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Information for users with disabilities

» If you have a visual impairment click here for an alternative version of this page.

Introduction and contents

UCL Library Services is committed to ensuring that users with a disability are able to take full advantage of our facilities and are not disadvantaged in any way. This page is aimed at helping to make staff and students aware of what facilities are available from the library in order to remove any disadvantages, what potential problems may occur due to the physical layout and regulations of the library and how UCL Library Services staff can assist to circumvent these problems.

Note on emergency evacuation of the UCL Libraries for users with mobility difficulties
  • In general, during a fire alarm, lifts within the affected area should never be used.

Main Library

In the Main Library, specific routes are available which allow evacuation through to different buildings (where lifts will still be functioning). Users n eeding to utilise these routes should head to the North End of the Library (accessed through the English or Hebrew and Jewish Studies sections) and evacu ate through fire doors there. The North End lifts are in a separate building and safe to use in the event of a Library evacuation.

If you are not able to reach these exits, there are refuge points at South end of the building (through the Art / Economics section or History Section). There are telephones in these areas, so you can alert emergency services to your presence and access to the South Wing building, to ensure safety, is pos sible.

Please note that it is not possible to reach these routes from the Donaldson Room in the Main Library. Users with mobility difficulties that prevent them from evacuating by stair in an emergency are advised to use other areas of the Main Library instead. A fetch service can be provided to assist.

Science Library

No emergency evacuation routes for users unable to use stairs are available in the Science Library. Users with mobility difficulties that prevent them fr om evacuating by stair in an emergency are advised to remain on the ground floor and to utilise the assistance available for fetching books (please see below).

Other UCL Libraries

Bartlett, Institute of Archaeology, Language and Speech Sciences and Ear Institute Libraries are all above ground floor level and have no emergency evacu ation routes for users unable to use stairs. Instead, uses affected should utilise the assistance available for fetching books and moving them to an acce ssible location.

For information about fire evacuation for users with mobility difficulties, please contact the Library's Department Safety Officer, Jay Woodhouse

For information about fetches and other services to help mitigate the difficulties caused by the Library buildings, please contact the Library's Support Officer for Users with Disabilities, Matthew Reynolds

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Physical Access to the Library and its collections

Although UCL endeavours to ensure that its facilities are available to all, the physical layout of the buildings UCL inhabits may cause problems for people with mobility difficulties or who use a wheelchair. Physical access is particularly problematic in some libraries where a combination of building regulations and the need to utilise space as efficiently as possible results in tall shelving units and means that items and collections may be inaccessible. UCL Library Services strives to overcome these problems through the efforts of its staff, who will be happy to help retrieve items when asked. However, if staff are otherwise occupied (eg. if there is a large queue or only one staff member at the Issue Desk), there may be a slight delay in dealing with your request. With this in mind, users are advised to submit such requests in advance to the Library Disabilities Officer at matthew.reynolds@ucl.ac.uk so that they are kept waiting for the minimum amount of time. Items requested in this way are held for collection at the issue desk chosen by the user.

The list below sets out the particular problems in specific sites regarding entrance access, toilet facilities and whether any of the collections held by the library are kept in inaccessible situations. It can be assumed that sites not mentioned in this list are easily accessible, either via lifts and ramps or through level access walk ways. If you require more specific details about a UCL library or collection, please contact the Library Disabilities Officer at matthew.reynolds@ucl.ac.uk.

