Accessible Library Memberships

Introducing The Centre for Equitable Library Access’ Educator Access Program

While e-books provided by commercial libraries (such as OverDrive) are very valuable for schools, they are also protected by Digital Rights Management (DRM).  This means that they usually cannot be read with text-to-speech technology.

However, good news has arrived!  As of Fall 2016, Quebec students with eligible print disabilities can now access not-for-profit libraries that offer materials in alternate formats, such as Braille, audio, and e-text. This is care of the Centre for Equitable Library Access’ (CELA’s) Educator Access Program. The program allows schools to access both the CELA and the US-based Bookshare digital libraries. These can be of enormous benefit to students with visual, physical or learning disabilities. All materials are available for free, and can be accessed on computers and mobile devices.  A one-page handout for teachers and parents is available here: CELA and Bookshare’s Educator Access Program for EMSB

Screen Shot 2017-06-21 at 2.54.08 PMTHE CENTRE FOR EQUITABLE LIBRARY ACCESS (CELA) is a national library affiliated with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB).  It provides access to over 200,000 titles in both English and French, in audio, braille, e-text, and descriptive video formats.  Teachers can register on their own.
1) How to register as an educator:  Accessible Libraries Register an EDUCATOR 
2) Publicity flyers: Educator Access Flyer   &   Le dépliant d’accès des enseignants
3) Library walk-throughs & reading tool screencasts: CELA How-To’s

BOOKSHARE is a US-based organization offering the world’s largest accessible online library for people with print disabilities. Over 250,000 e-text and audio titles are available in English as well as some other languages.
1) Training slideshow:  Getting Started with Bookshare.
2) Instructions for loggin into demo account: Bookshare Org Intl Demo Acct Instructions
3) Library walk-throughs & reading tool screencasts: Bookshare How-To’s.

A team approach is required for facilitating schools’ access to Bookshare. Schools interested in this program should contact their Board’s Educational or Complementary Services departments to request support.  See how one Québec school board is getting Bookshare up and running for their students here:


Many text-to-speech apps and extensions associated with the CELA and Bookshare digital libraries are also free.  Suggested reading tools for Quebec schools are provided in the table, Recommended Reading Tools for Bookshare and CELA

Individual Access

Individuals with eligible print disabilities can also access these alternate format libraries on their own.  A student’s family can initiate registration on his or her behalf. In addition to the services of CELA and Bookshare, individuals can access THE SERVICE QUÉBÉCOIS DU LIVRE ADAPTÉ (SQLA) , a service branch of the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ). It offers French-language resources in Braille, audio and e-text for eligible Quebec residents.  For general information on how to register for individual access, please refer to:  Accessible Libraries Register an INDIVIDUAL

%d bloggers like this: