 

To get out of the centre, press the home button. 


Next GTT 

Monday March 16

6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

20 James Street. 

Some suggested topics are:

taxes;  how people can do them and how we may find people to help us if we are unable to do them ourselves.

Another suggested topic, online banking

A third suggested topic:  Internet providers–some examples–

ACANAC Techsavvy etc.

how to find service providers 

Does an iPhone cost the same everywhere.

We have decided on the topic of service providers. 

Come with ideas and tips and we will discuss this and share resources. 

One thought on “Notes for ottawa GTT meeting Monday Feb 23 2015 (all about Ottawa Public Library Services) 

  1. Hello Kim, I got this from the other organization I belong to, and may be worth following-up if they could be of help, Maria

    FYI From: Yasir Naqvi, MPP (Constituency Office)


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