We are so pleased to announce that CELA received $3 million in funding from the Government of Canada Social Development Partnerships Program to be spent during our current fiscal year, 2020-2021.
With this funding, CELA will be able to:
- create thousands of alternate format versions of titles which are otherwise inaccessible to people with print disabilities,
- increase the depth and breadth of the materials available in accessible formats to people with print disabilities,
- and continue to offer a choice of physical and digital formats to our users.
We regularly hear from our users how important it is that they have plenty of choice in their reading materials. This substantial funding from the Government of Canada, through the Social Development Partnerships Program – Disability Component, allows CELA to continue to add bestsellers, award-winners, and user favourites to our collection. Whether it is the short list for Canada Reads, new books for the Forest of Reading and other reading programs the latest in popular nonfiction, uniquely Canadian or Indigenous content, or new series from favourite authors, access to these reading materials support the academic and economic success of our users and allow them to fully participate in conversations in their classrooms or communities.
This year, CELA expects to add more than 3000 new titles to our collection and thousands more available through our partnership with Bookshare. Still, this represents only a fraction of the books published each year. It is estimated that 1 in 10 books is available in accessible formats. Funding from the Government of Canada is crucial to closing this gap, as is the publishing industry’s growing awareness of the need to create titles which are born accessible. CELA will be able to share the titles we produce with countries from around the world through our involvement with the Marrakesh Treaty, and to receive titles produced elsewhere to further expand our collection.
In addition to funding from the Government of Canada, we are grateful to receive annual support from the provinces and territories of Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories and Yukon and from individual libraries in British Columbia and Manitoba. CELA also has an in-kind agreement with the national library of Quebec. All these contributions are crucial to our ability to support our member libraries and their patrons with accessible reading materials. Recently the Government of Ontario demonstrated their commitment to equitable library services by providing guaranteed three-year funding to CELA. During COVID especially, we are grateful that governments across the country recognize the value and importance of accessible library services for the 1 in 10 Canadians with print disabilities.