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Accessibility and Disability Resource Centre


Contact Details

West Road,
Cambridge, CB3 9DR
01223 333 000
01223 333 160

Access Issues

Mr Colin Clarkson, Disability Liaison Officer
01223 333 016
01223 333 160

Location, Services and Transport


West Road, opposite entrance to Sidgwick Site. Robinson, Selwyn, Wolfson, and the back gates of Trinity, St. John's, Clare and King's Colleges are nearby.


Queen's Road, Grange Road and West Road are all becoming increasingly busy at peak times, but speed is restricted and there are speed humps in place on the site.

Services and shops

Accessible Tea Room within the Library serving drinks, snacks and lunches. Open 9am–5pm Monday to Friday and 10am–2pm Saturday.


Vehicle entrance via West Road. Four disabled bays opposite front entrance in main car park. Two further bays in smaller car park on left, at the top of the drive. Some pay and display parking on West Road.

Other transport options

There are stops for the Whippet bus company's U(niversal) service at the bottom of the Library Drive

Opening hours

Opening hours vary. Generally open 9am–7.15pm Monday to Friday and 9am–5pm Saturday. Some rooms open to 10pm during Easter Full Term. Closed over Easter, August Bank Holiday Monday, Christmas and New Year.

General Information

The main library of the University and a national legal deposit library, with a huge collection of manuscripts and of books, journals, maps and printed music published worldwide. The Library also subscribes to thousands of electronic resources. There is an Exhibition Centre with regular exhibitions and an accessible Tea Room serving snacks and lunches. Disabled access to the Library is improving continually and many arrangements can also be made to help individual readers. Please feel free to contact the Disability Liaison Officer to discuss your needs.


No smoking anywhere in the building.

Medical facilities

First aiders in the building during office hours. There is a Sick Room on floor 1.

Emergency procedures

Evacuation chairs fitted on main staircases.

Physical Access


Covered platform lift to left of main entrance steps, with push-button automatic doors. Push-button automatic door into Entrance Hall. The Entrance Hall is half-way between the ground and first floors and staff will escort you to the first floor via the Tower lift. There is a clearly marked bell by the Tower lift on the first floor for summoning assistance on the way down. Note that the Tower lift is small and not suitable for large wheelchairs or buggies and that it cannot be used for floors other than the Entrance Hall and first floor.

Ramped access to the Library for larger wheelchairs and buggies is also available 9am–5.45pm Monday to Friday, via the staff/goods entrance at the West Road end of the building. There is a porter on duty and a large lift nearby giving access to the ground floor and floors 1 to 4.

Number of floors

Seven floors in total, including ground floor. Fewer floors in some parts of the building. The majority of reading rooms and service points are on floor 1.

Lifts and stairs

Nine lifts. Two are huge, but only reach floor 4. Smaller lifts reach all floors, but may be difficult for wheelchairs. The lift from Entrance Hall to floor 1 is very small, but an alternative route to that level can be arranged - see above.

Reading rooms

The main reading rooms are spacious and have fixed tables and moveable chairs. The Mauscripts Reading Room on floor 3 has a height-adjustable desk; a second can be deployed where required. Some bookshelves in the open stacks can be cramped, often 63cm wide. Staff from the main Reading Room will collect open access books as necessary, if requested either in person or via email.

Other rooms

The Assistive Technologies Room, adjacent to the main Reading Room on floor 1, has ergonomic chairs, three heigh-adjustable desks, scanner, specialist computer keyboards, Trackball mouse and other equipment (see Visual impairments).

The Morison Room, for meetings, seminars and user education sessions, is located on the ground floor and accessible via the exhibition centre or staff-only areas of the building. Please arrange in advance.

Computer facilities

Network PCs are available in a number of locations with the greatest concentration in the West Room in floor 1. Two low-level catalogue computers in the North Reading Room off the Catalogue Hall on floor 1. Laptops allowed. Wireless internet is available in many parts of the building. Staff and students of the University of Cambridge access wireless network using their Raven password. Other readers may do so using a UniOfCam visitor ticket, available from staff in the main Reading Room.


Disabled toilets on floor 1 (near General Enquiries Helpdesk, Munby Rare Books Reading Room and Assistive Technologies Room) floor 3 (near Manuscripts Reading Room and in SW corner, and in the Exhibition Centre.

Common rooms

Self-service Tea Room on floor 1, spacious, with moveable chairs. Serves drinks, snacks and lunches. Can get busy at lunchtimes. Outside courtyard with benches near tea room.

Exhibition Centre

Exhibition Centre accessible via separate entrance to right of main steps. Small bell for assistance, but it is best to arrange in advance. Disabled toilet inside.


  • Lockers are down several steps. Bags and coats are not allowed in the library, so please ask the Entrance Hall staff to look after your bag.
  • Requests for special arrangements regarding, for example, borrowing rights, proxy borrowers and book fetching should be directed to Mr Colin Clarkson, Disability Liaison Officer.

Visual Impairments

Assistance dogs

Guide and other assistance dogs are allowed.

Computer facilities

Assistive Technologies Room contains a PC with large monitor and scanner. PC runs Dolphin Supernova magnification and screen-reading software. Please ask for assistance.

Large print, Braille and audio

Large print information provided on prior request. Some large print books but no Braille or audio. Coloured paper available for photocopying and printing.

Library and magnification equipment

Individual lights on most desks in reading rooms. Lights in open stacksmostly operate on a timer basis. Daylight lamps available in the Assistive Technologies Room. Magnifying glasses available in most reading rooms from staff. Self-service multi function devices (photocopier/scanner/printer) are available in several locations on floor 1. Self-service photography is permitted within copyright limites and on completion of an application form in an of the reading rooms.

Signs and wayfinding

Little special directional signage. Small spine labels on volumes. The building is very large and rather a warren, so ask for help in fetching books, if needed.


  • CCTV reader available in Assistive Technologies Room and in Munby Rare Books Reading Room.
  • Other assistive technology or lighting can be acquired, if needed. Please speak to the Disability Liaison Officer about the possibilities.
  • Touch-readable buttons in some lifts.

Hearing Impairments

Induction loops

Currently under review


  • Vibrating alarm pager for hearing impaired readers is available from the Reader Services Desk in the Entrance Hall.
  • The reading rooms are large and open plan, so sound does travel. However, noise is discouraged within the library, and most other areas are quiet.

Specific Learning Difficulties and Mental Health Issues

Arrangements can be made to support those with dyslexia, ADD, and other learning difficulties. Please speak to the Disability Liaison Officer about your needs.

Planned Access Improvements

Disabled access is continually under review.

The information on this page is the responsibility of the University Library. The ADRC updates information as it is received from the Library. This page was last updated on 12 May 2017. To ensure the information contained here is current, please check with the University Library.