Swanage Library to reopen with new COVID-19 rules

A new chapter for Swanage Library starts today as it reopens following its sudden closure last March 2020 due to the coronavirus crisis.

It will only open in the mornings and there’ll be limited browsing time but from today, Monday 10th August, library members will be able to go in and choose their own books. This follows the successful reopening of other libraries across Dorset, including the library in Wareham.


Customers will be able to browse the shelves, however as only a limited number of people are allowed in the library at any one time, people are being asked to limit their time to 15 minutes, if there’s a queue.

The public computers will also be available for a 45 minute session but this should be pre-booked in advance by telephoning 01929 423485.

Open 9.30 am to 1 pm, Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday

The library will be open 9.30 am to 1 pm, Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. As usual it will be closed on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Opening times are being limited to mornings so staff can work safely in the afternoons to pick and pack bags for the order and collect service – an alternative service for existing customers who are unable to spend time in the library.

The ‘bag of books’ service remains available for library users by filling out an online form and ordering their preferred category of books or DVDs. For those without online access, an order can be made by phoning 01305 228400.

Exterior of Swanage Library

The new library rules

Visiting the library

  • There is a limit to 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
  • 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 the library

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 they are working with partners to resume this service as soon as they can

Returning items, charges and overdue items

  • Return dates for any items borrowed prior to 20th March 2020 have been extended to September 2020
  • All items have a standard four 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 20th March 2020
  • Hire charges for DVDs and talking books are suspended
  • Returned items will be quarantined for 72 hours on return before they are 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 the library says it will ensure that any overdue charges that may have accrued are waived

Watch a film about what to expect when visiting the library

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