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December 15, 2017

Library Insider

Adaptive Resources for Technology Users

For many people, using a computer with a keyboard and mouse is an easy task. But for some, this may be a difficult challenge due to a disability, an impairment that comes with aging or a language barrier. At Falk Library, we offer computer stations and other technology that aim to improve the experience for health sciences users of all abilities. Adaptive technology is offered in a self-service model; it is available to those who need it without impacting those who do not.

The Health Sciences Library System (HSLS) provides adaptive technology services on the main and upper floors of Falk Library, which serve to aid the following impairments:

  • Limited mobility: Designated computer stations have wrist rests, forearm rests, keyboard guards and trackball mice. Also, there is a height-adjustable computer desk that is wheelchair-friendly.
  • Low vision: Both Mac and Windows systems include integrated enhancements such as screen magnification and alternate color schemes. NVDA screen reader can be enabled on any library computer to read the screen aloud. Select computers also have large-print keyboard labels.
  • Language processing: Scanned books or images can be converted to text-based files through the library’s book scanner or OCR-enabled computer programs. Any website or file with text can be read aloud with software such as NaturalReader. For speed-reading or reading comprehension, try Spreeder or Rewordify. These are helpful if you are learning English as a second language or looking for a way to study more efficiently.
  • Learning disability and attention disorders: Falk Library offers earplugs and headphones to reduce outside distractions. Computers are also equipped with StayFocusd and Time Tracker extensions in Chrome internet browser to help you balance work and relaxation tasks.

Additionally, if you use HSLS journals or databases off-site, you can enable MAC Accessibility and Windows Accessibility settings for magnification, narration, dictation, on-screen keyboard and more.

A summary of resources available can be found on the HSLS Accessible Technology Services web page, as well as a form to request new technology to meet your needs.

Other campuswide adaptive technology resources include:


Julia Dahm is the technology services librarian for the Health Sciences Library System.


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