In this issue:
- Letter from our Executive Director
- New audio titles available
- Featured title for adults
- What are the CELA staff reading?
- More Canadian authors win accolades
- CELA celebrates World Braille Day
- Top five books this year
- New reads for kids and teens
- Featured title for teens
- Top five for kids
- Top five for teens
- CELA webinars for you
- Holiday Hours
- Stay connected!
Letter from our Executive Director
Winter is the perfect time for reading and this year, just in time for the holidays, CELA is adding a number of new, exciting titles to our collection. There is something for everyone and we have highlighted some of our favourites in this newsletter. We have also included some recommendations from our CELA staff based on what they have been reading over the past year.
We are looking forward to an exciting year ahead. We will be expanding our collection through new relationships with producers and publishers. And we are working on some exciting projects which we will be announcing in the new year. As COVID continues to shape the ways libraries and other institutions can deliver services we commit to continuing to find ways to support our users and our member libraries in all the ways we can. The production and distribution of our physical materials have not been affected by the lockdown situation in Toronto, but we are encouraging patrons who receive physical materials to consider exploring digital services. Our digital services allow users to access more titles, quickly and easily. Check out our Quick Guide to Going Digital and feel free to reach out to our Contact Centre for support.
This year has been a challenging one for many. On behalf of the CELA staff and Board, I want to thank our member libraries for their commitment to providing exceptional service in a very difficult time. I also want to offer thanks to our production partners, to our funders, to our colleagues in the publishing industry, and to our many community partners who celebrate books, advocate for accessibility and support our patrons in so many ways. CELA certainly could not provide our services without the help and support of these organizations. I am grateful to the CELA staff and Board for their hard work, perseverance and adaptability over the past year. And most importantly I want to thank you, our users, for your support and feedback.
I hope you have a safe and healthy holiday season.
CELA Executive Director
New audio titles available
Just in time for the winter holidays CELA is adding hundreds of new titles to their collection. Laurie Davidson, CELA’s new Executive Director says that the new titles are thanks to a new arrangement with a producer and exciting new partnerships with the National Library Service in the US and one of the top 5 Canadian publishers. “We will be making an official announcement and adding hundreds of new titles in early January from our new publishing partner, but even before the end of the year we will have added some hundreds of exciting new titles, perfect for holidays reads.”
Featured new titles include The Promised Land by Barack Obama, No time like the future by Michael J Fox, Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey, The kingdom by Jo Nesbo, The sentinel by Lee Child, Indians on vacation by Thomas King and A castle in the clouds by Kerstin Gier. There are also books by favourite authors Mary Higgins Clark, Janet Evanovich and Peter Robinson.
Featured title for adults: A promised land
In the stirring, highly anticipated first volume of his presidential memoirs, Barack Obama tells the story of his improbable odyssey from young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world, describing in strikingly personal detail both his political education and the landmark moments of the first term of his historic presidency—a time of dramatic transformation and turmoil. Obama takes readers on a compelling journey from his earliest political aspirations to the pivotal Iowa caucus victory that demonstrated the power of grassroots activism to the watershed night of November 4, 2008, when he was elected 44th president of the United States, becoming the first African American to hold the nation’s highest office. Reflecting on the presidency, he offers a unique and thoughtful exploration of both the awesome reach and the limits of presidential power, as well as singular insights into the dynamics of U.S. partisan politics and international diplomacy. Obama brings readers inside the Oval Office and the White House Situation Room, and to Moscow, Cairo, Beijing, and points beyond. We are privy to his thoughts as he assembles his cabinet, wrestles with a global financial crisis, takes the measure of Vladimir Putin, overcomes seemingly insurmountable odds to secure passage of the Affordable Care Act, clashes with generals about U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, tackles Wall Street reform, responds to the devastating Deepwater Horizon blowout, and authorizes Operation Neptune’s Spear, which leads to the death of Osama bin Laden. A Promised Land is extraordinarily intimate and introspective—the story of one man’s bet with history, the faith of a community organizer tested on the world stage. Obama is candid about the balancing act of running for office as a Black American, bearing the expectations of a generation buoyed by messages of “hope and change,” and meeting the moral challenges of high-stakes decision-making. He is frank about the forces that opposed him at home and abroad, open about how living in the White House affected his wife and daughters, and unafraid to reveal self-doubt and disappointment. Yet he never wavers from his belief that inside the great, ongoing American experiment, progress is always possible. This beautifully written and powerful book captures Barack Obama's conviction that democracy is not a gift from on high but something founded on empathy and common understanding and built together, day by day.
