Halifax, NS – The Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association (APMA) has teamed up with all public libraries in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland & Prince Edward Island to create the 2023 Read Atlantic / Lire Atlantique Unlimited Access collection, with 50 eBooks and audiobooks that can be accessed by all Atlantic Canadian public library patrons with no holds or waitlists. The eBooks also include a range of features that make them more accessible for library users with print disabilities.
The collection includes some of the season’s hottest new releases and big award winners, such as Nosy Parker by Lesley Crewe (2022 Globe & Mail bestseller) and Some Hellish by Nicholas Herring (winner of the $60,000 Atwood Gibson Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize in 2022). There are 36 English books and 14 French books in the collection, which will be available for immediate borrowing by all Atlantic Canadian library patrons, with no holds or waitlists.
The 2023 Read Atlantic project showcases an initial selection of 50 books to get the project started, with a goal to launch the full collection of 100-150 accessible digital books later this Fall 2023. The publisher and library partnership group hope to use this project to create an efficient and effective way for libraries to continue to promote accessible Atlantic eBooks and audiobooks for years to come.
This project builds on an initiative piloted in 2021, which made 141 accessible eBooks available with no waitlists or holds across the library systems of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Halifax. The pilot saw great interest from readers, with books borrowed over 24,600 times across the three systems, but this is the first time that a collection of local digital books has been made available for simultaneous, unlimited usage for the entire Atlantic region.
“We’re thrilled to continue building on the momentum of the pilot project and expand access to Atlantic Canadian literature,” said Karen Cole, Executive Director of APMA. “We believe that this initiative will establish new ways of incorporating local, accessible eBooks and audiobooks into regular library promotions. We are excited about partnering with all public libraries in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland & Prince Edward Island to help us continue to promote and expand the reach of Atlantic stories in an inclusive and dynamic way.”
With such a wide selection of books, publishers and libraries expect the collection to be a popular one that all readers can access on OverDrive / Libby and Pretnumerique. All library users can borrow and download to the device they choose – all that’s needed is a library card and an internet connection.
“The ongoing surge in audiobooks and ebook popularity is not just a technological marvel, but a beacon of inclusivity thanks to an increase of user-friendly features.” said Dave MacNeil, Manager of Collections and Access at Halifax Public Libraries. “Platforms used by Atlantic Canadian public libraries, such as OverDrive’s Libby app, and Pretnumerique.ca for French readers in New Brunswick, have undergone a number of accessibility updates in recent years to allow for text-to-speech functionality and various features that allow for assistive technologies to read and navigate the text, such as image descriptions and navigation tools, and the capability to make changes to elements like colour and font size.”
For the first time, the library collections will display information on the accessibility features of each digital book in the collection, with a goal of increasing the discoverability of accessible Atlantic Canadian digital books. The project is funded in part by the Department of Canadian Heritage – Canada Book Fund’s Accessible Digital Books Initiative.
All are encouraged to get their library cards ready and join APMA in this incredible literary odyssey, be part of the #ReadAtlantic movement and dive into the enriching world of Atlantic literature.