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Coronavirus (COVID-19): updates and advice

Dorset libraries re-opening information

We are currently offering an order and collect service which is available from 22 of our 23 libraries. 

In line with Government guidelines, we are also carefully planning the gradual re-opening of library buildings to ensure that both staff and customers are kept as safe as possible with COVID-19 safety measures in place. This will be done in 2 phases.

Dorset Libraries re-opening video - welcome back!
Dorset Libraries re-opening video - welcome back!

Phase 1: Partial re-opening of 9 libraries across Dorset

We will be opening these 9 libraries across Dorset from Monday 27 July:

  • Blandford
  • Bridport
  • Dorchester
  • Ferndown
  • Gillingham
  • Sherborne
  • Wareham
  • Wimborne
  • Weymouth

Library services will look and feel quite different as some processes temporarily change and some services will be unavailable:

Visiting the library

  • we are limiting the number of people allowed in at the same time
  • face coverings are to be worn when using the library
  • social distancing measures are in place and customers will be expected to meet these and other safety measures such as using the hand sanitiser provided
  • opening times are limited to mornings only, for example 9.30am to 1pm
  • toilet facilities are not in use
  • seating in most areas has been removed or is unavailable
  • staff are unable to accept donations of books from customers until further notice

Available services:

  • order and collect
  • browsing and issuing books and other items - suggested maximum browsing time of 15 minutes
  • returning books and other items
  • public computer use - internet access and computers will be available but you will need to pre-book a session (maximum of 45 minutes) in advance by contacting your local library. There will be no staff support available. 

Services not available at the moment:

  • printing and photocopying
  • study spaces
  • newspapers and magazines, although you can access a range of daily papers and magazines online
  • information or reference enquiry service
  • activities and events, including room hire but online events and activities are available
  • the reservation service will not be up and running straight away but we are working with partners to resume this service as soon as we can
  • Tourist Information Centres

Returning items, charges and overdue items

  • return dates for any items borrowed prior to 20 March have been extended to September 2020
  • all items have a standard 4 week loan period
  • items can be returned to any open library and you can use your membership card to borrow from any open library
  • there are no overdue charges for any books borrowed before library buildings closed on the 20 March 2020
  • hire charges for DVDs and talking books are suspended
  • returned items will be quarantined for 72 hours on return before we put them back on the shelf. As a result, any items you return may still show as being on loan to you for at least 72 hours but please don't worry as we will ensure that any overdue charges that may have accrued are waived. 

Opening dates and times for each library

Dorchester library

We will be opening the entrance floor of the library only from Monday 27 July, from 9.30am to 1pm, Monday to Saturday.

Ferndown and Weymouth libraries

We will be opening Ferndown and Weymouth libraries from Monday 27 July, from 9.30am to 1pm, Monday to Saturday.

Blandford, Gillingham, Sherborne, Wareham and Wimborne libraries

We will be opening Blandford, Gillingham, Sherborne, Wareham and Wimborne libraries from Monday 27 July, from 9.30am to 1pm, Monday to Saturday, excluding Wednesday.

Bridport library

We will be opening Bridport library from Monday 27 July, from 9.30am to 1pm, Monday to Saturday, excluding Thursday.

Phase 2: Re-opening of smaller libraries

We will be re-opening 3 libraries from Monday 10 August:

Shaftesbury and Verwood will be open from 9:30am to 1pm, Monday to Saturday,  excluding Wednesdays.

Swanage will be open from 9:30 am to 1pm, Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Closed Tuesday and Thursday.  

We will be looking to re-open the other libraries when we can do so safely. We will update this page when the remaining 11 libraries plan to re-open. We are working with our community managed library partners on their re-opening plans too.

If you are unable to visit a library

We have a range of free digital resources that you can access from home with your library membership card. If you are eligible you can apply to use our home library service or if you are shielding have a delivery arranged through the order and collect service

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