A BESTSELLING author has marked a fresh chapter for West Dorset’s main library by officially opening it.

Dorset resident Minette Walters, England’s bestselling female crime author,unveiled a plaque in front of invited guests and dignitaries as well as library customers and staff. There were also opportunities for people to join guided tours of the library this afternoon.

The library, in South Walks, Dorchester, is the first new library in Dorset for more than a decade and, since it opened in July, has attracted more than 1,000 new library members.

More than 12,000 people are visiting the library every month, which offers double the floor space of the county town’s former library at Colliton Park.

Coun Peter Finney, the county council’s cabinet member for community services, said: “We are very pleased that the new library and learning centre is so popular with Dorchester residents and the surrounding areas.

“The investment has given us a fantastic, spacious, welcoming and user-friendly facility and it is proving to be a community hub, somewhere locals and visitors alike make use of, whether it’s for books, free use of computers or to learn something new.

“We look forward to welcoming library members and local people to the official opening ceremony.”

The library is now offering a regular programme of activities for children under five, a reading group for six to 12-year-olds and a weekly drop in activity session for young people. There has also been an increase of nearly 30 per cent in the lending of books and other items to children and young people.

The county council has terminated its lease on the adult learning centre in Prince of Wales Road, and the old library will be converted into office space, helping the council to cut its number of buildings.