THE new and improved £2million Christchurch library will open its doors to the public next month.

After years of battling to gain planning permission to extend the town centre library in Christchurch, Dorset County Council is ready to unveil the new-look modern library and learning centre on May 13.

Work began a year ago on the extensive renovations and building work but before it can fully open, a two-week closure will take place from April 29 until May 13 to allow for final touches including flooring, IT installations, shelving and furniture.

A mobile library will be situated in the Waitrose bypass car park where users can return and borrow books and other items.

Customers can also borrow extra books in advance and use Highcliffe library.

As well as increasing the size of the library with 60 per cent more space than before, the new facility will see Dorset Adult Learning re-located to the building with classes offered from September and the Bargates centre closing.

There will also be more books, improved facilities for children and families, rooms available for community groups, improved heating and lighting, an area for people to enjoy refreshments and an ICT suite and classrooms.

Paul Leivers, head of community services at Dorset County Council, said: “The £2million investment gave us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform the building into one of the best libraries in the county.

“Incorporating adult learning facilities into the same building means that we can offer a one stop venue for learning and reading in the heart of the town centre.

“The extended facilities will benefit the community and visitors for many years to come.

"I thank all library users for their patience while their library service was interrupted and we look forward to welcoming our members, old and new to the new library and learning centre.”

Mayor of Christchurch and town centre ward councillor Peter Hall said: “It’s absolutely brilliant they have done it within budget.

“It really has improved, especially by moving the adult education centre there is a saving of £50,000 a year.

“There are better facilities and 20 per cent more books. It is great for the borough especially when other areas have had their services cut.”

The official opening ceremony will take place on June 1.