Accessibility

The Cambridge Public Library strives to provide the highest level of service to our community.  

All Cambridge Public Library facilities are handicapped accessible and welcome service animals. The content of most of our collection is obtainable in alternate formats, such as audio, e-reader, and large print. We offer home delivery service of library materials for patrons with mobility disabilities, Reference service by phone or email, magnifiers and computer software for the vision-impaired. We look forward to working with you to make your visit successful.

Assistive Technology

The Main Library offers two desktop video magnifiers. These state-of-the-art tabletop machines allow you to slide a book, letter, magazine or newspaper under a magnifier and project it to a 19-inch viewing screen. One machine is on the second floor near the Research Desk and one on the ground floor near the newspapers.

All library computers are equipped with Jaws assistive technology software that can read text to you. You may bring your own headphones, or purchase a set in the Information Commons, at cost. Windows will also allow you to magnify text on the computer screen.

The Main Library offers the use of a Braille embosser, the Braille Blazer, for our vision impaired patrons. The Braille Blazer and accompanying computer software allows you to print quality Braille documents. This machine is for the exclusive use by, or in service of, our vision-impaired patrons.

The Braille Blazer is located in the Fuller Room, near the Information Commons. You may reserve a two-hour block, up to twenty-four hours in advance in person or by calling the Information Commons at 617-349-4425. If no one is waiting, you may continue to use the Braille Embosser in two-hour increments. Printing is free. The Cambridge Public Library is grateful to the Cambridge Commission for Disability for their generous support of this service.

Accommodations  

The American Library Association recognizes that “libraries play a catalytic role in the lives of people with disabilities by facilitating their full participation in society. Libraries should use strategies based upon the principles of universal design to ensure that library policy, resources and services meet the needs of all people.”

The Cambridge Public Library is committed to making your library experience welcoming and comfortable. Desk staff is both empowered and expected to make immediate reasonable accommodations for patrons, if a way to accommodate the request is apparent to them. If it is not, staff will contact their supervisor or Library Administration for guidance. Every reasonable effort will be made to address the issue promptly and efficiently. You do not need prior approval from Library Administration before an accommodation can be made, nor do we require any proof of a disability.

If you are requesting a unique and long-term accommodation at any of the Cambridge Public Library locations, we ask that you also contact the Deputy Director for Public Services with the specific accommodations you need, so that we can ensure systems are in place that will be ongoing, efficient and predictable.

Providing equitable access for persons with disabilities to library facilities and services is required by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, applicable state and local statutes and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).

Delivery Services

Monthly delivery service is available for residents who are homebound due to short or long-term disability. This service must be scheduled in advance. For more information please contact Carole Feeney Withrow, cwithrow@cambridgema.gov or 617349-4035

Programs

Auxiliary aids and services will be made available for programs with sufficient notice. Please contact Marilyn Gagalis, mgagalis@cambridgema.gov; 857-235-9809

Other services available in Massachusetts:

The Perkins Braille & Talking Book Library (courtesy of Perkins.org)

The Perkins Braille & Talking Book Library (BTBL), funded in part by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, provides free services to Massachusetts residents of any age who are unable to read traditional print materials due to a visual or physical disability. To apply, review the service eligibility guidelines and download the appropriate forms from the forms & applications section.

The BTBL offers the new digital talking book player, which is small and easy to use. To order your free player, email library@perkins.org.

Click BTBL PerKIDS for children and youth programs, and click for details on services for readers of Español.

For more information, please contact Library Administration, 617-349-4032

Subscribe to the Library Newsletter.

Email: