Rothermere American Institute

Rothermere American Institute - (1 of 1)


The Radcliffe Science Library will be temporarily operating at the Vere Harmsworth Library from January 2020. The Radcliffe Science Library will move back to their redeveloped building in summer 2021. The Vera Harmsworth Library continues to house the University's principal research collection relating to the history of the United States

There is stepped and ramped access to the main entrance.The entrance door is powered. There is level access around the ground floor and lift access to all floors. There are wheelchair accessible toilets on the lower ground and first floors. There is a fixed induction loop at the library enquiry desk as well as a portable loop for other areas. 

Other improvements are being made in early 2020. The Access Guide will be updated as this work is completed. 


This table contains summary information about the building

On-site designated parking for Blue Badge holders Yes - 1 space
Public designated parking for Blue Badge holders within 200m No
Other nearby parking Yes - Pay and Display
Main entrance Level. Powered door
Alternative entrance N/A
Wheelchair accessible toilets Lower ground floor and first floor. 
Lift Yes - all floors. 
Hearing support systems Yes - fixed loop at enquiry desk. Portable loop available. 
Google Maps!1m18!1m12!1m3!1d2469.652956177961!2d-1.2559176844360662!3d51.75766930019478!2m3!1f0!2f0!3f0!3m2!1i1024!2i768!4f13.1!3m3!1m2!1s0x4876c6a90daf7b21%3A0xe2d4a4c930c1de97!2sRothermere+American+Institute!5e0!3m2!1sen!2suk!4v1565350569022!5m2!1sen!2suk
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Floor plans

Follow the link to view a floor plan of the building showing level access routes: 


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The Rothermere American Institute owns two permit spaces nearest the drive from South Parks Road.  Permits should be booked in advance and collected from the building on arrival. Please contact the Institute on 01865 282 705 or to arrange to book a parking space. The car park is also shared with the Chemistry department, so please check the signage on the spaces before parking!  Some of the car park surfacing is currently a bit uneven, so please take care. Pay and Display parking is available on nearby Mansfield Road. 


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From the car park, go up the ramp in front of the Rothermere building to reach the main entrance.  This is a concrete ramp with a handrail on the right hand side (ascending). Please be aware that there is no railing on the left hand side of the ramp, as there are integrated steps to car park level. This does have tactile edging, but is not terribly obvious. Bike parking to the side of the ramp (and sometimes on it!) means that if you want to access the building via steps, you will need to go to the left hand side of them. There is then a handrail on your left hand side (ascending).

Once you reach the main entrance, there are two standard doors and a revolving door to choose from.  The standard doors are manual and quite heavy, but there is CCTV at reception, so staff should be able to come and help if required. As there is no direct contact to reception, please call in advance on (01865)282705 if you need to guarantee assistance. From mid-January 2020 the entrance doors will be powered.


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The library enquiry desk functions as reception when the building is open.  This is at standard height, and is fitted with a hearing loop. You can access the reception desk by going through the double glass doors on the left hand side of the building foyer area.  Pass through the security gates and turn to your right to get to the desk.

The main building foyer contains a table and armchairs, and functions as a waiting area for visitors, as well as a registration space for events.


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Accessible toilets

There are wheelchair accessible toilets on the lower ground floor and first floor. There is no wheelchair accessible toilet on the ground floor. 

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The lift is on the right hand side of the main entrance. Users are able to move between the ground and lower ground floors without assistance. Please ask library staff for assistance to use the lift to get to the mezzanine, first and second floors. The lift has no braille information or audible announcement of floor level. The buttons on the left can be used freely; the buttons on the right are for restricted library access. It is recommended that the lift is not used after 5pm as the response time for breakdown or emergency increases substantially.


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There are a variety of staircases in the building. The main building staircase has a handrail on the left hand side (ascending) and contrasting visual and tactile nosings.  There is a gap between the right hand edge of the stairs and the glass partition wall which is not indicated, so please take care! The stairs between the levels of the library are similar in construction, but there is a handrail on both sides.   

The fire escape staircase which connects the ground and lower ground floors (in the top right hand corner of the library as you exit the lift), has contrasting nosings and a handrail both sides. 


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Doors to the offices and seminar rooms on the lower ground floor have no vision panels. Access to the kitchen is through a sliding door with no vision panel. The door to the library meeting room on the ground floor has no vision panel, but the glass wall of the meeting room means that it is possible to see inside.  The door which separates the library corridor from the reading area in the mezzanine is glazed with manifestations. Gates to the individual library carrels are less than a metre high, and very light.


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The Vere Harmsworth library is spread over three floors and a mezzanine (these are marked G, 1, M and 2 on the lift).  

G - The lowest level of the library is accessed from the ground floor through the double doors on the left hand side of the main foyer area. This contains some stacks and communal pc workstations. The chairs are moveable, and although there are no height adjustable desks, most wheelchairs will fit underneath. There is an ergonomic chair and a height-adjustable desk on this floor. 

1 - On the first floor exit the lift and walk along the gallery to get to the reading room. This has desks with moveable chairs and lamps, but no computers.

M - The mezzanine level contains carrels and stacks.  Some of the individual carrels are allocated to particular research and postgraduate students, although others are available for general use when no postgraduates need them. These have small gates which are easy to open, although space inside is limited. The aisles on the mezzanine area are reasonably wide, although please watch out for kickstools and book trolleys. You may need to start walking into the aisle between the stacks to trigger the lighting.

2 - The second floor of the library contains more stacks and the quiet study area, as well as the special needs study room.  Again, you might need to start walking between the stacks in order to trigger the lighting. The quiet study area is on the far side of the stacks, nearest to the large window. The desks here are not very wide, but they should be a comfortable height for most wheelchair users.  Space behind the desks may be limited due to concrete pillars.


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The main seminar space in the building is opposite the common room area on the lower ground floor. The seminar area is one large room which can be divided to form up to three separate seminar spaces. Doors to these rooms will be propped open during an event, or at the start and end of a seminar. Furniture is moveable so event organisers can choose the setup which is most suited to them.The tables provided should be high enough to comfortably fit most wheelchairs.

The meeting room in the library has a central table with moveable chairs, and an extra table against the wall. If you have a larger wheelchair or scooter, you may find it a bit too narrow to complete a whole circuit of the room!  There is no hearing support system available in this room. 


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The common seating area is on the lower ground floor opposite the main seminar room. This contains moveable tables and chairs, as well as some armchairs. The acoustic in the common room is quite noisy due to hard surfaces, and this is true of many of the lower ground spaces.  French doors lead out onto a small patio area, but the main garden space is only accessible via. steps with no handrail. At the left hand end of the common room is a staff kitchenette, which is accessed through a sliding door. This is quite tricky to manage, especially for wheelchair users or those with reduced manual dexterity. The counter in the kitchen area has no lowered section, and the space itself is quite small - feel free to ask a colleague to make you a cup of tea or coffee!


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There is a fixed hearing loop at the library enquiry desk, and a portable loop can be collected at reception for use in the lower ground floor seminar room.

The library can provide the following assistive equipment:

    • Footstool
    • Ear plugs
    • Book stands
    • Reading rulers
    • Magnifying glasses
    • Daylight reading lamp

Please ask at the Enquiry Desk if you would like to use any of this equipment. 

There are two height adjustable desks on the ground floor.

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Contact details

Rothermere American Institute
1a South Parks Road
01865 282 705


Access enquiries

Jane Rawson
01865 282 701


Contact the Access Guide

If you have feedback, would like to make a comment, report out of date information or request a change, please use the link below:

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