May 22, 2022

“How a Treaty Signed in Marrakesh Made the Library of Congress More Accessible”

From The Washington Post:

Braille and specially formatted audiobooks in Portuguese for a fifth-grader? The “Outlander” series in Braille? Various works by Nietzsche in Spanish audio? Books in Finnish for someone in hospice care?

Such requests are not unusual for the Library of Congress’s National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled. What’s dramatically changed for the library service and its 310,000 patrons is how those requests are answered. A year and a half ago “we would’ve had to just say, ‘Sorry, there’s no way we can get this,’ ” says Kelsey Corlett-Rivera, the NLS’s foreign language librarian. “And now we can.”

The surge of content in this admittedly niche realm is the result of a treaty signed in 2013 in Morocco, which only began bearing fruit in the United States in late 2020 after years of legislative work. Under the pact, known in short as the Marrakesh treaty, more than 100 nations so far have agreed to amend copyright laws to more easily allow for the creation — and the sharing across borders — of audio and electronic Braille versions of published works for people who are blind, have impaired vision or any disability that prevents their use of printed media. That includes disorders such as dyslexia and physical conditions that, say, inhibit someone from holding a book. Treaty nations can swap directly or through an online central clearinghouse. In late January, that catalogue listed about 730,000 items in more than 80 languages.

Read the Complete Article

See Also: “ARL Views” Podcast Debuts with Episode Featuring University of Toronto’s Victoria Owen Discussing the Marrakesh Treaty

See Also: WIPO Releases a Revised “Status Of The Marrakesh Treaty” Document

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.