Assistive technology and equipment

OPL offers many different assistive technologies and equipment that are helpful to users with different types of disabilities.

Kurzweil 3000

Scanning, reading and writing software for people with learning disabilities or reading difficulties. It allows users to scan a text document and have it read aloud.



Software that allows users to hear text read as it appears on a computer screen. Text can be read in French or English and saved for future reference or modification.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking (DNS)

Speech recognition software that enables users to transcribe spoken language into a text document. DNS allows someone to use his or her voice to create documents, use e-mail and surf the web all by voice commands. First time users are advised to:

  • Book two hours of computer time to get their voice file set up;
  • Bring a flash drive on which to save this information; and
  • Bring headphones with a microphone attachment


Magnifies the text on computer screens and can read text aloud.  It may be used to access any function on the computer, including the Internet, the Library’s computerized resources and the online catalogue.



A computer feature designed for people who have difficulty holding down two or more keys at a time. When a shortcut requires a key combination, such as CTRL+P, StickyKeys will enable the user to press one key at a time instead of pressing them simultaneously. This feature is available on the assistive technology workstations by hitting the shift key 5 times consecutively.

Trackball mouse

Large 3 inch trackball which requires less fine motor control and allows for more accurate movements. Large buttons make clicking easier.

Accessible keyboard

Large character keyboard with black typeface on yellow keys.

Widescreen monitor

Allows for better zoom capability when using software such as ZoomText.

Height adjustable table

Table is adjustable and can even accommodate a standing position.


Can be used with the assistive software i.e Kurzweil 3000

Headphones and saving materials

The Library does not provide headphones for public use. Please bring your own headphones for use with these programs. To save your material, please bring a CD (ensure it is a CD-RW) or a flash drive (USB).

Getting started

If you are interested in using these workstations or need assistance, please contact one of the branches to make an appointment for an introductory tutorial.

How to book an assistive technology workstation

Please select “ZoomText + Assistive” as the PC type through our online booking system at the available branches.

Other accessible equipment

Assistive Listening Devices

Digital wireless FM Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) are available at OPL for people who are hard of hearing. These portable devices, which amplify sound, can be borrowed with a Library card for in-Library use during events, meetings and programs (up to 6 hours). Devices are available on a first come first served basis and holds cannot be placed in the catalogue. Devices come with a neck loop and can be used with hearing aids that have a T (telecoil) setting, or with headphones (customer must bring their own).

Assistive Listening Devices are available at these branches:

  • Carlingwood
  • Cumberland
  • Greenboro
  • Hazeldean
  • Main
  • Nepean Centrepointe
  • Ruth E. Dickinson
  • Stittsville
  • St-Laurent


If you need an ALD for a Library program or event at a branch that does not have a device, please contact the branch holding the program in advance. Arrangements can be made for a device to be sent to the branch prior to the day of the program/event (please request at least one week in advance).

See the Fees and Fines chart for more information on borrowing parameters.

Note: Customers must be at least sixteen years old to borrow a device on their own Library card and must have valid photo I.D.

Video magnifier

Designed to be used by people with visual impairments who have difficulty reading ordinary printed materials. Customers can place written material on the reading tray and adjust the zoom level, as well as the background colour. * Available at the Main Library only

DAISY players (Victor Readers)

Plays DAISY and MP3 books and music on CDs.  These devices can only be borrowed by customers with print disabilities who are registered with the Talking Books Service. Please note that there may be a waiting list to borrow a DAISY player.