GTT/AEBC National Conference Call: CELA Detailed Notes, July 27, 2016

August 31, 2016

(The following are detailed notes from the CCB and AEBC National Call which took place on July 27, 2016)

Dear program supporters,

On July 27, 2016, we held the national conference call regarding library services. The national call was sponsored by the Canadian Council of the Blind’s Get Together with Technology Program (GTT) and AEBC’s Accessible Information and Copyright Committee

The topic was “Canadian Library Services: Who provides it, what do they provide, how does it work and what does the future look like?” Leo Bissonnette, AEBC National Board Member and Albert Ruel, GTT Coordinator, acted as moderators and Kim Kilpatrick, GTT Coordinator, assisted with the question and answer sessions and other logistical details.

Approximately 30 Participating callers heard presentations from representatives of the Center for Equitable Library Access’, Michael Ciccone and Margaret Williams, and from the National Network for Equitable Library Services’ we had Sabina Iseli-Otto presenting.

This document contains the CELA notes from the presenters and the notes from the questions asked by callers. A separate document lists the NNELS presentation and responses.

We thank all those who presented and participated on the call. We hope you will find this document helpful.

##Canadian Library Services: Who provides it, what do they provide, how does it work and what does the future look like?
Wednesday, July 27, 2016, 7:00 until 8:30 PM

##CELA Presentation Related to Committee Questions
Presenting on behalf of CELA, Michael Ciccone, Executive Director, 905-320-5144, and
Margaret Williams, Director of Content & Access, 416-486-2500, X7632
If you are interested in joining our Consumer Advisory group, please email Karen McKay, CELA Communications Manager at
CELA Contact Information
Phone: 1-855-655-2273
Helpline email:

