Shaped by responses received in the first phase of public consultation, we developed a new Dorset Council Library Strategy, with the mission: To Inspire, Connect and Enable our communities through our services.

In the second phase of public consultation closed on 22 December 2022. We called upon residents, businesses, employees, partners and stakeholders to help us prioritise and explore what delivery could look like in our communities.

On Tuesday 25 July 2023 our new library strategy was approved by cabinet. We have started to implement the new library strategy and action plan. The new operating model and changes to opening hours will come into effect during financial year 2024 to 2025.

Thank you to everyone who shared their views in the #LetsTalkLibraries consultations. We have listened to your feedback and used this, alongside engagement workshops and a strategic needs analysis, to shape the new strategy.

View the:

We also have a range supporting documentation, including:

What happened

The following table sets out a timeline of stages we followed during the creation of the new Dorset Council Library Strategy. We are now in stage 9, implementation.


Stage 1 25 October 2021 Consultation Phase one of public consultation opens
Stage 2 7 January 2022 Consultation Phase one of public consultation closes
Stage 3 Spring 2022 Development Development of draft strategy following phase one consultation
Stage 4 Spring 2022 Review Draft library strategy refinement
Stage 5 Autumn 2022 Consultation Phase two of public consultation opens, seeking views on draft
Stage 6 Winter 2022 Consultation Phase two of public consultation closes
Stage 7 Spring 2023 Development Amending the draft strategy following phase two consultation responses
Stage 8 Summer 2023 Sign off Final library strategy presented to Cabinet for sign off
Stage 9 Summer 2023 onwards Implementation New library strategy implemented

Keeping up to date

You can keep up to date on the progress of the implementation by:

Why we updated our library strategy

Libraries are at the heart of Dorset’s communities, and we want them to stay that way. They provide highly valued services, including:

  • book lending
  • activities and events
  • reading groups
  • skills and learning
  • health and wellbeing
  • information provision
  • digital access and support
  • art and cultural exhibitions
People of all ages can enjoy all of this and more, within a safe and welcoming environment. There are 23 council-run and 8 community-managed libraries in the Dorset Council area.

Our old library strategy was 11 years old. Over those 11 years, there were significant changes in public behaviour and digital technology, and impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our new strategy looks to the future of Dorset’s libraries and how can they best meet the needs of residents and communities, now and over the next 10 years.

Let's talk libraries

Name: Library Service Team
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