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Accessibility and Accommodation in the Library: Assistive Technology

What is Assistive Technology?

According to the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATiA), assistive technology is defined as, "any item, piece of equipment, software program, or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of persons with disabilities." Assistive technology can help people who have difficulty seeing, hearing, learning, etc. Assistive technology is available to patrons inside and outside of the library; a description of this technology is provided below. 

Accessibility Tools on Library Computers

Tools available on all library computers: 


JAWS (Job Access With Speech) is a screen reader developed for computer users whose vision loss prevents them from seeing screen content or navigating with a mouse. JAWS provides speech and Braille output for the most popular computer applications on your PC.

Kurzweil 3000 

Kurzweil 3000 is an assistive technology which provides a reading, writing and study platform aimed at people with learning disabilities or other disabilities that make reading or writing difficult.


MAGic is a screen magnification and screen reading solution for low vision computer users. MAGic can help you work more efficiently with business applications, documents, email, navigating the Internet, and engaging in social networking

Free Accessibility Options for Windows

Use "Read Out Loud" in Adobe Acrobat or Acrobat Reader

Read Out Loud is a Text-to-Speech (TTS) tool that is built in Adobe Reader DC. It reads text contained within an accessible PDF document.

To use Read Out Loud, you need Acrobat Reader DC and a Text-to-Speech engine installed on your computer. In Adobe Reader DC, go to view menu and choose Read Out Loud then Activate Read Out Loud. Then, go back to the view menu and select Read Out Loud and one of these options for reading:

  1. To read the current page, choose Read This Page Only
  2. To read the entire document, choose Read to End of Document

Free Accessibility Options for Macintosh

Use Macintosh “text-to-speech” technology

Macintosh’s text-to-speech technology allows you to listen to article in HTML or PDF format.

To use Macintosh’s text-to-speech technology, follow these instructions:

  1. Open the PDF or webpage with the article you need to read

  2. Use your mouse to select the text you want recited or leave blank to read all

  3. Click Edit in the toolbar on top of the screen

  4. Select Speech

  5. Click Start Speaking and it will start reading the selection out loud.