Disability Services Support for Library Users

The Library is committed to ensuring that all students can make full use of its services and collections. This guide is intended as a general outline of Library facilities and services that are available at the Albert Sloman Library for people who have a disability or a specific learning difficulty.

Library staff are happy to help readers and these notes highlight aspects of our service that may be tailored to your needs. At the start of the year the Student Support Office supplies the Library with a list of staff and currently registered students who have given permission to register that they have individual needs, and this list is updated as necessary throughout the year.


Entrance to the library is via automatic doors from the Student Centre and Square 5 side of the library. There is a lift situated behind the paternoster lift which you can use to access all floors.

Library tours

Student Ambassadors and library staff offer library tours at the beginning of the academic year. If you miss them or wish to have a more detailed tour directed to your specific needs please contact Mary Pelowski, maryp@essex.ac.uk .

You may find that the Orientation Aids tour available from the Library web site covers your requirements although the introduction was recorded before the recent changes to the ground floor and landings. These guides can be found by clicking on the link for 'Tour' in the band at the top of the Library web page http://libwww.essex.ac.uk/ 

Short loan

Short loan books are issued during the day for 4 hour periods and may be read outside the Library during this period. They may be borrowed overnight, from 4.30 p.m. until 10 a.m. the next working day for students with recorded individual needs.

They must be returned to the Library for renewal as we cannot guarantee that a renewal will always be possible. However if there is a problem with returning the item ring our helpdesk to discuss options.

If you use the online booking system, this facility will ensure that a book is available for you at a specific time. It cannot take account of the additional entitlement for overnight loans which is available for students with individual needs, so please ask staff at the Service Desk to help with overnight bookings.


Books may be renewed by telephone on (01206) 873192 at the following times: Term : Monday - Friday 9 am - 9.40 pm / Saturday 9 am - 5.40 pm / Sunday 2 pm - 6.40 pm | Vacation : Monday - Friday 9 am - 5.10 pm. Alternatively you can ring or ext. 3182 (01206 873182) outside of ordinary renewal times and ask for Mary Pelowski.

 You may fax a request to the Library to renew your books. The number is 01206 872289 and the request must be made between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. for the renewal to be made on that day.

If you have trouble getting through do try again later or email us at circmail@essex.ac.uk or libline@essex.ac.uk . If a book has been recalled by another student it will not be possible to renew it, by telephone or otherwise.

Library Notices

The Library uses email facilities as its default means of communication. If you do not find this convenient please let us know and we will explain the alternatives to you. For any queries about books that you have on loan e-mail us at circmail@essex.ac.uk . We aim to deal with all messages within 24 hours.

There is also a general comments email address at libline@essex.ac.ukwhich you may want to use for general Library queries or comments. Please also contact Mary Pelowski with any specific problem that does not fall within these categories and especially any concerning your special needs, e-mail maryp@essex.ac.uk

Reader Places

There are over 1,500 reading places throughout the Library, some of which have been specifically designed for people with special requirements. The Large Reading Room on the entrance level is a particularly useful area for wheelchair users.

CCTV Magnifier

In the Large Reading Room on the entrance level there is a CCTV magnifier MyReader for people with sight difficulties. If you need help using this ask for Mary Pelowski at the Help Desk on the ground floor.

Photocopying / PRINTING / SCANNING facilities

There are multi functional devices on all floors of the library. They are self service machines and you will need your registration/campus card in order to tap to log in to your printer account. All are able to enlarge print. If you receive help with the cost of copying and printing you will be able to see any credits that you have made on your PaperCut account.

In addition to these devices there is a scanner available in the Large Reading Room for public use. It is at the far end of the room on the left hand side. The PC next to it contains the software that you need to use it and the instructions on how to use it.

A further scanner is available on the First Floor please ask a member of staff on the Help Desk on the ground floor about using this. This scanner has OCR software to convert print to digital text

Monitor Arms

Adjustable monitor arms are installed on one PC workstation on each floor of The Library. Monitor arms permit adjustment of the height of the monitor as well as of the user's viewing and focal distance from the screen. Positioning the monitor screen at the correct viewing height eliminates strain to the neck and upper back of the user, as well accommodating users seated at different heights, for example in a wheelchair.

Assistive Software


Installed on all public computers in The Library. Zoomtext is a fully integrated magnification and screen reading program that can enlarge, enhance and read out all on-screen information. This software enables large print users to magnify the contents of their computer screen, and listen to it read out in synthetic speech at the same time.

TextHELP! Read & Write

TextHELP! Read & Write software aims to assist users with dyslexia or other difficulties which affect their English reading and writing abilities. It is a vocabulary support package which talks, types, checks spellings, and can even predict what the user wishes to type. TextHELP! Read & Write can be used with word processors, spreadsheets, databases, email and Internet. It provides a simple toolbar that "floats" on top of any open application waiting to provide assistance when called upon. Click here for more information.

Collection service

If you have difficulty finding books and other materials members of the Library staff will be happy to fetch them for you to collect from the Service Desk on the ground floor. Please let us have a list of items in advance as we may not be able to collect at certain times of the day or at the weekend. See contact details below or talk to anyone on the Service or Help Desk on the ground floor.

For those students whose disability may prevent them coming to the Library easily, arrangements can be made for books to be collected and borrowed on their behalf by a friend or colleague. Please contact circmail@essex.ac.uk if you would like to nominate someone to do this for you.


If you have a helper to support your study needs they are entitled to a library borrowing card in their own right.


Are located on the ground floor and on each floor of the library in the library extension area.


The Library welcomes comments from all students and staff about the service offered, and we would be particularly pleased to receive suggestions from those with individual needs – e-mail libline@essex.ac.uk.


The University of Essex
Wivenhoe Park
+44 (0) 1206 873192