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Access for All at The Seattle Public Library


Just some of the many tools available to help our patrons use Library resources. Pictured here: Library Equal Access Program (LEAP) Lab.

The Seattle Public Library is more than just books! We have music and movies, audiobooks, e-books, databases, and more … and we want to make sure that everyone has equal access to these fabulous materials. The Library has many resources available to help all our patrons access the Library and everything we have to offer.

The Library Equal Access Program (often referred to as LEAP) is here to help you make the most of your library experience. We have the LEAP Computer Lab (pictured above), where much of our assistive hardware lives. It’s located at the Central Library and open during regular business hours. The Lab is also staffed each Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. so we can help patrons navigate resources and answer reference questions. We also provide scheduled “tech help” sessions to help you use your electronic devices.


Access for All provides many new software and hardware resources to help patrons use Library materials and services. Shown here: Focus 40 Braille Output, which translates text on the screen to braille characters, and a large-type, high-contrast computer keyboard.

We also provide accommodations for patrons who need them under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If you need ADA accommodations to use the Library, you can complete an online form (click here).

Access for All @ The Seattle Public Library


Just one of the many tools available in our new Accessibility Kits, located at every branch in the Library system.

The Seattle Public Library received a generous Access for All grant from the Safeco Insurance Fund (2014–2015) to help people who are blind and low vision use library resources. This grant allowed us to equip all 27 of our locations with accessibility kits that contain magnifiers and writing guides.

We were also able to buy some excellent assistive software: ZoomText, a screen enlarging software, and JAWS, a screen reading software. The Seattle Public Library is one of the first library systems in the nation to network these important assistive software programs to all our library system’s Internet computers.

In addition, we have four library locations (Broadview, University, Columbia and Southwest branches) with new assistive hardware. Each has a ZoomText Image Reader, which can capture a picture of a flat item placed beneath it (like a paper or a book) and will read the text to you and enlarge the image for viewing. Each branch also has a Focus 40 Braille Output unit, which can output text screen content to the unit for people who read braille.


Southwest Branch’s ADA computer station, featuring the ZoomText Image Reader, Focus 40 Braille Output, and a large-type, high-contrast keyboard.

Think of all the new discoveries you can make at The Seattle Public Library! Call 206-386-4636 or stop by any location and ask about our wonderful new equipment and software. We would be happy to answer your questions and help you with your search for a new Library adventure!

Contributor Meadow Pederson works in the Library Equal Access Program (LEAP), located on the ground floor at The Seattle Public Library downtown branch.