How you can click and collect books from Dorset libraries

Photo: Caleb Woods

If you’re anything like me and you enjoy a good read while holding a physical book in one hand and a cup of tea in the other, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to know that our libraries will start to re-open from 8th July.

In addition to the news of reopening, Dorset Council has announced that a new “click and collect” service will be launched at Dorset libraries to offer a contactless pick-up and drop-ff service.

As part of the new offering, you will be able to place an order for your preferred genre of children, teenage or adult books on the library services page or by phoning 01305 228400.

After an order is placed, library staff will pick up to 10 books, DVDs or audiobooks and will put them in a bag ready for you to collect, before you have to return them up to 4 weeks later.

The idea behind the service is to limit the number of people touching books while roaming the library. The whole process will be contactless, with the pick-up being a pre-booked time – limiting the number of people coming to libraries at the same time.

Drop-off also won’t require contact, as you will be able to return the books through a library letterbox, except in Beaminster where this wouldn’t be safe due to the letterbox being shared with residential flats.

When books are returned, they will be placed in quarantine as a safety measure, before being cleaned up and returned into the pool of books which can be booked online.

If you have already loaned a book from your local Dorset library and it was due back during the lockdown, your loan has been extended to the end of August.

Later in July, further services will be available at 9 Dorset libraries, in the north, east, south and west of the county. These are: Blandford, Bridport, Dorchester, Ferndown, Gillingham, Sherborne, Wareham, Weymouth and Wimborne. Initially, opening hours will be reduced and a limited number of visitors will be allowed in the buildings at any one time.

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.

Dorset Council spokesperson

The council said that information and experiences gathered from the above-mentioned extended services at the initial nine libraries will be used to develop plans to deliver extended services at the remaining libraries in Dorset safely.

Commenting about libraries during the lockdown, the Customer, Community and Regulatory Services portfolio holder said:

During lockdown, our library teams worked hard to minimise the disruption to customers by offering a range of fun and informative services via the internet.

We saw a tremendous increase in new online subscribers during lockdown. However, I know many people missed the human interaction a visit to the library can give.

Although libraries are going to look and feel very different as they re-open with limited services on offer, I am sure customers will be pleased to physically access their local library again and have a much-needed refresh of their reading material.

The library teams are excited about returning to some normality too, although things will obviously be very different for a while!

Councillor Tony Alford, Dorset Council
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