Volume 27, Number 3, Fall 2005


Goal of Special Needs Center in Phoenix is Equal Access

(Excerpt taken from “Best Practices in Accessibility and Universal Design” presented in Chicago for 2005 ALA Annual Conference)

by Mimi McCain, Supervisor of the Special Needs Center, Phoenix Public Library

Since 1983, the Special Needs Center of the Phoenix Public Library has been in existence to serve people with disabilities to ensure equal access to library services, information and programs. The Special Needs Center, located at the Burton Barr Central Library, is open all 66 hours that the libraries are open to the public.

One of the most important features of the Special Needs Center that helps to ensure accessibility is the Assistive Technology Center. The Assistive Technology Center has five fully adjustable workstations that include screen readers, voice recognition technology, Braille software and embosser, magnification software, sign language computer, Kurzweil 1000 and 3000, closed caption TVs (CCTVs), computer assisted notetaking system, TTYs (including a pay TTY for deaf patrons), adaptive keyboards, and assistive listening devices. Patrons can make appointments with staff to learn how to use the assistive technology with the goal of making every patron an independent user of the library.

For a more complete listing of all the services and technologies offered , go to the Special Needs Center Web site.

For more information, contact McCain.