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Students with Additional Needs: Information for Students with Additional Needs

Library services and facilities for students with SENs.


Below is information about the Library as it relates to students with additional needs.  If you have a question or query please contact librarian Rose Roberto on 01522 583759 or at

For more general queries about university provision for students with additional needs, the Student Advice department is located just inside the entrance to the Cornerstone Building.  Drop in and speak to them in person during office hours or contact them at:

E-mail: | Tel: 01522 583600 | Website: | Twitter: @BGstudentadvice 

There is also lots of useful information about accessibility tools and support on Blackboard under FAQs - Tools to Support Effective Learning.

Accessibility Services

In order to be eligible for one or more of the four services listed below you must have undergone an individual needs assessment with Student Advice and, as a result, have been formally recommended to us for the service in question by the Student Advice team.  All services are available on a permanent or temporary basis.

  1. 24 Hour Collection: this service allows you to request books which the library team will gather for you ready for you to collect within 24 hours. See below for terms & conditions.
  2. Extended loans: this service allows you to borrow one-week loans for an extended period (up to 3 weeks at a time). 
  3. Personal Assistance: If you have a Personal Assistant to help you with your daily needs, and especially if you find it difficult to get to the Library in person, your Personal Assistant can borrow books on your behalf.
  4. Bookshare: this service, provided by the RNIB, allows you to request accessible copies of books via an online platform. 

Using the building

Library Services is located in the Cornerstone Building.  The building is on two floors and is fully accessible. A lift is provided and both floors have accessible toilet facilities.

There is a rest room in the building foyer, which is available for private use, as appropriate.

In the event of an emergency evacuation there are wheelchair refuge points at the top of both stairwells and at the first floor fire escape at the north end of the building.  Fire alarms flash red when activated.

All shelving units are six shelves high.  Higher shelves are therefore likely to be out of reach for wheelchair users, however a phone call to us in advance of your visit will ensure that there is help available should you need it.

Facilities are provided for individual, group, computer-based and silent study.  Lunchtime is the busiest part of the day.  It is usually quieter in the evenings and at weekends.

Returning Loans

If you have difficulty returning library loans please let us know.  If you return items by post we recommend that you ask for a postage receipt.  Please note that there are no concessions associated with the accruing of library fines, unless by agreement with the Head of Student Advice.  Fines accrued as a result of an authorised absence (e.g. an illness or bereavement) are waived, provided your absence can be confirmed by a tutor.

Assistive equipment & materials

Height adjustable computer workstations are located in the 24/7 IT Suite, Social Study Suite and Silent Study Suite.  The desk handles are kept at the Library Service Desk.

A hearing loop is fitted at the Service Desk.

A lap-top computer stand is located in the Social Study Suite.

A hand-held magnifier, a selection of coloured overlays and a variety of paper colours for printing & photocopying are kept at the Service Desk. The printer/copiers are fitted with adjustable keypads.

A small number of trolley baskets are available to help move books around the Library.

Coloured paper for printing and photocopying can be purchased from BGU's Reprographics Department.

texthelp Read&Write Gold (assistive software)

What is it?:  texthelp Read&Write GOLD is a toolbar designed to assist you with reading and writing. Features include:

  • Text-to-Speech: this screen reader reads all digitized text aloud from Word and PDF documents, emails, websites in a choice of different voices which can be altered by pitch, speed and volume.
  • Text-to-Audio to turn text into audio files, such as MP3.
  • Spell checking.
  • A dictionary 
  • Screen masking to mask all or part of the screen with a colour of your choice.

Where can I find it?: It is available on BGU computers. Go to Start > Texthelp

How do I get started or find out more?: Read the Quick Start Guide at the bottom of this box.  There are also some really helpful video guides on YouTube produced by the Georgian College in Canada about all aspects of setting up and using Read&Write.

Inspiration 9 (assistive software)

What is it?:  Inspiration 9 allows you to create a picture of your ideas and concepts in the form of a diagram or mind map. These can then be converted, at the click of a button, to an outline view for developing your ideas into word documents, presentation slides or handouts.

Who is it for?: It's for all BGU staff and students to use.

Where can I find it?: It is available on BGU computers. Go to Start > Inspiration 9

How do I get started and find out more?: Within Inspiration you will find lots of support and advice on getting started by clicking on the "LEARN TO USE" icon.

There are lots of videos on the Inspiration website and a useful introductory video on YouTube from Freedom of Speech Ltd called Inspiration 9 Mind Mapping Software Overview.

Having a tough time?

Student Advice ( offer a face-to-face Counselling Service. Alternatively, contact BGU's Chaplaincy team ( or the Samaritans (freephone 116123,

There's also Big White Wall®: a free, confidential and anonymous online service that allows you to make contact with a counsellor at any time, night or day.  Go to Big White Wall and join with your BGU email address – it takes 5 minutes and you get immediate access to support.  Importantly, Big White Wall isn’t designed for emergencies or life-threatening situations – in such cases please call 999 to speak to the emergency services.

Medical help

The University has a bank of staff who are qualified to deliver first aid.  If you, or someone else needs first aid please alert a member of the library team.  If an ambulance is needed they can make the call. 

If you can't find a member of staff, or find yourself in an emergency situation off campus, or you are in crisis and need urgent assistance, for emergency medical attention call 999 for the Police and/or Ambulance Service or visit your nearest A&E (in Lincoln this is Lincoln County Hospital). Or, for urgent but non-emergency health concerns make a same-day appointment at your GP or phone the NHS for advice on 111.

A braille text
Multicoloured paper
A disability sign


AbilityNet is a UK Charity which offers a range of services to help students use computers and the internet for their studies.

The section My Computer My Way takes you through procedures to help you make your keyboard and mouse, Windows, the internet and your favourite applications suit both you and your needs.

In addition, AbilityNet offers a wealth of resources and services targeted at students. This is a site well worth checking out.

Audio Books

Librivox : free public domain audiobooks.

RNIB Audiobooks : the Talking Books service is free. Access to over 23,000 fiction and non-fiction books.

Project Gutenberg :a collection of multi-language ebooks. Many classic titles and other formats such as audio books.

Ebook accessibility

The Library subscribes to several ebook collections and some of the providers have produced guidelines for the visually impaired:

EBSCO ebooks: Ebooks and Accessibility FAQs
Ebook Central ebooks: Accessibility Guide

Scanning services

The University is permitted to make and supply to students who have difficulty using printed texts, including those with visual impairments and dyslexia, part or the whole of a book in an alternative format. This is permitted if the University owns a copy of the printed book and provided an accessible copy is not commercially available to buy.  However, it can be a lengthy process, so the sooner we can start the better!  If you think this service would be of use to you speak to staff in the Reprographics Department on the ground floor of the Skinner Building (close to The Snug).

Image attribution

Braille: Braille by Ralph Aichinger on Flickr under a CC-BY-2.0 Creative Commons Licence.
Paint chart: Pseudo-Diversity by Bruce Denis on Flickr under a CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0 Creative Commons Licence.
Wheelchair: Free freshly painted wheelchair parking sign by Pink Sherbert Photography on Flickr under a CC-BY-2.0 Creative Commons Licence.