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Accessibility at the Libraries

UW Libraries is committed to providing equal access to library collections, services, and facilities for all library users. It is a priority for the UW Libraries to select and acquire, whenever possible, resources and technologies that are accessible to all and compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. We are committed to providing reasonable accommodations and timely access to users with disabilities and follow UW IT Accessibility Guidelines.

For assistance, or if you have suggestions or comments, please contact


Request Online & Pick Up

Library users with a current account can use their UW NetID to request items from the stacks to be ready for pickup in the UW library of their choice

Ask for Retrieval Help

Upon request, library staff in all units will assist with the retrieval of books and with the use of electronic and other bibliographic resources. Time needed for retrieval will vary depending on staff availability.

UW Article Scanning Service

UW Article Scanning Service is a free service to obtain PDF scans of print journal articles owned by the UW Libraries without retrieving or scanning the item yourself.

Courier Pick Up

Students, staff and faculty who are registered with Disability Resources for Students (DRS) or Disability Services Office (DSO) and may have need for another person to pick up their library items should contact Library Account Services. Courier cards may be issued for this reason, and will extend through the time the accommodation is needed.


All Windows computers in Odegaard Undergraduate Library and most in Suzzallo Library have Zoomtext (screen enlargement) software installed. Other specific stations at Suzzallo, Odegaard, Health Sciences libraries, and other locations run more extensive access software suites.


Scanners have accessibility features including the options to scan as searchable PDF file (OCR) and scan text to mp3 audio file.

Accessibility Kits

Each library location has an accessibility kit (excluding Gallagher Law Library and Friday Harbor Library) containing the following items for on-site use.  Ask at the Information or Circulation desk for further details.

Items available for checkout:

  • Trackball Mouse: Trackball mice are highly useful tools for those with dexterity and fine motor skill impairments, including carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis. This mouse allows people to use differing or fewer muscles in their hands and wrists.
  • Pocket-Hearing Loop: This small personal amplifier is for one-on-one communications, and can be used at a service desk, when walking with a person to the stacks, or in a library classroom. Pocket loops are like a “focused headset”.
  • Lapboard: Lapboards can be placed on the lap or across the arms of a wheelchair or mobility scooter. Lapboards effectively provide a desktop space for a mouse and keyboard (or laptop) while improving reach and comfort for individuals with whom using a standard desk is impractical.
  • High-Contrast Large Type Keyboard: The large type and high contrast of these keyboards assist individuals with low vision by reducing eye strain. These keyboards also make typing easier for those with limited fine motor skills by eliminating multi-function keys. Note: Due to funding, the High-Contrast Large Type Keyboards are currently available only at UW Tacoma, UW Bothell/Cascadia College, Health Sciences Library, Odegaard Undergraduate Library and Suzzallo and Allen Libraries.

Items available without checkout:

  • Magnifier Bars: Magnifier bars can be used by those with low vision to enhance the size of text and reduce eye strain caused by small print.
  • Disposable Noise-Reduction Earplugs: Disposable earplugs are useful for those with cognitive or learning disabilities. Earplugs allow for more focused concentration in spaces with additional noise. Available until supply runs out.

Adaptive Equipment

The Access Technology Center is in Mary Gates Hall, suite 064. It serves users with disabilities, allowing full use of campus computing resources. ATC hardware and software provides braille, alternate document formatting and magnification for blind/low-vision users, keyboard/mouse alternatives, speech-input software, and more. ATC staff provides accessibility consultations and instructs users in accessible hardware and software basics.

Wheelchair Accessibility

Accessible study carrels and electronic work stations are available throughout the Libraries.

Wheelchair charging stations are available in several library locations. Adjustable height desks have been placed at each charging station to allow students to charge their wheelchairs while studying:

  • OUGL – second floor, around the back corner
  • Foster – main level in the presentation area
  • Research Commons – at the pillar near the restrooms
  • Suzzallo – first floor, at the pillar in front of the Open Scholarship Commons, near the elevator.

Accessible Workstations Study Space

Suzzallo Library has a room available for use by students with disabilities. This room, Suzzallo 327, is equipped with two accessible workstations similar to the workstations in the Access Technology Center, provided by Accessible Technology Services (ATS). The room has a video magnifier and speech to text tools and provides additional privacy for students with disabilities needing to make noise during their work, such as using speech to text. While this room is open to the public, priority is given to students with disabilities.

Adjustable Height Desks

There are multiple computer workstations on adjustable height tables available for use throughout the Libraries. The current count of desks at each location is as follows:

  • Suzzallo/Allen: 22
  • Health Sciences: 6
  • Engineering: 9
  • Drama: 4
  • Art: 4
  • Music: 4
  • OUGL: 1
  • Math: 2
  • TEAL: 1
  • Foster: 21

Plan Ahead

Many campus buildings do not meet all of the current ADA accessible standards and library units’ hours vary, so it is wise to contact the unit directly to identify accessible routes and facilities and to confirm that assistance will be available during the time of your visit.

Accessible Text Request Service

The UW is a member of the HathiTrust Accessible Text Request Service. Through this service, UW affiliated users who have print disabilities can request copies of in-copyright materials in the HathiTrust Digital Library Collection. Send requests to the Libraries Accessibility Coordinator.

Document Conversion Service

Document Conversion Service is a quick and easy way for students, faculty, and staff at the University of Washington to obtain alternative, accessible versions of inaccessible documents. Students requesting alternate materials as an accommodation should contact Disability Resources for Students.

Other Campus Resources