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Library Site Is the entrance to the library accessible? Are adapted toilet facilities available? Are any of the collections inaccessible?
UCL Main Library Yes; Access is via the side gate next to the information point. Please ask at the information point for details. Yes, on the second floor, in between the Law and History sections and at the South Junction near the SEnIT suite. French (P214-P218 & B75 BAD- C1CAB), Ancient History (R64 Par-S17 PIC), Spanish (Spanish X2 225 LAN- Catalan CG TER & F6 DAO-F245), Italian (G55CAV- G330 & DD120 SIN – DD257 RAF & B2 GRA- B2 ZIA), English (XR 245 – XS 249 & WOL-SHO) , Scandinavian, Swedish, Norwegian, Icelandic, Danish, German periodicals, Scandinavian periodicals, English periodicals, German (A – N), German Quartos, German Folios, Germanic, Humanities periodicals, British History, Dutch, Celtic, Paleography, Romance periodicals, Law (Journal of law and commerce – Journal of business law), Linguistic Quartos, Linguisitc Periodicals, Linguistic ( A1 – L5), Art (QB5 – TK) Phonetic, Economic Quartos, Economic Reports, Economic Periodicals , Economic Books (Y70 RAJ- Y70 ZAR).
UCL Science Library Yes, access is via the side gate next to the entrance turnstiles. Please ask the Library attendants for assistance. Yes, on 3rd and 4th Floor landing areas Theoretically none
UCL Cruciform Library Yes Yes, near library entrance Theoretically none
UCL Institute of Archaeology Library Yes, via rear entrance Yes, on ground floor of the Institute building Theoretically none
UCL Institute of Neurology, Queen Square Library The entrance is temporarily inaccessible while the building is refurbished. Work is expected to last approximately 5-6 weeks, starting in the week beginning 18th July 2011. During this time, alternative access to the library can be arranged. Please contact the Institute of Neurology / Library Disability Officer for further details No The journals collection is on a raised platform and therefore not accessible to wheelchair users
UCL Library Services Special Collections Yes, via rear entrance. Please mention that you wish to use this entrance when booking your appointment. No All access to collections is by staff retrieval only.
UCL School of Pharmacy Yes. The Library is on the first floor but a lift is available. Yes, on the first floor near the Library. Theoretically yes. Staff are available to assist.

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Additional Library services and facilities for users with a disability

Perhaps more than other equivalent organisations, libraries rely upon a large number of standard procedures and rules to operate efficiently and fairly. We are aware, however, that standard procedures rigidly applied do have the potential to discriminate against people with a disability. Below is an alphabetical list of some examples of the additional services we offer to users (both UCL members and external visitors) who may benefit from a more flexible approach. The list also includes details of other useful facilities available and how to access them.

