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Information for students with a disability  

Last Updated: Jun 7, 2017 URL: Print Guide Email Alerts

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Information for users with a disability

The Libraries are located at the heart of each campus, and you will find the full range of library spaces for you to read, think, write, collaborate and learn. From quiet to silent, from collaborative to social, you'll be able to find the right library space, whether you want to focus, free from distraction or work as part of a group. All three Libraries have full wifi coverage and provide self-service laptops as well as PCs, printers, scanners and copiers.

The Library provides a comprehensive digital and print collection to support your learning, comprising over 550,000 print books, over 822,000 ebooks and in excess of 108,000 online journals and print journals. You can find what you need through Library Search.

City Campus Library is open 24/7 during term-time, and the other Libraries also operate generous opening hours, which can vary throughout the year to meet demand for space and support. Ask4Help are available to provide support at all times when the Libraries are open.

You can access a comprehensive range of help and support through the links below, but if you can't find the information just Ask4Help. If you are registered with the University's Student Support and Wellbeing Service, then the Library may be able to offer you additional borrowing privileges and personalised support to help you succeed in your studies.

What do you want to know?

How do I get the support I need?

The University's Student Support and Wellbeing Service is here to support you throughout your time at Northumbria and they can arrange for any specialist support that you may require, so please contact them in the first instance.

If you have any Library enquiries then Ask4Help are available 24/7 during term-time to give advice and guidance in person on campus, by telephone on 0191 227 4646 or by emailing; they can also provide support and advice on a wide range of other services and support including careers, student finance, counselling, immigration and more.Ask4Help

The Library offers a variety of additional services to support students with disabilities, and details of these are given below. In order to use these services you must be registered with the University’s Disability Support Team, as they liaise with the Library on your behalf and will arrange for you to use the services that will meet your specific needs.The services that we offer include:

  • We may be able to retrieve items from the shelves for you to collect or they can be posted to you.
    • If you need us to collect items on your behalf you can either complete a request form, or you can place requests on available items via Library Search. This service is available Monday – Friday, and you must allow 1 working day from placing the request to the items being made available to you; you will receive an when the items are ready for collection. Whilst we would try to provide support and assistance outside of core hours, this may not always be possible due to staffing levels.  You can also use this same service to request that the Library send you the books you require via a postal loan.  We send the items out free of charge, but you would need to pay the postage when returning items. You can, of course, return items in person to either University Library if you are able, or you could ask someone to do this on your behalf.
  • If you have a support worker or a friend that you would like to collect items on your behalf, please provide that person with a letter of authorisation.
  • We can offer individual tours of the Libraries and facilities.
  • We can offer 1 to 1 training on information retrieval and study skills.
  • We can provide published material in alternative formats by request.
Where are the Libraries?
We have three physical libraries plus a wide range of online resources and services.

City Campus Library
City Campus LibraryThe City Campus Library houses the print collections that support the subjects taught at City Campus. It provides over 1,600 study spaces, including nearly 900 PCs and nearly 150 self-service laptops. City Campus Library is open 24/7 during term-time and Easter vacations. Whenever the Library is open, there are staff on duty to help you, and the Basement Shop is also open, offering a range of snacks, stationery and hot and cold drinks.

Coach Lane Library Coach Lane Library
The Library at Coach Lane houses the print collections that support the health, social work and education courses taught here. It provides nearly 450 study spaces, including over 150 PCs and 50 self-service laptops.

Law Practice Library
City Campus EastThere is also a Law Practice Library at City Campus East, which is located on the first floor of CCE1 next to the Student Law Office. This Library's collection supports students studying the Bar Professional Training Course and the Legal Practice Course. There are nearly 200 study spaces, including over 80 PCs and 30 self-service laptops.

To help you find your University Libraries on campus, follow these links to maps of City Campus and Coach Lane Campus.

All three of our Libraries have generous opening hours, but they can vary so please check here before you visit.

