GTT Edmonton Meeting Notes, Edmonton Publick Library Accessible Services, March 9, 2020

Summary Notes

GTT Edmonton Meeting March 9, 2020


The most recent meeting of the Get Together with Technology (GTT) Edmonton Chapter was held March 9 at 7pm at Ascension Lutheran Church 8405 83 Street in Edmonton.

15 people attended.

Reading Tip: These summary notes apply HTML headings to help navigate the document. With screen readers, you may press the H key to jump forward or Shift H to jump backward from heading to heading. Read the Additional Resources section following the meeting notes to learn about our one on one telephone support, the National monthly teleconference, and the support email list.


March Topic –EPL Accessibility

Our guest was Vicky Varga, manager of the Castle Downs Branch of the Edmonton Public Library (EPL). Vicky presented on the topic of Edmonton Public Library accessible services and kindly provided the following extensive notes on these services. If you have any questions not answered in her notes, she is more than willing to get back to you. You can email her at:


Accessible materials at EPL

Large Print Books, including hardcover and lightweight softcover books. These are available at all Library locations.

DAISY Books are digital talking books used by blind and visually impaired customers and played on a special player. They are different from audiobooks in that the discs are large format and contain an entire book on one disc versus multiple discs as well as a hierarchical structure with marked up text to make navigation easier. Anyone with a library card can request DAISY books online or via a library staff member at any branch.

Descriptive Videos/DVDs (DVS) are movies which describe the visual elements for people who are blind or have low vision. They can be played on any DVD or Blu-ray player. Nowadays, most (if not all) DVDs released in Canada provide this as part of their options. Because of this, we don’t catalogue items separately anymore. The best way to confirm if an item has described video is to go to epl2you and scroll down to where there’s a catalogue link to described video OR search our catalogue for the following: “audio description available”

Assistive technology at EPL

Victor Stratus devices read DAISY disks. The device can also be used to play regular audio books and CDS. Large buttons with high contrast colours.

Victor Stream can have materials (audiobooks, audio magazines, etc.) loaded on to it OR, if connected to the internet, have items pushed directly to it by CELA. The Streams also have internet radio and can have any audio file loaded to them.

EPL has a few of each that can be loaned to customers to provide an opportunity to test the devices to determine if they would be a good fit and to fill the gap while customers acquire their own. If they qualify, CNIB can provide support and grants for purchasing VICTOR devices that will subsidize almost the entire cost.

Home Service:

EPL has provided home delivery since the 1970s!

If you’re unable to come to us at the library for three months or longer, we’ll come to you. We can deliver to your home, extended care facility or seniors’ lodge.

Staff will work with you to select the types of books, movies and/or CDSs you like so we can meet your needs OR you can select what you would like yourself on our website.

You can have a friend or family member pick up materials for you at the library OR we will match you with a carefully screened and trained volunteer who will deliver your items directly to you.




Extended Loans

For customers who can come in, but not too often (i.e. Depend on rides/DATS/weather and/or health often keeps them home)

Loan period is extended to 6 weeks for print items (DVDs remain at 3 weeks).

Talk to a library staff member if you’re interested in extended loans or home service


The Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA) is a national organization that supports public libraries in delivering equitable library service for their patrons with print disabilities.

CELA provides local library access to Canada’s largest collection of alternative format books and online resources for people who have difficulty reading print due to a visual, physical or learning disability.

CELA offers a collection of more than 500,000 books and more for people who have trouble reading print due to a learning, physical or visual disability. The collection includes:

  • Accessible books, magazines, and newspapers
  • Choose preferred format: audio, accessible e-text or braille
  • Full range of subjects, genres, best sellers and award winners for all ages

Access to the CELA collection is restricted to people with print disabilities living in Canada.

A print disability is a learning, physical or visual disability that prevents a person from reading conventional print.

More specifically, a print disability can be a:

  • Learning disability: An impairment relating to comprehension
  • Physical disability: The inability to hold or manipulate a book
  • Visual disability: Severe or total impairment of sight or the inability to focus or move one’s eyes

This definition of print disability is from the Canadian Copyright Act because it is this Act that lets CELA reproduce published materials in alternative formats for its collection. The term used in the Act is “perceptual disability”.

How to read CELA material

Download books to your mobile device and read with an accessible reading app like Dolphin EasyReader. Dolphin EasyReader is a FREE accessible reading app designed for readers with dyslexia, low vision or blindness. It’s what is recommended by CELA, but there are other apps that can be used including some paid apps.

