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NNELS: accessible books

Link to the National Network for Equitable Library Services website, for people with print disabilitiesThe National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS) is an online collection of downloadable ebooks and audiobooks for library members with print disabilities.

Information about how to register and access the NNELS collection is detailed below on this page. More information about print disabilities is also found below.

Already registered? Access the collection with your local library card number at the Login page.

Accessing the NNELS collection

NNELS is available for Canadian public library patrons with print disabilities, or to anyone caring for or living with a person who has a print disability. Registration is required to access the NNELS catalogue.

  1. Register with your local library, or email NNELS at for more information.
  2. Once registered, you can download titles directly to your computer or device. Library staff can also help you with downloading or burning to a disk.
  3. Requests can be made for adding new titles and also specific formats. Use our Request a Title form on our website, or send an email to NNELS at
  4. If you need help, email NNELS at, or find tutorials on

Print disabilities

A print disability is a difficulty or inability to read a traditional printed book due to vision, mobility, and comprehension impairments. People of all ages and all walks of life can have print disabilities, who need accessible books to read.

Print disabilities are as diverse as our population and the experience depends on the individual. Some examples of print disabilities include:

Cognitive or comprehension impairment

  • Brain injury including Stroke, Dementia, or Alzheimer’s
  • Learning disabilities such as ADHD or Dyslexia

Physical or mobility impairment

  • Mobility difficulties caused by Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or spinal cord injury
  • Dexterity problems such as Arthritis, Cerebral Palsy, Paralysis, Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, or Muscular Dystrophy
  • Upper limb difference, or, temporary disabilities such as a broken arm

Visual impairments

  • Low vision, colour-blindness, or blindness

Library Staff Information

Information for libraries is found at the Library Staff Homepage of the site.

Steps for registering a patron

  1. A patron will self-identify as having a print disability, or, provides care for someone with a print disability.
  2. Change the patron’s Main (Profile) Permission Group (in Sitka’s Evergreen) to: PL Print Disabled. This change will allow the NNELS repository to be available for the patron’s use.

Library assistance for NNELS patrons

  • NNELS makes the electronic files available and librarians can burn CDs with DAISY titles.
  • NNELS also has a print-braille collection of hard copy titles that are available in host libraries, and can be interlibrary loaned.

About NNELS and CELA

NNELS (National Network for Equitable Library Service) and CELA (Centre for Equitable Library Access) are national organizations that provide alternate format materials through public libraries. In Canada, both CELA and NNELS (among other alternate-format producers) are allowed to produce alternate formats without rights holder permission through an exception in the Copyright Act (1985, s. 32), which allows for non-profit organizations to make a more accessible format for people with print disabilities.

CELA offers access to large collections, such as Bookshare, and titles from the National Library Service in the U.S. CELA will also burn CDs for libraries, and will send hard copy braille materials directly to users.

NNELS makes electronic files available and library staff can burn CDs with DAISY titles; NNELS has a print-braille collection of hard copy titles that are available in host libraries, and can be interlibrary loaned. NNELS also produces accessible titles requested by its patrons!