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Accessibility, Fire and Safety Information: Library sites

Information about accessibility, fire and safety at each library site

Southampton Library Services is committed to removing barriers that may prevent students, staff or visitors from making the most of our services. Below are some examples of adjustments that can be made to improve access to Southampton Library Services.

Services accessibility

File and Document accessibility

Building accessibility

Accessibility Statement for the Library website

Services Accessibility

Each library site has a Library Services Accessibility contact listed below who can discuss available support to enable you to make best use of the Library ie bringing materials to you, assisting with printing, etc.
Hartley Library Health Services Library National Oceanographic Library Winchester School of Art

You can keep library material until the due date, unless it is recalled by another customer. If you require a longer loan period or your material has been recalled, please contact the library Help Desk at +44 (0)23 8059 2180Call: +44 (0)23 8059 2180 when it is open, for further assistance.

We can help you by posting library material to an address of your choice or providing scans in various formats of material (copyright permitting). To request a postal loan or digitised document: 1. Login to the online catalogue with your user ID and password and check on the availability of what you need. 2. Select ‘Requests & Document Supply’. 3. Select ‘Request Something From Our Collections or Not in Our Collections’. 4. Supply us with your address (use Comments field) and submit your request.

The help desks in each library offers a service for customers who require assistance which includes accompanying you while you browse, helping you to navigate the book sequence and getting material in advance for you to collect. We advise that you contact the help desk in advance.

University policy states that all customers with a requirement for support with evacuation should have a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP). Your PEEP will give you full instructions on what to do in an emergency. If you are a regular customer of the library, we advise that you to get in touch with the Library Services Accessibility contact to discuss any other needs you may have.

File and Document Accessibility

The library has resources available to all students and researchers to improve accessibility to information. Course content provided on Blackboard can be downloaded in a range of formats. Other digital files can also be converted to other file types that may be more suitable for your use.

Convert PDFs, JPEGs and other files into formats such as text, e-book, audio, braille etc using the Blackboard Ally File Transformer.

More information about this service can be found on the Blackboard Student Guide page.

Conditions of use

You can make an accessible copy if you own the copyright (e.g. it’s your own work), have permission from the copyright holder, if the copyright has expired, or if it’s for someone with a disability. If so you need to agree that:

Building accessibility

The University of Southampton endeavours to ensure that our buildings are accessible to all. However, due to the physical layout some Library sites are not fully accessible to wheelchair users or those with mobility difficulties.

In many cases, this is because there is no safe evacuation route in case of emergencies, other than using the stairs. In the event of a fire, you will hear a loud continuous bell and should leave the building immediately via the nearest fire exit. Only specially adapted lifts should be used during a fire. If you are planning to make regular use of a Library site and cannot self-evacuate using the stairs, please arrange a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP)via the University Enabling Services. They will liaise with your School to arrange a PEEP and to develop it with your agreement.

The information below covers accessible entrances to the Library site, safe evacuation routes, and accessible toilet facilities. Southampton has worked with AccessAble to provide a more detailed access guide for staff, students and visitors.


If you have a difficulty using the stairs, it is advisable not to use Level 3, 4, or 5 after 16:30 Monday to Friday or on the weekends because we cannot guarantee there will be enough trained staff on duty to assist your evacuation. On request, the Help Desk staff can arrange for collecting resources for you from the upper levels. If you are on Level 1 or 2, you can use the fire exits to leave the building safely. These exits lead out of the building at ground level. Staff will inform you when it is safe to return to the building. On exiting the building, please go to the fire assembly point by the flagpole outside the library by Building 85 Life Sciences.

Wheelchair Users and Other Mobility Impairments
If you are a wheel chair user or have restricted mobility, we would encourage you to find a study space close to a refuge, from which you can self-evacuate or wait for evacuation assistance by trained staff. Each refuge is equipped with an emergency telephone and information giving the location in the building of the refuge. Refuges are fire and smoke protected and you should be safe to remain in a refuge area for up to half an hour. Fire service personnel should be on site within ten minutes. There is an emergency evacuation lift accessible from all floors and a fire refuge on Levels 3, 4 and 5. Please familiarise yourself with the location of the evacuation lift and fire refuges. In the event of a fire alarm sounding, you should follow the actions agreed in your PEEP. If you can self-evacuate from your wheelchair or can move slowly unassisted, make your way to the nearest refuge. Security and emergency teams will check each refuge as part of their emergency procedure.

Sensory Impairment
If you have a hearing impairment that prevents you from hearing the emergency alarms, please speak with the Help Desk team on Level 2. We recommend studying within a view of a fire beacon device, located on all floors, to enable you to have a visual alert to an evacuation.


Library staff will direct you towards the exit and you are then required to move towards the fire assembly point which in the car park opposite the South Academic Block entrance. 

An intermittent bell indicates a fire alarm has been triggered in an adjacent area, but you do not need to evacuate. If you have already agreed a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP) for areas of the building you normally visit/occupy then you should continue to use it


 Fire Alarm

The following plan is for anyone who cannot manage stairs, and will require assisted escape. Anyone with vision/hearing impairment should always be accompanied by an assistant (buddy system). Note: if you use a wheelchair, you must be able to self transfer from your chair to the evacuation chair. National Oceanography Centre Southampton (NOCS) Security staff are not trained to lift people. If that is not the case then please contact Reception for further advice.

