WORK has begun to fit out a new library and adult learning centre in Dorchester.

Dorset County Council is moving the two services into a shared building with the centre due to open its doors in July.

The centre will occupy the same building as West Dorset District Council’s new offices in Charles Street, which opened to the public in January.

The main entrance for the facility will be opposite the Hardye Arcade in South Walks and it will see library and learning resources spread across three floors.

The new library will offer extra books as well as an improved children’s area along with a family learning room.

There will also be public access computers and self-service units for book, CD and DVD issues as well as quiet areas for reading, studying and browsing.

The adult learning facilities will include three classrooms and an IT suite that will be available as meeting rooms for local community organisations when they are not in use.

The building will also feature toilets with baby changing facilities and lifts will provide access to all three floors.

The relocation will see Dorset County Council terminate its lease on the current adult learning centre in Prince of Wales Road and convert the existing county town library at Colliton Park into office space as part of its overarching drive to reduce its property portfolio and cut running costs.

Public displays are due to go on show in the coming weeks at the existing library building and the adult learning centre as well as the reception in County Hall that will showcase the lay-out of the new South Walks centre.

The council’s cabinet member for adult and community services Hilary Cox welcomed the progress on the new centre and insisted it would prove to be of great benefit to the local community.

She said: “I am delighted work on fitting out the new library and adult learning centre is getting underway.

“It will provide the town and its surrounding area with better, more accessible facilities, offering benefits to people of all ages and interests.”