To guide the selection of materials of current interest and/or lasting value that reflect the values and principles of Canadian public libraries through which CELA services are provided and to familiarize library users, public libraries and stakeholders with the principles upon which selection decisions are made for CELA collections.
The selection of library materials is driven by the principles defined in CELA’s Vision, Mission and Mandate statements, specifically to support public libraries in the provision of accessible collections for people with print disabilities in Canada and to champion the fundamental right of people with print disabilities to access media and reading materials in the format of their choice.
- Balance: CELA’s collections are developed as intentionally-curated and well- balanced accessible format collections with mechanisms for individual library and patron-driven selections.
- Inclusion and Diversity: CELA acknowledges that the communities we serve through public libraries represent a range of lived experiences. Materials are selected for the CELA collection to represent and reflect these diverse communities and viewpoints, and to satisfy the recreational, educational and life-long learning needs for patrons of differing ages, backgrounds, tastes, interests and purposes. Diversity and inclusion speak in part, but not exclusively to, materials by or about: Black, Indigenous and other racialized communities; individuals in the LGBTQ2+ community; diversity of family structure; people with a disability; the refugee and new immigrant experience; those struggling with mental health, chronic illness or other complex health issues; and body diversity.
- Accessibility: The collection is an accessible format collection, which is defined as formats other than print that make published materials accessible to persons with print disabilities. As new formats and features become available that enhance access, they will be assessed for inclusion in the collection.
- Optimization: CELA endeavors to provide equitable access to extensive accessible format collections through a service delivery model that optimizes the development of collections through production partnerships, international exchange, direct purchase and subscription-based services.
- Preservation: The collections are preserved and maintained to ensure long- term access.
- Intellectual Freedom: CELA strives to make available the widest variety of materials and viewpoints within the collection and has processes in place to receive and respond to requests for reconsideration. CELA endorses the CFLA/FCAB Statement on Intellectual Freedom and Libraries (see Appendix 2), and recognize Section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which guarantees everyone the freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication.
The Collections Policy applies to all content and formats in the collections offered by CELA to people with print disabilities in Canada through its member libraries; it does not apply to the public library collections represented by CELA members.
This Policy applies to anyone selecting material for the CELA collections including staff from other public libraries, those working for CELA or any other organization selecting material on CELA’s behalf. This Policy also applies to those de-selecting material from the CELA collections.
- Public demand;
- Suitability of format;
- Suitability of subject, style and reading level for the intended audience;
- Relevance to users;
- Availability from other sources;
- Insight into the human and social condition;
- Importance as a record of the times;
- Relationship to the existing collection;
- Reputation, skill, competence or significance of the originator of the work;
- Own voice representation;
- Reputation of the publisher or producer;
- Attention of critics, reviewers and the public;
- Clarity, accuracy and logic of presentation
- Currency and/or timeliness of the material;
- Purchase price and other budgetary and/or resource considerations.
In making selections, a variety of resources are used including review media, publisher marketing material, and recommendations from individual libraries and users. The collections will not include material that the Canadian courts have found to be obscene, hate propaganda or seditious.
De-selection is a vital part of building and maintaining responsive and up-to-date collections. Materials are regularly assessed for their condition, accuracy, currency and use, within the context of the collection and relevance to users, balancing immediate and long-term needs. Removal of items from the collection through active weeding is done by knowledgeable, professional staff. Material to be discarded will be disposed of in a manner to prevent illicit duplication or sale, theft, or abuse of copyright.
No Endorsement of Content
Inclusion of materials in the collection does not constitute endorsement of either the content or viewpoint by CELA.
Reconsideration of Library Materials
Individuals or groups have the right to reject library material for personal use, but do not have the right to restrict the freedom of others to make use of that same material. It is recognized that parents have the right to determine their own standards of reading requirements in their households. CELA is not responsible for readers' choices from the collection.
Items selected for the collection that require reproduction are reproduced in their entirety and remain in the collection although they may be deemed offensive or unacceptable to some readers.
Requests for reconsideration of library materials will be reviewed upon written request. Decisions made about challenged materials will be communicated to the originators of the requests following completion of a formal staff review. Decisions can be appealed by writing to the Executive Director, indicating the reason(s) for the appeal. Requests for reconsideration and the result of the reconsideration review process will be reported to the Board annually.
Gifts and Donations
Gifts and donations in accessible formats able to be included in the collection with little or minimal work by CELA staff or on behalf of CELA by production partners, are welcomed. Gifts and donations will be accepted with the understanding that they become the property of CELA and will be evaluated, added or withdrawn using the same selection guidelines as those for materials purchased for the collection.
Materials and financial donations for the development of the collection will be acknowledged on an individual donor basis.
Patron or Library Requests
Patrons and member library staff may place formal requests for adding materials to the collection. These requests are important to the ongoing development of the collection. The same selection criteria that are applied to all materials selected for the collection are also applied to customer requests.
Section 32 of the Canadian Copyright Act states that a non-profit organization acting for the benefit of a person with a perceptual disability can make a copy or sound recording of a work in a format specially designed to meet the needs of that person, without infringing copyright or requiring the permission of the copyright owner. For more information, see Appendix 3: Canadian Copyright and the Marrakesh Treaty.
