Programs & Services
March 18, 2021 Workshop: Your help is needed to ensure CELA/NNELS continue to receive funding for the production of braille
Date : Thursday, March 18, 2021
Time : 7:00 PM (EST)
We have learned that the federal government intends to phase out its $4 million in financial support of the Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA) and the National Network for Equitable Library Services (NNELS) over the next few years. These cuts will have devastating effects on Canadians who are blind, deafblind, or who have low vision.
While publishers are increasingly making some works available in audio format (thanks to the mainstream popularity of audiobooks), there are no mainstream publishers that provide braille books. Continued access to braille reading material is largely contingent upon CELA and NNELS having the capacity to provide these transcription services. While advocating for increased access within industry is vital, this does not replace the need for accessible library services.
We urge you to help CELA and NNELS with their efforts to persuade the government to reverse this funding decision. In our view, cutting support for the production of accessible materials is inconsistent with the government’s stated support for the inclusion of Canadians with disabilities. CELA and NNELS are critical to the continued availability of new braille materials in Canada, whether you receive them through CELA, NNELS, or via your local public library.
How can I learn more?
Braille Literacy Canada and the Canadian Council of the Blind have teamed up to host a joint information session on Thursday, March 18th, 2021 from 7:00 to 8:00 PM (EST) about this situation. The session will take place via Zoom -- details to be provided upon registration.
We will be joined by Laurie Davidson, Executive Director of CELA and Daniella Levy-Pinto, Project Coordinator at NNELS, who will provide more information on how we got here, and the impact that these cuts will have on their operations.
Anthony Tibbs, Treasurer of BLC, will explain more about what we can each individually do, pointers on potential talking points, and possible answers to some objections.
To register and receive the Zoom meeting information, please write to email@example.com by Wednesday, March 17th, 2021. If you have specific questions in mind, we ask you to submit these in advance by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can I help?
In the meantime, you can circulate our press release throughout all of your networks, and reach out to your own Member of Parliament and ask them to intervene on CELA and NNELS’ behalf. The links below will provide you with more information on what is happening and how you can help to ensure that CELA and NNELS remain sustainable going forward.
- Braille Literacy Canada’s March 11, 2021 press release: https://www.brailleliteracycanada.ca/en/news/press-release-braille-literacy-canada-calls-upon-the-federa
- Further information from CELA, including downloadable template letters you can use when writing to your MP: https://celalibrary.ca/advocacy
- Further information from NNELS, including downloadable template letters you can use when writing to your MP: https://nnels.ca/advocate-nnels-services