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Assistance for Users with Disabilities

The University of Iowa Libraries affirms its commitment to provide all members of the University community with access to library information resources and services. Wherever possible, UI Libraries’ staff will remove barriers that prevent equitable access for persons with disabilities.

Building Accessibility Information

View detailed building accessibility information for the Main Library and Hardin Library for the Health Sciences, including information on accessible parking and building entrances.  Similar information is available for all campus library locations.  Staff are available in each library location to provide information and assistance as needed.

Locating Resources

Library staff will assist users when their disabilities prevent them from utilizing the library catalog, online databases, and other library resources.  Assistance is available inside the library, as well as by phone, e-mail, and online chat.

  • In the Main Library, the Service Desk is located in the middle of the 1st floor.  In the Hardin Library for the Health Sciences, assistance is provided at the combined Circulation/Reserve & Information/Reference Desks located near 3rd floor or ground level south entrance. For assistance also at the Art Library, the Pomerantz Business Library, Sciences Library, Lichtenberger Engineering Library, Main Music Library resources room, go to Campus Libraries.
  • For general assistance with searching the catalog or other databases, contact staff at the Main Library Service Desk by phone at (319) 335-5299 or send email to lib-ref@uiowa.edu.
  • Online chat is available through a web browser.
  • For more information on contacting the Libraries, see Ask a Librarian.
  • These services are available during Main Library Service Desk hours.
  • Users requiring assistance in a complex or extensive search may wish to schedule a Research Consultation.
  • Personal Librarian Program for students with disabilities (pdf)

Retrieving Materials

Users with disabilities may request staff assistance in retrieving materials at any library service desk.

  • During normal business hours, staff at Main Library Circulation Department will retrieve five or fewer items on demand.
  • Under most circumstances any number of Main Library books or journals can be retrieved within 24 hours if Main Circulation is provided a list of call numbers or journal titles and volume information and at least 24 hours notice.
  • In addition, the library offers a number of campus Delivery Services. Home delivery is available for users with physical disabilities that prevent them from coming to campus.  To register for home delivery, contact the Main Library Circulation Department by phone at (319) 335-5287 or send e-mail to lib-maincirc@uiowa.edu.
  • Users with visual impairments or other print disabilities may wish to request digital delivery.

Digital Delivery

Users with print disabilities may request printed materials in electronic format.

  • As a standard service, the library routinely offers electronic delivery of articles or chapters from non-electronic journals, newspapers, or books held in any UI library (with the exception of the Law Library and Curriculum Lab) through its Article Delivery Service.  Similarly, articles and book chapters from materials not owned by the University Libraries are delivered electronically through Interlibrary Loan.  All users who request articles and book chapters through the Interlibrary Loan/Article Delivery system will receive them electronically and can access them for 28 days from the date of posting.  First-time users will be asked to create an account and should specify “ Delivery for Print Disability” as the pickup library location.  Repeat users can select “Change User Information” to update their pickup library.
  • Registered users with print disabilities may request electronic delivery of books through InfoHawk by selecting “Request Delivery” and choosing “Delivery for Print Disability” as the pickup location.  Digital Delivery must be specified as the pickup location for each item requested through InfoHawk.
  • Registered users with print disabilities may request electronic delivery of books held by the University of Iowa through HathiTrust.  Please see the HathiTrust for Users with Print Disabilities for further instructions.
  • Registered users with print disabilities may also request electronic delivery of books through the Interlibrary Loan/Article Delivery system for books not held at the UI Libraries.   First-time users will be asked to create an account and should specify “Delivery for Print Disability” as the pickup library location.  Repeat users can select “Change User Information” to update their pickup library.
  • Upon an instructor’s request, the library also provides electronic course reserves to all students through ICON, subject to the limitations of fair use.  Contact Main Library Reserve Services by phone at (319) 335-5944 or send email to lib-res@uiowa.edu if an item posted to electronic course reserves in ICON is not accessible.
  • The process of reformatting materials may take up to four weeks, longer if large quantities are requested and during peak times. In general, the University of Iowa Libraries will scan all printed pages, process any non-graphical text using Adobe Acrobat’s built-in text recognition, and provide the resulting PDF file.  Please contact Interlibrary Loan/Document Delivery Department staff if you require other arrangements.
  • Section 121 of the U.S. Copyright Act governs reproduction of copyrighted works for users with print disabilities.  Further reproduction or distribution in a format other than a specialized format exclusively for use by blind or other persons with disabilities is not permitted under Section 121.
  • When reformatted materials become available, they can be accessed by logging onto ICON. To check the status of the materials requested, students should first check ICON, and then contact Interlibrary Loan/Document Delivery by email or phone.
  • NOTE: ICON, InfoHawk, and the Interlibrary Loan/Article Delivery system all purportedly meet Section 508 standards for web accessibility.  However, each of these user interfaces is written on top of a commercial product, and each has its own idiosyncrasies.  Users with disabilities who encounter any technical barriers are encouraged to contact Main Library Circulation Services by phone at (319) 335-6077 or send email to lib-res@uiowa.edu and every effort will be made to resolve the technical issue or to provide an alternative form of delivery.

Assistive Technology Computers and Equipment

Wheelchair-accessible computers are available in all library locations.  Assistive technology is provided by Information Technology Services and is available on library public workstations and campus ITCs. See the ITS web site for more information on assistive technology tools across campus.

The Main Library provides access to a Visual Image Enhancer that can be used to enlarge text.  To make arrangements to use this equipment, please contact the Main Library Circulation Department during their normal business hours, call 319-335-6077, or email lib-maincirc@uiowa.edu.

Additional Information

If you have any questions that are not addressed here, contact Janalyn Moss, Reference and Library Instruction, by phone at (319) 335-5698, or by email at janalyn-moss@uiowa.edu.

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