CELA & NNELS Presentation

Presentation for Staff In-Service April 28 2023

Today’s Goal

To feel confident and comfortable with being able to explain to eligible patrons what these services are. To know where to find additional information needed to complete patron registration. To know what happens next after a patron registers.

Presentation Outline

What are CELA & NNELS?

What is CELA?

Centre for Equitable Library Access.  The Centre for Equitable Library Access, CELA, is an accessible library service, providing books and other materials to Canadians with print disabilities.  CELA assumed service responsibilities of the former CNIB Library. CELA and CNIB are separate organizations that work closely together.

What is NNELS?

National Network Equitable Library Service. The National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS) is a repository of content owned and sustained by Canadian public libraries. NNELS works with international partners, libraries, readers, and publishers (particularly Canadian ones) to make copies of books in accessible formats available to readers in Canada who have print disabilities.


Open to anyone with a print disability
Eligible patrons can self-declare disability
Patrons can login and download materials from home
Staff can download requested and save to USB or Victor Stream
Has DAISY audiobooks to download
Electronic Braille can be downloaded
Hard Copy Braille Available (e.g. braille embossed paper book) Currently CELA has more physical braille than NNELS. Distributed Braille Collection is hosted at libraries throughout Canada. Patrons can Borrow through ILL.
Material can be sent automatically by mail (without library staff involvement)
Has DAISY Text or EPUB 3 titles for download – (EPUB 3 can be read with electronic braille display, or text can be converted to speech for use on DAISY Players or Dolphin Easy Reader or other software.)
Patrons/staff can make suggestions for audiobooks to be created and added
Staff created DAISY CDs are available in SamePage Catalogue From other SamePage libraries Yes, but new CDs are not being made
Unlimited use titles with no waiting and no due dates (Braille books sent by mail have to be returned)

Who can use them?

Anyone with a print disability.

print disability is a learning, physical or visual disability that prevents a person from reading conventional print.

More specifically, a print disability can be a:

  • Learning disability: An impairment relating to comprehension.
  • Physical disability: The inability to hold or manipulate a book
  • Visual disability: Severe or total impairment of sight or the inability to focus or move one’s eyes

Some things that could be print disabilities include: dyslexia, dementia, ALS, Parkinson’s, and autism.

Chances are, there are patrons who use your library regularly who are eligible to register for CELA & NNELS.

Both CELA and NNELS allow patrons to self-declare a Print Disability.  They do not need any specific documentation or proof of disability*

*CELA does require proof of disability for its Bookshare collection.  Bookshare is US-based accessible online library. Most of the Bookshare audio collection is autogenerated with synethic (i.e. computer) voice.   Proof of disability may be a CNIB card or a letter from a doctor.

Common Misconceptions:

These services are only for people who are blind FALSE

  • Anyone with a self-declared print disability can use either service.

We don’t do anything with CELA  FALSE

  • Yes patrons can request CELA to send them material in the mail on a monthly basis based on reading preferences, e.g. mystery, romance, magazines, etc. They can also phone CELA and ask for specific titles to be sent in the mail or they can ask CELA to put specific titles on their Direct to Player bookshelf. However, registration for CELA is done by library staff and library staff can go into the CELA website and download titles to put on USB or Victor Stream just like we do with NNELS.

How to Promote CELA & NNELS

Do not assume that it will be requested.  Many patrons do not know about it.

Ask patrons about the kind of material they would like to read.  Depending on their disability they may be interested in trying Libby, PressReader or a Playaway. 

Don’t be afraid to mention CELA & NNELS even if you can’t remember all the details.  Take the patron’s contact information and find out what books they are interested in then let them know you will get back to them.

You can search the CELA or NNELS catalogue without being logged in.  Often patrons are eager to sign-up for the service when they realize what is available.

Talk to your colleagues, your supervisor, or me (Erin Phillips) to discuss your patron’s needs.  

Who is in charge of registering users and downloading titles for patrons?

All of us

The more people who know how to use the service the easier it will be for patrons to get help and get titles quickly. 

Instructions are available for registering and for transferring titles to a player/USB.  If you need further assistance contact Erin Phillips, Digital Services Librarian.

Steps for registering a Patron for CELA & NNELS

  1. Self-Declaration Form or Competent Authority Form. Available at https://cbrl.ca/accessibility/.  Completed forms can be kept on file at your branch.
  2. Register or update patron’s library card
    • Select 1APD (Adult Print Disability) or 1CPD  (Child Print Disability) as User profile
    • Under demographic tab: In user cat5, select CBNNELS
  3. For CELA registration:
    • Find out what format patron wants and if they want to be sent material in the mail
    • Using your branch’s CELA login (ask your co-workers or your supervisor to help you locate your login), complete online CELA registration form for patron.
    • If patron wants to download material themselves or have a family member download for them, they will need to create an online account with CELA. They also will need an email address.
  4. For NNELS registration:
    • If patron wants to download material themselves or have a family member download for them, they can do so by logging into the NNELS website with their library card number and PIN. They will only be able to log in if their user record has been modified to User cat5: CBNNELS.

Following-up with Patrons

After you have registered a patron there may be additional steps for you to complete.  These may include:

  • Phoning patron a week or so after completing CELA registration to find out if CELA contacted them. 
  • Placing a hold on a Victor Stream reader for patron
  • Loading files onto a Victor Stream Reader
  • Arranging to meet with patron to show them how to use Victor Stream or how to use other programs on tablets (e.g. Dolphin Easy Reader).

Where to Find Relevant Instructions