QNL, WIPO sign pact on cross-border exchange of books
November 19 2019 01:16 AM
A dedicated assistive technology space is equipped with tools and software to help people with disab
A dedicated assistive technology space is equipped with tools and software to help people with disabilities access information and library materials.

Qatar National Library (QNL) has signed an agreement with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), paving the way for the library to be part of the cross-border exchange of accessible books among the entities of the Accessible Books Consortium Global (ABC) Book Service and facilitate access to approximately 540,000 accessible titles in 76 languages to its users with print disabilities.
The signing of the agreement gives the library access to the Accessible Books Consortium’s (ABC) Global Book Service online catalogue, which allows participating libraries and organisations serving people with print disabilities to easily obtain accessible content.
The agreement allows the library to request accessible books from other participating authorised entities under the provisions of the Marrakesh Treaty and augment the number of accessible digital books available to its members, a statement notes. Library users with print disabilities or someone acting on their behalf will now be able to access a wider range of accessible digital books in different languages.
Dr Sohair Wastawy, executive director, QNL, said: “The agreement signifies our commitment to expand access to information for all. It’s important for national institutions such as the library to set a leading example by being inclusive and ensuring equal access to persons with disabilities. We will use the opportunities created by this agreement to ensure every one of our patrons is supported with the resources that empower them as equal and active members of  our society.”
The ABC Global Book Service initiative supports the goals of the Marrakesh Treaty administered by WIPO, by allowing authorised entities, such as libraries, to easily obtain accessible titles in more than 76 languages from a global online catalogue through international exchange.
“We are very pleased that Qatar National Library has joined the ABC Global Book Service and that visually impaired persons in Qatar will be able to benefit from ABC’s impressive collection of accessible titles in over 76 languages. We also hope to receive accessible books in Arabic from Qatar National Library, given the interest in the rich literary heritage of the Arab world,” said Monica Halil Lövblad, head, Accessible Books Consortium.
The library’s main collection includes large-print books, audiobooks and braille books in English and Arabic. A dedicated assistive technology space is equipped with tools and software to help people with disabilities access information and library materials, including Bookshare, which has more than 500,000 braille and audiobooks in English and Arabic for visually impaired users or anyone who cannot read standard print.
The library worked closely with the government of Qatar to support the accession of Qatar to the Marrakesh Treaty, which was achieved in January 2019.
“We strive to make our print and digital resources easily accessible to all. This commitment, underpinned by our efforts that include our support for the Marrakesh Treaty, is what makes the library an important place in the lives of the people of Qatar. Through this agreement, we are pleased to join efforts with the international community to achieve our shared goals,” added Dr Wastawy.
The library’s team attended the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights and showcased its achievements at the WIPO Conference 2019, which was held in Geneva, Switzerland on October 21.
WIPO, one of the 15 specialised agencies of the United Nations, created the Accessible Books Consortium in 2014 to give effect to the provisions of the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled. The Marrakesh Treaty makes provisions for accessible books to be produced and transferred across national boundaries on a non-profit basis by setting up exceptions to traditional copyright law.

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