Print disabilities affect approximately 10% of the Canadian population. According to the Copyright Act (section 32), a print disability is a learning, physical or visual disability that impairs a person from reading conventional print.

Alberta public libraries that participate in the Public Library Network have access to resources that respond to the needs of people with print disabilities.

We fund access to the National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS) and the Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA) for public libraries. These organizations offer unique, but complementary, services.


NNELS is a co-operative network building an online digital repository of alternate format material. NNELS offers its users on-demand service. NNELS creates accessible formats of titles upon user request, empowering patrons with print disabilities to make decisions about what and how they read.


CELA gives public libraries access to a collection of alternate format titles for provision to library patrons. Available collections include books, magazines and newspapers in the patron's format of choice.

Legislation and policy

The Library Service for People with Print Disabilities Operational Policy establishes principles and guidelines for the effective selection of resources to help support Alberta public libraries serve people with print disabilities.

As per the Libraries Regulation, public library boards in Alberta are required to create and implement local policy on ‘Provision of Resources for Those Unable to Use Conventional Print’.


We hosted a provincewide Symposium on Public Library Service for People with Print Disabilities in February 2015.

Fifty participants from across Alberta attended and engaged in discussion about these services. Guests included librarians, service providers and people with print disabilities.

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