What are CELA staff reading?
Library staff love to talk about books – the ones they have read, and the ones they plan to read. Working for a library service provides plenty of opportunity to check out the new titles or follow favourite authors and series.
Faline, our Training and Outreach coordinator, recommends the 16th Gamache novel from Louise Penny: All the Devils are Here. "I liked this novel because Penny moves the action from the little town of Three Pines in the Eastern Townships to Paris, the city of lights. The book begins with the hit and run accident (or is it?) involving Armand's godfather, the billionaire Stephen Horowitz. Good intrigue with many of the familiar characters but with a different backdrop."
Laurie, our Executive Director recommends The Overstory by Richard Powers. "This book is beautifully and majestically written, an ode to trees and their interconnectedness. Humans appear in their story, in ways that are sometimes tragic and sometimes heartwarming."
Rachel, Manager of Member Services, is a big fan of Reese Witherspoon, not only for her movies but also for the work she’s doing to highlight women’s stories especially through her book club. "Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine is one of the club’s earliest selections and tells the story of Eleanor, a socially-awkward, single young British woman, struggling with her troubled past. When she meets Raymond, one of her office mates, she finally has someone she can call a friend – little does she realize how important his companionship will be when she faces her darkest days. A heartwarming novel that will make you smile at Eleanor’s unusual quirks and value the ones who are in our lives."
Christina, our Information and Access specialist recommends Beyond the Gender Binary by Alok Menon. "In Beyond the Gender Binary, poet, artist, and LGBTQIA+ rights advocate Alok Vaid-Menon deconstructs, demystifies, and reimagines the gender binary. Alok Vaid-Menon challenges the world to see gender not in black and white, but in full color. Taking from their own experiences as a gender-nonconforming artist, they show that gender is a malleable and creative form of expression."
Theresa, our Content and Access Librarian, re-read two (recent) books by one of her favourite authors Attica Locke: Bluebird, Bluebird and Heaven, my home, books 1 & 2 in the Highway 59 Series."Set in Texas, these are gritty mysteries, which explore themes of race, current and historical, in the American south. I enjoy the setting as much as the main character himself, a guy battling with real problems, but with sound instincts on sussing out trouble. Locke's books are always well crafted, easy and yet complex reads."
Reminder to retrieve CELA usage statistics in January
If your library uses the calendar year as a reporting period, we encourage you to retrieve your annual CELA statistics in early January 2021 and record the numbers provided. You can find your statistics by logging in to CELA’s site with your interlibrary loan account and selecting the “Statistics” link. If your reporting period ends in March, you should check your usage statistics in April.
We have recently made updates to improve the accuracy of your registered patron statistics. For libraries who regularly track the number of patrons registered for CELA, you may notice some slight discrepancies between the patron counts you pulled before mid October and now. The current numbers more accurately reflect actual users.
If you have any questions regarding your statistics, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our Member Services team at email@example.com. We’re happy to help.
More Canadian authors win accolades
Congratulations to Desmond Cole who recently won the Toronto Book Awards for The Skin We’re In, his exploration of racism in Canada over the course of one calendar year. Both heartbreaking and pointed, the book has been on must read lists as we increase our community conversations about race and racism. Cole has offered to donate half of his winnings to two charities near and dear to him: a mutual-aid fund in support of Black trans women and girls, and Encampment Support Network, a group that supports the Toronto street community.
