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ARCHIVED - Initiative for Equitable Library Access

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February 2008

The IELA Team in the Strategic Office of Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is made up of a manager (Ralph Manning), two project officers (Chanel Blanchard and Trisha Lucy) and an administrative coordinator (Karine Desjardins). The resources allocated to IELA including salaries and operating funds are $3M with an end date of March 31, 2010. IELA was announced by the Minister of Canadian Heritage on October 2, 2007

There are 2 related questions which form the basis of all the work in IELA. They are:

Question 1:
What is the long-term strategy for Federal involvement in the support of activities of equitable library access?

Question 2:
If the proposed strategy is not accepted, to what extent can LAC continue activities in support of Canadians with print disabilities?

The Stakeholders in IELA are:

  • Canadians with print disabilities
  • Organizations of Canadians with print disabilities
  • Librarians
  • Public Libraries
  • Organizations of Libraries and Librarians
  • Publishers
  • Organizations of Publishers
  • Multiple Format Producers
  • LAC

There are 4 sets of deliverables in IELA. They are:

  • Strategy including advice to the Government
  • Internet Portal
  • Library Service Standards and Training
  • Electronic Clearinghouse

All reports and deliverables will be posted to the IELA website.


All the deliverables will be developed using a consultation model where we will bring together communities of interest and communities of location. Where possible, we will build on existing meetings in the stakeholder organizations. LAC will absorb all costs of the consultations. The development of a consultation plan will be one of the first contracts let.

Strategy including advice to the Government

The Strategy work will consist of research studies on a number of issues including library services, publishing (both traditional print and multiple format), standards (both technological and service) and copyright issues. A number of reports will be written and widely distributed as the basis of the IELA consultation plan.

In addition, work will be done on a costing model for public libraries together with a business model for the development of equitable library access.

The Internet Portal

The portal will contain, at a minimum, directories of multiple format materials, information on library service standards, training materials, curricula, advocacy materials aimed at the various stakeholders, information on assistive technologies and a link to the Electronic Clearinghouse for multiple format production. The portal will be designed to the latest accessibility standards.

Library Service Standards and Training

Several types of standards will be researched and/or developed. They will include:

  • Service standards for librarians
  • Procurement standards
  • Technology standards
  • Production standards

A number of training, advocacy and curricula materials will be researcher and /or developed. This will include:

  • Fact sheets
  • Checklists
  • Presentations
  • Training materials which may including videos
  • Curricula materials for Library Schools and Library technician programmes
  • Testing of materials

Electronic Clearinghouse

Phase 1
The contract to develop a new legal agreement for the Clearinghouse to reflect the recommendations in the Pilot Evaluation Report was let in February 2008 with a delivery date of March 31, 2008. As soon as this agreement is completed, IELA staff will work to add new partners, both publishers and producers, to the Clearinghouse activity.

Work will be undertaken to enhance and create a more rugged business to business interface for the Clearinghouse.

Phase 2
More consultation will be held with the publisher and producer community to determine what the future Clearinghouse could look like and what the total cost of operation would be. Questions such as the relationships to work ongoing on trusted digital repositories, possible changes to the National Union Catalogue and new production platforms will be addressed in research contracts.