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Accessibility at the National Library of Medicine®

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The National Library of Medicine supports the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). We provide access to our buildings and collections in the Main Reading Room and the History of Medicine (HMD) Reading Room for researchers with disabilities.


Building and Physical Facilities


Researchers with handicapped plates or hanger tags displayed on their cars may park on the Library's north side (along Center Drive) in the designated spots. They may also park in a metered spot at any time without paying.

An entrance ramp is located on the north side of the Library with nearby elevator access to the Library's Reading Rooms.

Motorized and manual wheelchairs are available for use.

Accessible restrooms are located on each level of the Library.

Accessible drinking fountains are located in the Main and HMD Reading Rooms and in the first floor lobby.

A wheelchair-accessible public telephone with TTY is available in the Library (Building 38) lobby and on the B1 level near the North Entrance and in Lister Hill Center (Building 38A) behind the Visitor Center.

An elevator equipped with an accessible control panel and voice announcer is located in the Library lobby.

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Collection Access and Use


Two Main Reading Room workstations are equipped with special software for researchers with visual impairments:

  • Screen magnification software enlarges the text on the screen
  • Speech synthesizers read the text on the screen
  • Table height is adjustable for wheelchairs

Enlarged keyboard lettering is on some Main Reading Room workstations.

A Kurzweil machine scans English language text and reads it to the visually impaired researcher. Researchers may bring their own USB drives to save scanned materials.

Wide stack aisles in the Main Reading Room accommodate wheelchairs.

Wide stack aisles in the Main Reading Room accomodate wheelchairs

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Staff Assistance


NLM staff at the Circulation Desks in both the Main and HMD Reading Rooms will assist researchers with disabilities by delivering collection materials to a carrel or table.

NLM staff at the Reference Desks in both the Main and HMD Reading Rooms will assist researchers with disabilities by retrieving reference materials from shelves or cabinets.

The Photocopy Technician will copy materials for researchers with disabilities on request.

NLM staff who are familiar with sign language are available to assist hearing impaired researchers. NLM requests that arrangements for this service be made in advance by calling the Reference Section at 888-FINDNLM (1-888-346-3656) or through the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339.

The specialized equipment and software are optimized for NLM products. Reference staff can assist with basic features. Detailed knowledge of the equipment and software is the patron's responsibility.


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http://www.nlm.nih.gov/services/onsite/ada.html