What is CELA?
CELA is a national not-for-profit organization run by public libraries for public libraries. Its mission is to support public libraries in providing accessible collections for Canadians with print disabilities and to champion the fundamental right of Canadians with print disabilities to access media and reading materials in the format of their choice.
How and why was CELA created, and what are its operating and funding structures?
In 2008, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) was asked to develop a strategy for implementing nation-wide partnerships, activities and services to meet the long-term library and information access needs of Canadians with print disabilities. It became known as the Initiative for Equitable Library Access (IELA).
Recommendations were put forth, including the creation of an arm’s-length “hub,” seen by the majority of stakeholders as the preferred means of providing alternative format content for delivery to end-users through Canada’s public libraries. In mid-2011, LAC announced that it would not be directly involved in the implementation process. Instead, LAC tasked CNIB to continue multi-stakeholder consultation, funded by a federal grant. CNIB completed this work with its presentation of a proposal for a publicly funded National Digital Hub in its March 2012 report, Reading Re-Imagined.
CNIB began discussing Reading Re-Imagined with stakeholders across the country in the spring of 2012, including representatives from the Canadian Urban Libraries Council or CULC. CULC member libraries represent communities or regions with a population of 100,000 or more. They represent libraries in large cities such as Toronto and Vancouver, and regional library systems that represent a collection of smaller libraries, such as the Wood Buffalo Region in Alberta and the New Brunswick Public Library Service.
In the ensuing discussions, CULC members found the Hub model to be in line with the original vision for IELA and reaffirmed that the provision of these services be the responsibility of the public sector and not a charitable organization. In the Spring of 2013, the joint CULC-CNIB Working Group published a paper that proposed a national not-for-profit organization governed by public libraries that, in partnership with CNIB and other organizations, would acquire, produce and distribute alternative format materials through public libraries. The result was the establishment of CELA as an independent, federally incorporated not-for-profit organization in the late fall of 2013. In essence, CELA was designed to leverage both the existing and growing CNIB Library collection and its supporting infrastructure, and the existing public library infrastructure to engage the print-disabled community and facilitate the delivery of accessible materials.
CELA services were officially launched on April 1, 2014, inheriting services previously provided by CNIB Library and expanding it to include those with physical or learning disabilities. To cause as little disruption as possible to existing CNIB Library clients, some CNIB Library functionality continued in parallel to CELA, but all CNIB Library services related to the delivery of accessible materials were discontinued last year. All former CNIB Library clients who signed up for service before the launch of CELA are considered patrons of CELA. No action is required on their part. The transfer is automatic.
Where does CELA stop and CNIB begin in the CELA Library model?
CNIB continues as CELA’s partner in the production and distribution of accessible materials and as a trusted intermediary for the sharing of materials across borders. They provide other contracted support services, such as IT, but progress is being made in shifting these responsibilities to CELA.
Does it have its own Board of Directors, and to whom does it report?
CELA is an independent, federally incorporated not-for-profit, governed by a 9-member board comprising staff from public libraries or provincial organizations that represent public libraries. Representation ranges geographically from New Brunswick to British Columbia and organizationally from CEOs to front-line staff.
How is CELA’s distribution service funded?
Funding for CELA service is provided by the governments of Ontario, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Northwest Territories, and by CULC member libraries and other libraries that subscribe to our service with their own funds. We are very grateful for the support of these organizations.
Tasks performed by CNIB on behalf of CELA are supported by a combination of government funding and private donations. The cost of distribution is covered by the “Literature for the Blind” service though Canada Post.
In addition, we have an in-kind agreement with the BAnQ (Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec) to provide CELA service to patrons in Quebec in exchange for making their materials in French from SQLA (Service Québecois du livre adapté) available to CELA users across Canada. We will be making an announcement that includes information on how to access these materials soon.
Who produces the end product?
CNIB has produced the majority of our original content to date. It also prepares content from other sources such as commercial audio publishers and other libraries serving people with print disabilities for distribution. The rest comes from Bookshare.
How is the production of accessible Library products funded?
A combination of government funding and private donations.
Who owns the collection?
CNIB owns the collection prior to April 1, 2014. Any material produced after is jointly owned by CELA and CNIB.
Can CELA Library users become voting members?
We do not have an open membership structure at this time, but we receive input and guidance from several operational advisory committees comprising front line staff at member libraries and chaired by CELA Board Members. We also actively seek input from both library staff and patrons in our webinars and at tradeshows, and we are currently in the process of building our consumer advisory group. All of these inputs feed the Board in its decision-making.
What are the range of CELA services, and to whom are they targeted?
With their account, patrons have access to:
• The CELA Collection of close to 100,000 books and major magazines, available in the accessible format of the patron’s choice
• Our newsstand, providing access to 50 local and national newspapers in a fully accessible HTML format
• Free access to Bookshare, a US-based accessible online library for people with print disabilities offering over 280,000 titles
• An elaborate profiling system to allow for automatic delivery of materials. Patrons select reading genres and CELA’s library system automatically selects titles and distributes them to patrons on a patron-selected schedule
• CELA Helpline Reader’s Advisory Services and support for library patrons
• A Monthly Bilingual newsletter “Open Book”, which contains sections on
• New & Notable Books
• Kids & Teens
• Focus On segment
• Top Five for the month
• Support for participating in library programs – this year CELA offered an accessible version of the TD Summer Reading Club activity notebook through the 2,000 libraries across Canada that participate in the club, including non-member libraries
Who does CELA serve, children, young adults, post-secondary students, working adults, seniors?
The CELA collection is similar in scope to a public library with a full range of subjects and genres to reach all ages. As a national organization, we are especially proud to focus on Canadian titles in English and French and First Nations literature. We also have a substantive disabilities collection. By working with CNIB we have access to a collection developed over many years, which means – just as an example – we can instantly provide a reading list of works on topics in the news or titles by an author who passes away. We also have thousands of books from other producers, including commercial audio publishers and libraries serving people with print disabilities around the world.
Since taking stewardship of CNIB’s collection, CELA has put new emphasis on:
• Expanding access to bestsellers from audio publishers
• Making books available more quickly by working with the organizers of awards and reading programs
• The DAISY text format, to better support the needs of people with learning disabilities, people using braille displays or people who simply appreciate access to the full text to interpret themselves rather than through the eyes of a narrator
• Shortening production times overall for materials from CNIB.
What is the future of current CELA delivery options including, home delivery, and computer and Direct to Player downloads?
CELA offers materials in audio, braille and e-text. Almost the entire collection is digital and available for download and use with popular reading devices such as the Victor Stream as well as apps for iOS and Android. We also offer physical materials, including DAISY audio on CD, braille and printbraille books and described videos.
At this time, DAISY CDs represent almost 70% of use, and we strongly believe that CELA service should be inclusive. We will not leave people behind because they don’t have the necessary Internet access, equipment or comfort level to use online services. At the same time, we’re looking for ways to move users to our Direct to Player service, as the CD format itself is becoming obsolete and costs are rising despite a remarkably efficient system for distributing CDs on demand (we send and receive 3,000 to 5,000 a day).
How do I start using my public library’s CELA service?
To start, you need a library card and then to register with CELA. The process for registering with CELA is relatively straightforward. The patron is either referred to the local library, actively pursued by the library through outreach initiatives, or the patron simply drops in to or calls their local library. Some libraries may require you to visit in person to obtain a library card, but if that isn’t possible we advocate with the library to revisit this policy. If services for those with print disabilities are requested, CELA is mentioned as an option. The library issues a card to the patron and, if need be, assists the patron in registering for CELA. There is a self-registration option as well. The patron is then notified by CELA when their account is ready to be used.
What services and supports can CELA Library users expect when attending their local public libraries?
Our ultimate goal is to provide excellent public library service to Canadians with print disabilities. CELA may fill a patron’s service need or the patron could very well discover that their local library offers any number of available collections, programs or services. We encourage libraries to think locally when they engage with a patron with a print disability. We’d love it if all qualified patrons joined and used CELA, but first and foremost, we’re ecstatic that they’re using a public library. We are a public library-run organization and nothing makes a public librarian happier than a contented patron.
How do I return a book/magazine when I’m done, and when does it expire?
If you download materials from the website, you don’t need to return them. We ask you to delete the files when you have finished reading them to help control the risk of misuse. If you use our Direct to Player service, you can return an item at any time through your DAISY player or our Direct to Player app. For physical materials, all books and described videos need to be returned through Canada Post. Magazine CDs do not. Special arrangements have been made with Canada Post so that any materials returned in our yellow CD envelopes or braille bags are handled at no cost to you. Just ensure that you return CDs with the silver side and tactile ridge showing through the plastic window so Canada Post knows to return it to our distribution centre rather than deliver it back to you. Braille and described movies are similar – flip the address card in the plastic pocket of the braille bag over (the hole in the card should be in the lower right corner) so it comes back to us.
What are the main print disabilities besides vision loss?
Print disabilities are defined as visual, physical or learning disabilities that make holding and reading conventional books a challenge.
Where is CELA’s library service available in Canada, and where is it not available?
CELA is available to all qualified residents of Northwest Territories, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. In addition, through individual library subscriptions (libraries that opted to subscribe to CELA, although their province did not fund it), we cover 62% of British Columbia and 60% of Manitoba. We are not available in Yukon, Nunavut, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador, although we continue to support former CNIB Library clients in all areas, regardless of funding.
Our member libraries serve 90% of the total population of Canada.
How can people living in Quebec and other unserved regions of Canada take advantage of CELA services?
We will work with any qualified patron to get them a library card so that they can use the service.
What is the current state of the Direct to Player smart phone app, and what development plans exist going forward?
Will Direct to Player services be developed for other devices, and will the known bugs be fixed in the near future?
Our Direct to Player service, for anyone who isn’t familiar with it, is a simple-to-use option that lets you stream or download books on your DAISY player, iOS or Android device without having to use a computer and transfer files. A fully integrated version of Direct to Player, that responds to user requests for greater stability, search integration and full text support, is one of our highest priorities. However, the current app will not be developed further, as the vendor has decided to no longer support and enhance it. We’re looking at options currently on the market.
Why can’t I backup Direct to Player books to my SD Card on the VR and Plextalk devices?
This is one method of managing the risk of someone sharing files produced under the copyright exception with non-eligible persons, advertently or inadvertently (e.g. sharing a computer or memory stick with family members). For now, this approach is an affordable compromise for publishers who have signed content agreements and who have concerns about the lack of Digital Rights Management on files we provide to patrons. We appreciate that this restriction may cause inconvenience for our users and we are keeping an open mind to alternatives that would meet both security and user needs.

