The Catholic University of America Libraries system is committed to providing Catholic University students with equal access to its resources. To reach this goal, the libraries provide appropriate accommodations to Catholic University students with disabilities.

Entering the Library

Patrons who have difficulties using the stairs at the main entrance of Mullen Library may enter through the South rear entrance. Catholic University students who are registered with the Office of Disability Support Services can use their Cardinal Card to open the door. Patrons who have not registered and non Catholic University patrons must use the intercom at the South rear entrance to call library staff for assistance. Circulation Desk staff is also available to assist patrons when leaving the building.

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Assistance with Research and Using the Library

Catholic University Students:

Students with disabilities needing assistance at the library will need to schedule a library consultation in advance so that we can determine the appropriate services to be provided. To register, complete the Email a Librarian form or call 202-319-5070. We recommend scheduling this consultation early in the semester if possible.

WRLC and Other Non-Catholic University Students:

Students from other institutions who require assistance need to schedule a consultation in advance by calling 202-319-5070 or filling out the online form here with an explanation of the assistance needed. Please note that priority in service is given to Catholic University students.

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Assistive Technologies at Mullen Library

Mullen Library provides a computer with assistive technology in order to provide equal access to information for any student with a documented disability.

Students who wish to use these technologies must have a valid account through Technology Services, which provides the user name and password necessary to log in to the workstation. For more information, visit the Technology Services website or contact their office at 202-319-4357. Equipment and software malfunctions should be reported to Technology Services.

More information on assistive technology on campus can be found on the Office of Disability Support Services (DSS) website. Questions related to these resources may be directed to DSS, which is located in Room 127 of the Pryzbyla Center (202-319-5211 or 202-299-2899 (TTY)).

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Programs Available

The following software is available at the adaptive computer station in the Computer Lab on the first floor of Mullen Library:

Inspiration (Organizing Software)

Students can organize their ideas more efficiently with Inspiration. The diagramming functions create quick flow charts and other models with content provided by the student. These diagrams translate with a click into outlines, and the audio function reads the charts and outlines to the student.

JAWS for Windows (Screen Reading Software for the Blind)

JAWS reads computer screens and web pages to students through headphones.

Kurzweil 1000, Kurzweil 3000 (Text Reading Software)

This software allows students to scan pages from books, documents, and other print publications, then reads and broadcasts the text to the patron through headphones. Other features include: a dictionary, adjustable speed for reading, and text-marking tools. Kurzweil 1000 is for blind or visually impaired students. Kurzweil 3000 is for students with learning or reading disabilities.

Dolphin Lunar Plus

A magnifying software program that enhances comprehension of software and its speech. Improved features include text and images that are smooth and clear up to 60x enlargement, choice of high visibility mouse pointers, smooth scrolling for browsing long documents, choice of screen magnification style, and easy screen maintenance.

TextHELP Read and Write Gold (Reading and Writing Software)

The TextHELP Read and Write Gold application translates a student’s speech into text on the screen, while also: reading the text to the student (even a “speak as I type” function); analyzing spelling; predicting/suggesting words during composition; and providing synonyms through its built-in thesaurus.

Note on Headphones:

Students may bring their own headphones or check out headphones for two hours from the Circulation Desk on the first floor of Mullen. Any standard headphones compatible with portable CD players will work. Students using any application with an audio function are required to use headphones so that they do not disturb other patrons using the library.

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Database Accessibility

SearchBox (Primo VE)

Primo VE complies with accessibility standards and guidelines to support various assistive tools, including screen readers to listen to the website, speech recognition software to navigate the website with voice, navigation using the keyboard, and a zoom feature up to 200% without loss of function. 


All HTML Full Text articles in EBSCOhost databases have a text-to-speech option and an option to download the audio file as an MP3. However, many articles are not available in HTML. They also offer transcripts for videos/audiobooks, alternative text for images, keyboard-only navigation, the ability to zoom content beyond 200%, and minimum color contrast. EBSCO PDFs after 2004 are ADA compliant.


Gale offers many different accessibility options, including keyboard navigation, adjustable text size and larger fonts, and a text-to-speech option for HTML articles. Click on the Listen button to have HTML full-text documents in Gale databases read aloud. Articles may also be downloaded as an audio file in MP3. Not all Gale PDFs are ADA compliant.


Many ProQuest documents are ADA compliant. Features include navigating the site using the TAB key to skip to the main content of a page; adjustable text size; changeable text, background, and link colors; alternative text for all graphical content; and transcripts for videos. However, older PDFs (identified as ‘Scanned image PDFs’) are not accessible to screen readers. The first link includes instructions on how to use the accessibility features in different browsers. 


JSTOR's accessibility features include resizable text, changeable fonts, sufficient color contrast, keyboard-only navigation, zooming pages up to 200%, changeable orientation, alternative text for images, and a text-to-speech tool in PDFs. JSTOR’s image-based PDFs have been automatically tagged so that they can be read with screen readers like JAWS. Where tagging is not sufficient, manual tagging can be requested for a limited number of articles. See the JSTOR accessibility policy for details.

Other Databases with Accessibility Policies

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