Library services for people with disabilities

Libraries reopening news and updates

From Monday 17 May, in line with latest Government guidance, libraries across Surrey County Council will be reopening more services. Events such as rhymetimes and storytimes are currently paused. Full details on our Coronavirus information page.

Open Ticket Adult

Our new Open Ticket Adult is for anyone over 18 with a short or long term medical condition that has a substantial and negative effect on their day to day life, affecting their ability to:

  • Use the printed book stock
  • Choose for themselves when to visit the library
  • Borrow and return library items

If you would like to register for Open Ticket, please speak to a member of staff in your local Surrey library.

You can also nominate a named contact to do the following:

  • Receive pre-overdue, overdue and request notifications on your behalf.
  • Borrow and return items on your behalf.
  • Renew or reserve items on your behalf, including online with your PIN.
  • Act as a guarantor, responsible for payment of any charges incurred.

Note: you can choose all the above or just the appropriate options.

Open Tickets are also available for children under 18. Ask in your local library or contact community.connections@surreycc.gov.uk

Library services for those who have a visual impairment

  • Large print books - fiction and non-fiction titles are available for both adults and children.
  • Spoken Word/Talking books - CDs are available at most libraries.
  • eBooks and eAudiobooks - you can now download these at home for free. The text size of eBooks can be increased.
  • Audio Description - some DVDs have this facility, please see individual titles for further information.
  • KNFB Reader: this is an app which converts printed text to speech by taking a photograph of the text and reading it aloud. The KNFB Reader app will read any printed text and enables people with a visual impairment, or a print impairment such as dyslexia, to access any printed material in the library. KNFB Reader is available at these libraries: Camberley, Dorking, Egham, Epsom,Farnham, Godalming , Guildford, Oxted, Redhill, Staines, Walton and Woking.
  • Assistive Technology - please check what is available.
  • Booktouch packs are for visually impaired children. Packs are available for two age ranges, for babies or pre-school age children.
  • Giant picture books are available in braille for visually impaired adults and children.
  • Braille books for children available to borrow from Surrey Libraries.

If you are interested in any of the above services please contact Surrey Libraries Information Service.

The RNIB library

If you are blind or partially sighted, then you are eligible to join the library of the Royal National Institute for the Blind. They can supply material in the following formats:

  • Audiobooks by digital download, CD or USB
  • Braille
  • Newspapers and magazines
  • Music Library in accessible format

With over 60,000 items in the collection, the RNIB library is free to join. Find out more by phoning them on 0303 123 9999 or by visiting the RNIB website.

Calibre Audio

Calibre Audio is free to join for anyone who has a print disability. There is unlimited borrowing on over 12,000 unabridged audiobooks, with over 3,000 specifically aimed at children and young people. You can listen to the audiobooks by streaming, downloading, and by memory stick. Find out more by visiting the Calibre Audio website.

Other sources of help and support

  • Look offer mentoring and support to visually impaired children and their families.
  • Victa offer support and activities for blind and partially sighted people from birth to 29 years old to build confidence and life skills.
  • Struggle to read or hold books due to blindness, visual impairment, physical disability or print blindness? Register for free access to eBooks at Seeing Ear. All titles can be read as Giant Print, braille or with synthetic speech.
  • Living Paintings offer tactile and braille books for children to learn, read and explore through their free postal library.

Library services for those with a hearing impairment

  • All libraries are provided with hearing loops. If you experience any problems in accessing a hearing loop in a library, please contact us.
  • Subtitles and closed captioning are available on some DVDs.
  • Bookshine packs are for children with an hearing impairment. Packs are available for two age ranges, for babies or pre-school age children.

Hearing Champion Sessions

This free drop-in service for people with NHS hearing aids includes basic maintenance, battery supply, trouble-shooting, cleaning and re-tubing.

Sessions will be held monthly in the following libraries. Please check the individual library page for dates and times:

Support from Surrey County Council

Surrey County Council provides information and support on staying independent at home. This includes using equipment and smart technology and where you can access this support to help you in your day-to-day life.