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Biological Sciences at Cambridge: Accessibility and Support

Accessibility and Support

The Biological Sciences Libraries Team is committed to providing a service based on equality, diversity and inclusion values. One of the ways in which we work towards providing a more accessible range of services and spaces for our diverse range of users is through collaborating with other teams around the University. These collaborations include working with the Disability Resource Centre, the University Information Services, the Equality and Diversity team, the Cambridge Centre for Teaching and Learning, as well as the Cambridge Students' Union.

We have included some of the services that we either contribute to or wish to highlight below.

Cambridge Libraries Accessibility Service

The Cambridge Libraries Accessibility Service was established in November 2020 and is based at the University Library.

The service works across the Cambridge University Libraries network to ensure that library users have equal access to services and resources regardless of their accessibility needs. The service also works closely with other key areas of the university such as the Disability Resource Centre. 

For more information about how we can support you in accessing resources, please either contact your college or departmental library, or visit the dedicated Cambridge Libraries Accessibility Service guide for details and further contacts.

The Cambridge Libraries Accessibility Service has a curated wellbeing reading list with lots of online resources on a wide range of themes such as mental health, gender identities, and race. To make suggestions about new additions to this list, please contact the Ebooks Team to make a recommendation

Reading Lists Online

The Biological Sciences Libraries Team is working towards ensuring that all undergraduate teaching reading lists are available online through our Reading Lists Online service. Launched in 2020 across the triposes that are taught within the School of Biological Sciences, Reading Lists Online provides quick and easy access to online resources as well as information about where to get something that is kept on a physical library shelf in Cambridge.

Where something is not available online, we endeavour to either purchase a version that is or make scans available so that students can keep learning with as few barriers as possible.

We also use features of Reading Lists Online such as tagging to highlight if a resource is available online, if it is essential reading, as well as if a scan is available. Often members of the team will get access to reading recommendations at the same time as students when they are uploaded onto Moodle, so there might occasionally be a slight delay in new content being added to Reading Lists Online.

Cambridge Information Literacy Network

The Cambridge Information Literacy Network (CILN) was formed in 2018 and is made up of a library staff from across the University of Cambridge, all of whom are working towards developing and providing services and teaching based around the CILN Framework.

This framework has formed the basis for multiple projects including the CamGuide for Undergraduates and CamGuide for Masters students which helps those who are new to Cambridge get to grips with the weird and wonderful world of Cambridge itself as well as developing skills to help them with their studies.

The Biological Sciences Libraries Team have contributed to multiple CILN projects, such as the initial development of the CILN Framework, a dedicated programme of teaching for the Natural Sciences Tripos, developing critical reading workshops for sciences students, as well as advising on a funded widening participation project in collaboration with the Cambridge Centre for Teaching and Learning.

 

Keeping in touch

The Biological Sciences Libraries Team is made up of a diverse group of people and we are always looking for new ways to develop and improve our services for our various communities. You can always get in touch to talk to us about how we can better support you during your time at Cambridge. 

If you are a disabled student, the Disability Resource Centre (DRC) is a great source of support. Whether you need support for a short period, or for the duration of your studies, the DRC Advisors will be able help you. The DRC works with any student who experiences barriers in accessing education due to having or being considered to have an impairment. This can include, but is not limited to, unseen impairments and mental health conditions. 

The University Counselling Service has a range of self-help materials to assist anyone who may need them. There is also the option to speak to a trained and accredited counsellor or therapist should you need to. The team also has specialist counsellors including a BME counsellor and several Mental Health Advisors. 

The Cambridge Students' Union provides many opportunities to connect with people with similar interests to you through their extensive list of societies. The Student Union also has several sabbatical officers who dedicate their time to key areas of the student experience. There are also many Student Union campaigns to get involved with including the BME Campaign, the LGBT+ Campaign and the Ethical Affairs Campaign.

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