Libraries closed but still offering services during lockdown

IN line with government regulations, libraries across the county are now closed until Wednesday, December 2. 

Many services will still be provided during the lockdown period, including the Order & Collect book service which allow all library members to order up to 10 items per library card from your selected preference, chosen by Dorset Libraries.

Dorset Libraries have had more than 3,000 orders since it launched the Order & Collect service in July. This amounted to about 400 per week in July when libraries were closed, although this number obviously dropped off once libraries started to re-open.

Customer comments included: “I picked up our Order & Collect on Monday. Thank you both so much, it can’t have been easy choosing for a 12 and 15-year-old as the eldest can be picky!

“Only one duplicate (read before) in each of our three orders so well done. Highly recommend the service, next best thing to the library being open. Thanks again.”

Another customer noted: “Thank you for our books! We used your online service and collected today. So much fun to open the bags and see what you’d picked for me and my eight-year-old, and they all look great.

“We can’t wait to get reading! It feels like a real treat to have lovely librarians selecting books for us”

Services available over the next few weeks will be as follows:

  • Customers can continue to access online resources and virtual activities and events
  • All 23 of our libraries will continue with the Order & Collect book service (non-contact collection service for pre-selected books).
  • People can order online by visiting or by calling 01305 228400
  • Dorset Libraries will continue with the Home Library Service (non-contact doorstep drops) to people who are housebound – this will be provided by volunteers and council employees
  • There is no public access to library buildings for browsing or public computer use
  • Items can be returned to the libraries via the letterboxes outside each building

Tourist Information Centres across Dorset have also closed doors, although this does not affect Lyme Regis as the town’s TIC was permanently closed earlier this year with staff now providing an information service from home.

Cllr Jill Haynes, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for Customer Services and Communities, said: “It’s a shame we’ve had to close our libraries and tourist information centres again, especially since some locations have only just reopened in recent months, but we must observe the latest lockdown restrictions.

“However, our dedicated employees are doing everything they can to continue providing some key services over the coming weeks that we hope will make things a little easier for our loyal customers and visitors.

“I was very pleased that, during the last lockdown, our Libraries Team saw a significant growth in customers accessing our facilities using our online resources and services and this is something we want to encourage as we move ever more into a digital world.

“It’s very important for our young people and some our more vulnerable residents, and we must enable people to access materials to support emotional and mental well-being at this difficult time.

“We’ll reopen as soon as we’re able to, and I want to thank everyone for their continued patience and understanding.”

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