Author, educator and activist Thomas King was recently awarded the Order of Canada for his work in preserving and promoting Indigenous culture in Canada. Born and educated in the US, King identifies as being of Cherokee, German and Greek decent. He moved to Canada in 1980 and is now an English professor at the University of Guelph. His 2013 book The Inconvenient Indian, is his most well known and it, along with his most recent novel, Indians on Vacation, are in the CELA collection.
Feature library: Regina
CELA’s Training and Outreach Coordinator, Faline, recently had the opportunity to chat with Patti-Lynne McLeod, MLIS, the Outreach Services Librarian at the Regina Public Library about delivering accessible library service during a pandemic. One of the biggest take-aways for Patti-Lynne was the impact of developing meaningful connections with customers and with the community organizations that support them.
Tell us about a recent success you have had in delivering accessible services?
As Regina slowly started to open back up after the COVID-19 shut down, we made numerous meaningful connections with new and existing Outreach customers. Customers found out about our services by speaking with library staff on our Hotline, via our website, and referrals from our partners like Vision Loss Rehabilitation. Many of these customers expressed feelings of loneliness and being overwhelmed with the circumstances of the pandemic. When Outreach staff spoke with customers over the phone, it was clear that they enjoyed having someone new to talk to. Quite a few people stated that they had no idea of the services that were available to them through Outreach and CELA. They were very excited and happy to have found us. We helped customers get signed up with Outreach Services, and with CELA. We helped them download apps, access our website and CELA’s website and assisted with a variety of tech challenges. One customer told us that she was thrilled to have connected with our services, and that she felt less trapped by what was happening around her. I consider it a great success to have made these meaningful connections with people who were very much isolated. We helped them by giving them the gift of access, of information, and of reading. But even simpler than that, many of them just needed to hear a friendly voice.
How has COVID-19 changed the provision of accessible library service in your community?
Just prior to COVID-19, we had started planning ways to make Regina Public Library more accessible system-wide. This planning came to a halt when Regina Public Library had to close. When things started to open again, the library was able to offer some services, but Outreach was not part of the initial service offering. We knew we had to get our accessible collections out to locations that were open. Working with our Collections team and Marketing team, we were able to relocate small collections of DAISY discs and MP3 CDs to five of our biggest branches throughout the city. Since then, Outreach Services has acted as a direct support and has trained branch staff regarding all things accessible: customer service, collections, and assistive technology. Over the last few months, we have continued to make changes to ensure that all of our services, programs and collections are fully available to our customers. I’m very proud to say that individuals with print disabilities have far more access and options now than they did pre-COVID-19.
What connections do you have in the community that help you deliver accessible services to patrons?
We are very lucky to have a great connection with our local Vision Loss Rehabilitation (formerly CNIB) organization. The staff there advise us about the wide spectrum of needs that individuals with vision loss have, which assistive technologies work best in a public setting, and recommend how we can make our public space, programs and collections more accessible. In fact, Lisa Telfer, Orientation and Mobility Specialist recently participated in Regina Public Library’s online Kitchen Table Talk program, Aging Well. Lisa spoke of the ways that individuals with vision loss can live their fullest life—both during regular times and during COVID-19.
These valued community relationships help Regina Public Library to best identify and respond to special accessibility needs.
What would you like to know about how other libraries deliver their accessible programs?
During the shutdown, I learned that many of our customers do not have Wi-Fi, and as a result, could not access RPL’s great online resources. We are just starting a project where we will lend out tablets to these individuals. I would like to hear from other libraries that have started similar services. What programs did they load on the tablets? How do they determine who qualifies for the service? How long are the loan periods? How do they guarantee confidentiality when the tablets are returned and are about to be loaned to another customer? Input from other public libraries who have launched similar services would help streamline our processes and allow us to learn what methods work best.
