Information Commons

Guidance on how to access and evacuate The Information Commons.



The Information Commons (IC) is fully accessible and designated parking is available next to the building. To use these spaces, you will need to display a local authority blue badge or University permit. You can find further information about University parking at Parking Services.

Accessing the IC

One of the outer doors is power-operated by means of a push pad. Use this during staffed hours.

During self-service hours, swipe your UCard in the reader at the outer door. You can find details of staffed and self-service hours at IC opening hours.

If you have difficulty in opening the outer door at any time, ring the buzzer immediately above the swipe card reader and a member of the Welcome Desk staff will let you in. They are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

UCard scan entry and exit gates operate once you are inside the IC. Welcome Desk staff are happy to assist you if you encounter any difficulty at the entry or exit gates.

Facilities for disabled customers

There are accessible toilets on all levels, some are fitted with RADAR locks.

A self-propelling wheelchair is available for use within the IC if required. Email  or speak to a member of IC staff for further information.


What if a temporary disablement of the lifts is planned?

If staff are aware that the lifts will be temporarily unavailable, they will announce this over the tannoy system. In this event, non-disabled customers will be asked to give priority use of the lifts to disabled customers.

What if the lifts break down while I am upstairs?

In the unlikely event that all the lifts break down while you are upstairs and you need assistance to leave the building, inform a member of IC staff or ask another Library customer to do this for you. Alternatively, ring the Welcome Desk on +44 114 222 3989 if you have a mobile phone.

Emergency evacuation

The IC is a very large building and we strongly recommend that you familiarise yourself with the refuge points and escape routes as soon as possible.
If there is a fire, you must not use the lift. Make your way to the nearest safe emergency exit or refuge point.

Level 0

If you are on level 0, leave by the nearest safe exit, either the main entrance or the fire exit located between the public lifts and the stairs.

Levels one–six

If you feel confident to do so, walk down the stairs to level 0 and follow the instructions above. If you are a wheelchair user or are unable to walk down the stairs unaided, go to the nearest evacuation refuge point and use the refuge communication system.

Where are the evacuation refuge points in the IC?

These are all in lift lobbies, at the front or back of the building.

Level one

  • Through the door signed to the showers next to the self-service laptop loan cabinet.
  • Through the door opposite Room 1.26.

Level two

  • On your left as you enter the silent study area from the main staircase, through the door signed to the toilets.
  • At the far end of the silent study area, through the door next to group room 2.21a. This refuge point can also be approached from the far entrance to the silent study area, via the soft seating area.

Level three

  • On your left as you enter the silent study area from the main staircase, through the door signed to the toilets.
  • Between the soft seating area and the far entrance to the silent study area, go through the door opposite the Dr Ted Dunning and Dr Ellen Friedman Room (3.21). Go through two sets of doors and then left through a further set of doors.

Level four

  • Through the door signed to the toilets from the flexispace area.
  • Through the door opposite the Gerard Young Room (4.24).

Levels five and six

  • In the lift lobby at the entrance to the silent study area.

What to do you reach an evacuation refuge point

Press and release the red push for help button on the Refuge Communication System, to speak to someone who will be able to offer assistance.

Download detailed advice and information on the Refuge Communication System (PDF, 401KB)

Assembly point

The Computing Centre car park is opposite the IC's main entrance.

The Deaf Messaging Service (DMS)

DMS allows you to connect to the University fire alarm system simply by sending a text message from your mobile phone. Once connected you will receive a notification by text message when the fire alarm for that building is activated.

To connect to the service for the Information Commons, simply send a text message with the code sheff5 to 07480 486 966.

For more information and the codes for the locations download guidance on the DMS (PDF, 374KB).

Ask a question


Phone: +44 114 222 7200