Cork City

Services and Programmes

Community Services

Zoom Text

Zoom Text is a powerful computer access solution designed for the visually impaired.  It provides screen magnification and screen reading, it allows you to see and hear everything on the computer screen, providing complete access to applications, documents email and the Internet. It is available on one of our PCs in the Lending Department

Services for the visually impaired

assisitive technologiesThe Central Library has an audio book collection for blind and visually impaired persons. We also provide a wide range of music recordings and language learning packs free of charge to visually impaired people who are registered with the National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI). We work in close co-operation with NCBI.

Scanning to voice: We provide ScannaR (scan-and-read) flatbed scanners for real-time scanning and reading in Mayfield Library, in the Central Library, and in Tory Top Library. These scanners read aloud whatever text is scanned — from letters, brochures, newspapers, books, etc.

Computer screen text to voice: For people with visual impairment, we also have three computers with JAWS software which reads out text from Internet, word processed documents, and other computer-screen images. At present we have one of these computers in the Central and Bishopstown Libraries. This technology is also useful for people with learning difficulties.

Adult Education / Literacy

Cork City Libraries have an important role to play in the area of adult education. For adults involved either in self directed learning or in formal classes, the library maintains a growing collection of book-stock, educational videos, microfilm materials and photocopying facilities. In the cultural area, exhibitions, book displays, talks and recitals are a recurring feature of the City Libraries service. In association with the City of Cork VEC, Basic English classes are held in the Central library on Monday mornings. These include classes specifically aimed at foreign nationals. The full list of classes in Cork for speakers of other languages can be viewed here.The Library also acts as a referral service for literacy organizations. Reading materials suitable for literacy students are available for personal use or for block loans to literacy groups. Literacy students may avail of these services free of charge. Our brochure may be downloaded here.

Computers in the Reference Department, Grand Parade, may be used free of charge to learn online at the NALA WriteOn website  This site allows adults to check their skills and then work on areas that need some learning. Learners can then use this site to apply for a national award at Level 2 or 3.  

Read Write 10 Gold software

This software helps those with Dyslexia, literacy difficulties, visual impairment and those for whom English is not their first language. It is available to use free of charge on a PC in the Reference Department, Grand Parade.


Browsealoud...Making Websites Talk Browsealoud is a computer program that reads aloud all website content including PDF and MS Word documents. As you move the cursor over words, they are spoken aloud. Browsealoud is free to the end user. Browsealoud makes using the Internet easier for people who have:

  • Mild visual impairments
  • English as a second language
  • Dyslexia
  • Low literacy and reading skills  

Browsealoud is a Windows browser plug-in designed for use with Internet Explorer 4 upwards or Netscape Navigator. If you install the Browsealoud plugin onto your PC, you can have the web pages on the Cork City Libraries websites read back to you. To avail of this service, the Browsealoud plugin is available for download to your browser from


bps_shelfBibliotherapy and "Your good self"


What is bibliotherapy?


Bibliotherapy, the use of books and reading to help cope with emotional, physical and mental problems, is increasingly acknowledged as being of great benefit to help people deal with life’s difficulties. The Greek philosopher Aristotle viewed literature as arousing emotions within a person which had healing effects. (Public Library Journal, Summer 2008, p. 7)

Bibliotherapy includes the use of fiction & non-fiction books and reading for pleasure to enhance people’s lives and provide means of enjoyment and respite from the daily grind.  In recent times book prescription schemes have been developed in a number of countries and such a scheme is now operating in Cork City Libraries – we have copies of recommended books available in all local libraries and Central Library. Amongst the topics covered are eating disorders, anger management, depression, OCD, sexual problems, dealing with sexual abuse, panic attacks, relationship problems, stress & anxiety, relaxation techniques and parenting skills.

Your good self family booklist(1,780KB)

Your good self adult booklist(2,884KB)


Library Link service to housebound library members

Chambers Ireland Award Winning ServiceIn March 2007, Cork City Libraries launched a new van-based service to bring library services to people who cannot travel to their local library. Items for borrowing include books, DVDs, video tapes and audio-books on CD or on cassette. This is a city-wide service and is free of charge. Customers can make requests for items to satisfy their personal interests. The van, manned by library staff, calls to individual homes, day-care centres, and nursing homes on a regular basis. Customers may select items from the shelves in the van or can have selections handed to them in their houses. The new van is wheelchair accessible. The service also provides block loans to institutions in the area, such as residential homes, hospitals, and day-care centres.


The van-based service was developed after the success of a car-based pilot scheme in the Mayfield/Montenotte area, begun in May 2001, which proved very popular with members of the community who could not go to the library because of mobility problems, illness, or disability. If you wish to avail of this service, please contact Sinéad Feely: sinead_feely@corkcity.ieor tel. 021-4924961 or 021-4924900.


Mrs Mary Rohan

Sinéad Feely making a call to centenarian Mrs Mary Rohan