The Canadian Accessible Library Service (CALS) was formally launched today.
The national program is being developed by the BC Libraries Cooperative based in Vancouver.
Beginning with public libraries in Saskatchewan in January 2014, the Canadian Accessible Library Service (CALS) will offer free and open digital access to more than 10,000 titles, including popular novels, classics, and non-fiction. Another 40,000 new titles are expected to be added by next summer, and services are scheduled to be extended through participating public libraries in Manitoba, British Columbia, Alberta, Nova Scotia and Yukon by July 2014.
Developed by the BC Libraries Cooperative and funded primarily by provincial partners in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, CALS is part of the National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS). NNELS is an ambitious grassroots plan aimed at helping libraries to better serve their print disabled patrons, particularly in rural and remote areas, by providing libraries with affordable access to digital resources in accessible formats.
“Our mission is to help libraries help people,” said Ben Hyman, Executive Director of the BC Libraries Cooperative. “By drawing upon the resource sharing potential of the Internet, NNELS and now CALS helps libraries do what they do best – provide free and accessible library services to all Canadians, regardless of their income, background, location or print disability.”