Skip to main content

Students with Additional Needs: Information for Students with Additional Needs

Library services and facilities for students with SENs.

Accessibility and the Library

Library Services

See below for information about library services as they relate to students with additional needs.  If you have a question or query please contact librarian Janice Morris on 01522 583759 or at

Student Advice

If you have a more general enquiry 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 


Colleagues in the Student Advice department routinely advise us of anyone they believe would benefit from being able to borrow one week loan materials for an extended period (a maximum of 3 weeks). In such instances we will amend your library account accordingly. All other loan periods remain the same. Please be aware that items you borrow may occasionally be reserved by other readers; in such instances you will be unable to renew them.

If you have difficulty getting to the Library your Personal Assistant can borrow books on your behalf.  To do so they will need your library card and a letter from the Head of Student Advice, Phil Davis.

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.  Although we provide some concessions to students with additional needs, 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) will be waived provided the 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. provides information and resources that are designed to be dyslexia friendly and optimised for mobile devices.


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.

Resources in alternate formats

Scanning Service

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 if we own a copy of the original and if an existing version of an alternative format is not already commercially available.  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).

Coloured paper for printing and photocopying can be purchased from the Reprographics Department.

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.

24-hour collection service

The Library's 24-hour Collection Service is available, on a permanent or temporary basis, to students who may find the service beneficial, as recommended to the Library team by the Student Advice department.

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.

Emergency / crisis information

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 University staff.  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, the following services can provide support and advice.

  • If you, or someone you know, needs 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).
  • For urgent but non-emergency health concerns make a same-day appointment at your GP or phone the NHS for advice on 111.
  • If you'd just like to talk to someone there are lots of avenues of support available at the University, including your personal tutor, the Chaplaincy team (01522 583604, and the Student Advice team (01522 585605, If however you'd prefer to speak to someone anonymously, we recommend the Samaritans (freephone 116123,
  • Big White Wall Bishop Grosseteste University students can access support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with Big White Wall. Whether you want to speak to peers or a counsellor, there will be someone there every minute of every day. You can join a supportive online community that is totally anonymous, take part in a group course and take self-assessments. Big White Wall is a great source of support outside of normal office hours and means you can get support when our services are closed, including evenings, weekends and outside of term time. Go to to join with your BGU email address – it takes 5 minutes and you have immediate access to support.  


texthelp Read&Write Gold (assistive software)

What is it?:  texthelp Read&Write GOLD is an easy to use toolbar designed to assist students with their 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 File: Turns text into an audio file, such as an MP3.
  • Spell Checking: Easily check your document for spelling errors.
  • Dictionary: Provides definitions and alternative words. Basic, Advanced and Online Dictionaries
  • Screen Masking: Masks out all or part of the screen with a colour of your choice.

Who is it for?: It is available to be used by all students and staff.

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

How do I get started and find out more?: Check out IT Services' Quick Start Guide (link at the bottom of the box) or the official support page.  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 (assistive software)

What is it?:  Inspiration 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

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.

Inspiration provide a Quick Start Guide and there is also a useful introductory video from Freedom of Speech Ltd called Inspiration 9 Mind Mapping Software Overview.

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