This week the Canadian Government announced their plans to comply with the provisions of the Marrakesh Treaty. This step forward means removing barriers for providing accessible formats to the 3 million Canadians with print disabilities.
The Marrakesh Treaty was signed in 2013 by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a specialized agency of the United Nations. It is designed “to facilitate access to published works for persons who are blind, visually impaired, or otherwise print disabled”. Canada is the 9th country to accede to the Treaty.
How does this apply to libraries? Currently, only 7% of the world’s published works are available in accessible formats. The Treaty will allow participating countries to share their collections of audio books, electronic texts and other accessible forms of print material. The Treaty would result in a huge increase in number of titles available.
According to the Executive Director of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) Diane Bergeron, the CNIB library catalogue offers clients approximately 300,000 titles which will be available worldwide.
The Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA) is asking Canadians to use their social media to help promote this landmark. Use hashtag #MarrakeshTreaty to show your support for CELA, OPL and the Marrakesh Treaty!