When the fire alarm sounds, please make your way to a refuge point. These are easily recognizable by specific signs (blue background with white wheelchair sign) and are located within the stairwell at each level of the building. Your refuge point will offer a minimum of 30 minutes protection against the spread of fire and smoke.

The evacuation chairs are single user operation type, and are located in each node stairwell on level 6. A member of our trained Security team will meet you in the refuge point with the evacuation chair. You will need to sit on the evacuation chair. NOCS Security staff will then get you out of the building.

Fire Refuges 

Wheelchair users
Trained staff will be on hand shortly to operate the lift and ensure your safe evacuation. The evacuation chairs are single user operation type, and are located in each node stairwell on level 6. You will need to sit on the evacuation chair. NOCS Security staff will then get you out of the building. If you are directly threatened by the fire (smoke/fumes) or other emergency whilst on the way to or inside a lift refuge, your first choice should be to try to get to a different refuge space, if it is safe to do so.

Self evacuate
If you can self-evacuate from your wheelchair, or have a temporary mobility impairment and can move slowly unassisted then you should make your way to the nearest emergency staircase or other protected area.

First Aid
The NOCS Security staff are all trained first-aiders. If you find yourself in difficulty please report to the Help Desk and a member of staff will contact a first-aider immediately.


There are five exits spread between Libraries 1 and 2 and you should familiarise yourself with these.
A fire refuge point is situated at the top of the staircase outside Library 1 in West Side Building. Refuges are fire and smoke protected and you should normally be safe to remain in a refuge area for up to half an hour. If you are directly threatened by the fire (smoke/fumes) or other emergency whilst on the way to or inside a refuge, your first choice should be to try to get to a different refuge space if it is safe to do so. Wheelchair Users At the present time Wheelchair Users who cannot leave their chairs are advised not to come above ground level in West Side Building. You will need to agree to a PEEP. First Aid There is no designated first-aider present in the Library, however there are a number of staff located within the Westside building that have first-aid training. If you find yourself in difficulty please report to the Loans Desk or one of the Library offices and a member of staff will contact a first-aider immediately.

Accessibility Library website


This accessibility statement applies to all sites built using SpringShare’s LibApps suite including LibGuides (, LibCal (, LibAnswers ( and Live Chat), and Libwizard (

These websites are run by the University of Southampton Library Services. We want as many people as possible to be able to use this website. For example, that means you should be able to: 

  • Use the website at up to 500% zoom 
  • Use the website in both landscape and portrait orientation 
  • Navigate the website with speech recognition 
  • Navigate the website with just a keyboard 
  • Access content on the website using a screen reader 

We’ve also made the website text as simple as possible to understand where possible.

AbilityNet has advice on making your device easier to use if you have a disability. How accessible this website is We know some parts of the website are not accessible: Older PDF documents are not fully accessible to screen reader software Discrepancies in use of header tags in HTML Live video streams do not have captions You cannot skip to the main content when using a screen reader Feedback and contact information If you need information on this website in a different format like accessible PDF, large print, easy read or audio recording: Email us at Reporting accessibility problems with the website.

The Library Services website also acts as a gateway for a number of third-party services over which Southampton has no direct control. Where accessibility issues arise in relation to third-party services, and these issues are not already noted in the service's Accessibility Statement(s), Southampton will contact the appropriate supplier and encourage them to take remedial action. Third-party services which can be accessed through the Library Services website are listed below, and where available, a link to the Accessibility Statement from the supplier of that service has been provided:


Enforcement procedure The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is responsible for enforcing the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 (the ‘Accessibility Regulations’). If you are not happy with how we respond to your complaint, contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service(EASS).


The University of Southampton Library Services is committed to making its websites accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018). Compliance Status This website is partially compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 2.1 in conformance with the AA standard, due to the non-compliances and exemptions listed below. You can also see the full list of the WCAG 2.1 on the W3 website.


Some images do not have a text alternative, so people using a screen reader cannot access the information. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.1.1 (non-text content). We plan to add text alternatives for all images by September 2020. Web-authors will be given training on adding alternative text to images. We will also review a sample of new images periodically to ensure that images have alternative text. 

In some instances, content may fail the WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.4.3 Contrast (Minimum). The website styles will fit the contrast requirements, but content created by web-authors may not be. Web authors will be given training on contrast and content will be reviewed periodically to ensure that content will not fail this criterion. 

In-house written code may fail the WCAG 2.1 success criterion 2.4.1 Bypass Blocks. This code mainly includes headers and footers which will be updated to meet this success criterion by the 23rd September 2020. 

Some links may fail the WCAG 2.1 success criterion 2.4.4 Link Purpose (In Context) by not holding the full context of the link. The most common instances of these will be the full URL link or a link attached to the phrase ‘click here’. Web-authors have been taught about how to form links and links will be periodically reviewed and changed to ensure that they are removed. 

Disproportionate burden

We currently have no items we would classify as disproportionate burden. This may change as regulations and content changes, or if items are discovered that we would classify under this heading.

Content that’s not within the scope of the accessibility regulations

PDFs and other documents

Some of our PDFs and Word documents are essential to providing our services. For example, we have PDFs with information on how users can access our services. By September 2020, we plan to either fix or replace them with accessible versions. 

The accessibility regulations do not require us to fix PDFs or other documents published before 23 September 23 2018 if they are not essential to providing our services. For example, we do not currently plan to fix Special Collections content. If you need to access this content and cannot, please contact us and we can look into this specifically.

Live video

We do not plan to add captions to live video streams because live video is exempt from meeting the accessibility regulations.