DORSET’S online library service has seen a nearly 50 per cent increase of people accessing books, e-audio and e-zines.

Councillor Tony Alford, portfolio holder for customer, community and regulatory services said: “Although Dorset libraries had a good online membership, we’ve gained a lot more members since lockdown started.

“There has been a 48 per cent increase in people joining Dorset’s online library service, with almost 27,000 e-books, e-audio and e-zines accessed.”

Dorset Council’s library teams have put on a host of online activities to keep adults and children entertained during lockdown.

Reading groups, rhyme times and craft sessions have been created with the aim of improving wellbeing and bringing people together virtually.

Cllr Alford continued: “It’s been a great way for everyone to stay connected, learn something new and have fun, which are all good things for mental health.

“We wanted to be sure people could still access our services, even though they can’t physically come into our buildings.

“Like many other people, the teams had to quickly adjust to a new way of working. They all rose to the challenge immediately and have been wonderfully creative.”