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Print Resources Accessibility Policy

Effective: January 2015

The library will provide braille, DOCX, PDF, or computer-generated MP3 formats of print materials that it publishes or that are part of the library’s collection when requested to do so by a user with a perceptual disability.* The provision of these alternative format resources is subject to the turnaround times and conditions listed below. There is no charge for this service.

This policy applies to Guelph faculty, staff, alumni, retirees, community borrowers, and students who are currently not registered with Student Accessibility Services (SAS). SAS-registered students should visit Library Accessibility Services’ Alternative Format Text Services page or e-mail las@uoguelph.ca to learn more about the expanded services they are eligible to receive.  

To request alternative format copies of books in the library’s collection e-mail las@uoguelph.ca

Be sure to provide:

  • Your name
  • Library borrower type (i.e., faculty, staff, student, alumnus, retiree, or community borrower)
  • Nature of perceptual disability
  • Desired alternative format
  • Author, title, edition, year and publisher of the book

For books in the Tri-University Group (TUG) collection owned by the Universities of Waterloo and Laurier

If you require an alternative format of a print text located in a library at the University of Waterloo or Wilfrid Laurier University, follow the instructions above and also indicate which library owns the text. Do not place a hold on the book.

For books borrowed through inter-library loan

Request the book through Racer, then contact Library Accessibility Services as outlined above and give the book to LAS staff once it arrives.

To request alternative format copies of library publications and handouts:

Ask library staff at the point of service for an alternative format version of a print document. Request an alternative format copy if it does not exist. 

Be sure to provide:

  • Your name
  • Library borrower type (i.e., faculty, staff, student, alumnus, retiree or community borrower)  
  • Nature of perceptual disability
  • Desired alternative format

To request alternative format copies of Archival and Special Collections material

Although special collections materials (which include archives, artifacts, correspondence, ephemera, manuscripts, photographs, rare books, and other original primary source materials housed in the library’s Archival & Special Collections Department) are exempt from this policy, requests for alternative formats will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Head of Archival & Special Collections or Special Collections Librarian.

The decision on whether and how much of an archival resource can be digitized and converted into an alternative format depends on the age, condition, format, size, and donor restrictions of the original material.

Please e-mail libaspc@uoguelph.ca to make a request.

Be sure to provide:

  • Your name
  • Library borrower type (i.e., faculty, staff, student, alumnus, retiree or community borrower)
  • Nature of perceptual disability
  • Desired alternative format

Requesting alternative formats for personal copies of books

Library Accessibility Services will create alternative format versions of personal copies of books that are required for research purposes by Guelph students and faculty.  E-mail las@uoguelph.ca for more information.

Turnaround times for receiving alternative format copies of library print materials

For books

Library Accessibility Services will provide library users with alternative formats of books from our collection within 7-10 business days from the date of the request.

For materials published by the library

The library will provide users with alternative formats of library-published materials within 1-3 business days.

For materials from Archives and Special Collections

Completion time will vary depending upon the resource. 

LAS staff will work to provide library users with alternative format copies of books and library-published materials within the timelines stated above. However, due to factors beyond our control (e.g., unexpected workload, complicated formats, technical issues, availability of external suppliers, etc.) we cannot guarantee that users will always receive their alternative-format materials within these timelines.

Receiving your alternative format materials

Library Accessibility Services will contact you when your alternative format copy of the text material is ready for use.


Declaration of a perceptual disability

Before you are given alternative format text material, you will need to sign a declaration form confirming that you have a perceptual disability.

Personal use only

Alternative formats provided by the library are intended for your personal use.  Further copying, sharing, or distributing of these materials may require the permission of the copyright owner.

Reproduction quality of digitized materials

Alternative formats created through digitizing and applying optical character recognition (OCR) software to a print original will be given to library users without prior proofreading unless they are academic research materials required by a student or faculty member with a visual impairment.

Producing library materials in braille

The library will braille no more than 20 pages of a text or document for a library user unless they are students or faculty.

Feasibility of requests

The library may not provide a copy of a print resource in the desired alternative format or at all if it is deemed infeasible to do so. Assessing the feasibility of a request includes factors such as:

  • Staff time required to produce the alternative format
  • Cost of producing the alternative format
  • Technological limitations
  • Turnaround time requested
  • Condition of the original
  • Format of the original

If a user’s request for an alternative format copy of a print resource cannot be granted, the library will contact the user with both the decision and the reason within three business days.

Electronic resources

Individuals who use adaptive software such as screen readers to access e-text resources may encounter problems interacting with some electronic book and journal database content in the library’s collection. If this occurs, adaptive technology users need to work with the company that provides the electronic resources to be given access to an accessible version of the document or accessible interface in which to view it. In some cases, this may require a valid Guelph login and password. The library will not provide an alternative version of an electronic resource unless it is academic research material required by a student or faculty member with a visual impairment.  However, we will assist by providing relevant company contact information.

* The Definition of perceptual disability used in the Copyright Act of Canada:

The Canadian Copyright Act defines “perceptual disability” as a disability that prevents or inhibits a person from reading or hearing a literary, musical, dramatic or artistic work in its original format, and includes such a disability resulting from:

  • Severe or total impairment of sight or hearing
  • The inability to focus or move one’s eyes
  • The inability to hold or manipulate a book
  • An impairment relating to comprehension