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Accessibility Resources and Services

The Pollard Memorial Library is committed to helping all patrons access our materials through our collections, services and equipment. Both of our sites offer resources for patrons

Main Branch

  • Colburn entrance of the Main Library is accessible via a ramp from the sidewalk.
  • Handicapped parking spaces on Merrimack and Colburn
  • Automatic door openers at Colburn entrance
  • Elevator to reach al floors
  • Accessible service desks, print stations and restrooms
  • Library staff is available to help with locating and retrieving items from our collection as well as the Friends’ book nook inside the sidewalk entrance of Merrimack Street

Senior Center Branch

  • Main entrance has accessibility to branch on the second floor of the Lowell Senior Center
  • Handicapped parking spaces in lot in front of Senior Center
  • Elevator to access second floor
  • Accessible service desk and restrooms
  • Library staff is available Monday – Friday 9 am – 1 pm to help with locating and retrieving items from our collection

Collections

Large Print – We own a selection of titles printed in larger text. This collection is located on the First Floor and includes fiction, non-fiction and biographies. We can also obtain copies of other Large Print books from libraries in our consortium or through inter-library loan.

Audiobooks – We offer a selection of books in the following format: compact disc, mp3 compact disc (mp3-cd), or a self-contained mp3 player called “Playaway.” Older compact disc players may have issues with playing the mp3-cd format. The adult and young adult (teen) collections are located on the First Floor and those for younger and beginner readers are in the Children’s department. We can also obtain copies of other audiobooks from libraries in our consortium or through inter-library loan.

Overdrive/Libby – These online resources, sponsored by our library and the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium, is a tool for borrowing audiobooks, e-books, and magazines, which can be downloaded to your computer, phone, or tablet. You can listen to the book on your devices, burn it to a CD, or transfer it to a music player. You can access this through http://mvlc.overdrive.com or download the app for Overdrive or Libby to access these materials.

DVDs – Our DVD collection has options to allow for close-captioning and subtitles.

Information about Disabilities – The Pollard Memorial Library offers an excellent collection on topics such as autism and other developmental disabilities. We are happy to obtain additional resources from other libraries in our network. We encourage you to check out the Library’s Autism Resources Guide for additional information.

Assistive Technology

 Ntouch video phone with video relay service – The Library is delighted to announce the installation of a new Video Phone (VP) for use by deaf and hard of hearing individuals who use ASL (American Sign Language). This technology was generously provided by Sorenson Communications. Deaf and hard of hearing individuals who use sign language can call hearing individuals using a videophone that is routed through the Video Relay Service. Calls placed to a hearing person are connected to sign language interpreters who interpret and relay the calls between the two parties. Hearing persons can easily call individuals who use ASL using and standard phone or cell phone and the Sorenson Video Relay Service (SVRS). The interpreter speaks to the hearing person while at the same time they sign to the deaf user.

Handheld magnifiers – Available at the Reference Desks at both the Main and Senior Center branches.

Video magnifier – Able to be used for books, documents, and objects, the magnifier offers options for changing contrast, brightness, and color scheme. The main branch offers 2 magnifiers, one on the First Floor and another in the Second Floor Reference Room.

Low-Vision Workstation – Our low-vision workstation is equipped with an articulated monitor, large format keyboard, and magnifying software. The workstation offers options to magnify what’s on the screen, adjust contrast, change color, help user to interact with the computer, and, if needed, has a screen reader component. 

Make our/your devices work for you! – Additional adaptive software is available on other library computers and can be added to your own device. We offer handouts [where? Can I link it?] on how to obtain and use accessibility features like voice recognition and speech to text for personal computers, Macs, iPhone and Android.  Software options can include:

  • Microsoft Magnifier: This application opens a floating window with an enlarged view of the screen.
  • Microsoft On-Screen Keyboard: This application displays a virtual keyboard on the screen to type by using the mouse.
  • Microsoft Narrator: Narrator is a text-to-speech program (or basic screen reader) that can read dialog boxes, windows controls. Apps, and webpages. To start, tap the Search button on the taskbar, enter Narrator into the search box, and then click Narrator in the results.
  • Talkback: For Android/iPhone – TalkBack adds spoken, audible, and vibration feedback to your device. TalkBack comes pre-installed on most Android devices. To turn on the accessibility shortcut on your device’s Settings app, open Accessibility, then Accessibility shortcut or Volume key shortcut. At the top, turn on Accessibility shortcut or Volume key shortcut.
  • VoiceOver: For iPhone – VoiceOver is a gesture-based screen reader. Hear a description of everything happening on your screen, from battery level to who’s calling to which app your finger is on. To turn on the feature, access Settings, then General then Accessibility.

