Accessibility at the Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery

The staff of the Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery aspire to create a welcoming, inclusive, and accessible environment for all our users. Library Guideline 283 - Services to Users with Disabilities, outlines our approach and services. This page is intended to provide a brief overview of the services, spaces, and technologies available to help you be successful.

Campus resources for students, employees and visitors of UMBC are available via the Office of Accessibility and Disability Services.

Did you experience a barrier in your attempts to access library spaces, resources, or services? Report it to us here.

The AOK Library & Gallery provides the following services for library users with disabilities:

Access to Parking and the Library & Gallery Building

Phone 410-455-2354

For deaf, hard of hearing, or individuals with communication difficulties, Maryland Relay telecommunication services are available for free by calling 7-1-1.

Accessible Service Desks

Library service desks on the first floor include lower height sections to accommodate users who need them.

Accessible Workstations

The Library & Gallery currently has accessible workstations on floors 1, 2, and 3 in the following locations:

These workstations include buttons which raise or lower the table height, as needed.

Ask a Librarian

Users who need accommodations are encouraged to submit reference questions via the Ask a Librarian link on the Library's Web site. Librarians will provide online chat service during designated hours, and will respond via email to queries received outside of those hours. These services do not include in-depth research or renewing, retrieving, or holding library materials.

Assistive Technology Loan

In partnership with SDS, the Library’s Digital Media Lab (Library 216H) offers a selection of assistive technology devices which SDS-registered users may borrow. Details of this program are available on the DML website:

The Assistive Technology Room, (Library 455)

Provides access to specialized hardware and software through a collaboration between the Library’s IT department and the Office of Student Disability Services. See the Assistive Technology Room webpage for the complete list of current equipment and procedures for using this room.

Book Retrieval

Library staff are available to assist users with retrieving materials from the book stacks as staffing patterns and service desk traffic permit. We recommend that users make an appointment or request assistance in advance by contacting the Circulation department. If no staff member is available to assist a user immediately, staff will retrieve and/or scan or photocopy materials and notify the user when their materials are available.

Drinking Fountains

Accessible drinking fountains are available on floors 1-7 by the main elevators and restrooms.


The main entrance to the Library & Gallery, on the side of the building toward Erickson Field and The Commons, is fully accessible, including push-button access.

Photocopying and Scanning

Four scanners are available on the first floor for users to create scans in various formats including PDFs with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and Text-to-Speech mp3 files. The KIC scanner, located closest to the Reference desk, is wheelchair accessible.

UMBC users with visual disabilities may also request scans of research materials via Interlibrary Loan. We are able to exceed copyright limitations on scanning for these users as follows:

Internal Access

The main elevators are just off the Rotunda and provide access to every floor except the Lower Level. If you need materials from the Lower Level, contact a Library & Gallery staff member for assistance. Library shelves and aisleways adhere to accessibility recommendations regarding minimum clearance (36”).


The closest accessible parking spaces are behind the Library & Gallery building in Lot 7, at the base of Walker Drive, the southwest corner of Walker Avenue Garage, and on Center Road, on the west end of Susquehanna Hall. Consult the campus map of Accessible Routes, Parking, and Entrances for details.

Research Assistance and Consultations

Librarians and staff provide assistance to all users who require help with identifying and locating research materials. Staffing patterns and service desk traffic may affect the amount of time that staff can spend with any individual user. Users who need specialized assistance are encouraged to make appointments with the subject librarian for the academic discipline they are researching to ensure uninterrupted assistance and the availability of the type of support requested.

Individuals with low or limited vision, or other sensory impairments including deafness, who may need access to alternative formats or assistive technology for research access are encouraged to share their access request information at the time of appointment request. Library staff will consult with the Office of Accessibility & Disability Services if accommodation assistance is needed to facilitate the access.

Service Animals

Trained service animals, dogs and in some cases miniature horses, as described in Guideline 232 –Animals in the Library, are permitted in the Library & Gallery when assisting a user with a disability. All other animals, including emotional support animals (aka therapy or comfort animals), are not recognized under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and are not permitted in the Library.

Students with Disabilities

All enrolled UMBC students with disabilities who would like to request accommodation support are strongly encouraged to register with the Office of Student Disability Services(SDS), located in Room 212 in the Mathematics/Psychology Building within the Office of Accessibility & Disability Services. Staff members in SDS meet with students individually to discuss their access needs and to coordinate accommodations. SDS does not provide personal assistance to students such as carrying books, loans of wheelchairs or crutches, golf carts for transport, personal attendants or other travel assistance to classrooms or residence halls.


Room signs within the building have raised and Braille characters. Some directories and other wayfinding signage does not include raised or Braille characters; please ask a Library & Gallery employee if you would like assistance finding a room or service.

Visual Alarms

Fire alarms within the Library & Gallery feature flashing lights to alert deaf or hard of hearing users of emergencies. Note that not all alarms are visible from every study room or space.