story and video by Stephen Dafoe
For many people with print disabilities, the assumption is that enjoying a good book is no longer an option.
The Morinville Community Library has a range of technologies and options for people experiencing temporary and permanent print disabilities.
“Very few people know that about 10 per cent of Canadians do have a print disability,” said Morinville Community Library Program Coordinator Stacey Buga, noting that print disabilities can be learning disabilities related to comprehension, physical disabilities that prevent readers from holding or manipulating books, and visual disabilities. “The majority of people will eventually experience some form of print disability in their life, but most books are not available in a format that they can read.”
The Morinville Community Library, the Northern Lights Library System, the National Network for Equitable Library Services and the Centre for Equitable Library Access all have resources for people with print disabilities.
Buga said audio books are one popular option for those who cannot read a standard edition. They are available on CD as well as MP3 files. Another option is the library’s collection of large print books.
When getting a library membership or at any point, a patron can identify as having a print disability, and the patron’s membership can be changed, giving them access to technologies including Daisy Readers, a unique format which can read an entire book from a single disk. The library is also able to access reading materials in Braille through its library network.
“Pretty much any book you want – if you can’t find it in the format you need, let us know, and through NELS or CELA, they can make it happen for you,” Buga said.