Central Library is closed for the day (June 22) due to a facility issue.
Accessibility at the Library

Adaptive Technologies and Special Services at the Library

Accessible services for Library members

December 3 is International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Calgary Public Library is a place for people to access ideas, inspiration, and insight so that they can realize their potential.  The Library has lots of adaptive technologies and services to support people with disabilities using Library items, programs, services, and spaces.  

Special Services  

A Special Services card is given to Library members who self-identify as having a visual or hearing impairment, disabilities, or health and mobility issues. This card provides access to a range of specialized materials, facilities, and services, as well as offering more flexibility in terms of return times.   

Extended loans 

Special Services cards allow holders extra time on their Library loans — six weeks instead of the standard three — to support those who need more time to process information or read. DVD’s still have a one-week loan period, though. 

Large print and Talking Books 

The Library has large print editions of fiction and non-fiction books. They use a minimum size 13 clear font. Anyone can check out large-print editions. 

The Special Services collection at Central also includes a selection of over 14,000 titles available as Talking Books, including fiction, history, and biographies. Talking Books are only playable in DAISY readers and can only be checked out with a Special Services card. 

DAISY Readers 

DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) is an audiobook system that allows those with print disabilities to access audiobooks with additional functions compared to a traditional Audiobook CD. DAISY discs must be played in a special DAISY reader or on a device with DAISY compatible software to read the file and make use of additional features.  

Homebound Readers 

For members who cannot visit a Library location, the Homebound Readers program pairs you with a trained volunteer who will deliver and exchange materials on your behalf. You can email special.services@calgarylibrary.ca or call 403-260-2702 to request this service. 

Libraries in Residence  

The Library works with a number of care homes and assisted living facilities in Calgary to provide Libraries in Residence, a rotating collection of titles that will stay in a location for a few months at a time. The collection often features large print and accessible formats for the residents living there. If you are a wellness or recreation coordinator interested in starting a Library in Residence at your facility, please contact special.services@calgarylibrary.ca. 


The Centre for Equitable Library Access, or CELA, is an accessible library service that provides books and other materials to over three million Canadians with print disabilities. Their collection contains over one million titles in multiple accessible formats, including audio, braille, print braille, and text. CELA is a separate service from Calgary Public Library that often helps individuals with print disabilities access adaptive technologies like DAISY readers. Those with print disabilities can apply for CELA through the Special Services department. 

Accessibility in locations 

The Library works to ensure Library locations are accessible spaces, from the design of the spaces to the resources available.  

Accessible technologies  

The Special Services collection at Central Library has several assistive technologies to make accessing information easier for patrons with print disabilities, including accessible workstations, assistive listening devices, braille displays, electronic magnifiers, text telephones (TTY), brailers, and text-to-speech devices.  

There are 11 other Library locations with accessible workstations, which include adjustable-height desks, screen reading and magnification software, adaptive keyboards, and other tools to help read, write, and listen to documents. These set-ups can be found at Central Library, Country Hills Library, Crowfoot Library, Fish Creek Library, Forest Lawn, Nose Hill Library, Seton Library, Shawnessy Library, Signal Hill Library, Village Square Library, and Bowness Library 

Sensory backpacks 

People with Sensory Processing Disorders are unable to filter out external stimuli, like bright lights or loud sounds, and become overwhelmed in some public places. Sensory backpacks include resources that make it easier for people with sensory processing disorders to enjoy public spaces like the Library. 

This program is a partnership with The Variety Children’s Charity and the Calgary Heritage Lions Club and is available at 11 Library locations, including Bowness, Central, Crowfoot, Fish Creek, Giuffre Family, Louise Riley, Nose Hill, Saddletowne, Seton, Shawnessy, and Southwood libraries.   

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