Accessible Library Services

In accordance with federal and state law, the Library offers accommodation to the needs of patrons who are accessibility-challenged by the Library’s physical layout. We encourage patrons to contact the Office of Accessibility Services to register your defined disability with them and utilize their services, including specially-equipped computers and other accessibility devices. More about OAS services »

The library has 3 designated ADA computers on a height adjustable desk and large yellow keyboards. These are loaded with accessibility software as recommended by CUNY Computer Assistive Technology. One computer is in the reserve room on the first floor and two are upstairs near the reference desk.  Patrons who need these computers for accessibiility have priority - please ask a Library staff if you are unable to access these computers. For times that the Library is not open please contact the Office of Accessibility Services for other locations of accessibility enabled computer resources and for training and logins for these platforms.

Library accessibility services

Patrons should feel free to ask at the Reference Desk or contact us in advance when accommodations are needed—for example, for the physical retrieval of books from our shelves, photocopying, scanning, or individual research assistance in a non-distracted environment. Every effort will be made by the Library to meet such requests expeditiously.  For accommodation requests and to make an appointment to learn about our accessibility services, please contact our Access Services Library Liaison, Ellen Belcher ( or 212-237-8238), or contact the Reference Desk.

The library can partner with the Office of Accessibility Services to to convert class readings and library research materials into accessible formats - for example, we can bring reserve books or reference books to the Office of Accessibility Services for conversion if necessary. The Office of Accessibility Services works with all students registered as needing accommodation for their class readings which they might acquire directly from the publisher, through Bookshare or the Access Text Network. Open Library/Internet Archives offers many modern texts in copyright through their DAISY/Print Disabled books program; see also Learning Ally and National Library Service (NLS).

We also encourage using reference assistance by email, telephone at (212) 237-8246, chat, or in person, or making individual appointments with a Reference Librarian for assistance with all of your research and library needs.

Physical access to the Library

For elevator access between the Haaren Hall lobby and the floors within the Library, please ask the Circulation Desk (lower floor) or the Reference Desk (upper floor). Members of the John Jay community that regularly need to use the library elevator to between the 10th Avenue entrance and the atrium level should contact Office of Accessibility Services and/or Public Safety to have their ID coded for card access.

Elevator access between the floors within the Library does not require Library or Public Safety staff intervention.

If you are arranging a pick-up or drop-off, we recommend these addresses for your transportation to avoid barriers due to ongoing construction at the 899 Tenth Avenue entrance. These college entrances connect to the Library entrance via wheelchair-accessible routes.

  • 524 West 59th Street (between 10th & 11th Avenues) Map
  • 860 11th Avenue (between West 58th & West 59th Streets) Map

See also:

Assistive technology available in the Library

In addition to the ADA Physically accessible computers, there are special computer workstations available, plus an additional one in the library classroom. Please ask at the Reference Desk or the Lab Assistants in the Reserve Lab for access to these workstations.  All the computers have the following software:

  • JAWS screen reading softwar
  • Zoom Text screen reading and enlarging
  • Dragon Naturally Speaking speech and imaging software
  • Kurtzweil 3000 (additionally available on all computers with word processing)

Follow the links above to tutorials for each of these programs.

Scanning: The three ADA computer workstations are hooked up to high resolution scanners.. You can email the resulting files, save them to your USB drive, or print them. Make your scanned PDFs full-text searchable (using OCR),  Open the PDF in Adobe Acrobat and select "Recognize Text » In this file." This will allow your scans to be read by TTS (text-to-speech) software. For additional training and access to accessibility software, please get in contact with the John Jay Accessibility Office.

John Jay Computer Lab Services, recently installed - Fall 2019 - two height adjustable ADA computer workstations in  new Cyber Lounges accessible whenever the College is open. Both are in the new building, L2, near the cafe and L1 hallway west. Additional accessible workstations are planned. 

The Library also has one quite old VTek Voyager XL that still work for enlarging text to any size 4x-60x using a CCTV. More advanced Kurzweil reading software and two more up to date CCTV magnifiers is available at the Accessibility Office. We recommend taking books out of the Library and using their machines for reading enlarged text.

More CUNY/John Jay accessibility resources

Other accessibility resources

Contact information for Access Services Library Liaison: Ellen Belcher ( or 212-237-8238)