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Gillingham Library
Gillingham Library.

As part of Dorset Council’s library strategy development, new opening hours will come into effect on 1 July 2024.

As part of Dorset Council’s library strategy development, we asked our communities when they wanted our libraries to be open. Based on feedback and identified community needs, we’ve updated our library opening hours. These new hours were published in July 2023 and will launch next month. We will also update our activities and events timetable to align with these new hours. The new opening hours will come into effect on 1 July 2024.

During our consultation you told us that you wanted:

  • standard hours so that customers know when a library is open
  • opening hours throughout the week Monday to Saturday
  • morning opening for: pre-school children and their carers, retirees and those who do not work
  • Saturdays and afternoon opening, for school age children and young people
  • Saturdays, lunchtimes and evenings for those who work​
  • a spread of hours amongst a geographical group of libraries. This is so that not all libraries in a geographical area are closed on the same weekdays
  • times when the library is closed, and partners or community groups can hire it

Aidan Dunn, Executive Director for Corporate Services said: ‘Over the course of 18 months, through our #LetsTalkLibraries campaign, we consulted and collaborated with our customers, communities, employees and partners to develop a new Library Strategy, which was adopted and published in July 2023.

‘The strategy outlines the library service’s contribution to Dorset and how we will support individuals and communities to be more connected and improve life chances, with a mission to ‘Inspire, Connect and Enable our communities through our services’.

‘The development of the strategy was community led and evidence based. Over the course of 2 phases of public consultation we built a clear picture of both what our current library users and our non-library users wanted to see from us, now and in the future.

‘Our library teams are excited to welcome you during our new opening times.’

While some libraries may see a bigger change than others, overall, we have been able to keep almost the same number of weekly staffed hours, 630 instead of 631, across our library network.

To find out more about the new opening hours and read the strategy visit the libraries pages on the Dorset Council website at dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/w/new-library-opening-hours

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