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United States National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health

Accessibility at the National Library of Medicine

Handicapped image The National Library of Medicine supports the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). We provide disabled researchers access to its buildings and collections located in both the Main Reading Room and the History of Medicine (HMD) Reading Room.

Building and Physical Facilities
Collection Access and Use
Staff Assistance

Building and Physical Facilities

Handicapped parking Disabled researchers, who have handicapped plates or hanger tags displayed on their cars, may park on the library's north side (along Center Drive) in the designated spots. They may also park in a metered spot without paying at any time.

Entrance ramp An entrance ramp is located on the north side of the Library with nearby elevator access to the Library's Reading Rooms.
Motorized and manual wheelchairs are available for patron use. See Reading Room staff for help.

Accessible restroom Accessible restrooms are located on each level of the Library.
Accessible drinking fountains are located in the Main and HMD Reading Rooms and in the first floor lobby.

A wheelchair-accessible public telephone with TTY is available in the Library lobby and adjacent Lister Hill Center (Building 38A) behind the Visitor Center.

Accessible elevator An elevator equipped with an accessible control panel and voice announcer is located in the Library lobby.

Collection Access and Use

Workstation with adaptive technology Two Main Reading Room workstations are equipped with special software for visually impaired researchers:
  • Screen magnification software enlarges the text on the screen
  • Speech synthesizers read the text on the screen
  • Table height is adjustable for wheelchairs

Keyboard with enlarged lettering Enlarged keyboard lettering is standard on all Main Reading Room workstations.

Display of large-print handouts Large-print versions of instructional handouts are available.

Print enlarger A print enlarger, located in both the Main and HMD Reading Rooms, magnifies images from the printed page, and can change text and background color to accommodate special vision requirements.

Kurzweil reading machine A Kurzweil machine scans English language text and reads it to the visually impaired researcher. Researchers may bring their own 3.5 inch diskettes, Zip 100 or Zip 250 disks or USB drives to save scanned materials.

One photocopier is located on a table that is adjustable for wheelchair access.

Wide aisles Wide stack aisles in the Main Reading Room accommodate wheelchairs.

Staff Assistance

Library staff assisting patron NLM staff at the Circulation Desk in both the Main and HMD Reading Rooms will assist researchers with disabilities by delivering collection materials to a carrel or table.

Library staff assisting patron NLM staff at the Reference Desk in both the Main and HMD Reading Rooms will assist researchers with disabilities by retrieving Reading Room materials from shelves or cabinets.

The Photocopier Technician will copy materials for researchers with disabilities who have trouble using the photocopiers in the Main Reading Room. Details are available from the Reference Librarian or the Photocopier Technician.

NLM staff who are familiar with sign language are available to assist hearing impaired researchers. NLM requests that arrangements for this service be made in advance by calling the Reference Section at 888-FINDNLM (1-888-346-3656)or through the Maryland Relay Service at 800-735-2258.

The specialized equipment and software are optimized for NLM products. Staff can assist with basic features. Detailed knowledge of the equipment and software is the patron's responsibility.

For additional help, see the Reference Librarian.

Last reviewed: 02 June 2008
Last updated: 02 June 2008
First published: 01 January 1998
Metadata| Permanence level: Permanence Not Guaranteed