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Support for users with disabilities

The University Library can provide support to user with disabilities in several ways.

Please tell us how we can help you make the most of the library:
  • Visit the Help Desk
  • Contact Us
  • Read our Student Services Disability Support page
  • If you have a Summary of Reasonable Adjustment in place, please let us know when you talk to any of our staff if it is relevant to your enquiry.

Physical Access

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

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 686555.

University Library Lead on Disability contact details

Diane Hilton, Customer Services Manager, Chelmsford
  • 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

Physical Access to University Library Cambridge
Physical Access to University Library Chelmsford
Physical Access to University Library Peterborough (Guild House)

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 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.

Other students may be waiting for you to return your items back so that they can use them next. Returning items on time allows for fair access especially where there is high demand for the item.

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.

If you no longer need the item you have requested, you can cancel it from your library account. You can also read out FAQ on how to cancel a request. If you are unable to cancel the request, ask us and we will be able to help.

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

Authorisation for others to act on your behalf

You may authorise another person to collect library materials on your behalf or to be given information about your library account, fines, items on loan, overdue items or requests.

To set this up just email us from your staff or student email account (or your registered email for other membership types) with the following details:
  • Your name;
  • Your ID number and/or username;
  • Name of person authorised to act on your behalf;
  • Date from and an end date.



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 help desk will be happy to assist you.

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.


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.


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

Copying or printing on coloured paper is available via Anglia Ruskin Printing Service.

Accessibility Features on the Anglia Ruskin desktop

This provides a centralised location where you can adjust accessibility settings and programs. You can also get recommendations for settings to make your PC easier to see, hear, and use.

Double click the Ease of Access Centre icon on the staff/student desktop to view the features:
Accessibility Options Image
The table below gives a list of features available in the Ease of Access Centre.
Feature Description of Feature
Narrator Reads aloud on-screen text and describes some events (such as error messages appearing) that happen while you're using the computer.
Magnifier Magnifies the screen or a portion of the screen to make text, images, and objects easier to see.
On-Screen Keyboard A visual, on-screen keyboard with all the standard keys that you can use instead of a physical keyboard. On-Screen Keyboard also lets you type and enter data with a mouse or other pointing device.
Make apps and text bigger Make the text and other items on your screen, such as icons, easier to see by making them the ideal size for you.
Colour and high contrast Increase the colour contrast of text and images on your screen, making them easier to identify.
Mouse cursor Change the cursor colour and size to make it easier to see.
Keyboard shortcuts Keyboard combinations of two or more keys that, when pressed, can be used to perform a task that would typically require a mouse or other pointing device. Keyboard shortcuts can make it easier to interact with your computer, saving you time and effort.
Sticky Keys Instead of having to press a number of keys at once (such as CTRL, ALT, and DELETE keys), you can press one key at a time when Sticky Keys is turned on.
Mouse Keys Instead of using the mouse, you can use the arrow keys on the numeric keypad to move the pointer.
Filter Keys Ignore keystrokes that occur in rapid succession and keystrokes that are held down for several seconds unintentionally.
Visual Notifications Replace system sounds with visual cues, such as a flash on the screen, so system alerts are announced with visual notifications instead of sounds.
Captions Get information via animations and video that some programs use to indicate that activity is happening on your computer.
More information is available from the Microsoft website on Windows Accessibility.

The Microsoft Office Accessibility Centre is another resource which explains how to make Microsoft Office easier to see, hear, and use. This includes accessible templates and how to use the Microsoft accessibility checker and exporting accessible documents to Adobe PDF.

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:

Ground floor – 3 desks near the Help Desk.

Ground floor – 2 winding height adjustable desks at front of MUM012 (winders for these 2 desks available from the library helpdesk) and one electric desk which hosts a Digital Library terminal next to the printers at the rear of the ground floor.
First floor – 1 electric desk next to Primary Resources Collection and 2 desks (1 electric and 1 winding) at the corner of the outer study area nearest the rear of the building and 1 electric desk at the corner of the outer study area at the lift end of the building.
Second Floor – 1 electric desk which hosts a Digital Library terminal near the stairs next to the lift and 1 electric desk in Study Room 10.
Third floor - 2 electric desks on the end of study area next to lift and 3 desks (2 electric and 1 winding) by the stairs furthest from the lift.

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.
Page Last Reviewed: 26th October 2021 by Ros Francis.