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The mandate of the Initiative for Equitable Library Access (IELA) is to create the conditions for sustainable and equitable library access for Canadians with print disabilities. Library and Archives Canada has been asked to develop and cost 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.
What is a print disability?
Print disabilities prevent people from reading standard print. They can be due to a visual, perceptual or physical disability which may be the result of vision impairment, a learning disability or a disability that prevents the physical holding of a book. Canadians with print disabilities require publications in multiple formats, such as braille, audio, large print and electronic text. They may also require assistive technology to meet their information needs.
More than three million Canadians (10%) have a print disability and require information in multiple formats. However, less than 5% of published Canadian material is available in multiple formats.
In addition to IELA, Library and Archives Canada continues the work of the ARCHIVED - Council on Access to Information for Print-Disabled Canadians and its efforts to ensure that access to information is a reality for all Canadians. The ARCHIVED Council's website maintains an extensive list of national and international resources for users and producers of multiple formats, and for organizations that provide services to people with print disabilities.
The ARCHIVED - ACCESSINFO-L discussion list also provides a means for IELA and the Council to hear from and consult with people with print disabilities, multiple format producers, publishers, libraries and service providers in government, not-for-profit and private sectors on the systems and services needed to support access to information and knowledge for people with print disabilities.
Initiative for Equitable Library Access
Library and Archives Canada
550 de la Cité Boulevard
Gatineau, QC K1A 0N4