Collections in Alternative Formats
Audiobooks and eAudiobooks
The library has fiction and nonfiction audiobooks on CD and downloadable or streaming eAudiobooks. A number of our eBook/eAudiobook vendors are compatible with screen-readers and other accessibility software. The following are confirmed to be accessible:
Do you use Accessibility software? We would love to have your feedback on the usability of our Online Resources websites and apps. Contact us and give us feedback on how we can improve your experience.
You can also get recorded books from Books Aloud, a nonprofit that provides free unabridged books on cassette tapes to people with visual, physical or learning disabilities.
Large Print Books
The library offers selected fiction and nonfiction large print books.
Closed Captioned Videos
The Library has DVDs with closed captioning of dialogue and sound.
Sound Descriptive Videos
The Library also has DVDs with narrative tracks that describe what is happening throughout the recording, including when there is no dialogue.
The library has braille materials available and we can request braille materials for you from other library systems, including San Francisco Public Library’s Library for the Blind and Print Disabled.
Choice Magazine Listening (CML)
Choice Magazine Listening is a nonprofit organization that provides audio recordings of memorable articles, stories, interviews, essays and poems from outstanding current magazines, completely free of charge, to blind, visually impaired, physically disabled or dyslexic adults.
Every winter, spring, summer and fall, thousands of eligible people in the United States receive Choice Magazine Listening in a specialized format exclusively for use by people with disabilities. The special digital talking-book player needed to listen to CML is provided, free of charge, by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress. The player is portable, extremely easy to use, and offers outstanding sound quality.
Assistance Using the Library
Retrieving Library Items for You
If you have a disability, library staff will retrieve books, media and other items from the library collection for you on request. Request this service at the information desk at any San Mateo County Libraries location. Library staff will get a reasonable number of items for you, based on staff availability and workload. Some branches also offer home delivery service for homebound patrons. Please inquire at your local branch about this service.
Printing and Photocopying for You
Library staff will print or photocopy a reasonable number of items for you. Request this service at any of our San Mateo County Libraries. Library staff may ask you to leave selections for later copying when there is no time for extended individual help.
ADA Accommodations at Events
If you have a disability and would like to attend a library event, call the library location where the event is taking place to request accommodation or schedule an appointment with an ADA liaison at least 72 hours in advance of the event.
Proxy borrowing lets a person of your choice borrow or renew library items on your behalf. This option is available on request at any San Mateo County Libraries location. Contact the branch about how to get this started.
Extending Your Loan Period
You may request that the library extend the loan period for your borrowed items if you are unable to return them on time due to special circumstances. Granting this extension to you is at the discretion of library staff and may depend on demand for your items by other library users and if you are borrowing material that is owned by a library system other than San Mateo County Libraries.
You can view our Web Accessibility Statement to see how we strive to make our online experience welcoming and inclusive to people with a wide range of abilities.
Services for People With Limited Mobility
National and Local Services
National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), at the Library of Congress, is a free national library program that provides braille and recorded materials to people who cannot see regular print or handle print materials. NLS selects books and magazines for full-length publication in braille, ebraille, and digital audio format. Reading materials are circulated through a network of libraries across the United States and its territories and to American citizens living abroad.
Local San Mateo County residents can contact their regional network library, the Braille and Talking Book Library, a branch of the California State Library by calling (toll-free) 1 (800) 952-5666. Patrons may also contact their sub regional library, Library for the Blind and Print Disabled, at San Francisco Public Library, which has an open collection that all may visit, by calling (415) 556-4253. The materials and free playback equipment needed to read audiobooks (called talking books) and magazines are circulated to patrons by postage-free mail. Digital audio and ebraille materials also are available through the NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) service and the BARD Mobile app for iOS and Android devices.
Individuals who are interested in music materials may receive them directly from the NLS Music Section in Washington, D.C. The collection consists of braille and large print music scores and instructional materials. Music appreciation materials on a wide variety of topics and self-instruction for voice, piano, organ, keyboard, guitar, recorder, accordion, banjo, harmonica, and other instruments are available on audio cartridge. Audio and braille music materials also are available through BARD. The Music Section may be reached by email or 1 (800) 424-8567 ext. 2, and more information can be found on the NLS Music Notes blog.
ibill Currency Readers
Readers are available from NLS and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Current NLS patrons may call
1 (888) NLS-READ and request assistance with the application from their network braille and talking book library.