How do I get into the Library?
All of the Libraries are accessible:
  • City Campus - there is an access ramp at the entrance to the Library.
  • Coach Lane Campus - access via the main front door of the Library.
  • Law Practice Library - there is lift access to the Law Practice Collection which is situated on Floor 1 of the Law and Business Building at City Campus East.
  • Reserved parking bays are available at both Campuses.
  • Toilets with wheelchair access are available at all sites.

If you anticipate any access problems or have specific requirements, please contact the Disabilities Adviser, They will be able to advise us on any adjustments that may be required.

If you are a visitor with a disability, please contact prior to your visit to discuss any access requirements.

Where can I find a space to study?

Height adjustable desks are available at all three Libraries, and CCTV enlargers are available for use at both Coach Lane and City Libraries.

We have over 2,200 spaces across our three Libraries, offering a variety of areas to suit different learning styles and needs; the spaces can be categorised as:

Group and social learning spaces (including PCs)

City Campus Library: basement & 1st floor (north wing)

Coach Lane Library: ground floor

Group study rooms

City Campus Library: 1st floor, ground floor & basement

Coach Lane Library: ground floor and 1st floor
Quiet study space (including PCs)

City Campus Library: floors 1 – 6

Coach Lane Library: 1st floor

Law Practice Library
Silent study space (including PCs)

City Campus Library:  6th, 4th & 2nd floors

Coach Lane Library: 2nd floor

Law Practice Library (silent room)

Keyboard-free silent study City Campus Library: 6th floor

Finding a PC
You can follow these links to check PC availability at City Campus West, City Campus East and Coach Lane Campus. Please note that these pages can take a short time to fully load.

All student PCs have access to assistive software, via the Assistive Software menu.

Booking a study room
At Coach Lane Library we have 4 study rooms that can be booked by students, please see staff at the Ask4Help desk with bookings enquiries.

At the City Library we have 11 study rooms and 5 pods that are available for student use, and you can book these online. Some rooms can accommodate just 2 – 3 people and others have space for up to 8 people, the larger ones also have PCs and large digital screens to help with group work.

You can find out more information about the learning spaces in your Libraries here.

How do I find a book?
You can use Library Search to find books and ebooks. You can search for the book title, by author or use keywords.

The Library works in partnership with your module tutors to ensure you have access to the materials you need. As part of this work we purchase material in ebook and print format and we also digitise chapters and articles to ensure that access to key reading list material is easier.

Please see the "How do I get the support I need" section above for details of how we can retrieve books on your behalf. If you’re interested in a resource which isn’t part of our current collection, you can ask us to borrow it for you via the Inter Library Loan service or you can recommend that we purchase it.

You can borrow and return your books using the self-issue machines at City Campus and Coach Lane Libraries, and as a student you can borrow up to 25 items at any one time.You can find a guide on how Dewey Decimal Classification works on Skills Plus.
How do I find a journal article?
As well as books you will need to read other scholarly resources, such as journal literature for your subject. Library Search gives you access to up-to-date scholarly materials including journal articles, newspaper articles, audio-visual material and datasets. 

If you are off-campus, some resources require you to log in with your University username and password (the same username and password you use to log on to University computers and email). A few resources may need a specific username and password, and details of these are provided within an A-Z list of all resources.
How do I access my reading lists?
The University Library’s online Reading List service gives you access to your reading material for your modules. The Library’s Reading List team works in partnership with your module tutors to ensure you have access to the material that you need. You can find an overview of the service and help to get started using it here. If you cannot find your online reading list, you should contact your module tutor.
How do I get online (PCs and Wi-Fi) in the Library?
Library PCs and MacsWe have nearly 1000 PCs, over 200 self-service laptops and Wi-Fi across all our Libraries.Your University username and password are provided in your offer or acceptance letter. They give you access to University networks on and off-campus, email and Library online resources. Password help for Library resources is available from the 'Passwords' section on Skills Plus.

Any information regarding your course will be sent to your University email account so you need to make sure you check it regularly. You can check your email by going to the Student Portal from the University’s homepage, click on the link for Student Email then login with your University username and password.

