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Support for users with disabilities

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

Induction loops and deaf alerters

If you are D/deaf or hard of hearing, we are able to help you. There are two audio induction loops at the Welcome Desk if you need to speak to a member of staff while visiting the Library.

In the event of fire, the fire alarms have strobe lights that flash red. In addition to this, D/deaf and hard of hearing users 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 a 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 difficulties getting items from the shelves, we provide a retrieval service. Email us ( with details of the items you would like and they can be left for you to collect from the Hold Shelf in the Quiet Study and Holds 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

The Library aims to ensure all our material is accessible. If our print materials are not accessible for you, contact us at to ask about alternative formats and discuss your needs.

This may include (but are not limited to) those who:

  • Have a Specific learning difference (including Dyslexia, Autism or Attention Deficit Disorder)
  • Are blind or partially sighted
  • Have co-ordination difficulties

Please note, while we can often obtain an electronic version of a book, this is not always possible and obtaining another type of alternative format will take longer. Please contact us as soon as possible to allow for sufficient time.

RNIB Bookshare

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 differences.

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 the Library 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, but there is no limit on the number of times a loan can be renewed. Follow the 'How long can I keep items' link to see what you can borrow and for how long. 

If a hold is placed by another reader, you cannot renew it and you will be sent a new due date by which to return the book. Books can be renewed online using the 'My Account' (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.