Thursday, 14 January 2016

Library services for staff and students with disabilities

Jack Coppack outlines recent improvements to the services we offer to support Library users with disabilities.

When it comes to improving the accessibility of our services to staff and students with disabilities, we are aware that we can always be doing more. Already this year, we have upgraded a number of our services based on your feedback. Whilst we are constantly striving to meet expectations of accessibility, we wanted to share some of our successful (and ongoing) improvements.

Hearing Loops: All of our public contact points in the Library are now equipped with hearing loops. The system is able to wirelessly amplify conversations whilst reducing background noise for users with hearing aids.

Accessible Entry to Library: In addition to the disabled parking spaces available in the Library car park, we have also changed the process for entering via the accessible entrance at the rear of the Morrell. Now, staff and students who've registered their disability with us will be able to independently access the building using their University cards. All of our registered users with disabilities are also able to bypass the turnstile system in the main foyer and use the central accessible gate. This access point scans the chip in your university card, negating the need to hold the barcode directly onto a scanner. If you need to register yourself as having a disability, please speak to the Library & IT Help Desk, who will be more than happy to help you.

Library Catalogue Terminals: We have updated and modernised the browsers on Library catalogue terminals to include additional accessibility options.

Library Tours (ongoing): 1-to-1 tours of the Library are offered to all our registered disabled students. As part of this tour, we are working towards including further details about our IT support services for disabled users.

Visual Impairment Support (ongoing): We dedicate a lot of time to creating accessible reading material in suitable electronic formats for our rapidly growing community of visually impaired students. Currently, we are working with a range of people across the University to improve the process and communication around this service and to ensure that it delivers a high quality and timely service.

Whilst we are pleased with our progress so far, we never want to rest on our laurels! We thrive off your feedback to tell us how we can improve our services. We have an established Information Services Disability Group which meets on a termly basis. Membership includes people from Disability Services, Equality and Diversity Office, YUSU and GSA as well as selection of our own staff and it is an effective way for us to discuss your suggestions and implement structured, enterprising plans of action.

Please have your say and help us to better ourselves by contacting us with feedback and/or suggestions at, or by filling out a comment card in one of the Library buildings.

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