We have a portable wheelchair ramp which we are always more than happy to put out (just tap the front window, and we’ll spring into action); we also lay it down the front step an hour before all events.
Our ramp has a 300kg carrying capacity and a usable width 77.5cm, it has a 1:6 ratio, which may not be suitable for all electric wheelchairs (sorry – the pavement is pretty narrow!).
The shop itself is laid out so that a reader in (most) wheelchairs can do a full circuit of the shop. There is at least 90cm+ of navigable space through most of the shop, although the arches into the fiction room only have a width of 77cm.
Guidance for individuals with visual impairment
Our booksellers are all very happy to give guidance around the shop, read out blurbs and compile as well as walk through recommendations for anyone with a visual impairment.
We do not carry stock of large print books or audio books/CDs but we are always very happy to order these in.
We don’t play background music throughout the shop, although we sometimes play songs from the till computer, if you prefer silence we are always happy to switch the tunes off.
We will have a hearing loop installed by the end of 2018.
None of our staff are proficient with BSL (yet!), we try as a rule to speak clearly and face customers when we are talking to help with speech reading if necessary, and we do keep a whiteboard/whiteboard markers by the till so we can chat in writing – please just let us know what method of communication you prefer and we’ll do our best.
We are planning to have a few events per season with a BSL interpreter. These will be flagged up here and on the event page.
We have a window seat in fiction, and a few comfy seats scattered through the shop for anyone who needs a rest.
We do have a toilet available to customers, although it is worth noting that it is in the basement of the shop and can only be accessed down a spiral staircase.
We always have seating at events, late comers may need to stand if an event is oversubscribed. If you need to sit, please arrive early, and if you have a preference on where you are seated simply call or email the shop in advance and we’ll do our best to accommodate your needs.
Our seats have back support but no armrests. We do have an office chair we are happy to put out, just get in touch in advance and we’ll sort that out.
All speakers use microphones at events with more than 15 guests. – We use the fiction room as a break-out space during events, it’s quiet, with a window for fresh air and a few seats.
Events usually last 1hour, to 1hour and 15 depending on questions running over.
Event tickets & cost
We always offer 15 FREE tickets to shop events and 50% of seats at outside events are also free on a first come first served basis. For the rest we charge a modest entry fee of £3, which can double to be used as book voucher against the book being discussed at the event.
Why do we charge? The ticket price helps us cover the cost of staffing & refreshments, but we do not want this to be a barrier to those who can’t pay - if there is space we will fit you in, for free, if you need it.
Why not make all tickets free then? We did in the past, but many, if not most, who booked free places dropped out at the last minute. This made it very hard for us to plan set up and staffing and sometimes meant events ‘Sold Out’ but then only half the room was full and people had been turned away. This seemed a happy compromise.