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Public Library Services for Patrons with Print Disabilities: Print Disability

This is a libguide for public library staff to learn about NNELS and CELA services for patrons with print disabilities.

Irvin: Regina Public Library Patron



Angela Schnell


Kari Zinkhan-Davies


Print Disability

A print disabled patron is defined in the Canadian Copyright Act as a person with an impairment that prevents or inhibits them from reading a literary, musical, dramatic or artistic work in its original format and includes a disability resulting from:

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

It is estimated that there are more than three million Canadians with print disabilities, and many people who do not currently have a print disability will have one in the future. However, less than 5% of published material is available in accessible formats.  Improvement in digital delivery provides libraries with an opportunity to make additional materials more widely available to this underserved population.

Saskatchewan public libraries are committed to providing equitable library services to patrons with print disabilities. Patrons with disabilities may apply for a free library card, register their special needs, and get access to a growing collection of downloadable audio books and other accessible formats provided by the National Network for Equitable Library Services (NNELS) and the Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA).

Click here to learn how to register a patron with print disabilities.