Access Center for the Visually and Hearing Impaired
Central Library | 3rd Floor | 832-393-1603 (Voice Message Only)
The Access Center provides special adaptive equipment, materials in accessible formats and library services for customers with special needs who are:
- Blind and/or visually impaired
- Deaf and/or hearing impaired
The Access Center is open during Central’s regular hours of operation and located on the third floor.
Access Center Services
Large Print Books
More than 9,000 books with an enlarged typeface that makes them easier to read.
A color Topaz CCTV is available. Materials placed under the Closed Circuit Television lens are magnified onto a monitor.
Video Relay Services
Purple Public Video Phone is located in a phone alcove on the third floor. This service allows deaf and hard of hearing people the ability to make Video Relay Service (VRS).
A screen magnification software, has been installed on Access Center computers and at the following locations: Hennington Alief (currently closed for remodeling), Robinson Westchase, Park Place, and Scenic Woods.
- JAWS 13.0, a screen reading software has been installed on designated computers in the Access Center. It translates voice commands and is used in place of mouse and keyboard. It is available at Hennington Alief (currently closed for remodeling), Robinson Westchase, Park Place, and Scenic Woods.
- SARA, a scanning and reading appliance, into which reading materials may be scanned and read back in these languages: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Russian and English.
- Miscellaneous Computer Mice
Special mice designed for customers with coordination and dexterity issues.
- Descriptive Videos
Descriptive Video Service (DVS) provides an audio track that enhances the film experience for non-sighted and visually impaired customers. The descriptions provide information related to the setting, the character’s attire, and facial expressions during pauses in the film dialogue. DVS DVDs are available in the Movies, Audiobooks and Music section of the Central Library. They are also available at many of our neighborhood library locations. Click here for a list of descriptive videos in the HPL catalog.
Access on Demand in-house use only
- Two 17-inch laptops with JAWS (screen reading software) and ZoomText (screen magnification software)
- A 24 inch monitor is also available upon request.
- With advance notice of 24 hours, these laptops can be shipped to any HPL location.
- Contact us to request this equipment. Call 832-393-1313 or via e-mail.
Join us for Sensory Story time, an interactive program for children with Autism Spectrum disorders, sensory integration issues, and other developmental disabilities. This program includes stories, songs and activities in a small setting. Central Library on certain Saturdays at 3:00 pm. Check the events page for dates (select Storytimes from the Event Type menu).
Community Resource Lists
- The ARC - Greater Houston Chapter Resource List: A very complete resource list for people with special needs in the Houston Area
- Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services: Learn about services provided by the State of Texas. Early Childhood Intervention Referral 1-800-250-2246
- Hope for Three: Advocates and assists families with Autistic members
- Houston ISD Office of Special Education
- Aldine ISD Special Education Department
- Spring Branch ISD Special Education Department
- Fort Bend ISD Special Education Department
- Alief ISD Special Education Department