FROM Monday, Dorset residents could get their hands on their favourite book as more Dorset Council libraries reopened their doors to the public.

Since July 8, residents have been able to use an order and collect service at 22 of Dorset Council’s 23 libraries, but from Monday, July 27 residents were provided with a further nine options.

This provides local people with the chance to browse the library shelves and use the public computers.

The computers will be available for a 45-minute session but need to be pre-booked by calling your library.

Opening times are being limited to ensure that staff can work safely in the afternoons to pick and pack bags for the order and collect service – an alternative service for those who are uncomfortable or unable to spend time in the library.

Dorchester, Ferndown and Weymouth libraries will be open from 9.30am to 1pm, Monday to Saturday.

Blandford, Gillingham, Sherborne, Wareham and Wimborne libraries will be open from 9.30am to 1pm, Monday to Saturday, excluding Wednesday.

The council's cabinet member for Customer, Community and Regulatory Services, Councillor Tony Alford said: "We’re pleased to now be able to reopen a number of our libraries, with safety measures in place to help protect our staff and residents.

"These nine libraries are in our more densely populated towns and will offer a good geographical spread across our council area. Along with our order and collect service, which will continue to run, we are confident that all our residents can continue to access this valuable community facility."

Much like supermarkets and other shops, there will be a limit on the number of visitors allowed in the building at the same time, and a browsing time of 15 minutes is suggested to ensure as many people as possible can use these libraries.

People will be asked to sanitise their hands as they enter the library.

As well as browsing and borrowing library items, users will also be able to drop return items to these libraries, with returned items being quarantined for 72 hours before being put back on the shelf.

For the safety of all library users, there will be no access to toilet facilities and seating areas have been removed.

Printing and photocopying, study spaces, print copy of newspapers and magazines, information or reference enquiry service and the reservation service are all currently unavailable.