CELA celebrates World Braille Day
On January 4th, we will celebrate World Braille Day which commemorates the birthday of Louis Braille, the inventor of the braille system. To mark the day we will be joining with other organizations, including Braille Literacy Canada (BLC), the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB), the Canadian Federation of the Blind (CFB), the National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS), and Vision Impaired Resource Network (VIRN) for a series of events, panel discussions, and mini books clubs. We’ll cap it off by singing Happy Birthday in English and French. We’d like to invite you to join us for any or all of the sessions. Our patrons, library staff, educators and other CELA users are all welcome. You can find the full agenda with registration links on the NNELS website. We thank them for hosting this event.
Top five books this year
Most popular with our readers this year:
- The Siberian Dilemma (Arkady Renko Mysteries) by Martin Cruz Smith
- All the Devils Are Here: A Novel (Chief Inspector Gamache #16) by Louise Penny
- Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man by Mary L. Trump
- Jigger Bunts: a western story by Max Brand
- Becoming by Michelle Obama
New reads for kids and teens
The winter holidays are a great time for pleasure reading for kids and young adults. We’ve recently added some new titles to encourage and inspire younger readers.
Pine Island Home by Polly Horvath. This is a story of four sisters searching for home. Fiona, Marlin, Natasha, and Charlie McCready are left on their own when their missionary parents are washed away in a tsunami. Fortunately, their great aunt Martha volunteers to have them live with her on her farm in British Columbia.
But while they are traveling there, Martha dies unexpectedly, forcing Fiona, the eldest, to come up with a scheme to keep social services from separating the girls - a scheme that will only work if no one knows they are living on their own.
Natalie Portman’s Fables. Told with a playful, kid-friendly voice, Portman's insightful retellings of The Tortoise and the Hare, The Three Little Pigs, and Country Mouse and City Mouse, are sure to become beloved additions to family libraries.
Minecraft book The Shipwreck by C. B. Lee. Unravel the mysteries of an extraordinary underwater world in this official Minecraft novel! When three kids discover a mystery in an abandoned Minecraft server, they must race against the clock to uncover its secrets.
I Promise by Lebron James. NBA champion and superstar LeBron James pens a slam-dunk book inspired by his foundation's I PROMISE program that motivates children everywhere to always strive for greatness.
When They Call You a Terrorist: a Black Lives Matter memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors, the co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement explains the movement's position of love, humanity, and justice, challenging perspectives that have negatively labeled the movement's activists while calling for essential political changes.
The Only Black Girls in Town by Brandy Colbert. Award-winning YA author Brandy Colbert's debut middle-grade novel about the only two black girls in town who discover a collection of hidden journals revealing shocking secrets of the past.
Midnight Sun by bestselling author Stephenie Meyer who makes a triumphant return to the world of Twilight with this highly-anticipated companion: the iconic love story of Bella and Edward told from the vampire's point of view.
Featured title for teens: Charming as a verb
From the award-winning author of The Field Guide to the North American Teenager comes a whip-smart and layered romantic comedy. Perfect for fans of Nicola Yoon and Jenny Han. Henri "Halti" Haltiwanger can charm just about anyone. He is a star debater and popular student at the prestigious FATE academy, the dutiful first-generation Haitian son, and the trusted dog walker for his wealthy New York City neighbors. But his easy smiles mask a burning ambition to attend his dream college, Columbia University.
There is only one person who seems immune to Henri's charms: his "intense" classmate and neighbor Corinne Troy. When she uncovers Henri's less-than-honest dog-walking scheme, she blackmails him into helping her change her image at school. Henri agrees, seeing a potential upside for himself. Soon what started as a mutual hustle turns into something more surprising than either of them ever bargained for. . . . This is a sharply funny and insightful novel about the countless hustles we have to keep from doing the hardest thing: being ourselves.