We are here to help!

Reference service is available in person, by telephone (978-674-1541) and by email (AdultRef@LowellLibrary.org) during library hours.

Catalog assistance is available. Reference librarians will check the online catalog, retrieve items from the shelves, place holds and interlibrary loans for individuals whenever the library is open.

Please ask for any assistance that you require. We are happy to help!

Resources

Local

  • Lowell Association for the Blind
    169 Merrimack St., Lowell 01852 | 978-454-5704
    Provides services, resources, programming, and training to individuals of all ages who are blind or visually impaired.
  • Lowell Commission on Disabilities
    City Hall, 375 Merrimack St., Lowell 01852 | 978-674-4400
    Municipal commission that advocates for the needs of the disability community in Lowell.
  • Northeast Independent Living Program
    20 Ballard Rd., Lawrence, MA 01843| 978-687-4288
    Provides independent living services for people with disabilities in the greater Merrimack Valley.
  • Career Center of Lowell
    107 Merrimack St., Lowell 01852 | 978-458-2503
    Offers help with job related skills for people with disabilities.
  • Talking Information Center
    PO Box 519, 130 Enterprise Dr., Marshfield, MA 02050 | 781-834-4400
    Non-profit reading service affiliated with the Lowell Association for the blind. Online and broadcast newspapers, magazines, books, and special consumer information for visually and print impaired listeners.

Transportation

Schools and Educational Resources

Government Resources

  • Massachusetts Office on Disability (MOD)
    One Ashburton Place, Rm. 1305, Boston, MA 02108 | 800-322-2020
    State agency whose primary mission is to assure access to state and local programs, activities, and services for people with disabilities.
  • Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB)
    600 Washington St., Boston, MA 02111 | 617-727-5550
    MCB is a state agency that provides rehabilitation and social services to Massachusetts residents who are legally blind.
  • Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MCDHH)
    600 Washington St., Boston MA 02111 | 617-740-1600 (Voice) | 617-740-1700 (TTY) | 617-326-7545 (Video Phone)
    State agency that advocates for and provides services to the deaf and hard of hearing residents of Massachusetts.
  • Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS)
    500 Harrison Ave., Boston, MA 02118 | 617-727-5608 (Voice) | 617-727-9842 (TTY)
    State agency that offers services and supports for individuals with intellectual disabilities and children with developmental disabilities.
  • Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC)
    600 Washington St., Boston, MA 02111 | 617-204-3600 (Voice) | 800-245-6543 (Voice/TDD)
    State agency helps individuals with disabilities to live and work independently. MRC is responsible for Vocational Rehabilitation, Community Living and eligibility determination for the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
  • Americans With Disabilities Act
    The ADA Home Page provides access to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations for businesses and State and local governments, technical assistance materials, ADA standards for accessible design, and links to Federal agencies with ADA responsibilities and information.
  • DisabilityInfo
    Index of services and resources for people with disabilities in Massachusetts, searchable by disability or location.
  • Information about the Americans with Disabilities Act
    (ADA) from the U.S. Department of Justice.
  • Disability.gov
    U.S. federal government website for information on disability programs and services nationwide, such as  how to apply for disability benefits, find a job, get health care or pay for accessible housing.

Legal Help and Advocacy

  • New England ADA Center
    Provides information, guidance and training on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), tailored to meet the needs of business, government and individuals at local, regional and national levels.
  • Disability Law Center
    Protection and advocacy agency for the rights of Massachusetts residents with disabilities.

General Resources

  • Abilities.com
    Comprehensive resource for disabilities of all types.
  • Customizing Microsoft products
    How to customize Microsoft products for various types of disabilities; includes features built into Microsoft products and software that can be purchased.
  • Firefox Accessibility Features
  • National Library Service
    NLS is a free braille and talking book library service for people with temporary or permanent low vision, blindness, or a physical disability that prevents them from reading or holding the printed page. Through a national network of cooperating libraries, NLS circulates books and magazines in braille or audio formats, delivered by postage-free mail or instantly downloadable. Uses BARD: Talking Book Topics lists the audio books and magazines added to the NLS collection within the last two months and available through a network of cooperating libraries.
  • Choice Magazine Listening: This service provides talking magazines at no cost to visually impaired and physical disabled adults. Provides audio recordings of memorable articles, stories, interviews, essays and poems from magazines