Special Services

We want all Calgarians to benefit from the wealth of our resources and to be able to use the library. Therefore, we provide collections, programs, services and facilities to make it easy for Calgarians of all abilities to use our services.

Contact us to find out how we can serve you:

Central Library
5th Floor North
616 Macleod Trail SE
Calgary, Alberta, T2G 2M2

Phone: 403-260-2702
Fax: 403-260-2737
TTY: 403-264-8021
email: special.services@calgarylibrary.ca


Special Services Library Card

Calgarians with a visual or hearing impairment, the homebound, and people with disabilities can access a range of specialized materials, facilities, services and programs with a Special Services library card.

Enjoy a growing and diverse collection that includes the latest bestsellers and adaptive technology resources. All materials can be checked out for six weeks, except DVDs.

Use your Special Services Library Card to access the following programs, tools and resources.



Homebound Readers’

Are you unable to visit the library because of health or mobility issues? The Homebound Readers’ Program is here to help. Trained volunteers will select, deliver and exchange materials on behalf of homebound readers.

Libraries in Residence

The Libraries in Residence program offers "mini libraries" at care centres, lodges, and seniors' residences throughout the city. Library staff rotate collections throughout the year.



ALEX (Accessible Library Experience)

ALEX workstations make it easy for anyone to explore the Internet, send and receive email, write documents or prepare presentations.

The workstations include the following tools:

  • Screen Magnification Software that increases the size of text on the computer screen
  • Screen Reader Software that reads aloud whatever is on the screen
  • Optical Character Recognition Scanner that displays print material on the screen and reads it aloud
  • Dictation Software (Dragon Naturally Speaking 12.0)
  • Tools to help read, write and listen to documents
  • Audio player for DAISY, MP3, CD and DVD
  • Wheelchair-friendly desk and wider chair
  • Adjustable desk and monitor
  • Adaptive keyboards

ALEX workstations are available at these locations:

  • Central, 5th floor (two stations)
  • Country Hills
  • Crowfoot
  • Fish Creek
  • Forest Lawn
  • Nose Hill
  • Saddletowne
  • Shawnessy
  • Village Square

Assistive Listening Devices

If you are attending programs in the John Dutton theatre (2nd floor, Central Library), you can request an assistive listening device to amplify sound.

Closed Circuit Televisions (CCTVs)

A CCTV lets you enlarge and enhance printed text or photos.

Available at the Central Library, 5th floor.

Hand-held Magnifiers

Magnifying glasses for in-library use are available at most library branches and departments.

Reading Machine

A Kurzweil Reader scans print and reads it aloud.

Available at the Central Library, 5th floor.

Text Telephones (TTYs)

If you are deaf or hard-of-hearing, you can use a TTY phone system that allows you to type or read your messages over phone lines.

TTYs are available at the Central Library (5th floor), Fish Creek Library and Nose Hill Library.



We have an extensive collection of materials that are available in the following formats:

Large Print Books

Available to all library patrons, large print books are complete, unabridged texts with clear type in at least 13-point font. Large print books can be found at all library branches and at continuing care centres and lodges served by the Calgary Public Library. Our collections include best-sellers, mysteries and non-fiction. We also have some titles available in other languages.

Talking Books

Talking books are full-length recordings of popular fiction and non-fiction books featured on cassette tape or MP3. Our selection of over 14,000 titles includes fiction, history and biographies. Some titles are available in other languages. These materials are only available to patrons with a Special Services Card.

Digital Books

The DAISY Standard is an audiobook on a CD designed to allow readers to move around the text efficiently and flexibly. Listeners can jump from page to page, bookmark specific pages and also go directly to a specific page. One CD can contain up to 30 hours of material; however it cannot be played on a regular CD player.

Victor Readers

The Victor Reader is a simple, easy-to-use digital talking book player. All our VICTOR Readers can play audio CDs as well as MP3 formats and DAISY standard digital books.


Centre for Equitable Library Access

The Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA) provides collections in alternative formats to patrons with print disabilities.

Calgary Public Library Special Services cardholders can register for access to the CELA library; contact us and we'll get you started. Once you're registered you can request items from the CELA library and have them delivered to your door or download them from the CELA website.

As a member of CELA, we offer:

  • Books, newspapers, magazines and movies for all ages and interests
  • Summer Reading Club for children
  • Accessible online services for web reading and research
  • Materials available in English or French, with expanding access to other languages


CNIB Library

The CNIB Digital Library connects Canadians with vision loss to over 90,000 titles in braille, printbraille and talking books; descriptive videos; newspapers, and magazines. Anyone can browse the CNIB Digital Library catalogue as a guest to see the variety of titles available.

Through the Visunet Canada Partner's Program, Calgary Public Library patrons who have obtained special services memberships to access our collections and resources for persons with print disabilities, can apply for full access to the CNIB Digital Library Services.  Full access enables patrons to not only search CNIB collections, but place holds on items of interest and have materials sent to Calgary Public Library for pick up.


National Network for Equitable Library Service

The National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS) makes copies of books in accessible formats available to readers in Canada who have print disabilities. NNELS is a repository of content owned and sustained by Canadian public libraries, working with international partners, libraries, readers, and publishers (particularly Canadian ones).

Through NNELS, Calgary Public Library patrons who have obtained a Special Services membership have access to thousands of titles in PDF, Daisy, MP3, EPUB, and e-text formats. You can access materials by signing up for an account with your Special Services library card.