UCB Libraries

photo: Disabilities

Disabilities Services and Accessible Technology in the Libraries

This guide will help you find services to make it easier to use the libraries’ resources, including the campus library buildings, books, videos, CDs, databases, and other materials.



Assistive Technology



All computers in the libraries have basic screen reading software.


Low-vision Windows workstation

Research Area on the 2nd floor of Norlin Library (map)


Includes: JAWS (screen reader), MAGic (screen enlarger), a powered adjustable height table, works with headphones, and allows printing to any pay-for-print station in Research Services area.


Photocopy machines: 3 located on Norlin's second floor (map)


Scanners: 1 located on Norlin's second floor (map)


Photocopiers and scanners are also located at CU Boulder branch libraries (Business; Earth Sciences & Map; Engineering, Mathematics, & Physics; Music)



Physical Materials (Books, journals, CDs, DVDs, maps)


Is there anyone available to help me find books, CDs, DVDs, maps, etc. in the libraries?

Yes. In Norlin, volunteer Bookfinders are also available to assist with retrieving materials from 10:00 a.m. to noon and from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm, Monday through Friday. The Bookfinder station is located outside the third floor book stacks entrance.


You can also ask for assistance at any of the CU Boulder library circulation desks (Norlin; Business; Earth Sciences & Map; Engineering, Mathematics, & Physics; Music)


Additionally, you can request materials be delivered your nearest campus library using the "Request It" link in Chinook.  Requested items are typically ready for pick-up within 1-3 days. 

Can the library scan journal articles and book chapters for me?

Yes. You can request a copy of a journal article or book chapter to be scanned and emailed to you.

Need something else?

If you need immediate help obtaining materials, go to a circulation desk in any CU Boulder library for assistance. (map)



Electronic Materials (Databases, articles, ebooks)


We recommend using Firefox to access library databases, as it appears to be the most compatible with database accessibility features. Some databases offer accessible or text-only versions of their website.


Below is a list of database providers and tips for screen user use in specific databases.




  • If you navigate to the “Preference” menu item, you can change the number of columns in the page layout to make navigation easier.
  • Additionally, you can change the “Detailed” radio button under Result List Display to “Brief” in order to make results easier to navigate.
  • You can use the following access keys on EBSCO databases:
    • 1 – Skip Navigation to Result Lists
    • 2 – Search
    • 3 – Main Navigation toolbar
  • All of the EBSCO databases have a read aloud feature for HTML articles that may be manually activated. After conducting a search, the option is provided under the title of the article.
  • There are problems navigating an individual record using Internet Explorer. You are advised to use the links to full text provided in the results list or use Firefox instead.
  • EBSCO ebooks require JAWS version 12, to support ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) standards.



  • JSTOR PDFs are accessible and can be read with screen readers such as JAWS.



  • MyiLibrary offers a text-only version of their website. In order to use this version, you need to create a MyiLibrary account. Follow the steps below to create an account:

    • 1. Go to MyiLibrary
    • 2. Select “My Account” from the menu and create an account
    • 3. Login to your new MyiLibrary account.
    • 4. Go to “Settings” then “Text Only Viewer” and next to “Enable Text Only” select “Yes”. Click “Save”.
    • 5. Then log out and close your browser.
    • 6. Go back to MyiLibrary and the text only setting should have taken effect and allow you to use a screen reader.
  • You must be logged into your account in order to prompt this feature to activate each time you use MyiLibrary.



  • When navigating in ProQuest databases, you can use the following access keys to navigate:

    • 0 = Accessibility page
    • 1 = Search page
    • 2 = Skip navigation
    • 3 = Sitemap
    • 4 = Quick search box on the results page
    • 6 = Help (opens in a new window)
  • More information about other accessibility features



  • Springer ebooks and journal articles are available in PDF and are text-searchable, usually have headings, work with screen readers and can be printed or enlarged.

Web of Science

  • Web of Science can be navigated using a screen reader. On the default search page, type your search terms in the “Editable field”; this field usually starts with text such as “Example: oil spill” or another example search term.






The Research Area (2nd floor, Norlin) has study carrels with adjustable table heights between 28 and 34 inches from the floor. (map)

There is wheelchair access at the East and West entrances. Wheelchair accessible restrooms and drinking fountains are located on the second and third floors.

Engineering, Math, Physics Library

All computer lab furniture on the first floor is ADA height-compliant





Disability Services

Campus Disabilities Services offers additional services. Visit their website.

Accessible Techonogy

Campus Accessible Technology. Visit their website.

Free PDF OCR Service

The Arts & Sciences Support of Education Through Technology (ASSETT) department offers a free online PDF OCR service. This service takes a PDF and makes it text searchable.


Bookshare is a service that offers online access to a large number of accessible reading materials, such as books, newspapers and magazines. Bookshare membership is available to individuals with a qualifying print disability.

Colorado Talking Book Library (CTBL)

A free service to Coloradans of all ages who are unable to read standard print material due to visual, physical or learning disabilities whether permanent or temporary. CTBL provides audio, Braille and large-print books and magazines.