Accessibility Resource Guide
Collections at member libraries in the Finger Lakes Library System include many materials for people with special needs of all ages. All of the materials listed below can be requested through catalog.flls.org and picked up at any local library (exception: Talking Book machines must be requested via email or phone):
Tip: When browsing the catalog, click the blue “Large Print” tab in the upper right corner to increase the text size.
Large Print Books:
Over 15,000 large print titles are available in our system. To find titles in the catalog, limit or narrow the search to “large print” format.
Recorded books are available in several formats:
- Playaways – These are pocket-sized, all-in-one players used with headphones.
- Digital Books – To download free audiobook files, visit our Overdrive Digital Media Center.
To find titles in the catalog, limit or narrow the search to “audio book” format.
Do you have trouble using printed materials? Accessible talking books are freely available with your library card with the LEAP Program through Bookshare. If you simply need adjustable type size, you can also download eBooks at our Overdrive Digital Media Center.
These are special editions of feature films designed for low-vision viewers. They include a special audio narration to describe key visual elements. If you are interested in viewing a sample clip of a video with in this format, WGBH’s Media Access Group has posted a clip of Disney’s The Lion King with descriptive narration. To search the catalog for titles in our collection, search for the subject “Descriptive videos for the visually impaired”.
Helpful Descriptive Video Links
- American Council of the Blind’s Audio Description Project
- Netflix Offering Audio Description Services
Our collection includes a Read-to-Me Braille Kit and a small selection of Braille picture books. These can be requested through the library catalog and picked up at any member library. To search the catalog for these titles, search for the subject “Blind–Books and reading–Juvenile fiction”. For adult titles and a wider selection of children’s materials, please contact the New York State Talking Books and Braille Library.
Helpful Braille Links
Children’s Sign Language Resources:
Our collection includes a Baby Sign Language Kit and Kid’s Signing Times DVDs. Both are available through the library catalog and can be requested for pick up at any member library.
Talking Books and Braille Library:
This state program lends audiobooks and braille items by mail to people who can’t use print materials. Machines and application forms are available directly from FLLS. Visit our Outreach Services webpage or Talking Books and Braille Library for more information.
Bookshare – This online library offers thousands of digital books and periodicals in accessible formats to people who cannot use standard print materials, including Braille, large print and synthetic speech. NEW: Membership is now freely available to you through the LEAP Program (Library eBook Accessibility Program), just log in through the link with your library card.
Choice Magazine Listening – If you qualify for the NYS Talking Books and Braille Library, then you are also eligible to receive recorded tapes of many current magazine and newspaper articles for free. Content is drawn from publications such as Sports Illustrated, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, and U.S. News & World Report. To subscribe, fill out an online application, or contact FLLS staff for a paper application.
Described and Captioned Media Program – This program provides provides free loans of captioned and described educational media to K-12 students who are blind, visually impaired, deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind. Members can watch streaming media content online, or can request postage-paid DVDs by mail. Membership is free to qualified students, family members, teachers and other professionals. U.S. Department of Education–funded.
The Kenneth Jernigan Library for Blind Children – This free lending library provides children’s and YA books in Braille and Twin Vision format through the mail to individuals, schools and teachers.
Open Library – This organization offers 1 million+ books in DAISY format for people with print disabilities, including many contemporary titles. The books can be freely downloaded to devices that translate the text and read it aloud. To access these books, a United States resident with print disabilities just has to register with the Library of Congress’s National Library Service (NLS): 1-800-424-8567.
Learning Ally – Students can browse the library, order and download audiobooks, and listen/study on PCs and Mac computers, smartphones and tablets running Android or Apple iOS, as well as on specialized assistive technology devices.
Tiflolibros – A digital library of Spanish materials for people who cannot use print materials due to blindness or a physical disability. Membership is free (small donation requested for regular users). A description written in English is available here.
Independent Living Centers (ILCs): Affiliated with ACCES-VR, ILCs provide an array of services that assist New Yorkers with disabilities to live integrated and self-directed lives. ILCs assist with living, learning, and earning and work to remove barriers to full participation in to the local community and beyond. For more information, please click on the ILC in your county:
- Cayuga and Seneca Counties – ARISE
- Cortland County – Access to Independence
- Tioga County – Southern Tier Independence Center
- Tompkins County – Finger Lakes Independence Center
Challenge Workforce Solutions: This organization, based in Ithaca, NY, helps people with differing abilities find rewarding work.
NLS Calendar Reference Guide – Information for organizations that produce calendars in braille, print/braille, large print or audio.
Disability.gov – Information and resources about disability programs, services, laws and benefits from the federal government.
Blindness and Disability Resources (TBBL) – An excellent list of resources for living with blindness, visual impairment, or other physical disabilities.
DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) – The DAISY Consortium creates digital talking book technology for people with print disabilities and works to ensure that published information is fully accessible to everyone. Watch a short introduction to this exciting technology here: DAISY Makes Reading Easier (YouTube Video). A transcript of the video is also available.
LawHelpNY – Learn about your disability-related legal rights, find free legal information and aid, get information about the courts, and more. Topics include: Disability Rights, Disabled Veterans, HIV/AIDS-Related Benefits, Mental Health, Social Security Disability, SSI for Disabled Adults, SSI for Disabled Children.
Lighthouse Guild – This nonprofit provides clinical services, education, research, and advocacy for people with low vision and blindness.
Media Access Group at WGBH – The Media Access Group at WGBH is dedicated to providing access to present and future media for people with disabilities. They offer many resources, including a list of mainstream films that have been released on DVD with closed captioning and/or descriptive narration.
MoPix – Find movie theaters with accessible features, such as closed captioning and descriptive narration.
My Web, My Way – Do you have trouble reading, hearing or seeing web pages, or with using your computer equipment? This site has step-by-step instructions for tailoring your browser, computer, keyboard and mouse settings to make the web more accessible to you. Published by the BBC.
NonVisual Desktop Access (NVDA) – This free screen reader allows people with low vision to access computers running Windows. Major features include feedback via synthetic speech and Braille, support for over 20 languages, and the ability to run entirely from a USB drive with no installation.
New York State Commission for the Blind – This organization provides vocational rehabilitation and other direct services to legally blind New York State residents, including children, adults, and seniors. They also maintain an excellent online list of resources and links.
Educating Deaf Children – International experts answer your questions about the choices, controversies, and decisions faced by parents and educators of deaf and hard-of-hearing children. Provided by the Rochester Institute of Technology.
VisionAware – Help and support for people with vision loss, provided by the American Foundation for the Blind.