Download or have books downloaded direct to a DAISY player over a wireless connection. Books can be chosen on the CELA website and downloaded to DAISY players, but CELA can  also push books directly to DAISY or Victor Stream devices if they’re connected to the internet.


Receive audio (DAISY) or braille by mail. DAISY disks and braille books can also be mailed via Canada Post directly to customers. Braille books and DAISY magazines and newspapers are theirs to keep, but books have a return mail label included and must be shipped back.

Bookshare via CELA

Bookshare is a US-based accessible online library for people with print disabilities. Bookshare offers more than 500,000 titles, including books for all ages, best sellers, and more. The books are available in e-text and e-braille. Audio versions are in synthetic speech.

Bookshare creates its accessible books by automatically converting book files provided by publishers. This automatic process makes large numbers of books available quickly and in a wide variety of accessible formats. However, because humans do not check the books, you may find errors in the synthetic audio or computer-generated braille. In addition, books which rely heavily on illustrations, charts, and graphs may not be usable because this material is generally presented by the publishers as images which cannot be converted automatically.

Proof of Disability: If you wish to access the Bookshare collection, you must provide a proof of disability, as required by Bookshare’s agreements with publishers. CELA manages the proof of disability process and ensures the privacy of your personal information. If you prefer not to submit a proof of disability, you will still have access to the CELA collection.

Signing up for CELA

Visit CELA Registration Page or contact the library for assistance.

What students/individuals need to register:

  • EPL library card
  • You must have a print disability to use CELA services, but proof of disability is not required

CELA Educator Access

If you’re an educator supporting a student with a print disability, receive free access to CELA’s entire collection including Bookshare!

How do you register? Get a free library card from Edmonton Public Library then complete the online Educator Access Program Registration Form:

CELA’s Client Access Support 

CELA’s Client Access Support program is designed for professionals who require access to CELA’s collection in order to assist individuals with print disabilities.

For example, if you work with students (being privately tutored), CNIB clients, residents of seniors’ residences or long-term care facilities, or those whose physical disabilities prevent them from manipulating a traditional book you could be eligible to access CELA’s alternate format collection on behalf of those you support.


What does CELA Client Access Support include?

The Client Access Support program provides access to CELA’s physical format collection including books on CD, braille books, descriptive video; our online formats such as downloadable DAISY audio or text; and electronic braille files available at

Bookshare? No… Access to Bookshare is limited to educational institutions and to individuals with print disabilities who are registered for CELA. If you are working with individuals with print disabilities who want access to Bookshare’s online resources, you can assist them in adding the Bookshare membership to their CELA account.

Client Access Support accounts are valid until October 1 of the next year. Accounts approved on or after October 1 will expire on Oct 15 of the following year. CELA will send you a renewal notice.

National Network for Equitable Library Access (NNELS)

NNELS is funded by 8 separate provincial governments and is sustained and run by public libraries. Their goals are:

  1. accessible public library service for everyone;
  2. accessible publishing and distribution so that separate collections like ours are no longer required for access to books and reading.

NNELS is an online public library of 10,000+ titles in accessible formats. The most common formats are DAISY, PDF and e-text.

NNELS not only provides access to existing accessible books, but it also supports the creation of accessible versions of titles.

NNELS is unique in that it works closely with publishers and distributors to promote accessible formats, but it also supports the creation of accessible versions of titles as needed. Sometimes this means supporting local libraries in creating their own accessible versions – Lac La Biche just finished recording an audio version of a local collection of stories. Many Indigenous and locally-written material is not available in an accessible format and NNELS is working to combat this issue

Signing up for NNELS

To register for NNELS, individuals only need to contact the library. Library staff will change their membership to include NNELS.

Your library card number and PIN can then be used to access the NNELS catalogue on their website:


Next Meeting (Monday April 13 at 7pm)

  • Topic TBA.
  • As always, for help with technology bring your devices and/or questions to the meeting.


Additional Resources

Telephone Support

Contact our GTT coordinators, Kim Kilpatrick in the East or Albert Ruel in the West to book one on one telephone support.

Kim: 877-304-0968 Ext. 513


Albert: 877-304-0968 Ext. 550



GTT Blog and Monthly Teleconference

CCB sponsors a national GTT monthly teleconference. You may subscribe to the GTT blog to get email notices of teleconferences, meeting notes from GTT chapters, and other information. To subscribe, activate the Follow link at the bottom of the blog web page to enter your email.

GTT Email Support List

CCB also sponsors a GTT email support list to provide help and support with technology for blind and low vision Canadians.  To subscribe to the email list, send an empty email to:


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 2 hour meeting consists of a feature technology topic in the first hour and a general tech discussion in the second hour.