by Karla Mallach, Community Librarian
National AccessAbility Week (May 28–June 3) celebrates the valuable contributions of Canadians with disabilities and highlights the work of individuals, organizations, and communities that are removing barriers in our ongoing efforts to become a more accessible, more disability-inclusive Canada.
At Strathcona County Library, we offer a diverse selection of collections, tools, and technology for people of all ages and abilities. Here is a list of some services and resources our library offers to support and celebrate our community as we work towards a more inclusive future.
Diverse Format Collections
Standard font sizes and book formats are not always best for readability. One option for a customizable reading experience is to use eBooks. As one example, Libby allows you to adjust text size and font, alter background colour and brightness, and works with screen readers to suit your reading preferences.
We also offer several alternatives to standard print books or eBooks, including:
- Large print: Typically printed in 16–18-point font, these titles make an excellent alternative for any reader who struggles with smaller text sizes.
- DAISY discs: DAISY audiobooks are similar to other CD audiobooks, except they allow for more control over content navigation (such as searching through text and images) for people who are blind or partially sighted.
You can borrow audiobooks in several formats:
For Kids and Teens
Our children's and teen collections feature a number of literacy options, including:
- Read-along sets: Includes an audio version of the story that follows the text in the book.
- Storytime kits: A themed kit that includes interactive components and storybooks.
- Digital collections, such as Libby (mentioned above) or TumbleBooks for more interactive storytelling, videos, and read-alongs (please note, a Strathcona County Library card is required to access our digital collections).
- Braille books: Our Discovery Zone features a collection of children’s books in braille.
National Specialist Services
The library also partners with the Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA) and the National Network for Equitable Library Services (NNELS) to offer free accessible-format materials to public library users (braille, DAISY, e-text, MP3). Both services support a number of assistive devices, including DAISY players (Victor Reader, PLEXTALK), iOS and Android tablets and phones, computers, MP3 players, and braille displays. For a full list of compatible devices, see CELA compatible devices and software or these NNELS tutorials and instructions.
How do I sign up for CELA and/or NNELS?
- Sign up for a library card.
- Ask the Checkout Desk to make your library card an “Access” card.
- Self-register on www.celalibrary.ca and https://nnels.ca
- Contact us with questions and for help with registering!
CELA will also mail items to your home and offers Direct-to-Player services.
Assistive Tools and Technology
- Inductive loop amplifiers: These are available by request at our customer service desks. They generate a loop signal that can be received by a hearing aid with an integrated telephone coil or induction loop receiver. These hearing loops will cut out unwanted background noise for anyone wearing a compatible hearing aid.
- Personal FM listening system PFM PRO: Like a miniature radio station, the microphone in this device picks up the sounds you want to hear and the transmitter broadcasts them over an FM radio signal. The receiver and earphone are used to pick up the broadcast up to 150 feet away and will amplify the speaker’s voice through your listening device. This system works with headphones and hearing aids, so if you think you will benefit from this during one of our programs, please let us know!
We want to make sure you can explore and access our library spaces.
Our wheelchair-accessible Central Library is equipped with:
- Adjustable self-checkout stations
- Accessible computer station
- Prodigi desktop electronic magnifier
- Portable magnifiers and reading glasses (available at our Information Desks)
- Slanted bottom shelves for better reachability
And our Bookmobile has a low-floor design for ease of access.
Service Where You Are
If you experience barriers to accessing our physical library space, you may be interested in our Service Where You Are program. In this service, we connect you with a volunteer who delivers library materials to your home. Please fill out the linked form and a staff member will get in touch with you.
This list is non-exhaustive, so if you do not see a service or resource that you are looking for, feel free to reach out with further questions.