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Accommodation Policy for Students with Disabilities - Procedure for Alternative Format Textbooks

Accommodation Links: Alternative Texts | Notetakers | Reduced Course Load | Testing Accommodations

Disability Services has converted to a new procedure for providing students with their textbooks in alternative format.  The following procedure began August 2012.

Login to Mainestreet or the University Bookstore and look up your course books.  Purchase your textbooks from the University Bookstore or through web vendors.  While on internet markets, keep your eye out for audiobooks or eBooks that might be available for purchase instead of the traditional book format.

Quick Tip:  Avoid “e-texts” which are not the same as eBooks, e-texts are NOT accessible therefore will not be compatible with a screen reader.  Proof of purchase of a book is required before an alternative textbook will be supplied.

Complete the Alternative Text Request Form (supplying our staff with the book’s ISBN, title, author and edition).  Request forms are also available in our offices in the East Annex.

The DSS Staff will first search for an audiobook of the text from and  If located there, they will sign you up for the service through our account and you’ll receive an email from Learning Ally with download instructions.  If you had a Learning Ally or Bookshare account in high school, contact them about expanding it into your time here at the University, and thereafter you may search this resources yourself.

If unable to locate an audiobook for the requested book, the DSS Staff will then try and locate a pdf file for your book.  This procedure can take up to 7 business days, with possible additional delays from the publisher.

If no pdf can be located, scanning of the textbook will then be required.  Textbooks will have the binding cut off to facilitate rapid feed scanning.  When scanning is completed, a pdf file will be emailed to you and your book will be available for pick up a day or so after rebound with plastic spiral binding.  This process can take up to 10 business days.

The process for acquiring an alternative textbook can be very time consuming, we encourage students to get their requests in in advance of the semester to ensure that the files will be available to them before the start of class, however, alternative text requests can be made at any time—but will be processed on a first come, first serve basis.

We encourage the use of a .pdf file in conjunction with a screen reader for a more complete textbook experience (for example, Apple’s VoiceOver, or 

Upon receiving the .pdf, you are encouraged to check the pdf against your book in the million to one chance that the wrong edition was sent.

Helpful Hint: We will be available to acquire alternative textbooks prior to each semester. If you are anxious to have your textbooks prior to the start of the semester, then email your professors and ask them which book they have selected for their course. Explain that you use Alternative Textbooks and that early purchase of your textbooks enables you to have the DSS office help with your textbooks in advance. This will give you more purchasing options as opposed to waiting for the University Bookstore, which begins selling two weeks prior to the start of the semester.

Questions or concerns related to the Alternative Textbook procedure should be addressed to:

Disability Support Services
108 East Annex
University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469-5725


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Contact Information

Disability Support Services
121 East Annex, Orono, ME 04469-5725
Phone: 207.581.2319 | Fax: 207.581.9420E-mail:
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469