Bibliothèque Taché Library

What is NNELS?

NNELS (The National Network for Equitable Library Service) is a repository and network of users, library staff, library branches and print producers co-operating to devise new digital delivery of talking books via Canadian public libraries. (source: https://nnels.ca/faq)

Who is eligible to use NNELS material in Manitoba?

NNELS material is available for those with a perceptual disability. Perceptual disabilities, also referred to as print disabilities, are defined by the Canadian Copyright Act as, “a disability that prevents or inhibits the individual from accessing the print material due to a visual impairment, a physical disability, or a comprehension disability.”


In order to access the NNELS repository you must visit your local public library to inquire, sign a self-declaration form and be given authorization to access the content. Depending on your library’s compatibility, you will either access the NNELS items through your library’s catalogue, or, through the NNELS website.


Do I need to bring in proof from a doctor that I have a perceptual disability?


It is up to the local library’s discretion – they reserve the right to request confirmation from a competent authority regarding the patron’s perceptual disability.


Who is a “Competent Authority?”

Competent authority refers to doctors of medicine, special education teachers, registered nurses, registered therapists, ophthalmologists, optometrists, and professional staff of hospitals, institutions, and public agencies, such as social workers, case workers and counselors.

How do libraries connect with NNELS.ca?

Many library cards are compatible with NNELS – the patrons of these libraries will be able to access NNELS content through their local library cards.  The ILSs that can be authenticated right now are Evergreen, Millennium/Sierra systems and Symphony systems. NNELS is currently working to include Polaris and Horizon in 2014.

How do I (patron) access NNELS content?

Ask your local librarian to get access to NNELS content at your library. At some libraries the content will be accessed directly through the library website, others will go directly tohttps://nnels.ca/  to log in, search and borrow content through the NNELS website.

Additionally, there are open resources available on https://nnels.ca/  that anyone can access.

There are tutorials available online to access these, please go to: https://nnels.ca/nnels-project-team-tutorials.

What type of assistance will my staff need to provide patrons using this service?

Libraries using library catalogs that are authorized through NNELS will need to assign the print-disabled patron-type to the patron wishing to access NNELS.

PLS and NNELS have worked together to create a self-declaration form that your staff will ask the patron requesting the NNELS service to sign. This is a signed document by the patron stating that they have a perceptual disability and they are eligible for this service. It is a local decision as to whether your library will require patrons to get a signature from a competent authority.

Your staff should be familiarized with these forms, instructed how to assign the new patron-type, and be capable of showing patrons how they will individually access the NNELS content.

How much material is available?

There have been approximately 10 thousand titles added to the collection in the last three months.  New materials are added daily, based on user requests from patrons accessing this service and NNELS is projecting a total of 20,000 items by summer 2014.

Are the materials available through CALS/NNELS protected by Copyright Law?

Section 32(1) of the Canadian Copyright Act allows people with perceptual disabilities, or those acting on their behalf the right to create and use alternate formats of copyrighted print materials.


Access to items that have been reproduced in an alternate format are solely for users that have print disabilities. Print disabled library patrons must adhere to the terms and conditions that limit their use of the content for their personal use only.

What kind of content is available?

So far content is predominately popular fiction and non-fiction, there are some juvenile titles as well. NNELS is hoping to begin production on multilingual content in French and other languages in 2014. Titles are selected on demand and come from material produced, migrated, contributed and exchanged by NNELS partners.

Formats currently available are mainly DAISY (digital accessible information system) audio, although there are some e-Braille and e-Text. The collections that are available right away in the repository are available through use downloads and library assisted access to disc, devices or in-library downloads.

How can I listen to an NNELS talking book?

Patrons with print disabilities can download the restricted e-Audio file onto an existing listening device including an iPod, iPad, iPhone, Tablet, Victor Stream Reader, or on a computer with sound.