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National Network for Equitable Library Services (NNELS)

It is estimated that there are more than three million Canadians with print disabilities, but less than 5% of published material is available in accessible formats.  Improved digital production and digital delivery options available through National Network for Equitable Library Services (NNELS) and SILS provide libraries with the opportunity to make additional materials more widely available to this underserved population.

NNELS provides access to a growing collection of downloadable audio books and other accessible formats  for public library patrons who cannot read traditional print because of a visual, physical or cognitive disability. The restricted material is made available through the SILS catalogue in Saskatchewan and at

NNELS is an interprovincial collaboration between British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon. The BC Libraries Cooperative, a non-profit Community Services Cooperative, is a service partner to NNELS.

Who can access NNELS material?

NNELS materials are available to patrons with print disabilities only, due to copyright exemption. Under the provisions of the Canadian Copyright Act, "perceptual disability" means an impairment that prevents or inhibits a person from reading or hearing a literary, musical, dramatic or artistic work in its original format and includes a disability resulting from:

  1. Severe or total impairment of sight or hearing or the inability to focus or move one's eyes
  2. The inability to hold or manipulate a book
  3. An impairment relating to comprehension.

A person meeting one of these criteria can fill out a Self-Declaration form at their local library. The print disabled status will be added to his/her card and the corresponding barcode and PIN can be used to access NNELS material.

Self-Declaration form

Competent Authority form

Institutional form

How can I find NNELS material?

NNELS material can be found in the SILS catalogue. The results of a keyword search can be limited to Accessible. NNELS material is available in the following three formats: RESTRICTED EAUDIO, RESTRICTED EBRAILLE, RESTRICTED ETEXT. To see the entire list of NNELS titles, do a keyword search for "national network for equitable".

Titles can also be found on

How much material is available?

As of May 2015, the collection holds over 7,600 titles available through the SILS catalogue. In addition to the titles available through SILS, additional open access titles can be found by searching at If the search produces no results, a second search option is provided to search for free, accessible books available from other services including LibriVox and Bookshare.

What kind of content is available?

The majority of material is available in Daisy audio. Some juvenile e-Braille and e-Text material is also available. The collection includes adult, young adult and children's titles in both fiction and non-fiction.

Follow NNELS on Twitter for the most recent news and alerts about newly available titles @NNELSca

What content will be available in the future?

In Saskatchewan, we've developed the following Collection Development goals for NNELS:

  1. Produce accessible material with significance to Saskatchewan, including First Nations material.
  2. Respond to requests from Saskatchewan patrons for production of accessible material in a timely manner.
  3. Broaden relationships with other organizations serving the print disabled community.
  4. Increase amount of accessible material of interest to aging population, experiencing recent vision loss.
  5. Increase amount of accessible material available for children and youth.
  6. Increase amount of accessible material available in languages other than English, including First Nations languages.

Provincial Library and Literacy Office can also forward specific requests from patrons to be produced by NNELS. Please contact Kimberley Hintz at to place your patron request.


How can I listen to an NNELS talking book?

Patrons with print disabilities can download the restricted e-Audio file onto an existing listening device including an iPod, iPad, iPhone, Tablet or Victor Stream Reader.

For those using an iDevice, try the wireless download option using the Voice Dream app descried here:

For additional help on reading and downloading NNELS titles using other devices:

Can I listen to NNELS content on CD?

Patrons who prefer a physical disc can also request that any NNELS titles be transferred to disc and send them to their home library. An MP3 compatible CD Player is required. Please fill out the form here:

Where can I find out more about NNELS?

Visit this guide  or the website for more information.

Contact for more information:

Kimberley Hintz
Public Library Coordinator
Provincial Library & Literacy Office