Accessibility

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

All Cambridge Public Library facilities are wheelchair 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 reference service by phone or email, magnifiers and computer software for persons with vision impairment. We also provide monthly home delivery service of library materials to Cambridge residents who are unable to visit a library due to short-or long-term disability or infirmity. We look forward to working with you to make your visit successful.

Assistive Technology

The Main Library offers a desktop video magnifier. This state-of-the-art tabletop machine allows you to slide a book, letter, magazine or newspaper under a magnifier and project it to a 19-inch viewing screen. The machine is located in the Fuller Room on the first floor. Please see staff at the Tech Bar for access.

All library Desktop PCs are equipped with Jaws assistive technology software that can read text to you. You may bring your own headphones or request a set of earbuds at the Tech Bar. Windows and Chrome Operating Systems will also allow you to magnify text on the computer screen.

The Main Library offers the use of a Braille embosser, the Braille Cyclone, for patrons with vision impairments. The Braille Cyclone and accompanying computer software allows you to print quality Braille documents. The Braille Cyclone is located in the Fuller Room, in the Tech Bar. The Fuller Room may be used by one party at a time for a two-hour period. Reservations are not required, but for your convenience, patrons requiring such accommodations may call the Tech Bar at 617-349-4425 within 48 hours of wanting to use the room. We can hold reservations for up to ten minutes past the booked time.

The Fuller Room computer is also equipped with software including voice-to-text and Jaws screen-reader software, and with hardware including an adaptive keyboard, for use by patrons who require accommodations due to low vision or vision impairment and sensitivities to chemicals or overstimulation.

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 home delivery service is available to Cambridge residents who are unable to visit a library due to short-or long-term disability or infirmity. This service must be scheduled in advance. For more information, please contact the Senior Services Staff Librarian at cploutreach@cambridgema.gov or 617-349-4035.

 

Programs

Auxiliary aids and services will be made available for programs with sufficient notice. Please contact 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.

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

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