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Supporting disabled readers: Services for disabled readers

Subjects: Library Guides

Library Inductions

All students are automatically signed up for a library induction by their college or department. Additionally, upon request we can also provide 1-1 inductions for disabled students. If you would like to arrange for a individual induction, please contact a member of staff in your library or email the Disability Librarian

Orientation tours for Oxford University prospective students can be arranged. For more information on these matters, contact the Disability Librarian.

Inaccessible Material

In your library

If you are unable to access some areas of your library, please ask a member of staff and we can fetch materials for you. Your Support Worker/Helper is also welcome in the libraries to collect your materials.

Diverting materials to other Bodleian libraries

If due to your disability you are unable to access one of our libraries to consult reference materials, we may be able to divert the materials to an accessible reading room. If this is the case, please contact the Disability Librarian so we can look at different options. Please allow for at least 48hrs notice to move the books.

Specialist Equipment

CCTV and Magnifying Equipment 

The Bodleian Library has a CCTV machine in the Upper Reading Room of the central Bodleian Library. It also has a MyReader Video Magnifier which can be moved to different parts of the Bodleian Libraries on request. Please email and allow one day for moving and set up.

Da Vinci Pro CCTV/OCR Magnifiers are available in the Social Science Library and Taylor Institution Library. In addition to magnification, the device also has an Optical Character Recognition mode to convert written text into audio speech. Please ask Library Staff for assistance with these devices.

Hearing loop

All Bodleian Libraries have either fixed or portable loops available at enquiry/issue desks. Please ask staff if you would like to use it.

Library toolkit

Additionally, each library has some tools that can help users to access printed information:

  • handheld magnifiers
  • coloured overlays and coloured paper
  • daylight lamps / task lights
  • foam book rests

These are available upon request. Please speak to library staff if you would like to use them.  If you need to use the equipment, please ask a member of staff to show you where it is located or contact the Disability Librarian for further information.

Assistive Technology

Readers are welcome to bring their assistive technology to the libraries.


Extended loan periods

Disabled students may be entitled to extended loan periods in Bodleian Libraries lending collections. If you find this would be beneficial for you, contact staff in your library, the Disability Librarian or the Disability Advisory Service.

Proxy borrowing

We are able to provide proxy borrowing for disabled students who, due to their condition, are unable to visit the library to borrow materials. Using proxy borrowing means that your Support Worker/Non-Medical Helper is able to borrow materials from your account. To arrange for this, contact the Disability Librarian or the Disability Advisory Service.

Resources: Ergonomic furniture and Food & Drink Policies

Height Adjustable Desks and Ergonomic Chairs

Most Bodleian Libraries sites are equipped with height-adjustable desks and ergonomic chairs. They can be manually operated or electric. Please, ask a member of staff where you can find the equipment and how to operate it.

If you require this type of equipment in libraries that do not currently offer such facilities, materials can be diverted to a more accessible Bodleian library.

Click here for details on the furniture available in the Bodleian Libraries. 


Food and Drink 

The Bodleian Libraries allows bottled water to be consumed in libraries and reading rooms (except in the Weston Library). In some libraries, drinks in KeepCups are also permitted. Many libraries have access to common rooms and areas where you may eat and drink. For more information for specific libraries, please search or browse the listings at

If the library you need to study in has no alternative facilities, please speak to the local Disability Liaison Librarian, details online as above.


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