Accessibility and Assistive Technology

Merlin Ultra magnifying system at Beaches Branch Library

#Technology for Customer Assistance

The Library has many technologies available to assist the visually or hearing impaired.

For the visually impaired:

  • The Merlin Ultra is a full-color, auto-focus magnifier system that enables individuals with low vision to read, write, and view photos. It offers full high-definition color and high-contrast positive or negative viewing modes. With easy-to-use buttons that are also distinguishable by touch, you can enlarge or reduce the image in seconds and change viewing modes for easier visibility. Donated by the Friends of the Beaches Branch Library, it is available for public use any time the Beaches Branch Library is open.
  • Zoomtext and high-visibility keyboards are available at all library locations on ADA-compatible workstations. Windows also has accessibility features (Magnifier, Narrator, color filters, etc.) available on all other public computers. Call (904) 255-BOOK for more information.
  • Hand-held magnifying glasses are available throughout the Jacksonville Public Library system.

For the hearing impaired:

Sorenson Video Relay System makes primary-language communication easy and convenient between Deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing connections. It is available at all library branches for people who use American Sign Language. The Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) Fund was established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Note: You must have a Sorenson account to use Sorenson Video Relay. However, once you sign up for a Sorenson VRS number on their website (under "Get Started"), you can make a call to a hearing person through Sorenson Video Relay using any product, even products from other VRS providers.

#Accessibility Enhancements for Libby by OverDrive 

With Libby, you can borrow free ebooks, digital audiobooks, and magazines from your library. You can read on your desktop computer in your favorite browser or on your phone or tablet using the Libby app. You can even send and read your borrowed e-books to your Kindle e-reader! 

It's free and easy to get started for new users. All you need is a library card.

Accessibility options:

The Libby app has several accessibility enhancements and customizations like:

  • Screen reader support
  • Zoom in or change the text size to make any ebook large print
  • Turning on OpenDyslexic font in a book
  • Reading in sepia, night mode, or increasing contrast
  • Adjusting narration speed for audiobooks

To turn on several accessibility features, go to Menu > Settings > Accessibility.

Other features you may enjoy:

  • Audiobook compatibility with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Bluetooth
  • A way to tag things to create wish lists
  • Push notifications
  • A single bookshelf displaying all of your loans and holds
  • Direct, in-app support (not just FAQ)

Get Libby and start reading now!

Download on the App Store Get it on Google Play

Libby is completely free. It’s free to install, and there are no subscription costs, no in-app purchases, and no late fees. All you need is a library card. Learn more about Libby here

#Sensory Kits and Sensory-Friendly Storytime

Our Sensory Kits contain a variety of helpful items such as noise-reducing headphones, fidget tools, and a weighted lap blanket to help you have a more enjoyable experience in the library. Anyone is welcome to use any item from the Sensory Kit, no questions asked. Note: Noise-reducing headphones are child-sized. 

The location of a Sensory Kit will vary by location but can often be found in the Children's Library or at the nearest Service Desk. Before you leave, simply return the items you've used to the designated used items box. It will be labeled with a sticker that reads: "Please return used sensory items here." Items will be sanitized after each use.

We also offer Sensory Friendly Storytimes at select library locations. Designed for children (ages 2-5) with sensory sensitivities, it combines traditional storytime components with supportive elements. Attendance is limited to enhance the experience.

#Requesting Accommodations at Public Programs

Pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act, accommodations for persons with disabilities are available upon request for public library programs. Please allow 1–2 business days to process. Last-minute requests will be accepted, but may not be possible to fulfill. Please ask for Learning Services at 255-2665 or email

A photo of a Curbside Pickup parking sign, with instructions and a phone number

#Curbside Pickup of Library Materials

Do you have limited mobility or are you looking for a socially-distanced way to receive your library holds? Our convenient Curbside Pickup service makes picking up library materials you've placed on hold - like books, DVDs, and CDs - easier than ever before! Our staff will bring your items directly to your vehicle! Note: Curbside Service is available at all locations except Main Library.

Pro Tip: "Place a Hold" doesn't always mean "go on a waiting list." You can use the hold feature to have a book sent from one location in Jacksonville to another one that's closer to you!

How Does It Work?

  1. Visit our catalog or the homepage of our website and search for books, audiobooks, DVDs, or CDs you'd like to check out.
  2. Place those items on hold and select the library location where you plan to pick them up. We'll pull it from the shelves at that location or, if need be, ship it there for you.
  3. You'll receive an email (or phone call) letting you know that your item(s) are ready for you to pick up. When you arrive, park your car in the designated curbside spot in the library parking lot and then call the number on the sign. 
  4. Library staff will bring your items out to you and place them in your trunk, back seat, passenger seat... whatever works for you!

Please note: All Curbside service ends at 6 p.m. So, please be at your pickup location before that time.

An open Books by Mail reusable nylon bag, with a book and multiple CDs showing

#Get Library Materials Delivered to Your Home

If you or someone you love are unable to come to the Library due to disability or illness, Jacksonville Public Library now offers a FREE service that delivers books and other library materials to Duval County residents via the United States Postal Service.

Available materials include regular print books, large print books, audiobooks on CD, magazines, music CDs and DVDs. Note: We are unable to send Traveling Tales Kits or lendable technology (such as Chromebooks or hotspots) through the mail.

3 Ways to Apply for Books by Mail

  1. Complete the online Books by Mail Application
  2. Contact us by phone at (904) 255-2665.
  3. Request a paper application be sent to you (or someone you know) in the mail.

Books by Mail customers receive deliveries in our convenient, reusable nylon bags. When you're done, you put your items back into the same bag, flip the address card over, and give it to your postal carrier. Postage is paid both ways, so there's no cost to you.

Learn more on our Books by Mail page.

A woman reads a Braille book while sitting in the grass in front of her home

#Talking Books and Braille

The Talking Books Library loans audiobooks and magazines, along with a player, FREE by mail to persons who have difficulty reading or using printed books and other materials because of blindness, or visual, physical, or reading disabilities. 

Talking Books Library customers can also request Braille books for free.

Talking Books are full-length, unabridged books on digital cartridges (or in Braille) available for loan to eligible readers of all ages and interests, beginning with pre‑school. The Talking Books collection includes current bestsellers, romance, and mystery novels, literary fiction, non‑fiction such as science and history, print/Braille books for young readers, and over 70 current magazine subscriptions.

Once you are registered, you can also apply for BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download). Digital materials may be downloaded at no cost directly to a smartphone or tablet or transferred from a computer to a USB drive (to be played on a Talking Books player). 

Eligibility Requirements

Any United States resident of any age who meets one of the following criteria is eligible for Talking Books services. The eligibility criterion is established by the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, Library of Congress.

  1. Legal blindness.
  2. Visual disability that makes it difficult to read or use standard printed materials*.
  3. Physical disability that makes it difficult to hold a book or turn pages.
  4. Reading disability (such as dyslexia).
  5. Institutions that serve eligible individuals.

*Large Print readers are also eligible for Talking Books services.

Please note: For persons who are blind or have a visual or physical disability, a doctor, nurse, social worker or other authority must certify eligibility. For persons with a reading disability, only doctors of medicine or osteopathy can certify eligibility.

To register with Talking Books, you must fill out the application form and have it certified for eligibility. 

Learn more on our Talking Books page.

More Questions?

The Florida Relay Service (711) is available on all standard telephones.

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