What is BookShare and how does it fit into the CELA range of services?
How can users take advantage of BookShare?
Once you’ve registered for CELA service, you’re eligible for a free Bookshare membership (normally $50 US a year). Educators and their students with print disabilities are also eligible for free access to Bookshare through CELA. Because of its agreements with publishers, Bookshare has a separate and stricter sign up process to CELA that requires you to submit written proof of disability. We are working with Bookshare on trying to simplify the registration process for our users. If you need assistance, please contact our Helpline.
What are the copyright access limitations when accessing non-Canadian titles?
Limitations are set by the publishers. Some non-Canadian publishers allow access to their titles and some do not. Canadian users will see only the titles available in Canada.
How will the Marrakesh treaty and Canada’s altered Copyright Laws affect our access to alternate Library products?
As you may know, on June 30 Canada became the 20th country to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty, the magic number required for the treaty to be put into force. The official date for enactment is September 30, 2016.
The Treaty will have an enormous impact on providing access to a greater number and broader range of titles – particularly titles in languages that reflect Canada’s diversity. However, it will take time. Canada’s copyright laws already permitted the import and export of alternate formats prior to signing the Marrakesh Treaty. The pertinent questions for Canadians are when will other countries ratify and how will the Treaty be implemented in each country.
CELA already obtains materials from international producers that participate in the Book Exchange of the Accessible Books Consortium (ABC) – including the National Library Service in the U.S. The Book Exchange is an integrated catalogue and file exchange system of works available through major alternate format producers in 14 countries, and rapidly expanding in response to Marrakesh. The system handles both free exchange between ratified countries and a permissions clearance process between countries that haven’t yet ratified. The Book Exchange catalogue isn’t available publicly yet. We ran a small pilot with users and determined that more work is required to support searching and turn-around time for requests. For now, the Book Exchange is one source we automatically check when someone requests a book we don’t have.

