Bibliothèque Régionale Jolys Regional Library is getting another financial boost as they continue to grow their accessibility library.  

Head Librarian, Nicole Grégoire says this is the second time they’ve applied for and received a grant from the Manitoba Accessibility Fund.  

Back in April, they received a grant for $7,500 which was used to bring awareness of the accessibility items and make some purchases like “Victor Readers”.  

“We also purchased some iPads with dyslexic friendly fonts for using e-libraries and stuff like that, and then we also bought some “Yoto Players” which are basically, little audio players where you insert these little cards and the kids listen to stories, and they're beautifully animated with sound, music, ambience, really beautiful little audio players.” 

When another opportunity came around, Grégoire jumped at the chance to apply.  

“Let's keep this going because now we've got peoples’ attention. People are aware that we have technology for individuals with print disabilities, but there is still a gap in our collection, specifically here at the Jolys Regional Library, is in the area of dyslexic friendly fonts. We do have a lot of literature here in the library, but not very many that are printed in a very specific font that makes it a little bit easier for individuals with dyslexia. Those books don't have a fix all font, but for some it does help them to be able to read the font, and that's something that we want to develop.”  

Grégoire tells us how much they are getting.  

“We were awarded $8,500 to go towards books in print and to bring greater awareness to the issue.” 

Grégoire says they will be using part of the grant money to do more research into finding the right books to purchase. 

“We need to figure out what's missing in the collection and then the second part will be the purchasing and processing. Right now, we're in the research phase, we are looking at dyslexic friendly fonts and we want to procure books throughout the collection; fiction, nonfiction, children, adult, youth, including literature in both French and English.” 

Grégoire says they also want to focus on enhancing their large print collection, specifically focusing on growing their French language books. She says they currently have access to the Manitoba Public Libraries large-print rotation and get a fresh batch of books every three months, but Grégoire notes what’s missing in the circuit of books is French language large print books.  

“That's really what's missing here in St Pierre and De Salaberry. Our elders who have a visual disability due to age, that's what they want, they want to read in French, their native language. So, we're going to be focusing on developing our French large print because that's the gap in our area and the communities that we serve.” 

Grégoire says growing their Accessibility library has had its challenges.  

"There's been some hiccups because, you know, when you introduce any new technology, before people start using it they need to understand how the technology works and whatnot. So, grant money has been used for education and instruction of how to use the technology." 

Their most popular item used has been the Yoto players.  

“We have 3 and they are for the youth that are constantly circulating, which is great and that's exactly what we want, right?” 

Grégoire notes when it comes to the new technology available at the St Pierre Library, she finds that most people are ok with learning how to use it. 

“But there's a huge pocket of population, me included, I love to hold a book and so it's important that for those who still want to enjoy just the simple format of a book, that we could get that print. In the format of their choosing, whether it be large print or dyslexic friendly font, or in Braille or whatever, may be right, it's important for us to be able to really service our communities and give them what they want or what they need.” 

For now, she says they will continue looking for different publishers that focus on dyslexic friendly font.  

“More specifically publishers that cater to youth or to children. What I am struggling with right now is finding books that are like, you know, the everyday adult fiction and non-fiction books in a dyslexic friendly font. So, yeah, it’s been a little bit difficult. But we will continue to do the research, find out what our patrons are reading, and they would appreciate having access to in a format that’s legible to them.”  

The Joly Regional Library in St Pierre is open Monday to Friday and on Saturday's from 10am to 1pm. Membership is free for residents in the area.