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Services for People with Disabilities

In 2001 the American Libraries Association stated that “libraries must not discriminate against individuals with disabilities and shall ensure that individuals with disabilities have equal access to library resources��? (http://www.ala.org/ala/ascla/asclaissues/libraryservices.cfm). The University Libraries are proud to have a host of services and policies in place to provide for persons with disabilities.

As part of the University Libraries, Dewey Library also offers services and equipment specifically designed to allow all our patrons access to the library and its resources. Patrons can utilize a wheelchair elevator to enter the library from Draper Hall. Once inside the library both the circulation and reference desk are on the first floor. Since the library’s collection in on two floors, retrieval services are offered to patrons who need items located on the lower level.

Dewey Library also has a designated computer located on the first floor for users with disabilities. This computer has JAWS voice output software which allows low vision users perform computer related tasks (spreadsheets, email, surfing the web). JAWS, in addition to providing voiced readings of the information on the screen can also produce braille text of the on-screen content.

The Dragon Naturally Speaking voice command software lets the user provide voice commands rather than keystrokes or mouse clicks. Users should be aware the voice recognition software can take some getting used to – both on the part of the user and the software. Oftentimes there is an adjustment period as the program gets “trained��? to your voice.

The Kurzweil Reading Edge provides users with a voiced reading of scanned materials. Users should note that scanned items must be printed text. The Kurzweil software can also convert an electronic document to other types of file formats (ex., .PDF to .doc) if necessary.

As some of these programs may be unfamiliar to people, we encourage you to consult with a reference librarian before using them. We are eager to hear how the disability services provided at the Dewey Library can be expanded or improved. Please feel free to leave a comment on this blog or contact us in person, by phone (442-3691), or e-mail with any suggestions that you may have.

Blog post written by Michael Daly.