Change to opening hours proposed for Swanage Library after review

The days and times Swanage Library is open, are to change if new proposals by Dorset Council get the go ahead.

Following a survey of library users, a new strategy for libraries across the Dorset Council area, including in Swanage, is to be rolled out from 2024.

Swanage Library

A friendly welcome at Swanage Library on the High Street

New Dorset library strategy

Part of the new Dorset library strategy 2023 to 2033 includes a new operating model with three different types of library: Library, Library Plus and Library Connect.

  • Library: Open for 18 hours
  • Library Plus: Open for 30 hours
  • Library Connect: Open for 42 hours

Dorset Council says that the new model will mean a reduction of only one hour of opening hours across the entire network of 23 Dorset Council managed libraries.

The library is a community hub in the centre of Swanage

Swanage changes will see the library close at 1 pm on Saturdays

In Swanage, which has been designated as a Library Plus, the changes wouldn’t see a reduction in hours – it’s currently open 30 hours a week and that would remain – but the times will change.

Instead of opening hours of 9.30 am to 4 pm on Saturdays, the library would only be open from 10 am to 1 pm. However the library will be open for five days a week, instead of four, meaning it will be open on Tuesdays in future.

Swanage proposed opening hours

  • Monday: 12 noon to 6pm
  • Tuesday: 10 am to 5 pm
  • Wednesday: 10 am to 5 pm
  • Thursday: Closed
  • Friday: 10 am to 5 pm
  • Saturday: 10 am to 1 pm
  • Sunday: Closed

Swanage current opening hours

  • Monday: 10 am to 6.30 pm
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: 9.30 am to 5 pm
  • Thursday: Closed
  • Friday: 9.30 am to 5 pm
  • Saturday: 9.30 am to 4 pm
  • Sunday: Closed
Swanage Library Lego event

Events at Swanage Library include Lego making but the changes will mean they won’t be able to take place on Saturday afternoons

Feedback from library users survey

Dorset Council says the proposals are based on an analysis of the survey responses and aim to meet the priorities identified in the consultation and engagement feedback:

  • Standard hours so that customers know when a library is open​
  • Opening hours throughout the week Monday to Saturday​
  • Mornings for pre-school children and their carers​, retirees, those who do not work and those who work from home or work remotely from their workplace
  • 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, so that not all libraries in a geographical area are closed on the same weekdays
  • Times when the library is closed and can be hired in its entirety by partners or community groups
Swanage Library

Plenty to talk about in the new Dorset library strategy

“Listen to your concerns”

A spokesperson for Dorset Council said:

“We have tried to make sure that libraries within the same geographical area have different late nights until 6 pm and different closed days, so that customers can use a library in their area six days a week.

“We hope that most communities will be satisfied with our proposals, however, we anticipate that some communities will want to continue to discuss proposals with us.

“Where this is the case, we invite communities to engage with us on a one to one basis, so that we can take time to talk to you, to explore the proposed hours together and to listen to your concerns.”

Wareham Library

Wareham Library will be open on Thursdays when Swanage is closed

Library at Wareham also a Library Plus

Wareham Library has also been designated as a Library Plus, so will remain open 30 hours a week. It will be open on Thursdays when Swanage Library is closed.

Wareham proposed opening hours

  • Monday: 10 am to 5 pm
  • Tuesday: 12 noon to 6 pm
  • Wednesday: Closed
  • Thursday: 10 am to 5 pm
  • Friday: 10 am to 5 pm
  • Saturday: 10 am to 1 pm
  • Sunday: Closed

Wareham current opening hours

  • Monday: 10 am to 5 pm
  • Tuesday: 2 pm to 6.30 pm
  • Wednesday: Closed
  • Thursday: 9.30 am to 5 pm
  • Friday: 9.30 am to 5 pm
  • Saturday: 9 am to 12.30 pm
  • Sunday: Closed

It’s anticipated that the implementation of the new library operating model and new opening hours across all Dorset Council owned libraries will be introduced from April 2024.

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