Top five for kids
Most popular with kids this year:
- Morris and Buddy: the story of the first seeing eye dog by Becky Hall
- Fatty legs: a true story by Christy Jordan-Fenton
- The great bike rescue (Orca young readers.) by H. J Hutchins
- Too young to escape: a Vietnamese girl waits to be reunited with her family by Van Ho
- From Anna by Jean Little
Top five for teens
Most popular with teens this year:
- A walk to remember by Nicholas Sparks
- Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove #1) by Shelby Mahurin
- The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (Hunger Games) by Suzanne Collins
- 1984: a novel by George Orwell
- Easy Street (Orca Soundings) by Jeff Ross
Upcoming changes to the CELA patron registration form
We have been working hard to improve the registration form you use to sign up your patrons with print disabilities for CELA. Your patrons will now have access to CELA titles within minutes of you submitting the form. Libraries will also benefit by having the convenience of going to one site and using one login to register patrons. This new form will be ready on December 14th.
The current registration form will be shut down and registration.celalibrary.ca will be redirected to the new form. We can send you the data from any in-progress forms on the old site upon request.
Are there topics related to accessibility that you would like to see included in our webinars? We regularly update our content and always appreciate hearing ideas from library staff. Send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
An overview of CELA service, including collections offered, eligibility, how to order DAISY audio books or other alternative format books for your library, patron registration, and promotional ideas.
Frontline staff webinar
This webinar will provide an introduction to CELA services for your colleagues who need to understand the basics about your CELA service so they can direct patrons appropriately.
CELA and accessible reading technologies, devices and apps
People with print disabilities use a variety of mainstream and specialized technologies to read. Understanding these options is important because one size does not fit all, and choice of technology can help empower readers. This webinar will introduce participants to key accessible reading technologies used by library patrons with print disabilities including screen magnification, text to speech, braille displays, literacy support software, and accessible reading apps for mobile devices.
CELA webinar for designates
Have you been asked to help a relative, friend or client use CELA service? CELA patrons can choose to name a designate (family member, friend or a helping professional) if they need a little bit of extra support to manage their CELA account and help getting books, magazines or newspapers. This webinar is intended to give designates an overview of CELA service and where they can go to get answers if they have questions about how to help a CELA patron access the reading material they want.
Educator Access Program webinar
This webinar will introduce the CELA Educator Access program which allows public libraries to offer educators at the elementary, secondary and post-secondary levels in their community access to CELA services on behalf of students with print disabilities. This webinar is for both educators and public library staff.
All about reading disabilities: how libraries can support readers with dyslexia and other reading disabilities
CELA welcomes guest speaker Christine Staley, Executive Director of Dyslexia Canada, who will present a webinar about best practices libraries can develop to support patrons with reading disabilities. Participants will learn more about reading disabilities and the impact on reading and writing, strategies and educational support for children and families, tips for building dyslexia-friendly collections, including decodable books, programming considerations and tips for creating written communications.
CELA and accessible library services for kids and teens!
This hour-long webinar will present an overview of CELA’s collections for kids and teens who cannot read print due to a learning, visual or physical disability, also known as print disabilities. Participants will also learn techniques to make story-times and other activities inviting to kids with disabilities and will feature how to promote accessible services for kids and teens in your community.
Become a Forest of Reading library!
The Forest of Reading program is looking for more public libraries to participate in the 2021 program. Join the dozens of library systems that are already involved. In many cases, school libraries are not open for students or for loaning books. Public libraries are being innovative during this global pandemic, working with their community schools and creating great online programming using the Forest of Reading. The program is ready to go for your staff and is an excellent way to engage with your young patrons.
CELA will be closed Friday, December 25th and Monday, December 28th and on Friday, January 1st. Our Contact Centre will be open Tuesday, December 29th to Thursday, Dec 31st for our regular hours 8:00 am - 7:30pm EST and will resume regular hours again on January 4th, 2021. Member Services will be open on the same dates from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm EST.