May 27, 2022

Canadian Government Announces Funding to Expand National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS); Will Make More Published Works Available in Formats Accessible for Canadians With Print Disabilities

From the Employment and Social Development Canada/Government of Canada:

2018-11-14_15-27-27Today, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility announced the expansion of the National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS) through funding from the Government of Canada’s Disability component of the Social Development Partnership Program. The project will make more published works accessible to people who read using alternative formats, such as braille, e-books, or audiobooks.


The NNELS expansion, which began in December 2017 and is scheduled for completion by March 2019, received $2,000,000 through the Government’s Social Development Partnerships Program-Disability component (SDPP-D), a program designed to improve the social inclusion of people with disabilities.

By supporting the expansion of NNELS through the SDPP-D, the Government is going above and beyond its obligations under the Marrakesh Treaty, which Canada joined in 2016, that establishes international norms requiring countries to provide exceptions in their national laws to facilitate the availability of works in accessible formats, such as braille and audiobooks. In doing this, Canada is reinforcing its reputation as a strong and trusted international partner – one that respects the basic human rights of all its citizens, and invests in concrete outcomes in good spirit of our global treaties and cooperative agreements.

Read the Complete Announcement

Learn More, Visit the National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS) Website

 National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS) Fast Facts

  • Since NNELS launched in December 2013, approximately 1,750 users have registered for accounts, and an additional number of readers receive service directly from their public libraries.
  • As of April 2018, there have been 16,000 downloads from the website and in 2017 there were about 21,000 visitors to
  • As of April 2018, there are nearly 35,000 titles in the NNELS collection. Books in NNELS are available in English and French. Priorities for collection development are books in Indigenous and international languages.
  • Books in NNELS are available in multiple formats: DAISY 2 (10,000 files), DAISY 3 (150), MP3 (5,000), e-text (1,200), EPUB 2 (17,000), EPUB 3 (2,500), PDF (1,000) and BRF (150).
  • Audiobooks in NNELS are available in both human narration (90% of audiobooks) and synthetic voice (10%).
  • The annual budget for NNELS is approximately $500,000 (including in-kind contributions to the network) which works out to $0.03 per capita for Canadians in the participating jurisdictions.


About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.