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Idea Exchange’s Commitment to Accessibility

The Cambridge Public Library Board (operating as Idea Exchange) is committed to treating all people in a way that allows them to maintain their dignity and independence.  We are committed to meeting the needs of people with disabilities in a timely manner, and will do so by preventing and/or removing barriers to accessibility and meeting accessibility requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).

Read our Accessibility Policy for more information. You can also read our Multiyear Accessibility Plan [PDF].

Accessible Customer Service Policy

Idea Exchange provides its services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. 

All reasonable effort will be made to ensure that our policies, practices and procedures are consistent with the following principles set out in the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service (Ontario Regulation 429/07): 

  • That the provision of services to people with disabilities and others are integrated unless an alternative measure is necessary, whether temporarily or on a permanent basis, to enable a person with disability to obtain, use or benefit from our services; 
  • That people with disabilities are given an opportunity equal to that given to others to obtain, use or benefit from our services 

Read our complete Accessible Customer Service Policy.

Accessible Collections

We have books in many different formats, with titles to suit everyone’s tastes. Choose from classics, bestsellers, westerns, mysteries, romances, and nonfiction. 

If you are looking for a book in an accessible format that we don't have in our collection, please contact us. We will do our best to locate a copy in the format that best suits your needs. 

Dementia Friendly Books

Our collection of Dementia Friendly Books is located near the Large Print section on the Main Floor of the Queen’s Square library. The titles can also be found in the catalogue under “dementia friendly books” or “Alzheimer friendly books”.  

Dementia Friendly Books offer up engaging content, just like other adult books, but they use techniques like special fonts and spacing, navigation cues and including more pictures to encourage memory retention and make stories easier to follow. 

All the books may be placed on Hold and borrowed as normal 3-week loans. 

Books in Alternative Formats

Large Print Books: These easy-on-the-eye books are available at each of our libraries. 

Audiobooks: Listen to books on CD, Playaway or through digital download

eBooks: We have eBooks in formats ranging from ePUB to read-along. More than a million accessible books are available for free at Openlibrary.org

Memory Kits

These dementia friendly kits provide activities for person with Alzheimer’s, memory loss and other neurological issues and their caregivers. Each kit comes with 2 to 3 items and can include books, puzzles, games activity aprons, or mats that offer tactile stimulation. Each kit includes a tips sheet to help facilitate positive interaction between the caregiver and patient. All kits may be placed on Hold and borrowed as a normal 3-week loans. 

Online Resources

With your Idea Exchange membership card, you have access to online resources. Many of these resources offer accessible adaptions: 

Gale Cengage – Access an inclusive learning experience. 

Request alternative formats. 

Pressreader – Use your device’s speech engine to listen to articles. 

Enable Text to Speech. 

Kanopy – Get more from your streaming experience. 

Enable closed captions, subtitles and transcripts. 

Visiting Library Services Program

Did you know that Idea Exchange makes house calls? 

If age, illness or disability is preventing you or someone you know from coming to the library, we will make a home visit! Our trained Visiting Library Service (VLS) volunteers select materials (regular, large print, or audio books, music or puzzles) and deliver them at their clients’ convenience, where they enjoy a friendly visit and companionship. 

Enjoy favourite authors, borrow a little or a lot.

We also provide Visiting Library Service to retirement and nursing homes in Cambridge. 

To find out more about this service, call 519-621-0460 or ask online.

Facilities, Tools & Assistive Technology

These services are available at all Idea Exchange locations: 

  • Accessible buildings - All floors of our buildings are accessible. Our facilities feature ramps, door openers, and elevators to upper floors.
  • Accessible washroom facilities are available
  • Accessible 24-hour book drops at our Queen’s Square, Clemens Mill, Hespeler and Preston locations 
  • Accessible self-check-out kiosks and service desks
  • Assistive listening devices for performances in the lower level and the first floor at the Old Post Office 

Microsoft Ease of Access 

All public desktop computers at all locations have access to Microsoft’s Ease of Access accessibility suite, which includes a magnifier, narrator and high contrast settings. Look for this icon to adjust the display to fit your needs: 

Microsoft ease of access

Magnifying Glasses

Magnifying items are available at service desks in all locations. 

Daisy Reader

Idea Exchange has one DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) reader machine available for borrowing. 

The reader includes the adapter, disc case and carrying case. As a member of CELA (Centre for Equitable Library Access), we offer access to CELA's extensive collection of DAISY CDs. 

The DAISY may be checked out, for a 6-week loan. It may be placed on hold, but cannot be renewed. 

CELA - Centre for Equitable Library Access

If you have trouble reading print because of a visual, physical or learning disability, Idea Exchange offers lots of other ways to read. As a member of CELA, we offer: 

  • Titles for all ages in audio, e-text and brailleCentre for equitable library access
  • More than 650,000 books, magazines and newspapers 
  • Materials in English and French, with expanding access to other languages 

To find out more, visit the CELA website, or visit your local library. 

Talking Book Patron Status

  • People who are unable to read print due to a visual, physical, or learning disability are eligible to apply for Talking Book status. To participate in this service, complete the application below and return it to your nearest Idea Exchange location with proof of your full name and current address. 
  • Print the Application form for Talking Book Service [PDF]
  • Caregivers who wish to deliver library materials to a family member or friend who qualifies for Talking Book status must also complete and return the Care Giver application below. 
  • Print the Application form for Caregivers [PDF]

MagnusCards App

MagnusCards are a free app that combines instructional social stories with elements of game design to help users learn essential life skills and support independent living. You can collect and create digital Card Decks, which provide step-by-step instructions for activities at Idea Exchange such as getting a library card, visiting an art gallery, and checking out a book! You can also use the app to help navigate the transit system, go to the ROM, or get a coffee at Tim Hortons!

MagnusCardsOur trained and resourceful staff are always eager to help you access your community and make our library services available to you. Please contact us if you are interested in booking an information session about MagnusCards, or any of our assistive technologies. 

Light Therapy Lamps

  • Light therapy lamps have proven successful helping those suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). 
  • Lights are available in all Idea Exchange locations, for in library use as well as borrowing 

Need an Idea Exchange document in an alternative format?

Upon request, all publications and documents produced by Idea Exchange can be made available in large print, or alternative accessible formats.

Documents in accessible formats may be requested:

 We will work together with you to best meet your needs as soon as possible.

Emergency Evacuation Guidelines

Our Emergency Evacuation Guidelines for people requiring assistance is located below:

Emergency Evacuation Guidelines [PDF]

For further information about accessibility in our community, please visit:

City of Cambridge Accessibility and Diversity Services


City of Cambridge Accessibility Advisory Committee


Your feedback is important to us.

Feedback can be provided:

Helen Kelly, Chief Executive Officer
Idea Exchange
1 North Square
Cambridge, ON N1S 2K6