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Services for Persons with Print Disabilities

Questions? Ask Us!

If you have a print disability that limits your independent use of a campus library, please check the list of Library Contacts for Users with Disabilities for someone to assist you. If the library service desk is busy or the assistance you need will take some time, an appointment may be necessary.

The Library has instituted the following procedures and practices to assist persons with print disabilities in accessing the Library’s resources. Please note that course-related items, such as assigned readings for class, may be submitted to the Disabled Students Program (DSP) in order to obtain a fully edited version in your preferred format. See DSP Guidelines for Course-Related Alternative Media for additional information.

Using the Library’s Online Catalogs

The Library seeks to make its online catalogs, OskiCat and Melvyl as accessible as possible for those who rely on screen readers for audio output. Many aspects of the Library’s online catalogs and web sites for research databases are operated by other entities that the Library does not control. If you encounter problems when using the Library’s online catalogs that are due to incompatibility with assistive technology, please report your experience to Keri Klein, Library Disability Liaison, by email at

Finding Existing Electronic Copies of Print Materials and Converting Them

Many of the Library’s materials already exist in an electronic version. The following catalogs should be checked to see if there is already an existing electronic copy of the materials you seek.

OskiCat
Melvyl
Library Electronic Resources (book & texts)
Internet Archive
Google Books
Google Scholar

Existing ebooks (list from DSP)

SensusAccess is a self-service solution that automates the conversion of documents into a range of alternative formats including mp3, e-books, Braille, and Daisy. The service can also be used to convert otherwise inaccessible documents such as image-only pdf files, scanned images, lecture notes or other educational material into more accessible formats.

SensusAccess is open to all staff, students, or faculty with an @berkeley.edu email address and is meant to complement the accessibility services offered by the Alt-Media Center and the Library.

Self-Scanning Print Materials into Digital Format

BookScan Scanners across campus: The Library enables patrons to self-scan by providing BookScan scanners at all campus libraries. Anyone may use these BookScan scanners for converting print into a digital format that can be downloaded onto a personal USB flash drive at no charge.

Self-Scan with Audio Output: Scanners with JAWS software may be found at the Alternative Media Center and at the Moffitt Floor 1 general computer lab for use by students whose vision impairment precludes their use of the BookScan scanners. There is no charge to use an audio-output scanner, which downloads scanned text into all preferred alternative media formats. Students may save scanned text onto a personal flash drive or use personal headphones to hear synthesized speech at a workstation. Arrangements for advance instruction on how to use scanners w/audio output may be made by contacting The Disabled Students' Program (DSP), 260 Cesar Chavez Student Center, (510) 642-0518 or (510) 642-6376 (TTY).

Reserve items at a campus library are available to a single patron for only a limited period of time. Those with print disabilities are expected to self-scan as needed reserve books within the reserve time limits. Students whose disability necessitates access to a reserved item beyond the designated time limit may make a request to the library’s disability access contact person, whose name may be found on the list of Library Contacts for Users with Disabilities. An accommodation request for keeping reserve items beyond the designated time period will be individually considered, taking into account the number of copies available and the anticipated need for use of the same materials by others.

Rare materials: Students with print disabilities who need access for educational/research purposes to information in rare materials and/or other materials that may be easily damaged or are otherwise not suitable for scanning, may arrange with his/her DSP Specialist for a personal reader or other appropriate accommodation.

Microform: At campus libraries with microform collections there is equipment to print a paper copy (which readers may self-scan into digital format, see above). Machines at some libraries, including the Newspaper/Microforms Library, have software that allow people to save electronic files to a USB flash drive. At the Newspaper/Microforms Library, users can get assistance all hours that the library is open. However, extensive assistance should be arranged in advance with the head of that library.

Requesting Full Conversion of Print Books to Digital Format

The Library invites students with print disabilities, who are registered with the Disabled Students Program and have a disability that necessitates alternative media, to request that copies of print materials from the Library collections be converted to digital format. Students eligible for this service can follow these steps.

Requesting Conversion of Articles and Book Chapters to Digital Format

The Library invites students with print disabilities, who are registered with the Disabled Students Program and have a disability that necessitates alternative media, to request articles and chapters from monographs, journals, and other forms of publication (e.g. conference proceedings, newspapers). The Library will retrieve, scan, and deliver by email the requested articles and chapters. This service is provided at no charge to authorized students with print disabilities via the Library's Baker Services. Students eligible for this service can learn how to submit Baker Requests via the OskiCat and Melvyl library catalogs.

For more information about campus resources to serve students with print disabilities, see the Print Access Guide.

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