CNIB Literacy and Accessible Publishing

CNIB Library - opening the door to reading for Canadians with print disabilities

CNIB is Canada's primary producer of accessible format literature for people with print disabilities. CNIB also provides support for accessible reading technology, literacy programs, and advocacy for inclusive publishing and capacity building to support literacy development. 

The Need for Accessible Format Materials

Three million Canadians with print disabilities, including people with vision loss as well as a variety of learning and physical disabilities, are unable to read traditional print material. They require material in accessible/alternate formats such as braille, audio and large-print. Currently however, only seven per cent of published works worldwide are available in a format that can be read by people with print disabilities. 

Literacy is a fundamental human right as outlined in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Access to published literature is vital to Canada’s economic growth, as it greatly impacts the education and employment opportunities citizens can access. With equal access to a broad spectrum of accessible/alternate format literature, Canadians with print disabilities can be contributing members of our society and economy.

What are accessible formats?

Accessible format materials include DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) audio books,; electronic text (e-text) in various formats, including DAISY; contracted and uncontracted braille, including electronic braille; printbraille; and described movies.​

What is a print disability?

A print disability is any learning disability (impairment relating to comprehension), physical disability (inability to hold/manipulate a book), or visual (severe or total impairment of sight) disability that prevents a person from reading conventional print.

Our Programs

Boy touches a tactile picture of a lizard

Our programs help young people and their families develop literacy skills that are important to education, employment and independence - while having lots of fun!

Programs include Readasaurus – our Early Literacy Kit, the TD Summer Reading Club, the annual Braille Writing Contest, and​, CNIB’s website about alternative literacy for kids and teens with vision loss.

CELA Library Services

Reading entertains us, informs us, and connects us. If you are finding it difficult to read because of low vision or blindness, CELA, the Centre for Equitable Library Access, can help.

CELA, a national not-for profit organization, is CNIB’s trusted partner in accessible literacy. CNIB produces materials in accessible formats including braille and audio, which are then provided to CELA for distribution through the public library system. CNIB clients have been able to access CELA services since its launch in 2014. By January 2017 all library services previously offered by CNIB Library will be fully transitioned to CELA.

To start using CELA now, simply visit the CELA website and sign in using your current account number for and password for CNIB Library. If you don't have an account, ask about CELA service at your local public library or ask your local CNIB contact person to refer you. If you need additional support you can contact CELA at 1-855-655-2273 or email​

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