Support for users with Disabilities

The University Library provides support to users with disabilities in several ways.

If you want to find out more about how we can help with your specific needs, please get in touch:

Physical Access

During staff hours you will always find library staff happy to assist you when you visit. Please ask at the Helpdesk.

If you would like to get in touch with us before you come, then please contact us by email, or give us a call on +44(0) 1245 686600.

University Library Lead on Disability contact details

Diane Hilton, Customer Services Manager, Chelmsford
  • We have been assessed by DisabledGo
  • Lifts are available to all floors
  • We are happy to help customers access materials
  • Toilets are available on the Ground Floors of all sites
  • Hearing loops are installed at service points and in teaching rooms in the libraries at Cambridge and Chelmsford
  • The library at Cambridge and Chelmsford has a fire-safe evacuation lift. At other sites evacuation chairs are available
  • We are Fire Marshal trained and are aware of procedures for the evacuation of mobility impaired customers
For locations of lifts and toilets etc. at Cambridge and Chelmsford use our interactive library plans:


Borrowing, Renewing and Requesting

Auto Renew/Recall

The library aims to offer an inclusive borrowing service for all our customers.

We offer an automatic renewal / recall system, which means that all books renew automatically three days before they are due to be returned, unless they have been requested by another user.

You will receive an email informing you if a book has been recalled or cannot be renewed.

To find out more please see our Guide to Borrowing.

Request Collection Service

If you find it physically difficult to find and collect books, you can use our request collection service. If your assessment with Student Services identifies that you need this service, it will automatically be allocated to you.

You can place requests on all the books you need, and we will fetch them and put them on the request collection shelves ready for you to pick up and borrow when you come in to the library. You will be able to place requests on books that we have at any of our libraries, including your home library.

It takes time for us to process your requests, so it is best to check that we have them ready for you before you travel in to collect them. You will receive an email to your student email account when the books are ready to collect, or you can contact us by phone during staffed hours.

How to request books

To request a book, make sure you are logged into the library website, click 'Get It' under the item, and then 'Request'. You will then be asked to choose the library you want to collect it from. You will receive an email once it's ready for you to collect.

For more information about borrowing and requesting books, see our Getting Started guide and the Requests page.

Authorisation for others to collect items

You can authorise another person to collect books, pay any fines etc. on your behalf. Just complete this form, and return it to us.



To help you make best use of our library resources, you can attend one of our group training sessions, or book a one-to-one session with a specialist subject librarian. Also, our friendly staff at the helpdesk will be happy to assist you.

If you need general IT help, or someone to show you how to use assistive technology, you can book an appointment with one of our IT Support Advisers.

Study Skills Plus

For help with general study skills, such as academic writing and maths and numeracy, you can use the Study Skills Plus services.

Library materials for print disabled students

We can get accessible electronic copies of reading list materials for those with a visual or print impairment. If you need this service, please speak to your Module Leader, who will liaise with us to find more accessible alternative reading.

The library tries to buy to e-books if they are available.

Information for Staff

Please see our section on Library materials for print disabled students for information.

E-Book Accessibility

E-books provide increased accessibility to many students.

The library has a large number of e-books, which are provided by a variety of suppliers. For information on the main accessibility features for each provider and helpful tips, please see our e-Book accessibility page.


The library subscribes to a large number of databases and packages of e-resources, which are provided by a number of suppliers and publishers and made available on a variety of platforms. For information on the level of accessibility provided by each supplier and links to their own advice, please see our accessibility guide (.pdf).


We are happy to help you use the photocopiers and printing facilities.

Copying or printing on coloured paper is available via Digital Copy Services.

Assistive Technology

Click on the link to the Accessibility options on the student desktop: Accessibility Options Image for a range of accessibility tools including, mind mapping tools, sticky notes, magnifiers and text to speech tools and handy guides to Accessible PowerPoint and Word.

The following software may be useful and may need downloading for use on your own laptop or PC:
  • Natural Reader Free to download, can read Word Documents, emails, information from websites and e-books. Can export a sound file as an MP3, which some students may also find useful for revision.

Assistive Equipment

The library has additional equipment available for use including book rests, writing slopes, coloured overlays, document holders and book baskets.

These items are located on the ground floor of the library. Please ask at either the Help Desk (Chelmsford) or the Reception Desk (Cambridge).

Height adjustable desks

These are available in the following areas:

Chelmsford: 1 desk on the ground floor near the Help Desk.
Cambridge: 1 desk on the first floor near to the newspaper collection and Quiet Zone; 2 desks on the third floor - 1 near the lift and 1 by the stairs furthest from the lift. There is also a height adjustable desk on the ground floor near MUM012 which hosts a dedicated library catalogue computer.

CCTV magnifier screen

The Cambridge campus holds a magnifier on the third floor near the lift, which is on a height adjustable desk.

Accessible reading materials

The library can provide accessible electronic copies of reading list materials for those with a visual or print impairment.


We are happy to help you use the photocopiers and printing facilities.

Copying or printing on coloured paper is available via Digital Copy Services.

Further requirements

If you have any further requirements, please contact us.