Collections for People with Disabilities
Toronto Public Library offers a wide range of materials in alternate formats for customers with visual impairments, physical disabilities, and learning disabilities. You can find specific materials by searching the catalogue for the format needed. Items available for circulation can be put on hold and delivered to your local branch for pick-up.
Large Print Books
Large print books are available at many of our library branches. Titles include a wide choice of best-sellers, fiction and non-fiction. Some books are also available in French.
Audiobooks are full length recordings of popular fiction and non-fiction books on CD that you can listen to on your computer or portable device. Some titles are available in other languages.
Talking books are audiobooks on a single CD with full navigation. Listeners can jump from page to page, bookmark pages as well as go directly to a specific page number. These books are available to customers who are unable to read print due to a visual, physical or learning disability. Register by submitting a Talking Book Application Form (PDF), which must be certified by a recognized health professional such as a doctor, nurse, therapist or social worker. Forms can be:
- Submitted to your local library
- Faxed to Mobile Library Services at 416-395-5594
- Or mailed to
Mobile Library Services Department
5120 Yonge Street
Ebooks, eAudiobooks, eMusic and eVideo
There are a variety of eBooks, eAudiobooks, eMusic and eVideos for children and adults that can be downloaded to a computer or portable device with a valid library card and PIN number.
Descriptive videos are films with special narration which describes the action, characters, costumes, locations and sets to a viewer with visual disabilities without interfering with the movie's dialogue or sound effects. They are available in both DVD and VHS.
Click here for more information on locating descriptive videos and DVDs.
Closed Captioned Videos
Closed captioned videos have subtitles that can be seen with a closed captioned decoder or with a built-in decoder on newer televisions. Most feature DVDs come with optional subtitles as well.
Centre for Equitable Library Access Collection
Toronto Public Library also offers access to the Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA) collection for people who have difficulty reading print due to a visual, physical or learning disability. With over 200,000 items in accessible formats, the CELA collection represents Canada's largest collection of alternative format books and online resources. The collection is in both English and French and includes:
- Books and magazines in audio, eText and braille
- More than 50 community, national and international newspapers
- Descriptive films and television programs
- Children's picture books with added Braille
- Canadian content and other resources for all ages and interests.
Access to the CELA collection is available only to people with perceptual disabilities as defined under the provisions of the Copyright Modernization Act, which includes:
- Learning disability: an impairment relating to comprehension
- Physical disability: the inability to hold or manipulate a book
- Visual disability: severe or total impairment of sight or the inability to focus or move one's eyes.
How to Register and Use the Collection
Eligible Toronto Public Library users with a valid library card can register for this service by contacting Home Library Service by phone at 416-395-5557 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do not already have a library card, staff will get you registered as part of the CELA registration process.
Access to the collection is offered in a number of ways:
- Download books to your computer or mobile device, such as an iPhone
- Download books to a DAISY player over a wireless connection without using a computer
- Receive audio CDs, Braille or described movies through your local branch or by mail directly to your home.
Visit the CELA website for more information about the collection.