The questioner described his experience where had problems getting a book. It pertained to BC. He described how he had called the Vancouver Library and was told that the book he wanted was available through CELA, but was then told that because he lived in the Fraser Valley he was told that he was not eligible to borrow that book. This was because the Fraser Valley Regional Library is not a member of CELA. The caller went on to indicate that he has been a lifetime member of CNIB Library. So the caller asked: As a member of the CNIB Library would I be able to join CELA, even though I don’t live in CELA’s coverage area here in the Phraser Valley?
Michael answered that he should have been served and Michael urged the caller to give and they will follow up on that specific matter….
Can I go to a public library in Toronto and use both CELA and CNIB services?
There is no CNIB Library any more. When you go to your local public library, ask about CELA service. You may also want to ask about other services for those with disabilities that your local library offers.
Asking about Quebec services and CNIB clients, are CNIB Quebec clients automatically registered with CELA?
That will indeed be the case moving forward.
As a follow up regarding Quebec, is there a specific contact person at CNIB Offices in Montreal to help people become registered with the Quebec National Library?
We will be announcing shortly how this will work and we will also be communicating with the offices of CNIB in Quebec about how to offer support to their clients. We will not include it in our set of notes that we will send you, but will follow up when we have the announcement ready to go out.

With reference to the Direct to Player APP and the comment that there will no longer be support for the APP in the future, will there be notification given or will the APP be updated? Will we see that on our iOS devices in the APP?
Yes you will. Just to clarify, the vendor of the APP, which is a not-for-profit organization, has decided that the APP is no longer part of their core business. They have agreed to maintain the APP for a certain time until we find a solution. So, you may very well see updates in the app moving forward. We will not be adding any new features.
Several callers made comments: Callers reported problems on the iOS side and many are deciding not to use it at this time. The APP works very efficiently on devices such as the Victor Stream Second Generation and PlexTalk devices.
A comment was made about the promising APP coming out of Vision Australia. The hope is that a similar APP will be developed to provide good access for both iOS and Android users in the future….
We are looking at products currently on the market, including developments by our international partners. Availability for both iOS and Android is a requirement.
Can you talk about the efforts to coordinate all these various libraries in the country?
And following up on the earlier question about access in the Fraser Valley issue—where you are a CNIB client living in an area where your library is not a member of CELA, what are your options?
We have a system for non-member referrals because we still get many referrals from CNIB. We still let people know about the various library services available, including NNELS. We try—especially in BC and Manitoba—to get people services within the framework of our funding.
In terms of leadership, the two most prominant national organizations are Library Archives Canada and the Canadian Library Association. Several years ago, Library and Archives led consultations but announced that it would not be involved in implementing a solution. The Canadian Library Association recently folded. It officially dissolved in June of 2016. In its place is something called the Canadian Federation of for Library Associations and we are really hoping that that organization will be able to provide some leadership on a national level.

