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Cambridge libraries: accessibility & disability

A guide to library accessibility services for students

About assistive technology

If you have been using assistive technology for some time, you will probably have established your software/hardware preferences. However, you might be new to assistive technology and looking for some pointers. Or you might need to use assistive software or hardware available in the libraries. This page gives further information about the options available to you.

Assistive technology available in libraries

The University Library (UL) has two PCs running Dolphin Supernova and Dragon Professional Speech-to-Text. They are located in two separate private study rooms. To use the PCs you need to email the Libraries Accessibility Service to arrange for your account to be activated. You also need to book one of the study rooms. Further details about the study rooms below:

Inside the Assistive Technology Room. There is a height-adjustable desk, ergonomic chair and PC with monitor and headsetAssistive Technology Room (see photo)

This is a room on the first floor for students registered with the Accessibility & Disability Resource Centre. Book the Assistive Technology Room.

Single Study Room 2

This is a room for any library user. It is part of the South Wing 3 Study Hub. Access is via Beta lift to the third floor. Book Single Study Room 2.

 

College libraries and faculty/departmental libraries may provide some assistive hardware and software. They often have information on their provision on their websites. Find library websites via the Cambridge Libraries Directory.

Accessibility & Disability Resource Centre

The Accessibility & Disability Resource Centre (ADRC) manages the process of needs assessments for disabled students which can recommend assistive technology. They may also be able to provide some training. For further information see the Assistive Technology section of the ADRC website.

Free assistive technology & productivity tools

Most commonly used software such as office products and web browsers have in-built accessibility functionality, or available extensions and plug-ins which are free.

There is also a wide variety of productivity tools available free of charge, which, as well as supporting people with disabilities, can improve the digital experience for all. A good place to start exploring is the DnA (Diversity and Ability) database of productivity tools (note that not all listed tools are free). The University of Cambridge Accessibility & Disability Resource Centre often recommends DnA to students.

You might find some useful ideas to help your productivity and screen use in the Cambridge University Libraries LibGuide on Reading on screens. This guide includes some suggestions for free text-to-speech tools and audio converters.

My Computer My Way

AbilityNet offers useful information about free adjustments you can make to your computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone to make it easier to use via their My Computer My Way service. My Computer My Way gives practical tips under the headings of Vision, Hearing, Motor and Cognitive and offers a free email and telephone help service.

Information out of date?

This page last updated June 19th 2024

Information about buildings, services and facilities can go out of date quickly. If you discover any incorrect information on any of the websites linked from this page, please send us an email. We will contact the site owners and ask them to update their pages.

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