Senate House Library

Accessibility at SHL

The Library is committed to ensuring that all users are able to take full advantage of our facilities and services.

Library book being stamped

Accessibility at SHL

The Library is committed to ensuring that all users are able to take full advantage of our facilities and services.

Building accessibility

Accessing the Library 

Senate House Library is located on floors 4-7 of Senate House. There is step-free access from the street to the ground floor of Senate House. From there, the Library is accessed by a lift opposite the main Senate House reception desk. 

The Library’s membership and reception desk is located here on the 4th floor. Access into the Library is via card-operated turnstiles to the right of this desk. You can also request to use the staff-operated accessible gate to the left of the membership desk. 

Assistance dogs for guidance are welcome. 


Books and journals are located on floors 4-7. To access the upper floors, there is a lift located outside the North Reading Room, which can take you to floors 5 and 6. 

For lift access for floor 7, please visit the Service Desk on the 4th floor, during staffed hours. We can also fetch items for you from any of the floors on request. Please see our fetch service details below. 


Your Library card can be programmed to open the accessibility doors on the 4th floor. Please ask at the membership desk for your card to be activated. 

Accessible toilets 

An accessible, gender-neutral toilet is located in the Convocation Hall. Please ask at the Library’s Service Desk for the key for this toilet. 

Fire safety

The emergency alarm is a continuous ringing bell. There are currently no visual alarms in the Library. 

In the event of an emergency evacuation, please leave by the nearest exit if you are able to do so. Those who cannot use the stairs should wait by a refuge point. 

Staff will walk around the library to alert users. If you are having difficulty reaching a refuge point, please alert a member of staff. Your presence will be reported to the fire brigade who will enter the building via the stairs to evacuate you. 

AccessAble Guide

View / download the AccessAble guide to Senate House Library (PDF 6MB).

Other AccessAble guides, covering different buildings and areas of the University of London, can be viewed on the building accessibility page of the University of London's website.

Service accessibility

Fetch service 

Books and other items can be fetched for you and brought down to the Service Desk on the 4th floor for collection.

To request a fetch, please email your list to If it is not possible to email us, please call us on 020 7862 8468 or ask at the Service Desk on the 4th floor.

Please help us by giving one day's notice and if possible, pasting the catalogue details of each item into the email.

Proxy borrowers

If you would like to bring an assistant with you, we are happy to provide reference access for them. They can also borrow, return and renew books on your behalf.

To arrange this, please provide a letter or email stating that you give the proxy borrower permission to use your account. They will need to visit the Membership desk with:

  1. A statement granting them permission to use your account
  2. Photo ID (such as a passport or driving licence)
  3. Proof of address (an original document such as a utility bill)

You may wish to email in advance so that we can alert the Membership Team. This will help speed things up.

Extended loans

Extended loans must be requested by your college disability unit or learning support officer. They should email a request directly to

With extended loans:

  • A regular 4 week loan becomes a 6 week loan
  • A short 2 week loan becomes a 3 week loan
  • A 1 week loan becomes a 10 day loan
  • A 3 day loan becomes a 5 day loan
  • A 2 day loan becomes a 3 day loan

Book returns by post 

We are happy to accept items returned by post. We recommend they are sent by Recorded Delivery. Once we receive the books at the library, they will be removed from your account.

Please return books to: Book Returns, Senate House Library, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU. Email for further information.

Specialist equipment and software

Height adjustable desks and desk chairs

Height-adjustable desks are available at the following locations: 

  • 4th floor Service Hall
  • 4th floor North Reading Room
  • 5th floor Centre
  • 6th floor South 

Adjustable desk chairs are located throughout floors 4-6. Please ask at the Service Desk if you cannot locate one. 

Photocopiers and paper

Photocopiers are located around the Library at the following locations: 

  • 4th floor Service Hall – 3 photocopiers 
  • 5th floor Centre
  • 6th floor, outside the Accessibility Suite

Your Library card doubles as a printing card. You can add credit at the Service Desk in the Service Hall on the 4th floor. 

All photocopiers have an enlarging function that may help if you have a visual impairment.

If you find it useful to read from coloured paper, staff at the Service Desk can supply paper in a range of colours for use in the photocopiers.

Induction loops

Fixed and portable hearing induction loops are available in the Service Hall. Please inform a member of staff if you would like one used.

Other equipment

We can also provide: 

  • Headphones
  • Orthopaedic back rests
  • Coloured paper

Please let us know if there is any equipment not mentioned here that would be useful for you. 

Accessibility Suite

The Library’s Accessibility Suite is a bookable room on the 6th floor of the Library for the use of assistive software. More information is on our Accessibility Suite page.  


Please note that your discussions with Library staff are confidential. However, it may be necessary to store information on your record (with your permission) or to share information with a third party in order to make adjustments to the service and to prevent you from repeatedly having to explain your needs to different staff.

Contact us

Our Accessibility Support Team may be reached at: | 020 7862 8468.

For general support in the Library ask at the Service Desk, or call 020 7862 8460 if you are outside the Library.