Disability Support Services Library


The University of Zimbabwe (UZ) Library is dedicated to making its collections and services accessible to students and staff with special needs. Continued efforts to enhance the ability of users with special needs to use UZ Library resources fully culminated in the establishment of the Disability Support (DSS) Library in September 2014. DSS Library was established as a branch of the University of Zimbabwe Libraries to provide customised services to students with special needs. The library was furnished and equipped with Assistive Technologies through a partnership between the University of Zimbabwe and CBZ Holdings to empower users with special needs to access information and knowledge. Assistive Technology refers to a set of products, devices, or software systems that are used by special-needs users or persons with various disabilities. Assistive technology is essentially designed to improve the functional capabilities of persons with disabilities and to increase independence. The DSS offers services to any student with special needs with documentation from appropriate professionals, institutions or school records. The Library offers lending, scanning and brailing services. It works collaboratively and innovatively with University departments such as student affairs, accommodation, IT and the Main Library to create an accessible, equitable and supportive learning and living environment that enhances each student's academic and personal development.




DSS Library is here to make UZ Library resources and services more accessible to special needs users. Special needs users are those who are not able to use the average devices or software in an average way. The DSS Library strives to meet the unique needs of special needs users through the provision of the following services:

Individual Help
DSS Library provides individual help in information retrieval, accessing and using online resources, locating print resource materials through the Online Public Access Catalogue, as well as developing research strategies.

Assistive Technology devices
DSS Library hosts an assortment of assistive devices, computers and laptops equipped with software that empowers the blind and the low vision to independently access information in the Library. The Library provides the following types of hardware and software to meet the information needs of persons with disabilities.

•    Desktop computers
•    Laptops
•    Screen reading software
•    OCR Scan and Read technology
•    Book Readers and Voice Recorders
•    Braille Printers
•    Screen Magnification
•    Electronic Magnifiers
•    Calculators



Special needs users are trained in the use of assistive devices, Management of Academic Information, E-resource Use and Application to empower them with relevant 21st-century skills that enable them to access and use information effectively for learning, research, innovation and knowledge creation.





University of Zimbabwe Main Campus
Disability Support Services Centre Building
P.O. Box MP 45
Mount Pleasant

Telephone: +263 4 303211 Ext 21071


Contact Persons:

Mrs J.D. Phiri
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Miss L Marumani
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Mr J Munyoro
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Available Material

Various blind and low vision solutions are available in the DSS Library.



# Type of Solution Purpose Specific Device Available Who uses it?
1 Screen Reading Screen reading software uses a speech synthesiser or braille display to read the text displayed on the computer screen. A screen reader acts as an interface between the user and the computer’s operating system and applications. To accomplish a task, a user makes use of various combinations of keys on the computer keyboard to send commands to the software. The user is verbally informed about changes taking place on the computer screen. JAWS (Job Access With Speech) Designed for persons living with visual impairments whose vision loss prevents them from seeing screen content or navigating with a mouse. It can be used to navigate web pages, read emails, write documents, create presentations and read electronic documents. JAWS works with internet browsers such as Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Edge, and applications like Microsoft Office, Google Docs.
NVDA (NonVisual Desktop Access) An open-source screen reader that enables blind and visually-impaired people to use computers. NVDA support major applications and web browsers such as Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, internet chat software, music players, and office programs such as Microsoft Word and Excel.
2 OCR Scan and Read Optical Character Recognition(OCR) enable users to convert printed documents, scanned paper documents and PDF files into editable formats which can then be read aloud in speech.

Open Book and Pearl Reading Camera

Designed for persons with blindness, low vision and learning challenges
3 Braille Printers/Embossers Using Braille translation software, Braille embossers translate documents into Braille and then print on to Braille paper Heavy Duty Braille Embosser Used for the production of documentation in Braille and converting study material into Braille to assist the blind and partially sighted students or staff.
4 Book Readers & Voice Recorders Hardware devices used to record lectures, meetings, and playback audiobooks, music, voice recordings, and text files.

Blaze ET (an advanced multi-player with OCR for books, music, documents, podcasts, recording, and DAISY).

Ideal for people with low vision, blindness, or learning difficulties.

Sensory PBRW (a portable multimedia player, e-book reader and voice recorder).

Book Sense (a portable and audio device which can play digital books audio file, text files and MP3).

5 Electronic Magnifiers Technology that uses a camera to project a magnified text image on a built-in monitor or a computer monitor Merlin Desktop Magnifier (Merlin Desktop Camera offers a wide view and display of text). Designed for people with low vision to access printed material.
Ruby Handheld Magnifier (a portable video magnifying device).
6 Screen Magnification Screen magnification software allows users to enlarge text and graphics on a computer screen using a different set of features like colour, text size and pointers. Magic Screen Magnification Useful to persons with low vision who want to use a computer.
7 Daily Living Aids Daily Living Aids make life easier for persons with disabilities. Talking Scientific Calculator

For use by persons with blindness for their statistics and other mathematical related courses.



Opening Hours

Monday to Thursday: 0900 hrs to 1630 hrs.

Friday: 0900 hrs to 1600 hrs.


Closed: Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays