UL: Information & services for people with special needs

Diversity Award 2021
UL wins the UDE Diversity Award 2021 for its conversion service for the visually impaired

More about the Diversity Award 2021       More about the Diversity Award 2018

Your contact persons for inclusion in the library

Duisburg campus

Essen campus

Stephanie Abtmeyer

Humanities and Social Sciences Library
R09 T00 M95

Services at UA Ruhr libraries

UL Dortmund

Sehkon -
Katalog Online

Sehkon lists media for people with a visual impairment with citable converted literature in German-speaking countries. It currently has over 14.000 references. Sehkon also lists planned conversions so that costly duplicate productions can be avoided.

Go to Sehkon

Especially for students ...

... with visual impairment

Staff members from our Department for Digital Services are working on converting teaching materials from a pdf format to a reader-friendly EPUB format, Word format or any other needed format.

We are providing advice and will respond to your personal needs as far as possible. In addition, we take care of legal and technical issues and cooperate with colleagues from the UAR libraries.

Please use our service and contact our colleague in charge:
Katrin Falkenstein-Feldhoff
+49 (0) 203 379 1504
Digital Library Services
LK Library (Duisburg)

... with reduced hearing ability

A portable inductive hearing system (LoopHear) is available in all branch libraries (exception: Medical Library), which enables hearing aid users to receive audio signals via the hearing aid without interference.

An induction loop transmits audio signals clearly and free of other distracting noise in the environment the hearing-impaired listener. For library users, who don't have a hearing aid or a "T" (telecoil) button at their device, earphones are available.

Please contact information services in the respective branch library.

Especially for lecturers

Accessible teaching material and cooperation with our conversion service

Our conversion service for students with a visual impairment formats and describes teaching materials so that users can work well with them. This process is very time-consuming and ties up considerable human resources.

As a lecturer, you can support us in a targeted way!

First, get familiar with our tips for creating accessible teaching material and make sure it is machine-readable from the very beginning. If you provide third-party material that is not accessible, be sure to follow our instructions for working with our conversion service.

We are happy to answer your questions:

Katrin Falkenstein-Feldhoff
+49 (0) 203 379 1504
Digital Library Deparment
LK Library (Duisburg)

5 tips for accessible teaching material

Make it easier for students with a visual impairment and ensure accessibility from the very beginning when creating your own teaching materials (assignment sheets, handouts, etc.).

  1. Make your teaching material available to students with a visual impairment in Word format.
    Speech output programmes do best with Word.
  2. Add image descriptions.
    A few sentences with the key messages of a graphic are sufficient.
    Remove graphics that are not crucial.
  3. Use the Word format templates for headings.
    Users can jump from one to the next with a keyboard shortcut.
  4. Insert page numbers.
    This makes it easier for users to find their way around the document.
  5. Talk to your students!
    Agreements, not only at the beginning of the semester, can help to reduce pressure.

Notes on cooperation with our conversion service

If you provide teaching material that you did not create yourself and that is not accessible, students with a visual impairment often have to rely on our conversion service.

Make our work easier by paying attention to the following:

  • Prioritise the teaching material.
    Our conversion service can never convert all materials - e.g. from a long bibliography - into a machine-readable format. Remember: we convert each text individually and then have to proofread it word by word. Only send us material that is elementary to your teaching.
  • Make large amounts of text shorter.
    Is it really necessary to read the whole book or are individual chapters enough? So mark the most important pages in a long text. This not only helps us to use staff resources wisely; because students who work with voice output programmes do not have the opportunity to "cross-read". Focusing on specific chapters or paragraphs will therefore directly contribute to learning success.
  • Check the prioritised material for illustrations.
    Every illustration in a document must be described. Remember that our staff members are not experts in the subject - so you make a great contribution by marking irrelevant illustrations as such and summarising the message of crucial graphics in a few sentences yourself.
  • Invest.
    For students with visual impairments, managing their studies is much more complex than for many of their fellow students. The preparation of teaching material is a massive "time eater" that weighs down studies. Be generous - every step you invest in providing your teaching materials sustainably increases equal opportunities at UDE.

Would you like to learn more about accessibility at the UDE?
The university offers regular training on the topic.

Barrier-free access to the branch libraries & lifts

Duisburg campus LK Library

  • Lotharstr. 65
  • main entrance with automatic sliding doors
  • all floors accessible by lift
  • library offices not accessible to wheelchair users (fire doors without automatic door openers)
  • lift from level 3.5 to level 3
  • some emergency exits only accessible via 3 steps upwards and one step downstairs

Duisburg campus MC Library

  • Lotharstr. 1
  • wheelchair accessible
  • the library is situated on the 2nd floor
  • a lift is available
  • limited access to the library areas
  • adjustable turnstile, can be opened to pass through

Duisburg campus BA Library

  • Bismarckstr. 81
  • wheelchair accessible automatic door near the main entrance and on the back of the building
  • the library is situated on the 1st floor
  • a lift is available:
    • floors and door opening and closing are announced
    • the buttons are placed at wheelchair user level
  • automatic door opener at library entrance door

Essen campus Humanities and Social Sciences Library

  • Universitätsstr. 9 - 11
  • broader entrance via ramp with 10% incline from the campus / courtyard (between R09 and R11)
  • 1st and 2nd floor are accessible via lifts
  • the new library hall is accessible for disabled people

Essen campus MNT Library

  • Universitätsstr. 15 (entrance V15)
  • automatic door opener at the building entrance V15
  • the library is situated on the 1st floor (S01 C19)
  • a lift is available
  • automatic door opener at library entrance door

Medical Library

  • Hufelandstr. 55 (University Hospital, Essen-Holsterhausen)
  • wheelchair accessible
  • a lift and ramps are available within the building


If no wheelchar accessible toilet is available within a branch library, the nearest barrier-free toilets are listed here.

Duisburg campus LK Library

  • on the ground floor

Duisburg campus BA Library

  • on the ground floor in the BA building (BA047, near the main entrance)
  •  on the ground floor in the BB and BC buildings

Duisburg campus MC Library

  • on the ground floor in the MC building (MC006)
  • on the ground floor in the MG building (MC004)

Essen campus Humanities and Social Sciences Library

  • in the R12 building (close to the Café Rosso entrance),
  • in R11 R01 (at the entrance beneath the underpass between R12 and R11)
  • in the S07 building (ground floor) or
  • in the V15 building (for example in hallway R on the ground floor)

Campus Essen Fachbibliothek MNT

  • in building V15, level 0, towards V17, in aisle G

Medical Library

  • on the ground floor

PC workstations for students with visual impairment

Both the LK (Duisburg) and GW / GSW (Essen)  branch libraries each have a PC for the visually impaired which is equipped with the JAWS and ZOOM programs.

The screen reader program JAWS (Job Access With Speech) uses voice output via the sound card of the PC to display the current screen content (web pages, documents from a word processor). 

The ZOOMText program is a magnification software  In addition to the possibility of enlarging, the color display and contrast setting can also be varied.

The workplaces are located on the ground floor close to the information desks. Registration is required to use the PC. Please make an appointment by e-mail via information.ub@uni-due.de or by phone using 0203-379-2010 (Duisburg, branch library LK) or 0201-183-3727 (Essen, branch library GW / GSW)."

Special support

Do you have questions?

We will be happy to help you: in person, on the phone, via videochat or by email.

The contact persons for inclusion at the UL will also be happy to help you.

How to reach the information desk

Do you need literature?

Our web form is available for written enquiries.

You can also use it to submit lists of books or essays you need. We will search out the desired sources for you and place them at the lending desk.

To the contact form

Would you like to use a locker?

Users with special needs can obtain easily accessible lockers at a comfortable height.

If you need a locker, please contact the staff at the circulation desk.


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