In terms of the funding question, we are funded by New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta. We have an agreement in place with Quebec. We are also funded by large public libraries and regional systems such as the Winnipeg Public Library, the Edmonton Public Library, the Calgary Public Library and 14 libraries in BC. Altogether, our member libraries serve 90% of the Canadian population.
The caller starts his question by indicating that he is still having difficulty understanding the CELA structure. The caller says that CNIB is a private charity. Is CELA also a private charity funded by the provinces and libraries?
We are a publicly funded not-for-profit organization. We are essentially taking on the role that CNIB Library had in the past and we have expanded it to include all persons with print disabilities. We are supported by provinces and public libraries.
Where do you see accessible formats going and where will they be in five years from now?
Really, we should always be in a temporary stage. Alternative format production should not really have to exist with the exception of some very specialized requirements for things that mainstream publishers realistically are never able to afford to do. It’s not realistic and affordable to describe every illustration in detail and so on in a book. The Accessible Books Consortium is actually much larger than a Book Exchange. One of its main initiatives is working with publishers on an inclusive publishing movement. What is being worked on right now is actually some baseline discussions for publishers to say “what is an accessible book?” We all talk about it. How does, for example, Random House know that what they produce is going to be at an acceptable level. And once those guidelines are out—which are coming out quite soon—that will be when we have a baseline and that will also help determine when is it that alternative format production is required over and above something that a mainstream publisher can do.. So, really you should be able to go to your public library and just access the services that that are there.
The other thing that is always very much of a challenge gets into dealing with materials in services like OverDrive. They tend to be accessible with help from people. We want to have these products fully accessible or at least an alternative offered that a user can handle independently. That’s one of the keys to have for fully accessible library services moving forward. If you are able to access the resources just as anyone else would—that is, find them on your own and use them on your own—that’s the goal.
The reality is that products like OverDrive for our clients is really not the main focus for these vendors. They do sometimes employ people who understand access, but there’s no consistency here. So, products evolve and accessibility is good sometimes and not good at other times.QUESTION:
For clients who have the Stratus Players, going back to the days when they signed up under CNIB, what do they have to do—if anything at all?
The simple answer is nothing. Everything is done for those who are using older players.. The only thing that clients have to do is instead of going to the CNIB Library website they need to go to the CELA Library Website. And even very soon, it will be an automatic redirect. Any books in your CNIB bookshelf will automatically be there under CELA. So there is nothing to do or be concerned about.
One of the things that really helped in the transition is that CELA started with what CNIB had in place so for users the switchover was easier to accomplish.
The caller started his question by saying that it was his understanding that CELA is still housed in the CNIB building. Is there an openness to changing your location? and also, when the caller talked about his use of the website last winter, it would say CELA on the main screen and then when on a book screen it would say “CNIB”. What’s going to happen there?
This issue of CELA and CNIB titles on screens is being worked on and will be soon all CELA in terms of branding.
The CDS will also be rebranded….so the process is under way.
In terms of housing, we are presently in the CNIB building on Bayview—along with other organizations that support those with print disabilities. Will we move out? Probably eventually. There is some disentangling to do and that will take some time to do. Both CNIB and CELA want that and we are working towards that.
About Braille books, A caller indicated that he still receives quarterly notifications about braille books acquired. Will this continue in the future?
This will continue. There will be rebranding happening here as well.
With the Orbit coming out, will there be a possibility to receive books on SD cards? And, also on any APP that you develop, will there be the possibility to download and read books in braille
At this time there is no plan to send SD cards but we’ve taken note of the service implications of the Orbit. For the APP, we are looking at products that support more formats than the current one does, including output to a braille display.
Back to the structure of CELA, it was mentioned that CELA is a not-for-profit independent hub that is built upon various organizations providing library services. Does it have a fundraising arm like some university and public libraries have?
CELA has put in one funding request for DAISY players in libraries which was denied. We are not there yet. It’s a not-for-profit. There are some questions about how to deal with fund raising and CELA is not there yet in terms of doing public fund raising as some do. We don’t want to rely on charitable donations for our service model, because that would defeat the premise of library services for those with print disabilities being publicly funded . So we need to be careful moving forward that we are in the right position around funding. If we seek private funding, it would be for peripheral projects to help augment the experience for our users (e.g. purchasing devices for libraries to circulate).
CNIB still does exist for its clients and may choose to fundraise for services that its clients find beneficial. That is a decision for CNIB and its clients.
##Using Voice Dream Reader with Bookshare.
Prepared by: Kim Kilpatrick
As a CELA library client, you are eligible to receive Bookshare services.
Once you have a Bookshare account and the app Voice Dream Reader, here is how to get Bookshare books into Voice Dream and how to read them.
In the app Voice Dream Reader, go to Settings, Content Sources, and make sure you have logged in with your Bookshare account.
Now go back to your File list. Under Add, go to Bookshare.
You will then be placed in a list of ways to search Bookshare. Title, author, ISBN, or Full Text.
Select one of these and type in a search term or go to the list below that to find most recent, most popular, and books by subject, or your browsing history with Bookshare.
When you find a book you want, press Download.
It should load it into Voice Dream and you can find it in your list.
Once you open a book, you can listen to it with the app. If you have an electronic braille display, you can read it in braille. To do this find the text in the middle of the screen and start scrolling.
If you decide to continue reading using audio, you can press play and it will begin being read in audio.
##Presenter CONTACTS
##Center for Equitable Library Access
• CELA Contact Information:
Phone: 1-855-655-2273
Helpline email:
Michael Ciccone, Executive Director, 905-320-5144
Margaret Williams, Director of Content & Access, 416-486-2500, X7632
If you are interested in joining our Consumer Advisory group, please email Karen McKay, CELA Communications Manager at
##What is CCB and GTT?
##The CCB was founded in 1944 by a coalition of blind war veterans, schools of the blind and local chapters to create a national self-governing organization.
The purpose of the CCB is to give people with vision loss a distinctive and unique perspective before governments. CCB deals with the ongoing effects of vision loss by encouraging active living and rehabilitation through peer support and social and recreational activities.
The CCB recognizes that vision loss has no boundaries with respect to gender, income, ethnicity, culture, other disabilities or age.
As the largest membership organization for the blind and partially sighted in Canada the CCB is the “Voice of the Blind™”.

GTT was started in Ottawa in 2011 by Kim Kilpatrick and Ellen Goodman to give people a chance to share low and high-tech solutions, tips, and resources, and was soon brought under the CCB National umbrella as another consumer driven service and participation initiative. Through GTT you can learn from and discuss assistive technology with others walking the same path of discovery.
The group is made up of blindness related assistive technology users, and those who have an interest in using assistive technology designed to help blind and vision impaired people level the playing field. The GTT group meets monthly to share their passions for assistive technology and to learn what others can offer from their individual perspectives.
For more information about GTT contact: Kim Kilpatrick at, 1-613-567-0311,513, or Albert A. Ruel at 1-613-567-0311,550.
##What is AEBC?
AEBC is a national grassroots, peer support organization that is comprised of Canadians who are blind, deaf-blind or partially sighted and our supporters from the public at large. Our membership is comprised of a diverse range of socioeconomic backgrounds, educational achievements, life experiences, professional and nonprofessional occupations. These members work to ensure AEBC has a voice on all matters affecting participation in Canada’s mainstream society.

AEBC’s individual and collective advocacy efforts have been successful across Canada for almost twenty-five years and have spurred innovation in the private sector. This advocacy has resulted in many advancements and opportunities now available to blind Canadians in the mainstream of our society. In fact, most of the successful innovations with respect to information, communication and technology have taken place as a direct result of our members. They have acted individually and collectively, identifying and challenging Governments and other regulated organizations to make websites, banking machines, personal financial and healthcare information available in accessible formats for people unable to read standard print independently, confidentially and securely.

For more information about AEBC contact: Marcia Yale, National Secretary at, or 1-800-561-4774.

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