The initial re-opening plans mean that people will be able to order their preferred categories of books and other items to collect at an allocated time from all the authority’s libraries except Beaminster, which is unable to meet safety measures at the present time.
Books will be available to order online at www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/libraries from 8 July by simply completing a short form about reading preferences. For those without online access, an order can be made by phoning 01305 228400.
The service is available for all ages – for adults, young people and children. There will be a bag of up to 10 books and other items such as talking books or DVDs waiting for collection. These will be based on the type of books people normally select for themselves such as romance. The items can be borrowed for up to four weeks.
The collections and returns process will be contactless and pre-arranged timeslots mean the number of people visiting at any one time can be managed. All books will be quarantined in line with national guidance.
From 6 July, people will be able to return books and other items currently on loan via library letterboxes.
All current loans that would have been due back during the lockdown period have been extended to the end of August. Any overdue charges that customers might have incurred as a result of library closures due to COVID-19 have been waived.
Later in July, further services will be available at nine Dorset libraries – Ferndown, Wimborne, Blandford, Bridport, Dorchester, Gillingham, Sherborne, Wareham, and Weymouth. Initially, opening hours will be reduced and a limited number of visitors will be allowed in the buildings at any one time.
There will be the opportunity for people to browse the books and reserve use of the public access computers. More information will be made available on www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/libraries.
Activities and events, such as rhyme time and reading groups, which have been highly popular online during lockdown, will continue to be internet-based for the time being. The increased number of e-books and publications, including newspapers and magazines, will also continue to be available online.
Plans to extend the services of Dorset’s remaining 14 council-managed libraries will be developed based on the learning and experience of opening the initial nine libraries. The council is also liaising with the eight independent community managed libraries about their plans for re-opening.
A phased re-opening of libraries in the BCP Council area will begin on Monday 6 July.
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