Service What the Service does What is required to get the service
Access for Study Assistants or Carers An assistant or carer is given free access even if they are not registered as a UCL student or staff member For one day only: none, but please inform library attendants and register at the issue desk.
For longer periods: please contact the Library's Head of Membership (matthew.reynolds@ucl.ac.uk) to arrange a long term access card.
Alternative Format Information Leaflets Library information leaflets are available in large print, braille and MS Word formats. Please send a request stating what you require to the Library's Disability Officer at matthew.reynolds@ucl.ac.uk
Catalogue terminals with large format keyboards Library Catalogue terminals with large format keyboards and key guards to assist those with fine motor control difficulties are available at the following Library Sites:
  • UCL Bartlet Library
  • UCL Cruciform Library
  • UCL Institute of Archaeology Library
  • UCL Institute of Orthopaedics Library
  • UCL LASS Library
  • UCL Main Library
  • UCL Royal Free Library
  • UCL Science Library
  • UCL Special Collections
  • UCL SSEES Library
The adapted machines are freely available in the catalogue areas for each library. Please ask a member of Library Services staff if you are not sure of the location of the adapted machines.
Catalogue terminals with large screens Library Catalogue terminals with large screen monitors to assist users with visual impairments are available at the following Library Sites:
  • UCL Bartlet Library
  • UCL Cruciform Library
  • UCL Institute of Archaeology Library
  • UCL Institute of Orthopaedics Library
  • UCL LASS Library
  • UCL Main Library
  • UCL Royal Free Library
  • UCL Science Library
  • UCL Special Collections
  • UCL SSEES Library
The adapted machines are freely available in the catalogue areas for each library. Please ask a member of Library Services staff if you are not sure of the location of the adapted machines.
Computing Facilities Access to reserved facilities in the SEnIT Suite, South Junction. Facilities include scanners, text-to-voice and mind-mapping software, plus suitable furniture and fixtures. Users must register with the UCL Disability Centre. This service is only available to current UCL Staff and Students.
Extended Loan Periods One week loan items are issued for two weeks Users must register with the UCL Disability Centre and agree for them to release the information to the Library Disability Officer. Please note that overdue fines still apply if items are returned later than the revised due date. This service is only available to current UCL Staff and Students.
Fetches Items are retrieved and held at the preferred issue desk for the user to collect. Requests should be submitted to the Library's Disabilities Officer at matthew.reynolds@ucl.ac.uk Requests should, ideally, be submitted a minimum of one working day in advance - delays in organising items for collection may occur if requests are submitted directly to issue desks.
Induction loops Fixed induction loops are in operation at Main Library Issue Desk, Main Library Information Point, Science Library Assistance Desk and UCL School of Pharmacy. Portable induction loops are available for use at Bartlett, Cruciform, Institute of Archaeology, LASS, Royal Free, RNID / Laryngology, Special Collections and SSEES libraries. Fixed induction loop systems should be in operation at all times. Please speak to a member of staff if the system does not appear to be operating to ensure it is active. Portable induction loops are held at the relevant desks and people requiring this assistance should feel free to ask Library Staff to use the equipment when it is needed. Please note: if you have a hearing impairment that means you require the assistance of an induction loop but the site you use most regularly is not listed above, please contact Library's Disabilities Officer at matthew.reynolds@ucl.ac.uk to discuss possible long term re-deployment of one of the available systems at the relevant site.
Issue of reference items for use in SEnIT Suite Reference-only items are issued for short periods (no more than one day) to allow users to use the facilities in the SEnIT Suite. Users must be registered for borrowing rights from UCL Library Services. Users must register with the UCL Disability Centre and agree for them to release the information to the Library Disability Officer. For access to SEnIT suite, see entry for computing facilities. This service is only available to current UCL Staff and Students.
Orientation Tours Staff provide one to one tours and orientation sessions for the required library Please contact the Library's Disabilities Officer at matthew.reynolds@ucl.ac.uk to arrange an appointment, mentioning which library you wish to visit.
Photocopying assistance Staff provide one to one demonstrations of how to use the photocopiers, including how to enlarge text. Although photocopying assistants are stationed in both the UCL Main and UCL Science Libraries, it is a good idea to arrange these sessions in advance by emailing photocopying@ucl.ac.uk.
Postal Loans Requested items are posted to the user's home address. Users must be registered for borrow rights from UCL library and the item in question must be borrowable (ie. not reference only). Users must register with the UCL Disability Centre and agree for them to release the information to the Library Disability Officer. Requests should then be submitted to the Library Disability Officer at matthew.reynolds@ucl.ac.uk for processing. Please note normal loan periods and overdue charges still apply.
Reading lists and database searches Staff provide one-to-one demonstrations on how to use catalogues and e-resources or can perform searches for you, depending on what is required. Requests should be submitted to the Library's Disabilities Officer at matthew.reynolds@ucl.ac.uk. Requests should, ideally, be submitted a minimum of three working days in advance - delays in organising assistance may occur if requests are submitted directly to issue desks.
Visual Magnifiers The UCL Main and UCL Science Libraries have desk-top video magnifiers (with colour filters).
Hand held lenses are available from the following issue desks:
UCL Cruciform Library, UCL Language & Speech Science Library, UCL Institute of Archaeology Library, UCL Institute of Neurology Library, UCL Institute of Orthopaedics Library, Royal Free Library
UCL Main and UCL Science Library video magnifiers: It may be worthwhile contacting the relevant issue desk in advance to book the equipment to ensure its availability.
The other listed UCL Library Services Issue Desks have hand-held lens magnifiers.
Hand held lenses: no advanced booking needed.

We are always looking to add to this list and welcome further suggestions and feedback. Please contact the Library's Disabilities officer to make suggestions, ask for information or if you have any individual requirements not covered here.

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Useful contacts

Matthew Reynolds, Head of Membership / Library Disability Officer, UCL Main Library, 020 76797110, matthew.reynolds@ucl.ac.uk.

Contact details for the College Disabilities Office are:

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Last modified 17 September 2013

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