Libraries in Dorset have received more than £300k to improve services.

Dorset Council Library Service was among six organisations across the south west set to receive a share of £2.6m through the Government’s Cultural Investment Fund.

The funding will support important upgrades to museums and public libraries such as vital repairs, renovations and the development of digital infrastructure which will ensure they can continue to be assets to their communities and improve the visitor experience. 

Dorset Council Library Service will use its funding of £309,971 to improve accessibility with open-access technology in four libraries - as well as extending its iPad lending scheme across all its libraries to increase access to digital services.

The four libraries to benefit from open-access technology are Sherborne, Gillingham, Sturminster Newton and Verwood - which will see their opening hours extended among other benefits.

A Dorset Council spokesperson said: “Dorset Council is delighted to have been awarded £309,971 from the fund.

“As part of our successful application, we plan to install open access technology in four library sites to enable us to extend opening hours beyond the core offer of Dorset Council staffed hours.

“We will also double the scope of our pilot iPad lending scheme, through the purchase of 30 additional devices, to enable us to increase access to digital services across Dorset by lending devices from all 23 libraries. This will help us continue to provide a library service fit for the future.”

The funding will be awarded to the council after Monday, April 8 and the final details on when the iPads will be available and the extended opening hours will come into effect are yet to be confirmed.