Off-campus, SimplyWeb, provides access to standard University software, email and U: Drive.

If you have any problems logging in or accessing Wi-Fi, contact the IT helpline.
What equipment do you have to support me?
Within the Libraries and the University the following items are available:
  • Braille embosser - available for visually impaired students. Contact for further information.
  • CCTV enlarger - located on floor 1 of City Campus Library and Coach Lane Campus Library.
  • Height adjustable desks - available at City Campus Library, Coach Lane Library and Law Practice Library.

The University's Disability Service can also provide specific equipment that you need to help you with your studies.
How can I download the software that I need?
All assistive software is available on the student desktop within the Assistive software menu.
What happens if the fire alarm sounds whilst I am in the Library?
As a student with a disability you should have a personal risk assessment or personal emergency evacuation plan (PEEP) for all the buildings on campus that you are likely to use, and this will include the Library. However, in general terms please be aware of the following:
  • In the event of an emergency, the alarm bell will ring. The Library does not have visual alarms, so please be aware of this.
  • Evacuation lifts and intercoms are available on all floors at City Campus Library and evacuation chairs are available at City Campus and Coach Lane Libraries.
  • Students with mobility problems or hearing loss can inform the Ask4Help desk of their arrival and exit from the building. In the event of an emergency, they can alert the Fire Brigade to your presence in the building.
  • CCTV is in operation at all sites.
  • Any staff working on the floors will offer appropriate assistance.
How do I print, copy and scan?
Once you have sent your file to print, you can pick it up using your smartcard at any printer.

Prints and copies are charged at 1p for a single A4 black & white print, 2p for a single A3 black & white print or 5p for a single colour print (A4 or A3). You are only charged for the printing when you release the file from the print queue at the printer itself. You also receive £10 free print credits at the beginning of each year of your course – that’s the equivalent of 1,000 black & white single A4 prints each year.

The printers are multi-functional devices, so can also be used as photocopiers (charged as per printing costs) or as scanners to send documents or files to your email or to another person. IT Services have produced a helpguide on how to use the printers.

You can also find these Library helpguides (and more) on Skills Plus (the Library’s collection of online learning materials).

How to copy in the Library
How can I get started with writing my essay?
The University Library can support you to develop your learning skills on topics such as academic reading, academic writing, referencing and plagiarism. You can get this support embedded in your course, face-to-face through Northumbria Skills Programme or weekly drop-in sessions at City Campus and Coach Lane Libraries, supported by the online learning materials in Skills Plus.

There are numerous guides that can help you with sourcing and organising materials for your essays, and the most relevant guides are given below:

 Plan your academic essay      Prepare your academic essay

Complete and deliver your academic essay
How can I prepare for my exams?
The University Library can support you to develop your learning skills on topics such as academic reading, academic writing, referencing and plagiarism. You can get this support embedded in your course, face-to-face through Northumbria Skills Programme or weekly drop-in sessions at City Campus and Coach Lane Libraries, supported by the online learning materials in Skills Plus.

There are various guides that can help you with exam preparation, including the guide shown below:

Effective Exam Preparation
How can I get started with my dissertation?
The University Library can support you to develop your learning skills on topics such as academic reading, academic writing, referencing and plagiarism. You can get this support embedded in your course, face-to-face through Northumbria Skills Programme or weekly drop- in sessions at City Campus and Coach Lane Libraries, supported by the online learning materials in Skills Plus.

Within Skills Plus there are numerous guides to help you in planning, researching and writing your dissertation, with some key guides also highlighted below:

    Planning your dissertation        Introduction to EndNote       Introduction to Literature                    Reviews
         Dissertation - researching                   and writing
Can I use other libraries?
The SCONUL Access Scheme is a co-operative scheme which enables students to access other universities’ libraries. For most full-time undergraduates this is reference-only access, but other categories of student, such as part-time or distance learners, may be able to borrow materials from other UK academic libraries in the scheme and also access a limited range of computer facilities. You can find out more and apply to join the scheme at the SCONUL website.


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