Ownership of Collections
All materials produced by CNIB on behalf of CELA since April 1, 2019 are owned by CELA and its member libraries. Materials produced by CNIB on behalf of CELA from April 1, 2014 - March 31, 2019 are co-owned by CNIB and CELA and its member libraries. Materials produced by CNIB prior to that date are currently the property of CNIB. Licensed materials from Bookshare and other vendors are the property of the supplying company or organization.
The development of the collection is the ultimate responsibility of the Executive Director for CELA who operates within the policy framework established by the CELA Board. Under the Executive Director's direction, professional staff carry out the evaluation, selection, collection maintenance, budget management, and de- selection activities.
Equitable public library services for Canadians with print disabilities.
To support public libraries in the provision of accessible collections for Canadians with print disabilities and to champion the fundamental right of Canadians with print disabilities to access media and reading materials in the format of their choice.
To acquire, produce, and distribute published works in accessible formats to Canadian public libraries and to provide public libraries with advice, training, and information to support their patrons’ access to and use of these collections.
CFLA/FCAB Statement on Intellectual Freedom and Libraries
The Canadian Federation of Library Associations recognizes and values the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as the guarantor of the fundamental freedoms in Canada of conscience and religion; of thought, belief, opinion, and expression; of peaceful assembly; and of association.
The Canadian Federation of Library Associations supports and promotes the universal principles of intellectual freedom as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which include the interlocking freedoms to hold opinions and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
In accordance with these principles, the Canadian Federation of Library Associations affirms that all persons in Canada have a fundamental right, subject only to the Constitution and the law, to have access to the full range of knowledge, imagination, ideas, and opinion, and to express their thoughts publicly. Only the courts may abridge free expression rights in Canada.
The Canadian Federation of Library Associations affirms further that libraries have a core responsibility to support, defend and promote the universal principles of intellectual freedom and privacy.
The Canadian Federation of Library Associations holds that libraries are a key institution in Canada for rendering expressive content accessible and affordable to all. Libraries are essential gateways for all persons living in Canada to advance themselves through literacy, lifelong learning, social engagement, and cultural enrichment.
Libraries have a core responsibility to safeguard and facilitate access to constitutionally protected expressions of knowledge, imagination, ideas, and opinion, including those which some individuals and groups consider unconventional, unpopular or unacceptable. To this end, in accordance with their mandates and professional values and standards, libraries provide, defend and promote equitable access to the widest possible variety of expressive content and resist calls for censorship and the adoption of systems that deny or restrict access to resources.
Libraries have a core responsibility to safeguard and foster free expression and the right to safe and welcoming places and conditions. To this end, libraries make available their public spaces and services to individuals and groups without discrimination.
Libraries have a core responsibility to safeguard and defend privacy in the individual’s pursuit of expressive content. To this end, libraries protect the identities and activities of library users except when required by the courts to cede them.
Furthermore, in accordance with established library policies, procedures and due process, libraries resist efforts to limit the exercise of these responsibilities while recognizing the right of criticism by individuals and groups.
Library employees, volunteers and employers as well as library governing entities have a core responsibility to uphold the principles of intellectual freedom in the performance of their respective library roles.
Approval History: June 27, 1974, Amended November 17, 1983; November 18, 1985; and September 27, 2015
Canadian Copyright and the Marrakesh Treaty
CELA is a recognized as an authorized entity, sharing this status with CNIB in regard to the materials produced before April 1, 2014 which are currently the property of CNIB. The copyright exception under section 32 does not allow the organization to make a descriptive version of a cinematographic work, for which it must obtain permission from the copyright owner or a license from Access Copyright.
The exception does not apply if the work is commercially available in a format that meets the needs of a person with a perceptual disability. The Canadian Copyright Act defines commercial availability as meaning “available on the Canadian market within a reasonable time and for a reasonable price and may be located with reasonable effort.”
If a suitable, unabridged, accessible format version of a work is commercially available within a reasonable timeframe and at a reasonable cost, (and a fully accessible format cannot be sourced), CELA may seek permission from the publisher to obtain a master file, rather than use the exception to make its own or purchase a copy of the master file and enhance the mark-up language to create an accessible version.
The Exception for Persons with Perceptual Disabilities allows access to the accessible format materials in the CELA collection for use by individuals who are registered for this service at their local public libraries.
The Canadian Copyright Act provides authorized entities with the legal authority to supply and attain accessible format materials to authorizes entities representing those with print disabilities in other countries. The ease of transference is dependent on whether the country has ratified the Marrakesh Treaty and on the copyright laws currently in place in that country.
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 making 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 Government of Canada officially acceded to the treaty in June of 2016, becoming the 20th country to do so and reaching the minimum number needed for the treaty to take effect. It officially went into effect on September 30, 2016.
CELA has access to eligible materials from other countries through membership in WIPO’s Accessible Books Consortium’s (ABC) Global Exchange service through their partnership with CNIB. The exchange provides a mechanism to share accessible materials with copyright stipulations for each country integrated within the process.