Dear Ontario CULC Member CEOs and Directors,
I am thrilled to announce that the Government of Ontario’s Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport has extended full funding for CELA services to all Ontario public libraries for the fiscal year beginning April 1, 2017. We’d requested a longer extension but they reluctantly cannot commit to that level of funding at this time. However, they are very supportive of our efforts and happy to work with us toward a more sustainable solution. Thank you to you and your staff for your continued support. In our pursuit of sustainable public funding, CULC member library endorsements cannot be over-estimated.
Here are some highlights from the previous year:
Strategic Plan 2017-2021
The CELA Board recently approved CELA’s strategic plan for 2017-2021. The plan touches on several of the priorities identified at the October CULC meeting in Halifax and establishes our strategic goals for the next four years. I have attached a copy of the document for your perusal.
Since its launch on April 1, 2014, CELA has solidified its place as a sustainable and necessary public service component of its member libraries. The implementation and nurturing of CELA services in Ontario’s public libraries has elevated awareness among public library staff of the needs of Ontarians with print disabilities, and has inspired an improvement in overall service. In our first 3 years, we anticipate that patrons will have borrowed over 3 million books and other media in accessible formats offered by CELA through local public libraries in Ontario – a number unimaginable and unattainable if each individual library were responsible for providing the service within their existing capacity.
In addition to individual users, CELA provides an Educator Access program which allows educators at the elementary, secondary and post-secondary levels access to CELA services on behalf of their students with print disabilities. Currently, 212 educators representing 8,300 students in Ontario have signed up for CELA services.
 Accessible Book Collection – Updated Numbers
CELA provides access to a growing collection of close to 100,000 titles available in multiple digital and physical accessible formats. CELA also has a relationship with Bookshare, providing access to an additional 350,000 accessible books. Bookshare is a US-based product from Benetech, a leading Silicon Valley-based non-profit company that uses technology to address pressing social needs. Totaling 450,000, the collection CELA offers is the largest available to Canadians with print disabilities.
We continue to provide access to over 50 national and international newspapers, updated daily, in fully accessible HTML.
In addition to the DAISY Audio CD Magazines bundle we ship automatically to patrons, we recently added a DAISY Text Magazine Service through a partnership with Recorded Books and Zinio. CELA patrons can read the latest issue of popular magazines as they’re published. We currently provide access to 30 titles (including 6 in French), including Better Homes and Gardens, Wired, the Economist and Hockey News with plans to add more than 100 additional magazines by summer. They can be easily downloaded for use with a variety of apps or the files can be downloaded and transferred to a DAISY device.  Libraries can download magazines to an SD card or CD and use it with DAISY hardware devices.
French Books
As part of an agreement with the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ), CELA now provides access to over 4,500 French language DAISY audio titles through the CELA catalogue. Titles will continue to be added as they are produced by BAnQ.
Marrakesh Treaty
As you may know, the Marrakesh Treaty came into force on September 30, 2016. Officially named the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled, it is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) of the United Nations. It requires any country that ratifies the Treaty to ensure its copyright laws allow the production of accessible format copies, the domestic distribution of accessible format copies, the export of accessible format copies; and the import of accessible format copies. The former two were already permitted in Canada, the latter two were added when Canada officially acceded to the treaty in June of last year.
We are speaking with international library partners that serve patrons with print disabilities about possible exchanges of materials. However, key producers such as the European Union and the United States have yet to ratify.
Audio Publisher Agreements
We continue to maintain agreements with Recorded Books and Blackstone Audio that allows us to purchase high demand audio books at substantially less cost than full production and have them available to CELA users simultaneous to commercial release. We have added a similar agreement with Dreamscape Audio.
Michael Ciccone
Executive Director
Centre for Equitable Library Access / Centre d’accès équitable aux bibliothèques
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