This year has been a particularly busy and exciting one for the CELA team. Thanks to partnerships, collaborations, and the hard work of dedicated staff and colleagues, we have achieved a number of important milestones in our efforts to serve people with print disabilities across the country.
Building our collections
- Our collection now has more than 1.2 million titles, providing a wide range of choices for our users.
- Thanks to the Marrakesh Treaty and our partnership with National Library Service (NLS) in the United States, we’ve added more than 25,000 titles, including many reader favourites.
- We have continued our work with major awards including the Scotiabank Giller, Governor General’s Literary Awards, Writer’s Trust Awards, and Canada Reads and we have established new relationships with Indigenous Voices Awards and Combat des livres jeunesse.
- We also continue to work closely with Forest of Reading, Hackmatack, the TD Summer Reading Club and the Canadian Children’s Book Centre on supporting children and young adult literacy programs.
- In 2022 we expanded our exchanges with other accessible library systems both nationally and internationally to increase the range of titles, languages and formats available to readers in Canada and across the globe.
Supporting libraries and their users
- Our training programs were extremely popular this year. The CELA team offered over 40 webinars on a wide range of topics supporting accessibility for libraries and their patrons. We were delighted that more than 1200 people registered.
- We welcomed the Province of Manitoba to CELA services, and our member services team successfully onboarded 51 new Manitoba libraries.
- We met with member libraries and provincial partners across the country to discuss their needs around accessible books and support for libraries and users.
- In collaboration with the National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS) we continued to work on the Public Library Accessibility Resource Centre (PLARC) which is developing and delivering the programs and resources found at AccessibleLibraries.ca
- We continued to speak about and advocate for accessibility, attending conferences, user groups and meetings across the country in both languages.
Expanding our Delivery Options
- One of our most exciting projects, our Expanded Delivery Options Project (EDOP), explored 3 new options for reading audio books with the help of more than 400 pilot participants.
- Thanks to the pilot, we will be expanding access to the Alexa Smart Speaker technology with the goal of releasing that to our users in 2023.
- We are also developing the service for the low cost audiobook player for general release to users in 2023.
Thinking about the future
- Our Board and staff worked together to develop our new Strategic Priorities document which was approved in September and will guide our work into 2024.
- In collaboration with NNELS, we continue to offer our perspective and expertise to the federal government as it develops its plans to launch a new Equitable Access to Reading Program.
- We warmly welcomed new staff, wished others well as they moved onto exciting new opportunities, and as a team we were delighted to celebrate staff milestones such as Rachel Breau’s 20th career anniversary.
As we close the year and reflect on some of the accomplishments and exciting opportunities, we were a part of, we are deeply grateful for the support of our member libraries, our colleagues in accessible publishing, our technology partners and the many stakeholders in the equitable reading landscape who worked alongside us to help remove the barriers to accessible reading. We owe a particularly special thanks to our users for their support and encouragement, and for their feedback, letters and comments which highlight for us why this work is so important for so many.
The entire CELA team wishes you a happy and healthy new year. We look forward to serving you in 2023.