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Help for users with disabilities

Guidance on using the Library and other tips for users with disabilities

Induction loops and deaf alerters

If you are deaf or hard of hearing, we are able to help you. There are two audio induction loops at the Welcome Desk.

In the event of fire, the fire alarms have strobe lights that flash red. In addition to this, deaf and hard of hearing students and visitors can request a deaf alerter from the Welcome Desk. The deaf alerter will vibrate when the fire alarms are activated, flash a red light, and will display the following message: "Fire FIRE Alarm University of Reading Library". In the event of a fire alarm test, the message will display "Test alarm".

If you are unsure of what to do in an emergency, you can discuss creating an personal emergency evacuation plan (or PEEP). Information on this and the Library's evacuation procedures can be found by following the link below.

Finding & Fetching

A pile of books on a deskIf you have a problem getting items from the shelves we provide a retrieval service. Email us (library@reading.ac.uk) with details of the items you would like and they can be left for you to collect from the Hold Shelf in the Short Loan area, on the Ground Floor of the Library.

If the items you want are currently on loan you can place a hold on them using the Library catalogue. You will receive an email notifying you when they are ready to pick up from the Hold Shelf.

Alternative formats

If you require Library material in an alternative format (eg an electronic version of a book that is only available in print) please let us know as soon as possible. We are often able to obtain an electronic file of a book from the publisher quickly and at no cost, but this is not always the case and other types of alternative format conversion will take longer. Please contact us to discuss your needs.

The Library provides access to thousands of e-books, and there are also many free e-book collections that may be of use.

RNIB Booshare

RNIB Bookshare provides access to a searchable catalogue of electronic versions of textbooks. It is available to students with any form of print disability, such as:

  • conditions that make physically handling books difficult 
  • a visual impairment
  • conditions such as dyslexia or other specific learning difficulty.

As long as you are registered with the Disability Advisory Service you can have an account created for you that will enable you to search the catalogue and download items for yourself. 

Contact us to ask about getting an account.

Making the most of e-books

Student reading an e-bookE-books are electronic versions of print texts. You can read them on various devices, including your laptop or University computers. The Library has purchased access rights to thousands of e-books which you can access and read on- or off campus. Most of our e-books have accessibility features, such as searchable text, the ability to change font size and readability by text-to-speech software.

To find out more about finding and making use of our e-book collections take a look at our guide.

Borrowing and renewals

If you are unable to come to the Library we will allow a friend to use your Campus Card as long as you write a letter authorising them to do so.

There are currently no special loan periods for users with disabilities, but there is no limit on the number of times Standard (3 week) and 7-day loan books can be renewed unless a hold is placed by another reader, in which case you will be sent a new due date by which to return the book. Books can be renewed online using the link below (also on the Library homepage as the 'Check your Library account, renew loans or pay fines' link), or by contacting the Library on 0118 378 8770.