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Passed at the Canadian Library Association's Annual General Meeting

June 23, 2003

Paul Whitney, Director, Vancouver Public Library

Jane Beaumont, Vice-Chair, CNIB Library for the Blind Board

Whereas the 2000 National Library of Canada and Canadian National Institute For The Blind joint Task Force on Information Access identified over 3 million Canadians who are unable to read print due to a physical or perceptual disability;

And whereas less than 5% of published material is available in formats such as Braille, audio narration, electronic text, or large print that are accessible to these Canadians;

And whereas without a significant increase in the provision of these unabridged, accessible published materials, a substantive, representative collection for library services cannot be developed nor sustained for these Canadians;

And whereas information technologies in our knowledge society now facilitate unprecedented opportunities to create and distribute alternative format content based on the specialized needs of the print-disabled community;

And whereas other nations have secured through legislation specialized, nationwide library services for their citizens unable to read print;

And whereas the special needs of these populations cannot be addressed by a single library acting on its own;

Be it resolved that the Canadian Library Association recommends, through joint funding by Federal, Provincial, and Territorial governments, the establishment of a national network of public and private sector constituents to:

  • Ensure that Canada provides an alternative format library service for Canadians unable to read print which is comparable to that provided by most developed countries in the world.

  • Coordinate and build accessible, unabridged alternative format collections for a comprehensive, library service for these Canadians

  • Under the auspices of the CLA and CNIB, establish and maintain the standards for alternative format collections and specialized library services;

  • Support the information and communication technologies appropriate to maintain the service;

Be it further resolved that CLA urges upon the federal government the need for funding and leadership to mandate the establishment of this network of free library service for Canadians unable to read print. In addition, such leadership to include organizations representing primary providers and professional bodies such as the Council of Administrators of Large Urban Public Libraries (CALUPL), CNIB, Library and Archives Canada (LAC), and CLA..

*Reproduced with permission from the Canadian Library Association []